ADVENTURE THE 12TH: I REMEMBER MAMA
for the first time reader:
For those unfamiliar with the posting structure of a blog: postings appear in the order they are made by their author, not necessarily in the order that would most benefit an ongoing series such as the one you are about to read. Since the purpose of this blog is to be an ongoing thriller, simply removing the previous chapter to alleviate confusion is not an option – since no one coming to the series after the first chapter had been removed would be able to follow the story line.
Therefore, if you scroll down or visit the archives in future months, you will be able to read this continuing drama in the manner and order it was intended to be read.
For this reason and purpose each subsequent adventure in the ‘Eddie Mars’ serial will be marked by a number. If you follow these numbers marked at the top of each chapter in their numeric order - eg ‘Adventure the 1st’ - you will be able to follow this continuing saga.
For those savvy to the blog world – this disclaimer may seem redundant, and for that no apology is made. This disclaimer is meant to better acquaint new readers in how the entries in this blog will be posted and how best to follow the series from this point on. And now…
Adventure the 12th …
I Remember Mama
Well, it wasn’t much of an evening - at first. I kept waiting for Mico to tell me things …all about her afternoon and her father. I waited, alright – in vane, like an alcoholic for last call on Election Day. Either she didn’t know the tune I wanted to hear, or she couldn’t read my notes – ‘hey Mr., there’s a man in my bed who’d like to kill you’…or was she just playing by heart? Only this kid wouldn’t know heart if it reached up and pinched her on the Tchaikovsky. Maybe she was getting ready to sing – but I sure as hell wasn’t her target audience.
With nothing left to do and little to say, we both did our conducting with the same baton – mine. I’ll say this for her – when it comes to hitting the high ones she’s not exactly tone deaf.
I’m no philosopher. I don’t know if you can live on love. But we certainly gave it our best in the long playing mode for the rest of the afternoon and early evening. In between concerts she limbered up a mean entr’acte that drove us both onto the next movement.
Later we ordered in – Chinese, and a paper from the corner drug store. But there was nothing about Cynthia – nothing about any incident at the library.
Then, like nothing in living expectation, as I thumbed through the obits for any confirmation, and with her head resting across my chest, Mico suddenly decided to get curious.
“You don’t care much for women, do you?”
“What?” I say, a bit thrown.
“You’re interested in the dead one’s alright,” Mico says, tenderly pinching the pointed flesh of my nipple, “but the live ones bore you, don’t they?”
“Sometimes,” I agree.
“How about now?”
“Check under the covers if you need a reason to believe,” I suggest.
Only she doesn’t, rolling onto her own pillow with her slender back facing me. It’s a nice back but I’ve bent it out’a shape.
“Hmmph,” she says, “I know what’s there.”
Flattening out like a pancake, all except for those elliptical silicon bubbles, she aims her index finger like the butt of a pistol, tenderly pressing it against my temple.
“I want to know what’s in here,” she admits.
“Oh,” says I, dropping the rest of the evening post over the side of the bed, “Why?”
“Well,” I whisper, not knowing what else to say, “I’m not used to sharing that part of me.”
She seems unconvinced.
So I try.
“What do you want to know?” I ask, suddenly feeling more naked than nude.
I watch as the sockets of her eyes lazily roll back and forth inside her head, like a pair of marbles from a kid’s play toy in a Cracker Jack box. She’s trying – hard - to find a clever way of excavating my soul. Scratch the surface of any dame and she’ll like it – at least that’s what they used to say. In most cases it’s true. But I’m a closed book with missing chapters I prefer to stay missing.
“Tell me about your mother,” Mico finally says.
I don’t think she has any idea how awkward a request that is under the present circumstances. I suppose if I were to ask about her father, lying as she is, canastas pointed toward the sun, she’d paint me his portrait in a rainbow. Come to think of it, that’s not a bad idea. So I start.
“Well,” I say, trying to remember someone I’d rather forget, “she was a fat broad with the heart of a stone. She would have driven dad to drink, except that he got wise to her plan and blew his head off with a shotgun instead.”
“You’re making this up,” Mico says distastefully.
But I’m not, and she gets me mad for telling her the truth.
“Do you wanna hear this or not?” I ask.
She smiles a sick little tease of a grin, reaching over to my side of the bed and casually tossing back the sheets so there’s nothing left between us – not even false modesty. She seems to glow from within, like one of those cheap store front tree toppers. I’m not exactly prepared for what comes next.
Mico straddles me for another round, pressing my wrists into her palms and leaning in so I’ll be giving my deposition to her bulbous cleavage.
“Tell me now,” she says.
So I try – harder - and so does she. The only problem is she seems to be succeeding. It’s the most whacked out session of family psychotherapy I’ve ever experienced, and I’m beginning to like it.
“When were you born?” she asks, slightly rocking back and forth.
“Right here, in this room,” I muse.
“I mean it,” she commands.
“When were you?”
“A lady never tells,” she coos, getting into the routine.
“Yeah?” says I, feeling more for my liking, “What’s your reason?”
She lets out a champagne giggle that gives us both the hiccups.
“Are you an only child?” she asks.
“That I know of…”
“Tell me about your mother…”
There it is - ma’ again. What would she say if she could see me now? Hell, she wouldn’t care. I barely do. But this kid wants a genealogy report even as she’s pruning the family tree.
“My mother,” I start between quickening breaths, “drove me out’a the house when I was eleven. Her boyfriend liked to use his hands on her and the strap on me.”
“Sounds kinky,” she muses.
“It was,” I suggest, “But the bruises healed.”
…at least the ones anyone could see.
“I had an aunt in….Duluth,” I keep going, “who thought…I would make something of myself…someday.”
It’s getting harder to talk while enjoying the absolute craziness of it all.
“Did you ever go back?” Mico inquires, reclining on my upper thighs.
“A couple a’ times,” I admit, sliding my hands behind the pillow holding up my brain, “but I got tired of her…fast. We got tired of each other. Why all these questions?”
“I just thought it’s about time we got friendly,” she says, leaning in for the last time.
“What are we now?”
She swoons across my chest without missing a stride. And then, just as I’m about to forget everything – comes the real kicker.
“What brings you to New York, Eddie?” she whispers, gingerly tugging at my lobe with her teeth.
She knows who I am. When did that happen?!?
Her latest probe snaps like an angry mongrel and I’m the kind that can’t help but bite back. To say I overreacted is an understatement. Maybe I had my rights but I seize her in my arms, squeeze for all it’s worth and flip us over like a couple of home-style flapjacks.
“How did you know who I was?”
“Get off me,” she says.
But I’m not about to.
“I…I checked your wallet.”
“When you weren’t looking.”
Playtime is over and she knows it. A gentleman would have just forgotten the rest, but we’ve come too far, and besides, I’m no gentleman. I’ve blown my chance to get the skinny on daddy and I know it. Like a maestro bored with rehearsals, I bring down the curtain.
It’s over without applause. Mico gets up to take her bows in the shower and I roll over to think about my mistakes.
. . .
“Lt. Halver, please…hello, Malory? It’s Mars…yeah, I know. Listen, did you find anything special at the Menendez place?...I didn’t think so. There wasn’t much left by the time I got there…what? Yeah….What do you think? Listen, I’m calling in a favor. Know my car? Have your boys go gentle…especially when they open the trunk… Carolyn Trent’s in it…yeah, I know. I’d love to sit down and explain myself, only you and I both know I don’t have to. It’s that kind of position…you know me too well.”
I can hear the water getting turned off in the shower.
“Listen, Mal’, I’ll explain everything in a few days. Who’s your touchstone in New York? Right. Flannery. Clean?…and he can be trusted?…fine. Oh, and keep Carolyn out’a the papers…because I got a hunch this secret’s worth keeping.”
I hang up the telephone just in time. Mico’s standing barefoot and towel-wrapped in the doorway.
“Feeling fresh, angel?”
She studies me like a vet. I’m either going to be put down or rewarded with a treat.
“Yes, thanks,” she says, taking a seat on the edge of the bed with her back to me again. It’s a nice back.
“For what?” I ask.
“Reminding me what it’s like to feel dirty.”
Our role in the mud isn’t over yet. I relax. I’ve still got a chance to find out what I want to know. She smells like Spring, just like a brazen flower that’s had its petals jerked to the ground by a stiff rainstorm.
“I…” she starts, almost getting emotional, but pulling back the performance at the last minute.
“Suppose we forget it?” I say.
That usually works.
“I don’t want to,” Mico tells me.
She loosens the towel, just enough so that it slides down around her hips. That sheen of a snotty rich girl, the superficiality’s gone. She’s not threatening anymore.
I slide my arm around her neck, slowly pulling her to my end of the bed. She doesn’t resist. We lay there like a pair of love struck teenagers, semi-frightened that at any minute the folks’ll bust in and survey the damage with a couple million ‘hail Mary’s’ and a trip to the free clinic and jeweler’s for an engagement ring. There’s nothing more to say. But for the first time in my life, the moments don’t drag on like an eternity. She’s as still as a corpse, but far more inviting. Then, without cause or daydreams, Mico quietly reaches for my left hand, lightly tugging its ring finger.
“Someday,” she whispers earnestly, “I want to remember this moment without regrets.”
…if only that were possible for either of us.
not yet - Eddie Mars will return in his next adventure
on June 16th 2006.
@Nick Zegarac 2006 (all rights reserved).