Friday, June 2, 2017

Chapter 4 of Book 2 of 3

Chapter 4

In the morning, the ladies decided to call for room service instead of heading to the pool for breakfast.  When the trays came so did a newspaper, announcing the bizarre death of an U.S. citizen in Rosarito.  Rebe and Susana exchanged quick glances and Susana positioned her body in front of the offending tray while Rebe moved to the other side to grab the paper.  She slid it into her purse while Bekka was adding milk to her coffee.
A minute later Rebe, coffee cup in hand, announced that she was going downstairs to smoke and Susana asked if she could join her.  When they reached a comfortable bench outside, Rebe lit a cigarette and Susana showed her the remote control to the T.V. in their room. “I don’t want her to watch the news,” she smiled, and slipped the remote back into her purse.
Rebe looked at the paper, “Oh Jesus, Susana, this man was torn to pieces; his guts were found in his mouth.  They thought at first that a wild animal did it, but now they think perhaps a narco traficante.  It’s that monstrous.”
“I didn’t mean to act like a monster,” said Susana, “I only wanted to avenge Bekka.”
“Only actions matter, Susana; your thoughts and intentions are nothing.  Only actions are remembered.  I feel kind of bad, maybe, I mean, the death is described as utter slaughter.”
“What the hell did you think I was going to do, jack-him-off to death? If you feel bad it’s only because you feel bad for not caring.”
Rebe saw some truth in that statement, “Probably.  Do you feel that you made a mistake in dispatching him?  Do you feel remorse or guilt?”
“No, no guilt at all.  I’ll have to look up remorse in the dictionary.”
“It means feeling really bad about something you’ve done.”
“I know what it means smarty-pants, but how is that different than guilt?”
“Guilt sits with your God; it’s a permanent judgment against you.  Remorse can be temporary. For what it’s worth, I think you’re a hero.  You’ve saved innocent lives from being shit on by that bastard.  He seems to have corrupted everything he ever touched.  I’m glad he’s dead; the world is a better place for it.”
Susana nodded and asked, “But what if Bekka finds out?”
“She won’t.  If she does we’ll come clean and she’ll be pissed and then she’ll get over it.  What are the options?”
Rebe just comfortably smiled at her blonde friend hiding her real fear that she helped unleash an uncontrollable monster.

Rebe sat in the car across the street from her house and watched her daughter study.  Taylor sat at the desk in the living room, the “partner desk” that Rebe bought years earlier so that they could work together, mother and daughter, surrounded by cherry-wood book cases and an intricately-designed fireplace that was burning logs as Taylor studied.   Taylor had taken the side of the desk that faced the picture window so Rebe could see the top of her head as she read and took notes.  She occasionally swept a stray blonde hair away from her face and looked out the window, lost in thought. Rebe turned to Susana and complained, “Her posture has always been a problem Susana, I wonder how I can arrange things so that she improves her posture.”
Susana laughed, I don’t think you can do anything about that; the more you try to improve children the less improved they become.  Stop complaining and look at this cozy little scene, the living room looks like Hobbittville in middle earth and look, she’s studying and not drinking, not doing drugs, not having sex, not watching T.V. She’s beautiful, Rebe, and she looks nothing like you.”
“I know, don’t you think that’s strange?  I think my husband was having an affair with some blonde chick.”
Susana laughed, “As if you could deliver another woman’s child.”
“I think maybe it was you.  She looks kind of like you,” Rebe laughed at her own joke and said, “I wish you had gone through labor instead of me, it was a 17-hour hell.”
“Yes,” said Susana, “you finally figured it out after all these years.  I’m her real mother and you never went through labor.”
Rebe paused for a long moment, and then said, “The Shire, Susana, and the Shire.  There’s no such place as Hobbitville in middle earth.”
“Whatever, Shireville or Hobbitville-town, who gives a shit? How long are we going to sit here, Rebe?”
“I don’t know.  I don’t know what to do.  We should be recording this so I can watch it later, later after she thinks I’m dead.  Shit, this is an unbelievably messed up situation.  Look at her, Susana, she needs a mother, I’m her mother, she needs me.”
Susana sighed and shook her head, “Look, Rebe, you couldn’t even teach her proper posture.  That says a lot about your parenting skills; I think she’ll probably be better off.”  Rebe laughed, a good belly laugh, her eyes started to water from laughing and then turned to tears.
Susana grabbed her arm and said, “You’re protecting her, Rebe, you’re protecting her from the enemies she would have if they knew about her.  Also, you can provide for her now, provide for her in ways you couldn’t before.  She’s already a grown woman; your job is kind of over anyways.  I mean, you have already shaped her character and stuff; it’s time to let go.”
“Our enemies could still find out I have a daughter, Susana; I don’t see how faking my death protects her.  That Itza nightmare could find out about her and hurt her just to get to me.”
“I think if you are not associating with her then she is a less obvious target for Itza and, well, whoever else.”
“Maybe.  I hope that’s true. Well, go tell her.”
“Wait, what?”
“Go tell Taylor that her mother is dead.”
“Um, no way.  No way am I doing that.  We didn’t talk about that.  We talked about a phone call.”
“I changed my mind. Go tell her, and tell her I was doing something super cool when I died, that I went to meet you, my longtime friend Susana, in Puerto Vallarta and we were riding horses on the beach, my horse fell and I hit my head on a rock and died instantly.  I was laughing with joy as we galloped down the beach.  Um, the government cremated me, I told you a long time ago that’s what I wanted, blah blah blah, go do it, do it now Susana, use your brains, tell her I had life insurance, 1,000,000 dollars and she should expect a money order.  I think Sister Helga would approve that amount.”
“Believe me money doesn’t make it better. Okay I’m going.  Wait, how do we know each other?”
“We were friends in high school in Marshalltown, Iowa.  I don’t think she’ll put you through an interrogation.  I’ll be there in your mind and sending you information so that you will know what to say.”
Susana got out of the car and click-clacked up the sidewalk in her stiletto boots.  Rebe turned away from the scene; it felt wrong to watch her daughter’s reaction so she stayed tuned-in to Susana and turned away from the window.  Within two minutes she heard her daughter sobbing and she, too, began to sob quietly and curse under her breath.
After a few minutes her daughter did, indeed, start an intense interrogation and Rebe had to think fast to supply answers to Susana, who had become agitated and confused.   Rebe instructed, “Put your arms around her Susana, I can give you an image, try to transfer it to her mind, just try, you’ll be a conduit.”
Susana embraced Taylor and Rebe sent an image of herself laughing on a swift-galloping horse, splashing through the waves, and then the stumble and the fall, and the rocks just below the surface of the surf.  She knew Taylor got the picture; she could feel her daughter’s surprise and heard her through Susana’s mind, “Were you just thinking about how she died?  Just now?  I got an image from you, she was laughing.  She loves horses.  She should have worn a helmet, if you were her friend you should have made her wear one, you know how she is,”
Taylor was trying to catch her breath between sobs, “She always goes too fast.  She does irresponsible things for the adrenaline rush.  Have you seen her drive?  Why didn’t you make her wear a helmet?”
Susana responded on her own, without Rebe’s words, “I couldn’t make your mom do anything.  Do you know anyone who could have made her wear a helmet?  She’s just not like that.  She refuses to wear a seat belt if she can get away with it.”
The two women consoled each other and spoke for almost an hour, and then Susana gave Taylor her email address and asked her to stay in touch.  Taylor began to walk out with Susana, to walk her to her car, so Rebe panicked and jumped into the back seat onto the floor behind the passenger seat and covered herself with Susana’s sweater.
Taylor stood with Susana, waiting for her to get into the car, and Susana awkwardly delayed doing so, she didn’t know how to drive a stick shift, so she just stood there like an idiot waiting for Taylor to go back into the house.   Taylor said, “Umm, is this your car?”
“Yes,” said Susana, “but I think I’ll take a walk around a bit, it would be better for me.  It would be better for me to do that, to walk, you know, around, or whatever, spend some time alone thinking and stuff.”
“Oh, okay, well there’s a coffee shop on the corner, Ken Coffee House, they make a good latte.  There’s also a Starbucks across the street from that.”  Taylor hugged Susana goodbye and said, “I have so many questions, there is something kind of off about this whole thing, it doesn’t feel right.  I’ll email you when I can think straight.”
Susana clumped off in the direction of the coffee house and Taylor returned to the house.  Rebe stayed in the back and waited and waited and waited for Susana to get back, finally she yelled at her mind, “Get back here, what are you doing?”
“I’m getting a latte, like I said.  Want one?”
“No, hot chocolate.  I love their hot chocolate.  Actually, I think I’ll drive down and pick you up so the dash light doesn’t come on and Taylor doesn’t see you get into a car you can’t drive.”
Rebe struggled between the two front seats and over the gear-shift into the driver’s seat and caught a glimpse of her daughter, her head was on the desk and her mass of blonde hair spilled around her, shining like gold in the light of the fire.  She was sobbing.  Rebe fought the urge to run to her and hold her, to tell her the truth about everything.  Taylor liked weird stuff like fighting zombies; she would probably find something redeeming about being a White Vampire.
Rebe thought that Taylor might even be impressed in her vampire skills, might even think it’s kind of cool.  She almost gave into the desire but remembered Itza and San Miguel de Allende and the kind of life she now had.   It would be better to keep Taylor as far away as possible from that shit. And so, broken hearted, she drove down the street with many backward glances and picked Susana up.

They drove in silence back to the hotel while Rebe force-fed Bekka’s mind the details about what had transpired.  When they reached the hotel Bekka asked, “What possessed you to do it this way, Rebe?  I thought we were doing the phone call thing and that you were going to Kensington just to see her again, just to watch her for a while.”
“It’s better this way Bekka; now she has contact info for Susana, and I put the image into her mind of how cool my death was.  She’ll find comfort in that later.  Now I can keep tabs on her through Susana.  It’s just better all around.”
Bekka said, “I’m glad that I don’t have to deal with stuff like this.  I think it’s better to be alone, without family responsibilities.”
“I think you may be right.  I’m not sure if the pain is worth it.”
Rebe smiled a sad smile and Susana added, “It certainly is not worth it.  The more you love the more you end up getting hurt.”  They all silently agreed upon this and Susana asked Eduardo to make the call to her family to tell them she had been killed in an accident in Mexico same as Rebe’s death.
“But,” Rebe said, “That would be stupid.  What if someone sees you in Fresno?”
Susana thought a moment and said, “I can’t think of anyone I would kill on sight.” 
Rebe sighed, “Yes, you are right just wait to have Eduardo make that call, okay?  I am going to the university tomorrow night.  We can spend tomorrow studying in our suite I guess, since I really can’t be seen, now can I?”
Eduardo went to his room and returned with a dark-blonde wig, “I bought this for you when we figured out what you were going to doing.  You can walk into the president’s office and not be recognized.”
“You know,” said Rebe, “I was thinking that Bekka could pay him a visit with my plans for the University and her offer to endow three chairs in the history department in memory of, well, in memory of me.  Could we draw those up tonight and get the account information for a six-million-dollar transfer of funds?  The principle would remain Bekka’s but the interest would pay the salaries.”
“I know how to do such things, Rebe, and I think it’s a good idea.  I’ll start the process in the morning.”
Rebe gave Eduardo a kiss on the cheek, “You’re the best.”


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