Friday, January 1, 2016

26b: Happy New Year! & The End

     "Here's looking at you, kid," Christian tells me, and with that he gives me a hard slap on the ass.
     I bet that will leave a mark.
     "You know you don't have to act with me, Christian," I tell him. "If you want me, just whistle. You know how to whistle, don't you? You just put your lips together and blow."
     "I'm not into that," Christian says.
     I hug him.
     Reluctantly, I let him go, and walk over to the line of people who have suddenly appeared out of nowhere to wish me well. Crockett, Doobie, Mr. and Mrs. Grey. I walk down the line of well-wishers, and say goodbye to each.
     "Now I know I've got a heart," Crockett tells me, "because it's breaking."
     Little Doobie looks up at me with his big sad eyes.
     "Wanna get high?" he squeaks, offering me a wet, limp joint.
     "No, thank you," I say, quickly bypassing him and moving on to Christian's father.
     "I'm glad you found your freedom, Mr. Grey," referring to the murder he could have been arrested for.
     "Well, I would never've found it if it hadn't been for you," he tells me, giving me an enthusiastic hug.
     I re-hook my bra as I walk up to Mrs. Grey, Christian's mother.
     "I wish you weren't leaving, Ana," she tells me.
     "Do you really mean that, Grace?" I ask her.
     "No," she says.
     There's only one person left to say goodbye to, and then I'll have to leave.
     "I'll miss you most of all," I tell the Scarecrow, and reach down to pick up Toto.
     I turn to Kate, who's dressed in a beautifully fancy pink dress.
     "I just want to go home," I say.
     "You had the power all along," she tells me. "Just click your heels three times and say, 'There's no place like home. There's no place...'"
     " home. There's no place like home."
     The world begins to spin, and, when it stops, I'm laying in my own bed. Kate's applying a cool, wet cloth to my forehead. She's wearing her cute little baby-doll nightie with fur along the bottom to keep her neck warm. There's an old Humphrey Bogart movie playing on the television set.
     "She's awake!" says one voice.
     "Ana's awake!" says another.
     I look around. Not only is Kate there, but so is Jose and his cousin.
     "Oh, Ana, we were so worried," Jose tells me. "Weren't we, Sy?"
     "You were?"
     "Of course we were," Kate interjects, then adds, "You were delirious the whole time you were unconscious."
     "I was?"
     "You were."
     "Did you call a doctor?"
     "For what?"
     But before I could answer...
     "I thought I'd drop by and see how she's doing..." a familiar voice from behind me says.
     It's Christian!
     "...her head had a rather nasty bump against that lamp post in chapter 3."
     It's true. I feel my head and there's a rather large lump on it, much larger than the other ones.
     He's standing just outside of the window in my room, which is odd since my apartment is on the fourteenth floor.
     "Gravity boots," he says, but I think he means anti-gravity boots.
     "I was in a magical land, and you were there, and you and you and you," I say, pointing to Christian.
     They laugh politely. That's okay, I'm used to people laughing at me.
     "We're not laughing at you, Ana," Christian says, gently. "We're laughing with you."
     I don't know, it sure feels like they're laughing at me.
     "I'm okay," I tell them. "Can I have some privacy? I'd like to take a bath."
     They look at each other, concerned.
     "Well, at least we know her nose works," Kate says, and they all file out.
     I get up, start to undress, when...
     "I can still see you," I tell the eyeball peeking at me from the bottom corner of the window.
     "I was just leaving," Christian says, and does just that.
     I walk into the bathroom and look at myself. I'm naked in the mirror like Reese Witherspoon in the movie Wild, only without her paycheck.
     Could it all have just been a dream?
     I turn away from my reflected image and bend over to turn the hot water knob in the bathtub so I can have a nice long soak, when...
     Glimpsing back, something catches my eye. A red mark. On my butt. And it's in the shape of a hand.
     Christian's hand.
American Chimpanzee

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