Saturday, November 03, 2012

NaNoWriMo Day Three


No one knew this better than The Colonel's oldest friend, Andrej Vilinovich, or Andy V., the Mad Russian, solid, cut, even from time in the stir, ever restless, ever fidgeting, always keen to the score, in his 50s, a three time felon, all on drug charges, face of hamburger and deep-set beady eyes, a perpetual grin, though he had no top teeth and spoke in a lisp. Andy appeared in the doorway behind The Colonel with Left-eye Lisa on his arm. Lisa had sucked Andy off in his room on the second floor. She wanted to fuck, but Andy waved off the request.

 "Goddamnt hepatitis," he said.

"Sorry. I forgot."

They weren't a couple, even though they were regularly intimate. She usually hung out with Andy near the beginning of the month, when he was flush and amiable with Social Security funds. No one called Left-Eye Lisa "Left eye" to her face. She was sweet and kind, big and big-hearted, though any man who consorted with her knew she would smoke, drink, fuck, eat and, yes, suck her way through a man and move on nonchalantly, pleasantly, to the next meat. Though her appetites and behaviors were somewhat rapacious, her cheerful demeanor and willingness to perform sexual favors meant she was tolerated, even loved. Very few women graced the presence of the gruff denizens of the Augusta Inn, and certainly none made the rounds like Lisa. Her love was as wandering and indiscriminate as her left eye.

Both she and Andy were feeling magnanimous in the satiation, however brief, of appetites, and the jovial atmosphere of the party, which was finally kicking into high gear on the front porch.

Andy snuck behind The Colonel and put his hands on The Colonel's shoulders, leaning down and gripping him.

 

"Oh, shit, better hide the vodka, the resident Russkie's arrived," The Colonel turned and looked up into Andy's face.

 

Andy continued to knead The Colonel's shoulders, "Such tension, old friend. Haven't you ever learned to relax?"

 

"It's kind of hard to relax when the Mad Russian's standing behind me prepping me for an ass fuck."

 

Andy kept rubbing. "You know, dear friend," he said. "I could have made you my bitch a long time ago, but I'm saving your fresh cherry for a special occasion. And although tonight is a night to celebrate, it is not special enough. So relax, my friend."

 

Andy released his grip and reached into the 30-pack next to The Colonel's chair pulling out two beers without even asking The Colonel for permission to raid his personal stash. Andy was the only person The Colonel allowed to do this. Andy handed one beer to Lisa. As he cracked open his own beer, The Colonel said, "See, I knew it. All that time in jail. You had to develop a taste for strange."

 

"And what's your excuse, old friend?" Andy asked and searched around for a chair for Lisa. He joined her down at the end of the porch, but The Colonel was not done with the conversation, so he rose, groaning, and as he spread his stance for balance he knocked over Mackey's beer on the floor. Mackey noticed and quickly set the beer aright.

 

"What a shame," The Colonel noted. "No soldier should die in vain." Every beer was a "soldier," every empty can "a dead soldier," every new case a "fresh salvo." The Colonel came over to Andy and leaned on the railing.

 

"You better watch yourself, Sven," Andy said. "You fall off this porch. Look down. You'll impale yourself on those fresh cut trees."

 

The Colonel looked down, a slight bob in his head as he stared over the ledge.

 

"Not a big deal. I'll stay aboard, Captain." The Colonel said. "Hey, look, man. You been out back yet? Is Snoop rustling about? I ain't seen him, but figure he's prolly, you know, downstairs."

 

"No, I haven't seen ol' Snoop." Snoop was a homeless bum often seen rooting around through the garbage both in the neighborhood and around town. He rode a bike with a rack and collected cans, tying full bags to the rack, earning about $20 a day for his efforts. Sometimes, especially in the winter months, Snoop slept in the basement, piling blankets in one of the musty side rooms off the laundry room.

 

"I think Snoops stole my cans," The Colonel said. "I told him to leave my stash alone. But I think he couldn't resist himself. It must've been him. No one else would even know about it."

 

"But are you sure?" Andy asked.

 

"Sure as shit."

 

"But do you have, you know, as they say on the crime shows, incriminating evidence?"

 

"Like I said, sure as shit."

 

"What do you mean?"

 

"I could smell that the bastard'd been there when I noticed the cans missing."

 

"You? You could smell him?" Andy said with an air of incredulity. "You, whose senses are warped by the beer and constant puffing on the Meerschaum. Your senses were so keen as to detect the distinct odor of Snoop?"

 

The Colonel rocked back and forth on the railing, making Andy nervous, who put a hand on The Colonel's knee to steady him. The Colonel slapped Andy's hand away.

 

"Lemme think about that. Not much we can do even if it is Snoop. I ain't got the heart to kick his ass."

 

"Your ability is questionable as well."

 

"Wha?!"

 

"Oh, it's nothing, good friend. What else is new?"

 

The Colonel, upon the reminder of smoke, reached into his pocket and brought out his Meerschaum tobacco pipe. He also produced a small bowl and a plastic baggie with a few buds of mid-grade (seedless, nonetheless) marijuana. He pinched a piece off the end of one of the buds and crunched it between thumb and finger, crumbling the resulting shake into his bowl. He handed the pipe to Andy with the admonition, "Don't tamp it down, you bastard."

 

As Andy took a hit and passed it to Lisa, he asked a more pointed question on the exhale, which made his voice squeak. "I mean, have you seen anybody new?"

 

The Colonel continued rocking in rheumy-eyed meditation, puffing on his Meerschaum.

 

"Well, hmm. Lemme think. The usual college students. We'll see some more before the first of the month. More down by Ars Longa, to be sure. You know how it is. They just keep getting younger and we stay the same."

 

There was a silence between the men for a moment before The Colonel had a spark of remembrance.

 

"Oh, yes. Someone moved into the red room," he said.

 

"Poor bastard." Andy said. Although Andy had only lived at the Augusta Inn three years years and The Colonel at Country Acres less than two, both were lifelong Bonneville residents, and the reputation of the red room, Room 12, the first room on the right at the top of the stairs of Country Acres, had been known to both men before residency. It was a fact that one of the room's first denizens, Estrella Von Bergeron, great granddaughter of one of Bonneville's founding fathers, Hans Von Bergeron, had been murdered shortly after the rooming house was constructed in the mid-70s, shot dead, once in the forehead, with a .357 bullet. Rumor had it was a suicide investigated as a murder. In any case, no suspect had ever been apprehended. No one charged for a crime.

 

Rumor also had it that no one had lasted longer than a year in residency in Room 12, the red room, since. There were also rumors of a trickster spirit that moved furniture around, locked the chain bolt from the inside, and there was a general bad feeling about the place, even though it got good sun and was farthest removed from bathroom or kitchen smells. Even Sandy Halvorson corroborated that Room 12 was always the last one vacant and often the first one to be vacated at lease's end.

 

And neither Andy or The Colonel or anybody else knew who the latest resident of the red room was. The Colonel said he would look into it and warn the poor soul.

 

At that moment, in the red room sat a man, thirtyish, with wire frame glasses. He sat at a desk. A duffel bag, his worldly possessions, was at the side of the desk, a sleeping bag unrolled on the floor. The desk and chair came with the room as did a fluorescent light mounted under a shelf. He was hunched over, writing on a pad of paper, etching deep and intently, a heavy scratching.

 

This is what he wrote:

 

"New beginnings. Noose elaborations. Must release these EVIL, AWFUL SMUG spirits. Must pray to the gods of Yahweh and David and Jesus and Buddha and the Rose of Sharon for release.This is wrong, wrong, WRONG. Why can't this tension, this tight awful TENSION, bursting me. WHY WHY WHY WHY SET ME FREE. Can't it? Can't I? Like a listen, listen, LISTEN, to the rats in the wall. They so FREE to roam to tumble to crawl to eat my scraps. They're all rats. FRESH. FRESH. Blood under boot heels. Yes, the STRENGTH OF CONVICTION. OF JESUS WHO STRENGTHENS ME. OF CONVICTION. THE BLOOD SET FREE. The blood of the lamb."

 

And he didn't notice until the ink started to smudge, the growing puddle of drool on the page.

 

Back at the party next door, Chalmers, looser, happier, burst through the front door and announced, "Fuckers. There's a fire out back if anyone's interested. Maybe some music later."

 

The announcement of a fire revived The Colonel, shot a spark into him as if he'd been hit with a jolt of adrenaline.

 

"Fire? Did someone say fire?!" The Colonel let out a war whoop and leaped off the front porch, landing on his feet and then falling down, raising a chorus of laughter from the porch.

 

Andy, knowing what was in store, tried to hold back The Colonel, "C'mon, Sven. C'mon. Stay here. Keep me company a while. Let the young ones have their fun. We had our moment in the light, yes?"

 

"Excuse my French, you Commie sunnavabitch, but where there's a fire, there's me."said The Colonel. He stumbled towards the backyard to join the revelry.

 

Andy turned to Lisa and shook his head. "Now is when the real fun begins, my dear."

 

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