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There Was Enough Trouble Already
(an impromtu short story)
Current mood: Tapping into my Cat on the Inside
Jack’s nerves zinged like a pile of dowsing rods dropped out of a car window at highway speeds. He’d regressed to a bottom shelf whiskey because his habit was becoming evermore serious. He couldn’t take his mind off the baggy of cocaine (cut with crushed No-Doze – for economy) in his cigarette case even though his heart felt weak from a lack of sleep and serious tobacco abuse. If he could just sit down and meditate maybe me could see his way safely through a few lines. But Kate had totally taken over the penthouse and he couldn’t possibly get relaxed enough to do any bio-feedback there. Not a single friendly chair in all of Manhattan. She hadn’t spoken to him for three days and a night because she’d been raped on a subway by a pack of sailors and couldn’t bring herself to tell him. There was enough trouble already. Jack took to serious consideration of selling his thinned 8ball and leaving town secretly like a pedophiliac clergyman.
By the time I learned of all this I was already right in the middle of it. Kate had smashed Jack aside the head with a plastic vase while he ate some order out eggs Benedict. Apparently she just couldn’t stand the sight of a man eating eggs and went wild. The door was ajar when I hit their floor and I kicked it in the way I like to do when I enter a room of old friends. Jack had his head in a sink full of iced water and Kate was reading aloud on the balcony from a pocket copy of the Constitution. So shocked was I that I dropped a bottle of Guinness on the marble entry floor spraying glass and beer all over my new black leather boots.
I managed to close the slider door on Kate with a queer smile, sat Jack down, fed him some beers. Then he laid it on me.
“She didn’t say anything until the moment she started swinging,” he said.
I struggled to remove my beer-soaked boot. It didn’t seem like a polite gesture at all given the situation. Kate was still screaming on the balcony.
“When did it happen?” I said.
“Too weeks ago,” he said. “Gimme a cigarette will you?”
I complied. “And she hasn’t reported it?”
“I don’t think so. She seems to think cops will search the place if she files a report. I offered to go to the station with her but she won’t even look at me except to mash me up.”
“Maybe you should report her!”
“No way. I’ll get over this,” he said. “But she…”
We both looked out at her. Kate had her hands pressed against the window like a caged lunatic. “What I want to do is get out of here, arrange to have her sister stay with her for a while. You want to get clear of her, too.”
“Yeah. I suppose I do.”
“I’m sorry. You came here expecting fun and get this.”
“Really, it’s okay. Let me call her sister.”
We went to the street, called Maggy from a public phone, and walked into Brookline like a couple of beaten kids. Jack gave me that horrible 8 ball for thirty dollars on account of the fact that he’d all but ruined it with that damned caffeine powder. We hugged for a long time at the bus station. I took a Greyhound to Miami, taking a fix or two in the bus toilet.
I’d settled into a Motel 6 after a night of rum and failed pick-up lines when Kate called my mobile crying uncontrollably. I could hear Maggy screaming incoherently in the background, wailing in a way really.
Jack had died of a heart attack. He’d somehow found two of Kate’s attackers, chased them with a knife through Queens and collapsed in an alley.
I convinced her to go to the police and try to have the guys found. Then I finished off that baggy and hit the town again. Because a man my age should avoid sadness like the plague.