Monday, June 9, 2014

Fifty Shades of Satire (Chapter 10b)

Meeting Christian's mother, Dr. Grace Transylvanian-Grey, is like meeting the queen. I'm talking about the queen who performs in the drag shows at the Old Plantation, a gay nightclub in Downtown El Paso. She is aloof. She is regal. And she smells of mothballs, but the expensive high-quality ones you buy at Target.
     "Mother," Christian tells us, "I'd like to introduce you to Ana. Ana, this is my mother."
     I give her a classy salute, accidentally poke myself in my eye in the process, and say, "Dr. Grey, I am so sorry."
     "Nonsense, my pretty," she assures me. "It's every mother's dream to find her gay son in bed with human toilet paper."
     She's about to say something else, but my cell phone rings. I put up a finger. "Shhh!" my finger says. Thank goobers. It usually says, "Pull me!"
     Crap! Crap! And double-crap! It's Jose. That pansy's timing is worse than Kate's period's. What kind of worthless information is this loser going to bore me with today?
     "I better take this," I say, politely. "It might be important."
     They assure me it's perfectly fine by standing there with their mouths open in disgust. I press several buttons until I hit the right one that answers the call.
     "Hello?" I say into the phone. "Oh, it's you. What do you want, Jose? I'm busy. That's none of your business and I'm not going to tell you. Okay, I'm here with Christian. Yeah, we did it. No, I can't tell you how big it is. Because I'm standing by his mother and everything. I also signed a contract. Who? No, she's not. She's quite lovely, in fact." I give Christian's mother a wink, letting her know that I've got her back. "You're such a jerk for saying so. I'm never going to talk to you again. Okay, I'll call you tomorrow. And the horse you rode in on. Bye."
     I try to find the right button to end the call. It doesn't take me as long.
     "I'm sorry," I apologize to Christian and his mother. "I had to take that. It was my grandmother..." I don't know what to say. "...she died."
     "That's quite all right," the two of them say and offer me their condolences.
     Dr. Grey turns to her son.
     "Your Ana is quite the catch," she tells him. "I can see why you're so taken with her." And then she turns to me. "I do hope you'll forgive me interrupting your breakfast."
     Christian and I look at each other. We're perplexed.
     "We weren't having breakfast," I quickly correct her. Oh, great. Now she'll want me to serve her cereal.
     "Nonsense, my pretty. Then why does it smell like bacon grease?"
     Our looks of perplexity turn into looks of embarrassment. I can feel my cheeks turn beet red. Mmm... beets.
     "Because grease is the word, mother," Christian tells her, saving the day yet again. "Grease is the word."
     Mercifully, my phone rings again. It's Kate, the whore. No, really. That's what it says on my phone.
     "I have to take this," I say. "It's, um, my grandfather."
     "Dear me," Christian's mother says, giving  her son a look, "I do hope he hasn't died, too."
     I lift my phone, look at it, and press the answer button on the first try. I guess I'm getting the hang of it after all.
     "Hi, Kate. What do you want? I can't talk, I've signed a contract and everything. Also I'm meeting his mother and I'm trying to make a good impression. That's just plain rude, Kate. She's old, but she's definitely not a hag. Far from it, in fact." I give Christian's mother another comforting wink. "I can't tell you. I can't tell you. I can't tell you. Okay, I'll tell you. You know how a woman has an entrance and an exit?"
     I hear Christian loudly clear his throat.
     "Oh-oh, gotta go. I'll talk to you later."
     I receive five more phone calls. Three are from telemarketers. One is from Publishers Clearing House. Wow! I may have already won a million dollars. The last one I can't make out.
     "Does anybody know what 'hep' means?" I throw out there.
     Nobody does.
     Well," Christian's mother tells me, "it was certainly interesting meeting you, Ana, but I must be leaving."
     "So soon?" I say. "It seems like we barely had a chance to talk."
     "Does it now?"
     "You'd better let my mother leave, Ana," Christian breaks in. "Otherwise she'll turn the conversation, as she always does, to why I'm not married yet."
     "Darling," Dr. Grey tells her son, "you say 'marriage' as if it's a bad thing. Your father and I were happily married up until he had his horrible accident."
     "Father's had an accident?"
     "Give it time," she tells him, and dismisses it with a wave of her hand. "Nonsense, marriage is a fine institution."
     "Mother, it's no coincidence that the word you use to describe marriage, i.e. institution, is the same word used to describe prisons and insane asylums."
     His mother ignores that. She says, "You'll find out that one of the pluses of being married is the pleasure you'll have day-dreaming about being single."
     She holds out her hand to me.
     "I'd like to invite you to lunch some day..." she tells me, "...but I don't want to."
     She turns back to her son.
     "Come kiss mommy goodbye," she tells him.
     Five minutes later, they're still kissing each other goodbye. I guess the filthy rich are different than you and I. Mainly you. Doobie and I are standing there, awkwardly shifting from one foot to the other.
     When did he show up?
     Doobie looks up at me with big watery eyes and offers me a hand-rolled cigarette, like the kind John Travolta would smoke in the movie Pulp Fiction.
     "You wanna get high?" he asks me in that high-pitched English accent of his. "It's... magic."
     "Uh..." I say, taking a step away from him, "no thanks."
     "Abra-ka-dorky," he says, giggling. He takes a deep drag, holds the magic in his lungs for more than a few seconds, and then lets his breath out in a contented exhalation of smoke. He looks up at me again, his long nose pointing at me questioningly.
     "Do you have any socks?" he asks, his eyes giving the impression that he should be building a railroad in the old west.
     "No," I tell him, discreetly taking another step further from him. "Sorry."
     He's busy contemplating the drifting smoke. I don't even know if he heard me.
     He takes another deep drag, holds it even longer, and then empties his lungs in a slow, satisfied puff. He takes his time and dreamily considers the burning ember in his hand.
     "You know what makes me hungry?" he finally says, with eyes that would look quite natural behind the counter of a Chinese laundromat in the 1800's.
     "Smoking that" I say, pointing to his joint. The one between his thumb and forefinger.
     "The smell of bacon grease."
     Thank goobers my phone rings yet again. This finally causes Christian to end the goodbye kiss with his mother. His mother seems a bit miffed, as opposed to muffed, which, Kate tells me, is some kid of fun smothering act you do to your soul mate du jour.
     "Hello," I answer, and then listen. "You don't say. You Don't Say! YOU DON'T SAY!"
     I hang up, and put my phone away.
     "Who was it?" Christian demands to know.
     "He didn't say."
Fifty Shades of Satire

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