Derry, Northern Ireland

Derry, Northern Ireland
A book I'm working on is set in this town.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wanna make a bet?

Within three months of being re-elected to the Senate and being sworn in to his new term, St. John McCain of Arizona will retire "for health reasons," leaving that crazy bitch, Jan Brewer, to install just as big a whack-job as her in his place...where the nutcase will stay for the next six years. I mean, I already knew McCain was slipping into Alzheimer's; hell, it was making itself evident during his campaign for President. What else could explain him selecting Sarah Palin as his running mate? But it was ridiculously apparent during his interview yesterday with a reporter about DADT. Check it out.

If this man hasn't lost his mind, then he's just a flat out liar. Faced with specific cases of violations of DADT by the military brass, all he can say, over and over and over, is the same damn thing...which doesn't have anything to do with what's really happening.

Oh, and if anyone seriously thinks Congress truly intended to repeal DADT this session, even after witnessing that comic opera of a vote in the Senate, then I got this bridge to Canada I'd like to sell you. It's called the Rainbow Bridge, and you can charge tolls. You'll get rich. Only cost you $1,000,000 'cause I want to get the hell out of Dodge and I can't take it with me.

'Nuff politics. I think I share some story, now. This is Eric talking about his brother, Gerrod's wedding. Maybe a little too on the nose, meaning-wise, but good to start with.

Y’know, I made it to the wedding on my own cash -- meaning plane fare each way and money enough for a pair of cut-crystal wine glasses for him and his bride. Granted, I shared the hotel suite with my folks and Nils (I got the couch, which turned not to unfold into a bed) but that was understood from the moment the date was set. That way dad made certain we were all where we needed to be when we needed to be, which could be a problem with Nils. Him being best man meant keeping to a schedule laid down by Anne and Gerrod, and big brother was never strong on that point. I think it was in reaction to dad’s mania for being where you needed to be on time or else as well as grandmother’s peculiarities. Now? If he said he’d call you on Sunday you could expect him to send an e-mail Thursday or Friday without any reference to his earlier promise. He was able to maintain his residency at Children’s Hospital, well enough, but he let slip it was a struggle.

Me, I was just a groomsman but I still needed to fit the rented tux and do the rehearsal and choose which of Anne’s sorority sisters I was going to pair with. I lucked out with this girl named Randie, who was as relieved as I was that neither of us wanted or needed interest from the opposite sex, so we had the best time of it and got more than a little wasted at the rehearsal dinner. Gerrod even asked me afterwards if I was switching back to his team. I just winked at him, in answer.

The ceremony itself was lovely if long. She chose this charming hundred year-old Episcopal church in the Maryland suburbs that was accented in Calla Lilies, with cream net tied by pink satin ribbons. The bridesmaids dresses were understated in a charming way. Gerrod wore a dove-grey waistcoat with Nils matching him (my first thought was of Freddy at Ascot in “My Fair Lady” when I saw it) but damn they looked good in them; I felt like a maitre d’ at a snotty restaurant in my grey-trimmed tux. Anne’s dress was all sleek white satin barely touched with cream lace with a single blue ribbon winding through her hair. Gerrod actually seemed to stand a foot taller the second he laid eyes on her, and as queer as I am, I didn’t blame him.

The ceremony was presided over by a female Episcopal priest, which caused no small rumble on her family’s side of the aisle. Sticking it to the conservative, condescending cretins in every way she could. No question Gerrod should keep this one. We even had communion in the service, kneeling at the altar, with real wine...which is a shock for most Presbyterians; we use grape juice and sit in our seats as it’s passed to us.
The reception was even better. It was held at the country club Anne’s family belonged to and amongst whose patrons I saw not one person of color. Nor was I surprised at noticing that. I was still nursing a bit of a hangover from the rehearsal dinner so I just drank Seven-Up with a dash of OJ and a cherry, giving people the impression I was downing Screwdrivers and really good at holding my liquor.

I got a turn to dance with Anne and it was, quite simply, the first chance I’d had to actually talk with her, she’d been so busy. I asked the band to play “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and scrambled to be at her side the second the notes struck up. She laughed and grabbed my hand and we jaunted onto the dance floor and she said, “Nobody gets this dance with me but you.”

I grinned and said, “Y’know, if I was the kind of guy who liked the things most guys like, I’d have stolen you from Gerrod.”

“One of these days you’ll get to do this, too. Even in California.”

“Big bro’ never told me you were an optimist.”

“Just a realist. There’s always going to be haters, but the ones in control’re dying out. And the vast majority our age don’t give a shit about keeping the hate going by way of laws that’re really way outdated.”

I just smiled at her, knowing she was being way too bright and hopeful about the decency of human beings. I must’ve had some look on my face at that moment, because she slipped a hand around my neck and pulled me close and whispered, “Y’know, Ger told me everything.”

I shrugged. “It wasn’t exactly a family secret.”

“Want to share one of my family secrets?” I nodded, expecting her to tell me she or a sister or a friend had been through the same ordeal. She smiled sweetly and said, “When I was twelve, I stole a thousand dollars from a friend of my grandfather’s.”

“Bullshit,” popped out of me faster than I could censor it.

“No shit. I was running around with his granddaughter and she knew he kept it in a drawer in his office. She suggested it, and I figured, He’s rich; he can afford it. So I stood watch as she slipped it into my purse. Then I watched her kiss him goodbye and we split the loot en route to the mall and had ourselves a spree. A week later, when he realized the money was gone, he had a heart attack. He was in ICU for a month. Mellie shrugged the whole thing off, saying he’s old and ready to go, anyway, and sure enough, two months later he died. I’m still fighting the guilt.”

“You think you killed him?”

“Oh, I did. My theft helped set up his heart attack and, deep down, I know I’m responsible. And I knew it was up to me to do something about making it right.”

“So what’d you do?”

“I’d been talking for years about becoming a lawyer like my father. So Grandy set up a trust fund to let me do it. And I have. I clerked with a Supreme Court justice -- one of the conservative ones, so I’d know how they think -- and I’ve been doing legal aid for people who can’t afford a lawyer. I’m taking the bar exam in September and there is no question in my mind I’ll pass it, perfectly. I had five jobs offers from high-end law firms, all but one of which were rescinded when I let them know I wanted a third of my time to be pro bono work. The last one’s still mulling over my conditions. But that’s how it has to be.”

“How does this make up for you stealing -- ?”

“Eric, that girl let slip he figured out what happened and decided to let it go. Why? Because she was his granddaughter and I was her friend. But if he hadn’t realized what we’d done and decided it was his maid who’d taken that money, she’d be in jail and would’ve had no one but an overworked public defender to help her. And considering how much success The Innocence Project’s had exposing how many innocent people were jailed and executed due to prosecutorial and police misconduct, I feel it’s the least I can do to remedy the situation. It’s probably all I really can do.”

“You’re a better man than I am, Gunga Din.”


“Quote from a book by Rudyard Kipling.” That I’d really gotten from the movie starring Cary Grant at his most gorgeous and fun-loving, but I didn’t want to seem too uneducated in this crowd.

“Gerrod told me you were into the classics.”

I shrugged. “So -- got any ideas on how to make up for the death I caused? I’m blank.”

“Eric, my point was, the only thing you can do when you’ve done something you think is wrong or needs to be made up for, whether it’s true or not, the only thing you can do is live your life better. Stronger. More honestly.”

“Momma bear offer cub advice?”

“Momma bear just letting you know -- Gerrod’s worried about you. And he wants to help you in any way he can. And so does his wife. Remember that, okay?”

“Geez, do I look that bad?”

“I looked up your photo on IMDb -- and you don’t look like you used to.”

“Not to worry. I’m a man with a plan and it don’t involve any high-dives off a parking garage. I’m too vain for that.”

“That’s good to hear.”

“Better ask Ger if he agrees.”

“Don’t need to.”

The music ended a few bars later and we hugged, then Gerrod pointed to his watch and she scurried over to him. Time to head for the honeymoon suite and then off to Paris and Rome.

Of course, I’d been lying about the “man with a plan” bit. I had no earthly idea what I could do to rectify Bobby’s death until I slipped away from them all, pulled Mrs. Carapisi’s number from my wallet and dialed it on my cell phone.


Brad Rushing said...

That was REALLY good, Kyle! You're writing is so consistently excellent. Thanks for sharing. Now I want to know how the telephone conversation with Mrs. Carapisi goes!

JamTheCat said...

Thanks,Brad. We'll see how that works my next pass over it.