Thursday, October 31, 2013

Blind Luck (Part 2)

As I locked the door behind their reluctant departure, the phone rang.  My husband.  Just as happened after the first assault in the store.  This guy has a sixth sense about these things.  It’s like he knows when I am in trouble and calls to check on me.  If only he could hone that to call and warn me before these encounters happen.  And like the previous incident in the store, I didn’t answer on his first attempt. 

Well, I couldn’t that first time.  I was busy trying to cut myself loose from the thongs and curtain tassels that bound my hands and feet.  Yes, I am reminded of the embarrassment of reading the news clip of the robbery:
Assailant tied store owner up with thong, stole some
lubricant and left the premise before police arrived.

Did the reporter mention that the store owner resisted attempts by the perpetrator to take her to the back of the store, where there would have been no way out, no alarms to press, with nothing but quiet and time to ponder life, perform an act that would leave more scar tissue on old scar tissue?

No.  I loosed the ropes at my feet and hobbled to the phone, hands still tied, to call my husband back, only to hang up on him mid-sentence when the police arrived.  And this second time around, before calling my husband back to report the same thing I reported to him two years prior, I unlocked the door moments after I had locked it, to peak out for another look at my would be assaulters, who had now increased to three.  It seems, two were on in-store duty and the third was the handoff outside in case police caught the two, they would have nothing on their persons, and be released to join the third where they would divvy up the proceeds and continue their festivities that evening.  I then returned to the phone to call my husband when I noticed a policeman crouching in front of the store window, gun raised, in a ready-to-shoot stance.

Gotta go.  The cops are here.  And again I hung up on him just as I had done during the first incident, walked to the door to unlock it.  It was my buddy from the local police department.

Hey, Nick.
“Damn, Eden.  You scared the shit out of me!  I couldn’t see you from outside. I thought something had happened to you.”
Yeah, you can’t see me when I am behind the counter and on the phone.  

Another blind spot.  Note to self:  Should you ever open another store, you are no longer allowed to design the layout.

Nick was the first officer to enter my store a few months after it opened to take my complaint
when I had another knucklehead keep calling me after leaving the store to talk dirty to me and ask me to meet him after I closed.  He called four times before I decided it might be a good idea to report him and his personal phone number that kept coming up on caller ID to the police.  Nick is an expert in close combat weapons, a Special Forces operative who works as a beat officer for the local police department in between his stints in the Force.  He is a handsome, burly, dees dems and dose kinda guy, who you would not be surprised to see repel off your storefront and through your glass window in pursuit of a criminal.  Nick has a wife who answers the 9-1-1 calls in the same department, who is a 4’8”, size 1 dress to his 6’1”, size 44 jacket.  He is a puppy dog sweet guy who suggested I get a gun for behind the counter, to which I responded, and what happens if a child running behind the counter finds it, or the perpetrator wrests it away from me or one of my employees, and besides, I have no desire to wipe up someone’s blood off the floor or off of my merchandise which is probably not covered on my insurance policy anyway.

Well, how about a Taser?  I can get you one and teach you how to use it.”
No blood?
“No blood, just a great big jolt of electricity to knock anyone to the ground for awhile.”
How long is awhile?
“As long as you keep sending them jolts.  There are a couple of wires like fishhooks that attach to their clothing.  You stand away from them and keep pulling the trigger if they try to get up.”
Perfect.  I want one.  When can you get me one?
“I will get you the number of a friend of mine who can get you one.”

He gave me the number.  I called and found out the Taser Nick was talking about was only legal for the police force.  The one I would be able to own had one short wire, one quarter of the voltage of Nick’s toy, which meant I would have to be a really good shot to get it attached and the short wire would put me right next to the creep, who then might grab my leg or knock me down or wrestle it away from me.  It wasn’t fool proof so I nixed that idea.

...to be continued.......


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blind Luck (Part 1)

          As my luck would have it, I have been kidnapped, robbed, tied up, and accosted three times.  I know what you are thinking.  Third time’s a charm?  My thoughts exactly; but I am not a conspiracy theorist, or believe in the idea that three is the magical number, nor do I believe someone is out to get me.  Doing something three times will not necessarily produce a successful outcome.  If that was the case, I am still looking for the magical purpose of my three assaults.  Unless you consider avoiding death a success—then I have succeeded.

Luck has a long memory.  It lives deep within the gut, silent, still, waiting for the moment of need where it will reach deep down for the necessary action to match the circumstance at hand.  They say luck is being in the right place at the right time; or being ready when opportunity calls.  My luck appears at the wrong time with the right memory.

Like being in the wrong parking lot with the right car when the first goon assailant walked up, harboring a penchant for the car I traveled in, stuck a knife in my face (I would have passed out right then and there if he had also showed me the butcher knife hidden on his person), hopped in and spent a good portion of the day driving around with me.  Thirty-one years later in the lingerie boutique I owned, as pure luck would have it, the second goon entered my store and we spent some un-quality time together.  To top off my lucky streak, two years after #2 goon visited, two drugged out—a cocky dickhead and his visiting cousin (thought they could scare me into donating some cash to their cause— ‘cause they had no money to suspend themselves in the groovy, liminal space provided by a good high) made their way into my store a half hour before closing.

            “Hey baby, we just wanna ask you something.  Can we ask you something?”

Gut instinct honed at an early age provides many fine tunings to your psyche.  You grow those eyes in the back of your head; your ears have evolved with the acuity of a new mother listening to her sleeping baby’s breath; you become sensitized to the slightest pressure change in the air, when a fist comes down behind your head and you alter your position with the minutest precision to avoid contact. 

Their un-luck was my luck in knowing their kind of trouble, honed from prior years of my own poor luck.  It saved me.  It fucked them.   Holding up the braceleted key fob alarm that I slipped onto my wrist the moment I saw them open the door, the fob that matched the three others installed in various areas of the store in remembrance of the second goon, including one in the blind spot (kicking myself for letting my ‘oh how quaint and cozy this store will be with these secret hiding places — won’t customers feel so comfortable knowing they can shop for their dildos and thongs in privacy?’ take precedence over the obvious ‘line of sight’ requirements for safety), I pushed the button feverishly.

You have to leave.  The store is closing.  You need to leave.  I am closing the store.  The store is closed.  You have to go…

‘Hey baby, you are looking good, tonight.  I can smell you from here.  You smell so fine, baby.  Come on, we aren’t going to hurt you.”

You have to leave.  The store is closing.  Did you just say you weren’t going to hurt me?  You need to leave.  You must go.

And I was thinking why would those words even come out of their mouth?  Hurt and shopping are not synonymous with retail, I am sure; that is, unless you are a woman shopping for a bathing suit for a romantic vacation in Mexico, standing in front of the poorly lit mirror, admonishing the tire of holiday blubber still attached to your waist. 

I am closing the store.  The store is closed.  You have to go… I was now shaking the key fob in front of my face, as if to scold these young rascals into leaving the premise.  My voice was firm and resolved, yet every muscle was twitching, my blood boiled as it pulsed through my heart at warp speed.  I was not doing this victim thing again, damn it.  Hold it together, woman.  I purposively made my way towards the front door, hand shaking, finger pressing the button 98 times at least, as if the police would get there any sooner with each additional push, nerves twitching, blood boiling.  They stood their ground.

            “Come on, baby.  We just wanna talk to you.”  

The store is closed.  You HAVE to go now.

Did they hear my heart as it ripped through my clothing, screaming ‘oh, shit, not again’ panic in rhythmic cadence?  Was fear plastered in brilliant hues on my forehead, pulsating through my trembling lips?
...to be continued.....

Sunday, October 13, 2013

I Saw Her


I saw her.  My mother.  She is dead.  But I saw her.  In the mirror.  My legs had become hers, the shape, the curve up from the calf, past the knee, a few inches higher and there she was.  In the flesh, so to speak.  As the weight came off of me, Ma latched on.  To my thighs.  I saw her in a mirror in my dorm room at a retreat center in upstate New York. Here, snuggled into dense woods on the top of a hill, not high enough to give you a heart attack if you are out of shape, but enough to make it hard to talk and climb simultaneously, I was literally in Bumblefuck.

She is following me.  One body part at a time.  There she was, on a hill in New York, at a women's retreat.  How did she find me?  I left her behind, graveside, a short drive west of Chicago, just six years ago.  Why couldn't she just stay put?

She infiltrated my life first with her damn keys.  She could never find them.  And she asked every 5 minutes where her damn purse was.  It sat alongside her.  Now, I too never know where my own keys are minutes after putting them down.  Oh, and I also have some sort of disability with the ability to locate my sunglasses every time I take them off.  They are missing right now.  I have no flipping clue where I put them.

Then it was the names.  I can't remember people's names.  Yeah, yeah, I know.  Repeat the name in your head after introduction; say their name with each comment, each question.  Problem is that I find myself not listening to these new people in the first place.  Just like her.  She is haunting me.  She has infiltrated my psyche.  And now the body parts.

Jowls.  I am starting to look like a basset hound.  Basset hounds run in my family, on Ma's side.  Forget about the droopy boobs.  In a few years my cheeks will need a support bra.

I did throw away the grey sweat pants with holes in the crotch.  I think we almost buried Ma in hers.  I forced myself to toss them.  No.  My husband forced me to.  The vision of Ma in bed next to him, ratty sweat pants and drooling jowls, must have given him nightmares.  I wonder how he feels about her thighs in bed rubbing up against his.

My ears are increasingly selective, just like Ma, hearing obscure words and phrases that are completely out of context, non-sense but I hear them. I am reminded by my son of Ma's response to his comment, I am looking for the valet', when arriving at Sis's wedding:  Why? Are we going to the ballet?  I have now become Mrs. Malaprop.  At a recent wedding, the priest asked us to open the hymnbook to ‘The Servant Song.’  My ears, of course, heard something different: The Circumcision Song.  Not an unreasonable gaff; religions have celebrated the circumcision, just not at weddings.  Or the doctor telling me he will give the medicine to me in pill form.  My response?  Why do I need an appeal form?  My family just shakes their heads in bewilderment.

My mother is back.  First in my mind, and now latching onto my body.  She will come for my soul soon.  I just know it.  There is no use running or hiding.  She keeps finding me.  If she found me in upstate New York, she can find me anywhere.  I can't ditch her.  We should have cremated her.  Then she would still be trying to pull herself back together, particle by particle, instead of following me.  I would have a long jump start on her if we had only scattered her ashes in multiple locations.  Not in her favorite places, as she had none.  Except possibly, the bank.  She had accounts in many banking institutions.  A few certificates of deposit in each because she was certain we were all after her cash, so she felt the need to hide it.  “We” as in everyone and anyone. 


No, her ashes should have been spread in all the places she ruined for her family, like Mikonos Greek Restaurant, where she pissed of Dad so bad that he proceeded to drink till he just about passed out and we had to carry him out.  Or the Family House Restaurant, where she ruined my first date.  Or Wisconsin Dells, where she allowed Sis to almost drown me; when I finally wriggled out from my near death experience, I tried to drown her, all while Ma was sunning nearby.  

We would have run out of ashes.

But no, we had to plant her next to Dad.  He was against it, conjuring a torrent of ice and snow on her burial day, the week after Easter, in May.  The sun came out immediately after the graveside service.  He must have given up.  He had no more fight.  He would now have to spend eternity with her.  I bet he tried kicking her out.  He wanted peace for eternity after spending 50 years in hell on Earth with her.  I can hear him now, six feet below, bellowing, 'You take her. I'm done.’

So she must have left.  And now she's after me.  Like a body snatcher movie.  Taking over my body, my mind, one piece at a time.  I’m hanging on tight to my soul.

Monday, October 7, 2013

On Purpose


I crossed the line.
I didn’t mean to. 
Who drew that damn line anyway?  And who decided it was not to be crossed?  Why draw a line and expect no one to want to see what is on the other side?  We are told to stay inside the lines as children, but do we?  Never.  The temptation, danger and intrigue of the unknown; it breaks the will.
Why did the chicken cross the road?  Because there was a damn line!  The chicken had no choice.

I crossed the line. 
I didn’t mean to.
It was harmless, so I thought.  It’s just a line.  It’s thin.  If I don’t like it, I’ll step right back over. And no one will be the wiser.  Just a peek, I thought.  It was calling, ‘Come on in, the water’s fine!’  Or so I thought.  And so did you.

We crossed the line.
We didn’t mean to.
So we thought.  Oh, yes we did.  We leapfrogged across.  We catapulted over, never looking back to notice the line fading from view.  No tether.  A secret handshake, pinky promise; this won’t change a thing.  Or so we thought.  If we found our way back, we would never wander farther than our own backyards.  Because if it wasn’t there to begin with, we hadn’t lost it in the first place. But this aint’ Kansas.  And it certainly wasn’t Oz.  Funny, it looked like the Promised Land from our side. 

We crossed the line. 
On purpose. 
There was no oops.  There were only promises.  And promises are meant for breaking.  That’s a rule, I think.  Eve didn’t coerce Adam. Both took that step of their own volition, naked but not na├»ve; forever changed with one step. We both strode into that garden, of our own accord.   This new place, so tempting with that apple hanging from the lone branch—we bit in.  The juice flowed.  We bit again—mealy flesh.  The last bite—worms.

We crossed the line.
To a crumbling Oz.
Who knew?  We did.  This line, now a rocky cavern, filling fast, offered no rope, no chance of reprieve.  No team effort.  It was one for one, a solo flight.

We crossed that line.
Without retreat.