Sunday, January 31, 2010

Mr. Happy


My first idea is to give Pedro’s daughter a scholarship. “So when she grows up she can get all the higher education she wants.”


(click here to read the first episode and here for the previous one) 

But Pedro says, who knows if she’ll appreciate that?

“What about an open trust then? She can start a business if it’s more her style.”

Pedro nods, embarrassed, and lights a blunt. 

“Just stay close, Scottie. Be her godfather.”

“I’d be honored.” It’s an unofficial title—no ceremony is what I mean, since Pedro and Moira aren’t even married. Obviously Pedro’s not up to overseeing a long term fund so like a real jerk-off, I ask if his brother Hugo would manage it. Pedro shakes his head. He has faith in Hugo, but only up to a point. 

“You know what? I should do it. Consider it done.”

He thanks me and looks away, handing me the blunt. Ashamed to say, I didn’t take responsibility right off. My lifelong habit is to foist anything dull onto someone else. But it’s a habit I intend to drop—within reason.

Walking uphill and a little dizzy from the mota, I can hear Charlie’s amped up keyboards coming from the music studio. Charlie doesn’t care if he’s any good; he just loves to play. Half a beat later, Emma’s wailing out an old blues song. She’d rather drink dirty water than have a cheating man.

Charlie starts one song and then another. I listen outside to Emma singing “100 Days, 100 Nights.” The second I step inside, though, the door to the studio bursts open. “Leave me alone, Scott,” Emma says, flying up the ladder, her silvery little dress fluttering in her wake.  

Now Charlie’s patting my back. Emma’s doesn’t want to sing when I’m listening. Something about how I’m always pushing her to write her own stuff. (She can; she’s good; just impatient.) But still, I should back off. 

“Took serious wheedling to get her going,” Charlie says, but before long she was agreeing to accompany him Friday and Saturday nights at Le Fresco. That’s a little concrete-floored dance bar past the water fall. A light projector bounces pastel ping-pong balls off the nighttime jungle walls. The stage is a wooden platform. With my permission, they feed off my electricity, not Kitty’s, which is nearby; Kitty being strictly for-profit.  

Later, I’ll see if Charlie and Emma will welcome my bass playing, but I leave it alone for now. 

“Didn’t know for certain Emma would still be here,” Charlie’s saying, “but I brought the dress in case. Remember her wearing it in Chicago?”

Well, yeah. I remember it a lot, in fact.

“Before the shows, Logan’s girlfriend is gonna weave glittery braids in Emma’s hair.”

“Logan has a girlfriend? Since when?”

“Her name’s Sierra,” Charlie says, “and she’s cool with Logan’s converts. She’s a psychic from Oregon, and says Logan’s the same as any other man with his harem.”

All those weeks when I was delirious, waiting for Emma to finish her work at the yoga center, she begged me to hang out in the pavilion, where she’d be close. Why didn’t I rest in one of the  hammocks there? “Be good for your mental state,” Emma said.

I disagreed. Kitty lectures me and Berto keeps Emma too long in the kitchen. But Logan infuriates me. Last time we spoke, he asked if I had recognized what that pitviper was sent to teach me.

“Enlighten me, Logan, ’cause I’m not sure.”

“For once you’re dependent. How do you like that?”

Didn’t hit or even threaten him, that’s how enlightened I am. I walked away but the asshole followed me, saying he’d heard that ordinarily I was large and in charge. A womanizer, according to Kitty. “So did the snake bite teach you that you gotta rely on Emma or somebody like her?”

Hurray for me: I didn’t say a word; didn’t turn around; just kept walking.

Charlie says, “Just smoke with him. That all he wants when he comes at you like that.”

Maybe, but I don’t want to smoke with him. Charlie’s less particular and is happy to smoke with Logan or anybody else offering him weed. Now apparently Logan has offered Charlie a partnership in his Thai message business.

“My kinda work,” Charlie says. “Loosening up visiting yoga students for a hundred bucks an hour? And Logan has been working seven days a week for two years. So he needs me, man.”

“Is he training you?”

“I should have it down in a month.”

“And you’ll still have time for surfing?”

“If I work it right, yeah,” Charlie says. He’s heading for Kitty’s now, where he spends most nights.  Emma’s back in shorts and a t-shirt. He touches her head, saying, “See ya, darling.”

The whole yoga gang really loves Charlie. Berto asks him to taste a sauce and Charlie dances around. “Totally sick, man!”

He rubs Kitty’s feet and she invites him to spend the night, every night. Don’t know if her boyfriend Sean’s involved or not. But along with the rest of them, he calls Charlie, “Mr. Happy.”

(click here for the next episode)

1 comment:

Dan Leo said...

Hmmm, the pot is stewing. What's gonna be for dinner?