Saturday, September 21, 2013
Dear Jon - Chapter # 8
Hello all! My name is V.L. Locey. I am a self-published and traditionally published author that lives in the mountains of Pennsylvania with my husband of over twenty-two years, my daughter who is seventeen, a herd of dairy goats, chickens, geese, ducks, turkeys, two dogs, two cats, and a partridge in a pear tree. For more info and links about me and my work, check out the Bio tab up above.
Enough about me, let`s get to the romance!
Morning came, and with it the realization that kids are agents of Lucifer. I had never spent a more horrific night, and that included the trip to Maryland with Charlotte where we both woke up in some man`s bed hung-over, covered with honey and feathers and sporting welts on our asses that made sitting down for a week nigh onto impossible.
I was seated at the shitty kitchen table, nursing a shitty cup of coffee, while a pair of shitty geese stood by the back door making enough noise to raise the dead. If they were looking for food, they were SOL. The pinching bastard and bitch could starve as far as I was concerned. Overall, it was a shitty start to what would probably be a very shitty day.
Andrew had become this demon child by the time we got home last night. Instead of being tired, as you`d think a kid would be, he was a bundle of energy. He ran. He screamed. He shot his cap guns inside the bungalow. He cried. He laughed manically. He kicked and bit and shrieked for his mother, tears coursing down his flushed cheeks. I held him tight during the last tantrum; trying to talk sense to him, but what kind of sense can a four-year old who just lost his mom digest?
So, instead of talking, I just held him, pinning his wildly flailing arms down to his sides. Eventually he ran out of steam. His lashes –long and spiked with tears – dropped down like rocks. I sat there holding him while he slept. I had to stay seated. I was crying too damn hard to get up and pull the bed out of the sofa. Now I was wishing I had some stronger coffee and a smoke. The last scoop of grinds I found in a ceramic canister in the fridge weren`t enough to get me moving. I even over-perked the pot in hopes of a better mug. It was a no-go. And sitting under my piss-poor mug of tea-colored coffee was the folder. I reached for it. My fingers shook like that rum-soaked bum I knew back in Greenwich. Shuffling through the bills and accounts payable, my throat getting tighter, I located a long envelope hidden among the nicely phrased and quite sympathetic demands for money.
That was all that was on the front of the envelope. My name in my sister`s incredibly neat script hit me like an uppercut from Jake LaMotta. I did not want to open it. I had to. The blueberry with the legal degree would be expecting me to have read this last missive from my sister. He didn`t know the things I had said to her, and her to me, that day of dad`s funeral. I placed the envelope to the top of the folder and stared at it as if it held some ancient mystery, or the key to my future. Tears dampened my scruffy cheeks.
“They want bread.”
The sound of Andy`s sleepy voice so close and unexpected startled me terribly. The mug of coffee flew from my hand, landing on the table. Coffee – if you dared call it that – doused the folder. I leaped to my feet, geese honking, kid staring and grabbed up the legal work but it was too late to keep the stack dry. Cussing under my breath, I threw the entire mess on the counter, flung the back door open and shouted things at those two white geese that would make the honey and whip man in Maryland blush.
“Assholes,” Andrew whispered behind me. Panting like a deranged person, I closed my eyes, counted to forty, and then stepped aside so the four year old could go give his geese a crust of dry bread. There he stood, no taller than the gander; his sandy hair knotted from sleep, his green pajamas wrinkled, and his little toes bare, feeding his friends while calling them words ranging from asshole to zebra-fucker. I was screwing this up so badly . . .
“Let`s get dressed,” I said weakly, watching the kid face the future with more aplomb than I could ever hope to possess. At least he hadn`t cried this morning. “You want some breakfast at the Blue Hen?”
Andy looked over his shoulder at me and nodded. “Can I have Coca-Cola?” he asked as the goose stole the last slice of bread in the house and ran off with it, the gander literally snapping at her tail.
“Maybe we ought to go with milk for breakfast, okay?”
He thought about it. His tongue was caught between his teeth just like me when I`m deep in thought. My knees felt weak.
“Chocolate malted milk?”
It didn`t seem quite real.
Funeral Services - $45.00
Casket - $150.00
I glanced from the bill in my hand to the tall, gaunt man in black seated behind a frilly desk. The smell of lemon cleanser couldn’t quite disguise the reek of embalming fluid in the air. Andy was in my lap, his face in my neck, his clammy fingers digging into my shoulder. I guess the funeral director scared him as badly as he did me just for different reasons.
“This is quite a lot of money,” I managed to say and immediately felt like a shit. “I mean, she was worth it, of course, but is there any way we can lower the cost? Is there a casket that doesn`t cost a hundred and fifty dollars?”
Mr. Ezekiel Martin stared at me flatly, his long hands folded on his desk.
“I`m not trying to be cheap,” I whispered, as if Betty`s son wouldn`t hear every damned word I said, “It`s just that I`m an up-and-comer, you know?”
“Do you have any savings?” the ghoul asked. Andrew nearly choked me; his thin arms tightened terribly when Mr. Martin spoke. “I hate to be so blunt, but according to our files there was no life insurance to speak of. You`re listed as the person to send all bills to. This is you, is it not, Mr. Porter?” he asked, turning a legally signed contract for services between my sister and this house of the dead. One skeletal finger tapped at the line where my name and address in Greenwich were typed out. The fucker knew it was me, so why pretend otherwise. I nodded. He spun the document back to face him.
“I`ll have to contact my bank in New York.”
“Please, feel free to use our phone.”
I was left alone then. Andy clung to me like a monkey as I rung up the operator. Within twenty minutes, my life savings of four hundred and seventy-three bucks was being mailed to me here in Hannity Hills. Mr. Martin seemed very pleased with that news and informed me that the service would be Monday at nine AM sharp. The minister`s fees could be added onto the bill for the funeral, if I wished.
“Sure,” I said and stood up. Save me from filling out another check. I had to go buy a plot yet that, and that was fifty bills. Betty was going to break me in a matter of days. Carrying the solid weight of a four year old out of the eerily white funeral home on the corner of Main St. and Creston Lane, I couldn`t decide if I should sit down on the curb and cry, or stand in the town square to scream at the heavens. Andy sniffled into my neck. I was furious with my sister, and sick at myself for being mad at her for dying. Standing beside my car parked too close to the curb, I saw that Blue Ford truck rumble past, the dent in the passenger door looking much worse in the light of day.
“Shit.” I peeled my nephew from my neck. Closing the door carefully, I followed the backend of the truck, much like I had the Ford`s owner, until it made a left onto Monument Street. If I was shelling out money, I might as well go see Ross Coleman to make an offer of reparations. Maybe God would smile down on me, and Ross would laugh off my offer then ask me out to dinner. Sliding behind the wheel, a snotty-nosed whining orphan at my side, I figured God would do lots of things for the queer from New York, but smiling down on him wasn`t one of them.