Sis amplexibus Amor alios mututa memini et amoris in mutationes memini.
May you be embraced by a love beyond recall that alters others
and a love within recall that alters you.
Harris left the police station trying to make sense of the past few days. He hadn’t taken any pain meds since he went to bed last night and he could feel them inching, itching out of his system. The sun was too bright, too hot and he was too pale and too raw. There were too many people around. Which one of them would be his next victim. Was this what Dracula went though. Was his need because he forgot his last prey and thus felt he’d never had what he wanted, what he needed, to stay alive.
He got a text from Trevor. “hy Dog. Story 2nt.”
“7” he texted back.
“cu” was the reply. “gt a srpz 4u.”
As if Harris hadn’t had enough surprises in the last few days. When he got back to his condo he stripped to boxers, no tee-shirt. Too hot to wear more. Instead of turning on the a/c he opened the balcony door to let in the humid air. He’d heard sweat was a good way to detox the system. He hoped that would help with getting the pain meds out his system.
He spent a slow afternoon with that laundry date he’d been putting off, getting the place back to a sort of neatness, listening to Underground louder than usual. The bubbling electronica soothing his thoughts. He shook his head at the burger wrappers. He must have pretty wonky to eat that crap food when there was far worse food in the fridge.
Another side effect of the pain meds had been constipation. Yeah, all the shit he’d been keeping bottled for years was pressuring him to let it free. He tried a few times without success. Too much strain set off a sharp pain in his ribs. He was giving it another try and felt a nudge in the right direction when there was a loud knock at his door.
He pulled on the Kypton tee-shirt and looked through the peep hole. It was Dave’s mother.
He didn’t want to talk her and how had she gotten into the building anyway. Oh right, pizza delivery. He’d have to speak to the concierge about that.
She knocked loudly again.
“Mr. Stevens I have to talk to you. I know you’re in there. I can hear music.”
He kept the door on the chain and opened it a crack.
“Mrs. Pazzoni I can’t talk you. The … um … police said I was to have no contact with anyone who’s involved in the case.”
“Mr. Stevens, my Dave is a good man. Life’s given him his share of bad breaks, is all. He’s so in love with Frances. He didn’t mean to hurt you.”
“Save it for court.”
“When he gets riled he doesn’t know his own strength.” she tried to pull the door open wider. “He knows you didn’t have anything to with Frances taking off like that.”
“If you don’t leave I’ll have to call the police.” His bowels were agitating.
“Fucking cock sucker you think I care about those assholes.” She kicked the door and stomped down the hall.
He turned down his stereo and went back to the bathroom. Still no luck.
There was another knock at the door. Louder with splintering. His bowels abruptly let loose. A hard lump followed by a crap cascade. More splintering at his door.
He grabbed his cell and called the building security.
“There’s a crazy woman trying to break into my place.” He held the phone to let them hear her banging at his door. “Get the police.”
Two more loud whacks. He flushed the toilet. He was afraid to go to the door. A third thump and voices.
“Get your hands off me fuckheads or I’ll charge you with sexual assault. You’re not even real cops, ya jerk offs. You can’t tell me what to do. Put a uniform on man and he thinks he has the right to push people around. Ouch! That’s undue force. On a frail old lady. My good friend THE MAYOR will hear about this. Mark my words. ”
The voices moved down the corridor. There was a quiet knock on his door.
“Are you all right Mr. Stevens”
He opened the door. It was Awad Rostom the head of Plaza Place security.
“Yes. Rattled for sure.” The door had several large splintered bashes in it.
At the end of the hall policemen stepped out of the elevator as she was about to enter it. Building security restrained her while a police woman talked to her. Sophia pointed down the hall at him. Caught his eye.
“It’s all your doing. You did something to her. I don’t know what. She won’t tell us either but it was you. It was when she met you that something happened. Something that’s your fault. You’re going to pay for fucking my boy’s life up like this.” She pushed the policewam away from her. “Don’t you know who I am? I know the owner of City-TV.”
“How did she get in the building anyway?” Harris asked Awad.
“We’ll investigate. Sorry.”
“They sexually molested me.” Mrs. Pazzoni protested. “I only wanted to talk to that guy here. I was knocking on his door when they grabbed me. Grabbing my tits. You jackasses will pay for manhandling Mamma Sophia Pazzoni. By the time I’m through I’ll have your badges for pizza slicers.”
“Knocking on the door with this?” A police woman held up a fire extinguisher. “Just trying to make sure he heard you.”
“I think we can charge her with trespass and willful destruction of property.” Awad sighed. “I’ll tell maintenance about the door. Held up pretty well though didn’t it.”
“You okay? Seems you’ve had quite a week. I read about it in the paper.”
“Paper?” Harris rarely read the newpaper.
Awad pulled one of the free papers out of his pocket. “Right here.”
There was picture of Harris outside the police station. Over it was a headline that said, “Possible Stalker Witness.”
“That’s all I need. All I want is peace and quiet.” None of this would have happened if he had gone to work that afternoon. Or would she have shown up there.
“Time to get out of town if you ask me.” Awad left.
Harris locked the door. Looked out the peep hole. Time to get a security camera installed. She was right. If the curse hadn’t worked on Frances none of this would have happened. It wasn’t as if he had set out to do anything. He didn’t know about it. Now that he did, the curse was working in reverse. People were now instantly hating him and not forgetting him instead of being instantly infatuated and then forgetting him. His Dad didn’t warn him about that.
Harris pulled off his boxers and got into the shower. He’d had no time for one the last few days. He must have stunk when Awad was talking to him. Hot hot water, a quick icy blast and back to the hot. Detox his system faster from the pain meds. The bandage soften under the hot water and suds and he carefully eased it off. The bruise was bad but his ribs were merely tender when he cautiously soaped them. No spikes of pain.
He went on to the balcony to let the sun dry him. He finished off a bag of double chocolate walnut cookies wondering why the curse had reversed. Was that what happened if he didn’t fulfill an initial infatuation? The busboy at Story came to mind. Alex. Fuck. That wasn’t the answer he was looking for.
Frances wasn’t sure how close to hold the pay phone receiver to her ear. She knew Dave would be happy to hear from her but that he wouldn’t be happy to hear what she had to tell him. The week in Calgary had shown her that she was in fact capable enough when she took opportunities without needing to seek approval for every act. His mother answered.
“Hello Mrs. Pazzoni. it’s Frances.”
“Frances, honey! Where the hell are you. We’ve been frantic. You know. Frantic.”
“I’m in … Calgary. Got a job and a place to live.”
There was silence.
“Is Dave there.”
“It’s the bitch. I told you she’d be no good. I told you.”
“Shut it ma. Francie I miss you so much.”
“I miss you too Dave.” But not the plans we had. “I had to call. I waited till I was settled here. In Calgary. I managed to get a decent job and okay place to live.”
“If you wanted to live in Calgary why didn’t you say so. We could have moved there after we got hitched you know. You know I’d anything for you. Anything. Do you want us to get married there? Is that it. Why didn’t you tell us last week. You know when you were supposed to show up at the wedding rehearsal.”
“I don’t know Dave. The idea suddenly came to me and I had to act on it.”
“Oh yeah. That guy said something about me, didn’t he.”
“What guy? There was no guy.”
“Look we saw the asshole’s picture on your facebook page. I met him. He’s just a big, over-weight pussy, you know. He doesn’t love you the way I do.”
“Met him? I don’t know who you’re talking about Dave. This was all my own doing.” For a change. Not what you and your mother thought would be good for me. Good for you more like it.
“When are you coming back.”
“Tell her about the police.” she heard his mother shout.
“Police Dave. You got in trouble again?”
“Francie no. We were looking for you, see, by the subway station and that guy just came waltzing past us and wouldn’t tell me anything. I had to stop him to ask a few questions. Some nosy parker called the police.”
“You were looking for me?” she hadn’t thought of what Dave would do when she left for Calgary.
“What else. I had just been talking to you and then nothing. We waited and waited for you. I thought that subway creep had got you. Figured it was that guy.”
“The one on your facebook page.”
“I’ll have to check it later. I haven’t had time for that since I got here.”
“So when do you want me to go there.”
“You ain’t going no where lunk head” she could hear his mother. Suddenly she was on the phone. “Listen bitch. He’s going back inside thanks to you, you understand. He pushed your lover boy around which violated the terms of his parole and bam back in the can. On top of which there’s all the money we wasted on that special wedding promotion. I hope you’re happy.”
“Listen Francie,” Dave was back on the line. Ma’s got me out on bail. I can hop on a plane and be there today.”
“You can’t leave the provence, you lunk head.” his mother yelled.
“No Dave. I don’t think I want to see you again. Ever.” She hung up.
She went down the street to E.Z Street an Internet cafe. She logged on to her Facebook page and there was the picture Dave had told her about. A fairly average guy with a forced smile.
Under it were a few comments from her friends “So cute, line me up.” “That’s what I call a wedding present.” Then several from Dave “WHO IS THIS!!” and “IF I FIND HIM I’LL KILL HIM.”
She looked at the face again. It didn’t register.
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