by O. J. Anderson
Table of Contents|
Chapter 7, Chapter 8
Chapter 9, Chapter 10 appeared in issue 220.
Berney Razor — a.k.a. “Razor Burn” — of the Special Crimes Unit of the Garden City Police Department, believes in a healthy diet: he makes his own fruit smoothies and bakes his own banana-flavored bran muffins. He also exercises healthily. However, he has not read the chapter titled “Moderation.” He has developed a physique of geographical proportions; he looms amply equipped to punch out the punks on the seamy side of Garden City. What can stand in the way of this law-enforcement juggernaut? We shall see...
“Delores, that will be all for today, thank you.”
He locks the door, then closes all the windows and drops the blinds. Dims the lights. Pours the wine — a nice little Chardonnay he picked up for five bucks at the gas station. On goes the music (Brucht) and off goes the shirt! Time for hide-and-go-seek with a chocolate bundt cake.
Where did he put that thing?
Is it under the sofa? No. Certainly not. This is a dignified bundt after all. Then how about under the table? Wrong again. Boy, is it getting hot in here? It sure is. Off go the pants. Shoooosh! Like they vanished into thin air. Now he can really move. He’s dancing. He’s dancing. He’s dancing. He’s a dancing tycoon.
Sunken chest. Tighty whities. Skinny legs.
And he is naughty now.
Sneaking up on the desk with his glass of wine. On the prowl. Picking up the scent. It smells like chocolate. Getting warmer now.
The bottom drawer of the desk slides open smoothly. Darling, my darling. There you are. So rich, so chocolaty. Luxurious, voluptuous, sensuous. Luscious creme filling, white and fluffy and all for me. Me me me me!
He eases the bundt out from the drawer and spins and spins and spins until he is so dizzy with love he can stand no more, and breathlessly he sets the bundt down on the table behind the sofa. One more sip of wine for composure, then it’s time to dress for the party.
Flinging open the door. Bonjour!
Inside, the closet is jam packed with costumes. Lace numbers, trench coats, frilly pant thingies, a toga or two, some swords, assorted crowns, boots, sandals, and lots and lots of suede. He runs the back of his hand across the materials, checking for feel, matching the mood. How to decide? There are so many to choose from. So many textures. So much fashion!
Wait a minute. What’s this? Do I know you?
He takes a white lab coat from the hanger. Slips it on. The collar is stiff with starch and makes him feel important. He buttons it up. This is the one. It drapes over his body like a cloud. White. Pure. Yes, this will go nicely with chocolate bundt.
A lazy finger glides across the leather arm of the sofa making its way toward the cake. The music he can feel in his veins, traveling through him now, violin strings playing on his blood cells. The horn section snakes up his spine and blows through his mind.
More wine anyone? Thank you.
That same finger finds its way down through the center of the creme-filled bundt cake. The rest of his hand too. He digs out a handful of cremey snow and rubs it all across his jaw, giving himself a learned beard with which to do things like extrapolate, ruminate, draw conclusions, whatever.
May I have this dance?
He lifts the bundt onto his head, a chocolate hat. He dances and drinks more wine. Sings and falls in love. Oh, to be in love again! The warmth. Desire. That dull fuzzy indescribable something. My darling, my darling, my darling cake. You are so moist. So sweet! How badly I want you, let me count the ways! One, two, three...
Yes yes yessssssssssssssssssssssssssss!
But is isn’t meant to be it seems. For this new love is crumbling all around him. The dalliance has matured, come to its expiration date. And soon large brown chunks of cake fall and leave skid marks on the once pristine lab coat. A short-term love affair. That’s all it can be, my darling bundt. How scandalous. How saucy! Fun while it lasted. But leave me now, I’m no good.
I’m a brute.
I’ll only hurt you.
You’re better off with someone else.
* * *
The doorknob rattles and shakes. Someone is trying to come in! Who could it be? He says:
“Go away please.”
A familiar voice says, “Open the door, boy.”
Erskine does as he is told.
Thaddeus Bikharmer is eighty years old, but still has a commanding presence and battleship-gray eyes that pierce you into submission. Most of his age is concealed behind a sharp navy suit.
“Father, what are you doing here?”
The elder Bikharmer glances around the room like a parent who has returned early to find his son having a forbidden party. Chicks and booze spilled all over the carpet. Perhaps he already knows what is going on and only does this to take advantage of the situation; he takes a few steps forward, turns, and asks his son, “What is this? What’s going on here?”
He slaps his son across the face. The impulse behind it hurting more than the act itself.
“Turn that music off, you stupid stupid boy. And put some damn clothes on.”
Erskine hurries to get dressed, cleaning up a bit as he does. And in the most convivial voice he can muster he asks, “What brings you here, Father?”
Thaddeus ignores his son and walks to the window. Opens the blind. A long sigh. A disappointed shake of the head. Finally, as he walks toward his son, this:
“My father came to this city with nothing but a moartar and pestle and the will to succeed.” He turns and puts his hand on Erskine’s cheek, right where the slap landed. “We both worked very hard to give our families a good life. Something to be proud of. I took what your grandfather started and built all of this. Look around you, boy. Where do you think it all came from?”
Erskine says, “You built it, Father.”
“That’s right, boy. I did.”
Thaddeus smiles. Pats his cheek. “And now you’re pissing it all away.” He pinches a fold on Erskine’s cheek and pulls like there’s a prize underneath.
“Shut up and listen to me, boy.” He lets go of his boy’s cheek and gets a good grip on his neck, as though it’s time for a serious man-to-man talk. “I’ve had a little side project in the works for some time now. And I’m going to need your help with a few things.”
Erskine beams. His father has never asked him for help before. “Yes, Father, of course! I’ll do anything. What is it?”
Copyright © 2006 by O. J. Anderson