Friday, January 28, 2011

Pirate Twin

It was the balloons that always got to me. What kind of little girl doesn’t like balloons? Yet from the look on the kid’s face, she could care less; hunched over, chin in her hand, barefoot. Gray clouds loomed ominously in the back ground.
I threw the picture back into the folder. It was the last time anyone had seen her. Ten years had passed; most missing person cases didn’t bother me, but this one did. How did a little girl from a respectable family just vanish into thin air? It was almost as if those balloons had been caught by a strong breeze and took her away.

I heard a noise from outside my office. The new temp was closing up shop for the day. She was young, with a body that made good on every promise. Quiet, with long brown hair usually covering her eyes, she was a wiz with the computer, coming up with all kinds of spread sheets and invoices and other business paraphernalia. Didn’t like to wear shoes though; as soon as she got into the office, she’d kick off her sandals and pad around the office bare footed, which normally would have annoyed me, but with her, it gave her a hint of the exotic. Like Ava Gardner in The Barefoot Contessa. The film, not the television cooking show.

“Is there anything else you need, Mr. Dawes?”

She was leaning against the office doorway, her hair loose, the bare toes of her right foot curling sensuously around her left ankle. Mr. Dawes; Christ, make me feel older than dirt. I looked over at her, drinking in her youth. Tempting, but there’s something about coming to terms with your own mortality that stops you from making an ass of yourself. I pushed the folder towards the edge of the desk.

“Just file this for me in the cold file.”

I shoved the folder too hard; it flew off the desk, the contents scattering as they landed on the floor. I cursed softly and started to apologize as she bent down to pick everything up. I came around the side of the desk and stopped as I caught her staring at the photo; she was crouched down, her ass balanced on her heels. I was sure the intensity of her focus would burn a whole in the picture. She started to rock gently back and forth.

“Where did you get this?”

I sat on the corner of the desk, trying to figure out what the hell was going on. I folded my arms across my chest, trying to get a read on her reaction.

“Her parents give it to me. It was the last picture taken of her; she disappeared twelve years ago. Her name is . . .”

“Ramona. Ramona Banks.”

What the fuck, I thought to myself? A missing person case that’s been in the deep freeze for over a decade and now my temp is telling me the kid’s name? I spoke very softly and slowly, trying not to spook her.

“Did you know her?”

She shifted her weight, letting her ass sink to the floor, her legs wrapped around the side of her hips. She glanced up at me; I could see the wheels spinning furiously in that little brain of hers, trying to decide what she should spill. She looked at the photo once more, then let her gaze drift off to another time and place.

“Ramona had it rough; her dad drank too much and her mother never forgave her for being born. She’d spend a lot of time out of the house. She said she had a pirate twin, that she just needed to find her other half. She wanted to run away, maybe to Los Angeles, maybe grow up and be famous.”

She stopped talking, a sad smile forming at the memory. I thought I saw tears begin to sparkle in her eyes.

“So what happened to Ramona?”

She took a deep breath, trying to gain hold of her emotions.

“It was her thirteenth birthday, that’s when this picture was taken. Her mother couldn’t stand the idea of Ramona growing up, because it meant she was getting old, so she always treated me like a baby. I hated balloons, yet my mother always insisted that we have them at the party, that I parade around with a bunch of the damn things. My dad was useless, always too wasted to care. My mother always insisted that I have my picture taken with them. I made up my mind that night to leave. I never went back.”

I stared at her, saw the tension envelope her like a passionate lover. I bent down and kneeled next to her, taking the picture out of her hands.

“You never went back, Ramona?”

She looked up with a blank look, and then shook her head as if she were trying to wake up from a bad dream. A sly look appeared on her face.

“You won’t let them know you found me, will you Mr. Dawes?”

I considered her request. Her parents had just asked me to find her; I didn’t have to let them know I was successful. I took the picture from her hand, placed it back in the folder, and handed it to her.

“File this away in the closed case drawer. I’ll see you on Monday, kid.”

She stood up, taking the folder out of my hands. I watched her bare feet pad towards the cabinet, then make their way to the door of my office. She stopped, turning her head over her shoulder, her long brown hair hanging in her eyes.

“Thanks, Boss. See ya on Monday”.

She never came back. The temp agency said she moved out of town, didn’t leave a forwarding address. I guess she’s still searching for her pirate twin.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Holy Family

It is now officially a blizzard, and I am still sitting at my desk at work, looking out the window at the curtain of white that has descended like the final curtain at the end of a play. I'm surprised you haven't called, nagging me about leaving. I guess you're still mad at me for even venturing out; that fight this morning was a doozy. I didn't think you'd have such a conniption over me going to work in the snow; I thought your head would split in half. I understand your concern for the two of us, really I do, but I do have to go to work, no matter what the weather. I sigh as I decide to call it a day. I want to take my time driving home, and I want to make sure I'm driving during as much daylight as possible.

I pull on my boots and coat, turn off the computer and pull the office door shut. It looks like I'm the last one here. I waddle out to the car, the parking lot almost empty. I start the engine, then climb back out to clean the snow off the windshield and the lights. At least the snow is powdery and brushes easily to the ground. It's slightly pointless; the window is almost completely covered again as I settle into the driver's seat. I fiddle with the radio, hoping to hear a traffic report on the road conditions, but the radio is janky, so the reception fades in and out. I pull out my cell phone and hit the pre-dial; I hope you pick up. The call goes straight into voice mail. Damn it, I think to myself, what is your problem? Why are you being such a jerk? I leave a quick message, letting you know I'm on my way home. A normal drive would be thirty minutes; today, who knows?

I begin the ride home, slow and steady, like cooking a roast. The roads are slushy, the visibility nil. I keep my foot on the gas, my concentration trying to pierce the gauze that permeates the horizon. The roads are deserted, most people wiser than me having decided to stay at home, ensconced on the couch with either a good book and a pile of DVDs and a hot cup of something. I miss being able to drink a glass of wine. I let my mind wander slightly when suddenly I realize the light ahead has turned red. I hit the brakes, too hard, and start to spin. I try to remember what I should do; turn into the spin, turn towards the fish tale. I frantically turn the wheel, first one way, then the other. The car begins to straighten out; luckily there are no other cars in my way. I try to catch my breath, my heart racing. Maybe I should have stayed home today.

It takes me over ninety minutes to drive ten miles; by the time I pull into our driveway it's dark out, my nerves are shot, my bladder is screaming to be emptied. I see your silhouette in the kitchen window, watch you dash out of the side door towards me. I manage to put the car in park as you pull open the door. Your face is a mixture of anxiety and relief.

"Go on in the house, I'll park the car in the garage."

You help me to the door, my ungainly bulk slipping slightly as I cross the snow covered path. I make it to the bathroom in the nick of time; I swear, one of the greatest pleasures in life is being able to empty a full bladder.

I pull off my boots while sitting on the throne and begin to unwrap from my outer clothes. I hear the door to the garage shut, your footsteps coming up to the powder room door. A sigh of pent up emotions escapes from your lips before you knock gently on the door. I try to pull myself up, but find my center of balance has shifted and my muscles have knotted from the long drive.

"Help" I call out pathetically.

You rush in, expecting the worst, then smile wickedly at my predicament.

"I should leave you there, as punishment for putting me through such agony."

Tears start to form in my eyes and I'm taken aback by the emotions rising in me.

"I'm sorry I made you worry, but you don't have to be such a jerk about it."

I sit sobbing, my head in my hands, feeling like an idiot. I hear you moan guiltily, then feel your arms wrap around me. You scooch my skirt up, exposing my swollen belly, and kiss Junior. He/She responds with a swift kick to your nose. Reluctantly I begin to giggle. It really is quite comical, an extremely pregnant woman sitting on the toilet, her clothes in disarray as her husband embraces her. Not exactly a subject for Da Vinci.

You rest your head, looking up at me. I realize your eyes are swollen and red.

"I didn't mean to be a jerk, I was just so worried about you both, then so angry with you for not listening to me. All I could think was I'd get a phone call saying you'd spun off the road."

Your arms tighten against me as warm tears anoint my belly. Junior begins to squirm, all ready embarrassed by his parents public displays of affection.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Demon Deer

Demon deer killed Bettie's mom and sister. That was the name Bettie had given them whenever she saw them at night, their eyes glowing from the car's headlights. An argument in the back seat of the car had distracted their mother as three deer bolted from the woods. Bettie's mom swerved, the car hit a patch of ice and slammed into a tree. Mother was killed instantly; sister died en-route to the hospital. Bettie was unconscious for two days. When she awoke from her delirium she was shocked to see her father. He looked so old and defeated.

"Hi Baby" he managed to croak out before dissolving into tears.

Their new life began; a family of two instead of four. They staggered through the first couple of years, stumbling at birthdays no longer celebrated, anniversaries no longer acknowledged. Ten years flew by; Bettie was turning fifteen soon. She sat on the edge of the bathtub, shaving her legs. She could hear her father making dinner. Jenna was coming over. Bettie slid into the tub, submerging deep into the warm, soapy water.

Bettie didn't like Jenna, or the fact that her dad was spending a lot of time with her. For the past month he had allowed Jenna access to their domain. She came for dinner and a movie, going home before it got too late (Bettie's dad was still paranoid about driving at night). Bettie always excused herself after eating, desperate to avoid the two of them. She had caught them on the couch once, bodies entwined. She didn't like to think of her father as a man with needs. He wasn't a man, he was her dad, and he should do his best to stay that way.

Bettie closed her eyes and sunk deeper into the water, letting it come to the tip of her nose. She knew she wasn't being fair. She held her breath and slipped under. Maybe if she waited long enough, Jenna would disappear. She held her breath for as long as she could and then sat up, wiping the water from her eyes. Someone was knocking at the door.

"Lizzie, are you ok?" Her father still insisted on calling her Lizzie.

"Yea, Dad, I'm fine."

"Dinner's almost ready. Jenna will be here soon."

Bettie sighed and kicked at the water, trying to answer.

"K. I’ll be down in a minute."

Bettie waited until she heard him walk away, and then stepped out of the tub, wrapping a towel around her as she looked in the mirror. Her mother's large oval eyes stared back at her. Everybody said she looked like her mom, but Bettie didn't have a clear memory of her face. She heard her father laugh as the front door closed. It had been a long time since he'd laughed like that. Bettie walked to her room and changed, leaving the wet towel in the corner. Her dad always hated that. Good, Bettie thought. Let him be unhappy a little while longer.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Willingly she gave him her taint.
His love was plausible.
But she didn't care, cause his rod weren't baint.

He looked at the writing and sighed, circling the doggeral with a bright red pen. The most talented unknown writer of her generation, the writer that was going to establish him as the best editor of his generation, was also the most difficult bitch he'd ever had to deal with. Refused to make any changes, challenged every suggestion he'd made. They'd had their share of knock down, drag out, screaming fights. Both of them reducing the other to tears and slamming doors. But the make up sex, Christ! He still felt guilty about that; their relationship was supposed to be strictly professional. While he had always fantasized about an affair with an older, more experienced woman, he had never envisioned willingly involving himself with someone so volatile. For one brief moment in their initial coupling, she was so aggressive with her tongue, that he had feared for his manhood.

He sighed again, letting his eyes wander from the manuscript towards the clock. She'd be here any minute; there was a plot hole he had to discuss with her, a point that didn't seem plausible. It was late, he was too tired to fight. Or to make up.

His reverie was cut short as he sensed a new presence in the room. She stood in the doorway, her hand gently knocking on the door. She smiled at him, a smile that always reminded him of a tiger smiling at its prey just before it ripped it to shreds. He tried to steel himself, tried to maintain the upper hand. She entered the room and sat in the chair opposite him.

"You wanted to see me?"

Even when she was being incredibly polite he always sensed an undercurrent of contempt in her voice.

"There's a problem with chapter twelve, you have Gomez doing something completely out of character. It needs to be re-written."

He saw her eyes begin to flash, her body stiffen. He rose from behind the desk and stood in front of her.

"I'm not fighting you about this. I'm your editor and I have your best interests, and the best interests of your work, at heart. You need to start trusting me on these decisions." He paused, letting his eyes fall to the floor. "You should know by now that I'd never do anything to hurt you."

He looked back up, saw her bend over and place her face in her hands. She took in a deep breath as she sat back up, looking him straight in the eye.

"It's not that I don't trust you, it's just that . . "

He saw her struggle with her emotions, was shocked to see her usually fierce exterior soften to a core of vulnerability. She let her gaze drift off to the side.

"All my life, since the time I was little, I've been told to sit down and be quiet, that no one was interested in what I had to say. When I began to write, when I began to get positive feed back on what I had to say, it was exhilarating. I felt so alive; finally I'd found my voice. So I became very protective of my words; I didn't want to ever be in a position again where no one listened to me. I know I can be difficult." She looked back at him, a small smile appearing on her lips.

"You'd be much easier to handle, darling, if you were just difficult. You're quite the pain in the ass most of the time."

She laughed, her smile widening as she rose from her chair, wrapping her arms around his waist, letting her head drop against his chest. He felt his arms automatically return the embrace. They stood together for a minute before he kissed the side of her head.

"What's a 'taint'?'

She laughed again, that slightly mocking tone returning to her voice.

"You've never heard of a 'taint'? It's an inimate part of your body, honey."

He scowled slightly.

"I've never heard it called that."

She laughed again, letting her hand slip between his legs, gently beginning to caress the smooth part of his body behind his sack. He gasped, then felt his body begin to relax, a curious mixture of arousal and calm enveloping him. He struggled to make his voice audible.

"But whys THAT called a 'taint'?"

She let her hand continue its work, her lips gently kissing the side of his throat.

"Because, it 'taint' the front, and it 'taint' the back."

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A New Year's Ephipany

I will never win the lottery and be able to quit my job.

I will never buy a chocolate bar and find a golden ticket inside.

There is no knight in shining armor coming to rescue me.

Prince Charming will not appear at my door, holding a glass slipper.

Fairy Godmothers and magic wands do not exist.

I am responsible for my own happily ever after.

For years, that used to terrify me.

But now, it excites me to no end.