Friday, March 12, 2010

Just A Warning

After our little talk in the river, Mr. Charlie cleared out. At first I was alarmed but Emma says he kissed and made up with Kitty immediatamente. After five days, I miss him. Not much, but you know, enough so that I’d like to see him.

“Come to the pavilion,” Emma says. “The yoginis can sign up for either Charlie or Logan but then they adjust the lists to suit their preferences. Logan likes ’em little and Charlie doesn’t.”

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

The next morning I stop by Kitty’s and tap Charlie’s shoulder while he’s totally absorbed in Berto’s coffee cake. He chokes, sips his chai tea, and roars, “Look what the dog dragged in.” It’s handshakes, hugs, and pulled punches, and he says, “Shit, Scott, you sent me off like it was final.”

“No, Charlie, I’ve missed you. Stop by anytime. Tomorrow, we’ll fool around in the studio.”

Next morning, well before dawn, I ask Emma if she wants to travel.

“Do you?”

“Emma, I asked first.”

“I’m almost ready to go home but only if you are, Scott. Unless, that is, you’d rather I left you alone. But if you keep coming at me every night, I can’t help feeling you like me.”

“Emma, Christ. I love you. Don’t make me say it a million times. Let’s leave in ten days. ¿Está Bien?”

 “Yeah. I’ll give Kitty notice.”

“That’ll shock her. Nobody ever does. How’s Sean doing with Charlie back?”

“Poor Sean has to work twice as hard when Charlie’s there.”

“That’s them. If I book plane tickets to Chicago, you’ll come with me?”

“Well, yeah. I love you, Scott. Do you need to hear it a million times?”

“Touché, sweetheart.”

When she goes to teach her class, I finally get most of the song down that I made up in my head recovering from the concussion. It’s a chase song, snare and release. I play it on the guitar and experiment with it on the computer. I get something like howler monkeys in there but lyrics hover past my reach, like: “...not today…something, something…no dying anyway.”

Charlie flings open the studio door, filling it with mota reek. He sniffs and clears his throat, a reacquired habit. He listens to what I’ve got and pounds out a boss nova on the keyboards.  Sniffs and clears his throat again. Seems my new song’s nothing but a nice variation on an old classic. 

This makes me angry enough that I slip out and hit the beach. I swim against a strong current, three topless yoginis as markers. Swimming back, the current’s even stronger. Good thing I worked at building strength after this season of injuries.

Back to the house to shower and change, I meet Charlie’s who’s just leaving. “Where’d you go?” He throws back his head and sniffs hard. “I’d totally forgotten that song. Great new interpretation, Scott.”

“Yeah, well…” Why mention I had imagined it was more?

“So,” Charlie stares at the ground, “leaving in ten days sounds good.”

Despite myself, I snort and regret it. Why shouldn’t Charlie leave with us? He’s only here ’cause of us. In an attempt to take back my derision, I offer to book the trip for the three of us.

He says, “No, I’ve got the funds. Are you coming for brunch?” After the first yoga class, Berto serves a feast at the pavilion. Charlie’s hurrying to get the best food.

“Shower and shave first.” By the time I arrive, everyone’s eaten. Emma’s lying on a couch and what’s happening is so grotesque that for a heartbeat, I don’t believe it. Charlie’s giving her a shot in the butt.

Emma sees my face, pulls her pants up, and hurries over to me. “It’s just B-12. Kitty likes the teachers to get a shot every week.” She tilts her head toward Logan who’s giving Moira, who I haven’t seen since before Pavones, a shoulder shot while she’s nursing Conchetta.

My man Pedro’s carrying his plate to the kitchen but swerves and stands next to me. “I’m with you, Scottie. I don’t like needles either. And I’ve never had the antivenom.”

Emma’s swinging my wrist. “Don’t be mad, honey. Let’s eat.”

“Didn’t you eat already?”

“Not enough,” she says. So I’m filling a plate with pancakes and Emma’s spooning papaya into a bowl when the place goes quiet. A uniformed policeman steps inside the pavilion. Kitty greets him and in a moment Pedro saunters over in case interpretation’s needed.

Now he’s reassuring me. “Just a warning,” Pedro says. “Some girls were sunbathing naked. That’s against the law here.”

Meanwhile, Charlie plays the expansive host. “Officer Gonzalez! Pura Vida!” He shakes the man’s hand and offers him a glass of lemonade.

(click here for the next episode)


Dan Leo said...

It's funny, I only just realized that this story is told in the present tense. Now that's some good writing!

kathleenmaher said...

Thanks, Dan. I love the present tense--the eternal now, but like most things I love esthetically, the crowd gives it an eternal raspberry. This is first person, too, which I generally avoid (except for nut cases), because I enjoy it, which means it must be bad.