Bluetooth Bayou

I pushed the button to open the pain in the ass gate. A nine-year-old could climb the wall next to it, but this was security. A gated community. The squeaking piece of shit swung open at the speed of a cat hocking up a hairball. I thought the same thing as always, ‘someday I will drive right through this fucker’. Tell the cops I got tired of watching my hair turn gray in the rearview mirror while it clanked open. Involuntary gate slaughter.


I pulled into the condo’s drive all the way to the right, just so the tires on my Jeep ground up the grass. Give them condo association busybodies something else to bitch about. They were always tacking little notes on the door. Please park in the garage. Your plastic Christmas tree is not approved foliage, particularly in July. Please refrain from leaving concrete blocks in the yard. We are voting on a special assessment to extort more money from the owners. Shit like that. I did everything possible to piss them off. They were frightened of me. They wheeled their bicycles over into the grass when they saw me coming. It’s a gift I have.

I trudged through the door and smelled cat. It was faint, but it was there. The litter box was right at the entryway, in a little coat closet facing the entrance, to the left of the kitchen. She kept the poor bastards inside the condo. They had never roamed the earth. No little door to go out and wander. They sat on the screened porch, staring out at the lush, green world. Just praying a lizard or a bug would somehow find its way in so they could actually do some cat stuff. Squirrels climbed along the outside of the screen, laughing a little squirrel laugh, fucking with them. They got fed. Rubbed on. Their shitter was emptied every day. Still, I understood when they latched onto a finger and gave a good gnaw. That was frustration. A tiny sliver of psychosis. ‘The Scream with Fangs’ if Munch had painted cats.

I noticed the litter box was gone. In its place were five pairs of my old sneakers. Filled with cat litter. Used cat litter.

Apparently I had erred somewhere along the line. Between yesterday when I left on a job and today when I returned, some grave affront had been committed. Maybe not calling last night had been an unwise oversight? Probably should have left a message saying the job would extend to who knows what hour.

I had intended to be back. Then, as things progressed, I had intended to call. Then, when I was about 800 bucks ahead, things sort of slid out of my control.

Macy interrupted my thoughts by coming to the top of the stairs. I noted she appeared angry, but only fleetingly, because she also appeared nude.

Macy is a stripper and she had a little arrow tattoo, pointing down, a couple inches below her belly button. I personally feel this is redundant. I liked feeling it, more than I disliked feeling it was redundant, so I never mentioned it. We all have our flaws and weaknesses; one of mine was located down around her arrow tattoo.

“Willy,” Macy said, in that calm, low voice women use when they begin a rant. “I appreciate all you've done for me. Helping me invest my money. Helping me buy this place. I am a lot better off now than before I met you.”


"But,” I said, watching the droplets of water wend their way down that crease where the hip meets the torso. That water was living the good life. I, on the other hand, was a droplet falling into the swirling toilet of domestic conflict. No choice but to become mixed in with all the detritus.

“I want you to leave. Go back to your place. There isn't anything to pack because all you ever left here was them nasty old tennis shoes. Eighteen months, and all I have here to remind me of you is tennis shoes and a toothbrush.”

Tearing my eyes away from the interesting trails navigated by the rivulets of water, I courageously stared up into Macy’s eyes. “I didn’t want to clutter up your place.”

“Bullshit!” she replied. “You are only happy when I am on my knees, the rest of the time you pay lip service to this relationship. You are never going to change. You can’t commit.”

“I pay lip service when you are on your knees,” I said, trying lamely to lighten and possibly detour this conversation into friendly territory. Maybe inch closer to the water, which still mesmerized me.

“Oh Willy,” she laughed. “You are the most fun a gal could ask for. You helped me. Got me away from the losers. Showed me how to travel and stay in a Bed & Breakfast, instead of a Motel 6. Showed me how nice it is to step out of a Jag, wearing a skirt, a silk blouse and nylons. Taught me to pick my battles. Now you are off on another project. You are never going to marry me.”

She had me there. It wasn’t that I was never going to marry her. I just wasn’t going to marry—anybody. “Macy, you don’t want to marry me. I am ....”

“That’s right,” she interrupted. “I don’t. Now shut up and come up here. Say goodbye the best way you know how.”

Words were my stock in trade. I could have talked my way out of this. That damn little arrow.

Removing my tennis shoes, I put them up on the counter, just so the cats wouldn’t get confused. I went upstairs and started at her feet. She has beautiful feet. They still liked me.


We lay on the bed, staring out the big window that overlooked the fake lake, with the fake geyser of water hoisted into the air by some powerful, electricity-gobbling pump. A pump that was at least partially responsible for the ‘Condo' Association's bimonthly special assessments. Keep the damn pump blowing water up into the air.

Macy stood and walked to the open bathroom. I forgot about the pump as I catalogued her progress to the mirror. I might need these images someday. I tried to burn them into some easily accessible area of my brain.

“They revoked your license today,” Macy said. “Here is the letter.” She walked back over to the bed and handed me an envelope.

“You are just full of surprises,” I said. “Any more good news?”

“I’m sorry, Willy,” she said. “You need to quit that racket anyway. Find a nice girl. Not a stripper.” Her eyes were already watering up. I needed to interrupt my reverie and do something gallant. Something that would circumvent the eyeball moisture. I become distinctly uncomfortable around the eyeball moisture.

Lumbering my big carcass off the bed, I overlapped my arms around her, pinning her own against her sides. I stood behind her and kissed her neck. “Willy had a nice girl,” I said. “She got tired of him. Put kitty litter in his shoes. Used him like a gigolo, and gave him a paper that says he can’t peep in windows any more for money.”

She giggled, but it came out a half-sob and half-giggle, neither having enough inertia to overcome the other. “Just go, you asshole,” Macy said. “Please don’t come to the club. The rest of the girls want you. I don’t know what I would do if you came in and snagged Cherie or Candy and I had to still work with them. Don’t hurt me, Willy.”


She broke free of my embrace and turned to look at me. I felt like an asshole. Hell, I am an asshole. This was one of those crystal clear moments when the realization was driven home. Destroying all lingering doubts.

“I won’t, Macy,” I said, getting dressed. “You know where to find me if you need anything.”

I backed the Jeep out of her drive and drove slowly to the gate. Last chance, I thought, as I sat waiting for some pinhead's idea of security to rumble and jerk open. I noted one of the Association's Poobahs standing out in his driveway with a tiny yipping dog. He lived right by the gate. No water fountain view for that asshole. No, just a Gladys Kravitz view of everybody who came and went.

“Hey Fuck head!” I yelled to him. “Why don’t you put some grease on this Rube Goldberg contraption?” I pulled away, having lodged my final complaint with the Oaklawn Condo Association.

I thought about my current situation. Single, unemployed, morally banned from the club Macy danced in, missing several pairs of tennis shoes. I concluded that I was temporarily directionless. I pointed the Jeep to a bar I occasionally visited.

A lesser man would have been sobbing with grief over Macy. Would have felt angry over the loss of his PI license. All I could think about was the shoes. Why had I left so many pairs there? Some of those were very comfortable. Had I left the house barefoot at several points? Why had I been barefoot? I pondered this and could remember no barefoot drives to my own home. A mystery that would require several beverages and my friend Sean to solve.

Am I allowed to solve things anymore? I pulled to the curb and idled in neutral while I reread the letter, notifying me of my license suspension.

William Whittener, blah, blah, After review of the conclusions reached by the original inquiry we uphold the permanent revocation of your license to practice....blah blah.

I did not see anything stopping me from solving my own case of the strange tennis shoes. I called my friend Sean.

Sean and I had been best friends since riding together on a cycling team. We were on the way to Olympic trials and already had our faces on a regional version of a Wheaties box, then I was in an accident. A girl I was riding with rolled her car; apparently a helicopter carried me to a hospital. She walked away with a broken nail, I think. I don’t remember it. I am still convinced it was a Soviet plot. I think they won the Gold that year. While hospitalized I became enamored of painkillers for a while and that period remains fuzzy to this day. I had several broken ribs, a punctured lung and various and sundry other injuries. Had a deleterious effect on my wind capacity and my cycling career.

We both quit after that. I, because I wasn’t worth a shit anymore. A dedicated smoker of Camel unfiltered's, with the bicycle seat reversed, using a craftily mounted rearview mirror, could have pedaled backwards and left me below the horizon line. Sean quit because the coach discontinued our practice of one beer for one mile. We never rode less than 15 miles a day.

Pain without reward is a sadistic path. It leads to dissension and lethargy. We were now masters of our own reward system. It varied. Two beverages for every hour worked. Four beverages for any successful workout routine. One beverage if the wind changed direction. All very logical and strictly adhered to.

“Sean,” I asked into the phone, still idling at the curb. Safety first. “It’s Willy.”

“I know who it is,” he answered. “Who else calls at noon every day with some elaborate plan to get me fired for leaving early.”

“You own the place, jackass,” I said. “You would have to look in the mirror and fire yourself. Could you really do that? Would not the guilt plague you? And what about the morale of your coworkers. Would they not suffer? If you can fire yourself, what chance do they have? I would advise against it, therein lies ruin, my friend.”

“What do you want?” he asked, laughing.

“I have a tennis shoe mystery,” I replied in answer to his question.

“A tennis shoe mystery. All right, against my better judgment I will bite: what is the tennis shoe mystery?”

“It’s a long story, and the cell phone bill would be prohibitive. Particularly in light of the fact my PI license is permanently revoked, as of today.”

“Shit, the review board ruled against you?” Sean said.

“Yes,” I said. “I am now rudderless, in a sea of double-digit unemployment. I fear for my lifestyle.”

“I told you not to hit the turdball,” Sean said. “You remember, I was with you and I told you, I begged you, not to hit him.”

“He was hitting the girl,” I replied, having been over this several thousand times in the last month.

“He hit her once. You should have called the police and let them handle it.”

“Yes indeed. Hindsight is always 20/20. He was a lieutenant on the police force. A shift supervisor. It would have been handled.”

“You are lucky they only pulled your license, Don Quixote. All right, I'll meet you at Sawbucks. Give me a few minutes.”

It was comforting to know in this age of tenuous relationships, displaced loyalties and blatant immorality, I could rely on my friend for solace in dark times. I cranked up AC/DC’s Down Payment Blues on the welded-in stereo of my jeep.

I got holes in my shoes

and I'm way overdue

down payment blues

 

Comments:
 
SpyLady1   SpyLady1 wrote
on 5/12/2008 5:06:16 PM
Very good beginning, is there more?

Butterfly   Butterfly wrote
on 4/13/2008 7:01:17 PM
Good story. I really like your choice of language. Your a very entertaining story teller.

sphincteria
Novel / Novella
Action
writing sphincteria
There is an almost unbearable pain needling my fingers as a result of these overabundant scribblings. I must lay down my pencil, my engine of truth, and bathe my crippled hands in some warm water. Ignatious Riley; Confederacy of Dunces: John Kennedy Toole
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Synopsis
Willy, a defrocked PI is offered a substantial sum to start a business tracking down web spammers and bluetooth violators. Unfortunately he and his cohorts wind up in the middle of a terrorist plot—from within the U.S. after inadvertantly uncovering something larger than spam. This is set a few years in the future, when the use of Bluetooth wireless technology has allowed advertising to intrude in our lives at an even more invasive level than it currently does. This is Chapter One
A Word from the Writer
www.veinarmor.com
Published Date
3/23/2008 12:00:00 AM
Published In
veinarmor.com
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