Friday, August 29, 2008

I Want to Live Here Episode 35

Episode 35
I left before the pizza arrived. My car, to my intense relief, started at once. I drove home quickly navigating the easy turns from Buford Highway to Piedmont and Lindbergh, making a mental note to return to the flea market as soon as possible.
The rain had stopped and low and behold, our missing maintenance man appeared to have returned. I slowed down when I spotted his El Camino in front of the model.
Stephen, struggling with yet another overstuffed cardboard box approached. I lowered the fleetwood’s automatic window.
“Can you use some more stuff?” he asked.
“Sure,” I said, unlocking the back door. “I’ll take it now.”
“Come by when you get settled,” he said, settling the box behind me. “This is just some miscellaneous stuff Nancy’ll want to replace anyway.”
After changing into jeans and brushing my teeth, I took a peek inside the box. Next weekend, I figured, I’d sort out all the crap they’d dumped on me and keep what I wanted. Look at this, I thought. Shirts, a clock radio, a pair of worn Frye boots? Good God, was he moving in?

Judith was too far ahead to hear me call her name, nor did little Nicholas, circling her on his new bike, seem aware of anyone but his mom. She looked more tired, yet younger in her tight jeans and oversized sweatshirt. I'd never seen her from this perspective, a mother and a lone woman, not the velvet and steel professional whose pronouncements had begun to infect my conscience. I realized how tiring it must be to be so on all the time and wondered just how disappointing the weekend in Big Canoe had been for her.

She didn't see me until Tim, sauntering out from Abigail's townhouse --- after locking and pocketing the front-door key --- saw us both and called to us both. Then she turned around with a start and smiled at me feebly.
"Your back," she called. I hurried to catch up.
What, I was thinking, was Tim doing in Abigail's?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

I Want to Live Here Episode 34

Ricky, who had been watching as if we were Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova at Wimbledon, now stood, stretched and stepped over the coffee table in a slow motion vault. “Can I get you girls something else? Want to order a pizza?” Without waiting for an answer, he ambled into the kitchen where I could hear him opening and closing the refrigerator.
“I was interested in you,” whispered Patty.
“Me? You mean my job?” I was feeling the early stages of a bummer, a flicker of paranoia mixed with disassociation. What was I doing here?
“Not your job. Well, sort of. I wanted to know what it was like to, you know, find a dead person.”
“Because she used to live here?”
“I guess. And because I live in her apartment here.”
“You live across the hall?”
She nodded. “I moved in about a month ago.”
“No wonder there’s so much filing to do,” I said.
“Yeah, I remembered her name when Barbara told me about the accident.”
“But you were shopping me before Abigail died,” I reminded her.
“That’s true. That was for Barbara. The next day was for my own curiosity.”
“Pepperoni okay with you girls,” Ricky called.
“Sounds great,” said Patty. I said nothing. I was leaving. But before I left, I took a chance.
“Patty, I’m trying to figure out whether it mattered that Abigail lived here before she moved to Arborgate or if it was just a coincidence.”
“Why? Why wouldn’t it be a coincidence? She just fell and hit her head.”
“You think she was pushed?” asked Ricky from the doorway. He’d stretched the phone cord as far as it would go trying to reach for his wine glass. “You think someone hit her? Why? Was she bleeding?”
I handed him his glass.
“She wasn’t bleeding. If she’d bled, she cleaned it up, but I didn’t see a cut or anything. Just a bruise on her forehead.”
“You’re just trying to make something of it, aren’t you?” said Patty. “You’re just bored.”
“I'm not bored, just curious. I didn’t get a chance to read her whole file. Why don’t you finish the filing and let me know what come up with? She had a visitor drinking vodka with her the day she fell. I’m wondering who it might be. If it was someone she knew from here.”
"Don't look at me," said Ricky. "I don't do hard liquor."
“I don’t think her drinking buddies are going to be in her file, but what the hell, it can’t hurt to get that job finished.” Patty snapped her fingers and pointed to me. “You obviously didn’t get much done.”

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Want to Live Here Episode 33

What happened next still cracks me up.
Patty/Patsy and I held a good long staring contest completely ignoring Ricky, who, taking advantage of hosting a possible cat fight ran to the kitchen. I know that because he emerged moments later with a bottle of burgundy and three heavy-leaded Mexican wine glasses. There was an unlit joint sticking out of his mouth and a shit-eating grin in his beady brown eyes. It was the joint that distracted me.
“Uh,” I said.
“Oh, Ricky, we’re kinda working here,” said Patty and then looked my way. “Aren’t we?”
“Well,” I shrugged, “a glass of wine might be nice.”
“It’s Christmas!” said Ricky settling onto the couch. Patty joined him. I took the chair opposite, dragging it up to a dinged coffee table.
The trick for me was to get through the next hour without letting Patty know I’d pilfered her filing cabinet so when she asked me what I was doing here, I said Abigail had listed this address in her Arborgate application and since I’d been working here I’d come over to see… “Whatever there was to see. It sort of feels like I’m paying my respects somehow,” She nodded, swallowing wine with a thirsty gulp. I wondered briefly where she had spent the afternoon.
“How did you like our office here?” she asked, stretching back against the leather cushions, letting herself slide down against the smooth surface. Not leather, naugahyde.
“Seems friendly.” I turned to Ricky. “Did you know Abigail?” I asked, picturing them on the couch watching Mary Tyler Moore on a Saturday night.
He nodded enthusiastically, but that might have been caused by his attempt to hold in a mouthful of smoke. He flattened his lips and let it escape. When he leaned in my direction, arm extended, I took the joint and held it, letting the damp end dry a bit before helping myself to a polite toke.
“Nice lady,” he said and stopped, catching a meaningful look from Patty. If it was supposed to shut him up, it worked. If it wasn’t, well, Ricky wasn’t saying more about Abigail.
“Are you coming back tomorrow?” asked Patty.
“I’m supposed to. There’s a lot of file---office stuff to do. You have a lot of move-ins for January?”
“We do.” She took the joint and inhaled.
We sat quietly for another round of passing and sipping. Finally, I asked, “What were you doing at Arborgate, anyway?”
“Oh, just shopping the complex.”
“Who asked you to do that?”
“Barbara. She’s afraid Judith’s going to get her job.”
“Judith wouldn’t live here on a bet,” I said. Neither would I if it came to that.
She flushed. “I believe you, but Barbara thinks this place is great.”
“It is great,” said Ricky. “It’s got a pool and lots of women. It’s close to 85.”
I ignored him. “Are you afraid of losing your job?”
“No,” said Patty. “But if I do I’m moving to Buckhead.”
We were at an impasse. I’d kept my secret but I had a feeling she had kept her own. What her secrets were I don’t know, but they had to do with Abigail. Without revealing that I’d seen the her files I didn’t see how I could learn what her interest was in Abigail. Unless –
“Did you know Abigail?”
“No!” she coughed a lunger of smoke.
“Then why were you so interested in her apartment?”

Friends Who Have Published Books

Tony Early
Laura Hendrie
Teri Holbrook
Jeff Mock
Tim Parrish
Geoff Schmidt
Val Vogrin

...who am I forgetting?

Monday, August 4, 2008

What Librarians Know

Things found in books:

date due slips
* other slips of paper
* homework assignments
* sheets of toilet paper (clean, thank goodness)
* Kleenex (clean and used)
* library cards (we scan these into the computer to check out materials and the patrons are supposed to keep them!)
* actual bookmarks
* a surgical clamp
* a bobby pin
* a notification that someone had received a raise
* an assortment of bills and letters
* a season pass to Worlds and Oceans of Fun in Kansas City
* a band-aid
* a leaf
* wedding pictures
* other photos
* the receipt from a visit for psychoanalysis
* thank you cards
* drivers licenses
* a packet of tropical punch flavored Kool-Aid
* a yellow 3-inch rubber snake
* bird poop
* raisins
* creepy crawlies
* a dry flower