Sunday, May 25th, 2002 6:52 a.m.
What greater joys there be, than the hand of a friend extended, when hope is lost.
- -- Unknown
Despina is sound asleep in Mickey's bed when the door softly opening wakes her. Alert, she listens intently.
Cu's gentle tones inquire "¿Pina?"
"Cu? Hombre, ¿qué haces? ¿Por qué estés aquí? ¿No te recuerdas lo que pasó al motel? Hay demasiado peligro si estés aquí conmigo. ¿Hay un problema?" Who’s in danger? He shouldn’t be in town! How short can his memory be? Her heart pounds faster.
"Tengo miedo para ti." Afraid for me, or of me? Of my falling for Mickey? Despina thinks. I’m definitely afraid of HIM... I am so totally out of my depth, here, and in danger of losing my heart.
Despina and Cu talk quietly, but intensely in Mickey's boyhood room. Their voices form a comforting low murmur that Violet can't quite catch.
Violet, who has lived alone for a long time, has fallen into the habit of talking to herself. As she has aged, she has become increasingly hard of hearing. Despina is startled to realize that she is overhearing Violet’s intimate thoughts about how reassuring it is to hear young people in the house again, that Cu's been absent from our lives far too long, that he sure grew into a lovely young man. She prays that Cu is not also overhearing when Violet says, “I pray he can make Despina happy,” before evidently drifting off to sleep, leaving Despina wondering if her face is flushed as red as it feels. Cu appears as stoic as ever, Despina thinks, studying his face for clues.
Their voices fade. Cu climbs into Mickey's bed, under the comforter and cover, but not the sheet, which forms a layer between his body and Despina's. He holds her comfortably in his arms. His skin matches his name, CU, the chemical abbreviation for copper. So lovely, she thinks, relaxing against his warmth.
She gets up once to use the john, then returns, crawling back underneath the sheet and both covers. Cu has fallen asleep.
Suddenly, she hears the door handle rattle. Briefly, a black-clad figure carrying a machine gun is silhouetted against the street light in the center of the curtain.
Muffling her inclination to scream, she rolls out of bed, yanks the comforter free, rolls Cu in her half of the blanket and shoves him off the bed on the far side, toward the closet door. She rumples the sheet somewhat into the form of a woman. Grabbing the comforter, she moves to the wall the door opens into, just short of where it would be when fully opened.
As the door creaks open, she readies the comforter. Seeing the empty bed with its partially illumined lump, the man starts forward.
Despina slams the door shut, draping the comforter completely over the fellow, then yanking it tight, tumbling him onto the bed, completely wrapped. Grabbing Mickey's handcuffs from the dresser, she opens one side. She is sobbing now.
A hand appears out from under the comforter. Grabbing the wrist, she snaps the cuff tightly around it, then yanks it to the heat pipe that comes down from the ceiling, clipping the other end to the pipe.
The gun's muzzle pokes from the other side.
Bending it back against the man's thumb, she removes it and drops it behind the bed where she dumped Cu. Gathering the four ends of the comforter, she ties them in a series of square knots, then opens the closet door, rustling around for her clothes without turning on the light. Finding one of Mickey's belts, she removes it.
Soon a hand appears from the other side of the comforter.
Looping it in the belt, Despina yanks it up with the other one, hooking it tightly to the same pipe.
Cu has crept into the closet. Despina returns and makes rustling noises to cover his descent of the internal stairs. She locks the door from her side, hoping he has done the same from his. She keeps up a low muttering about where her clothes have gotten to as she rustles around in the dark, long after she is fully clothed.
Eventually, she leaves, walking to the sheriff's office to complain about interrupted sleep.
What if that man's friends have a large, powerful microphone turned on my room to allow them to enter only after Cu showed up? I've got to be able to explain away the masculine voice on that presumed tape.
She tells Tony how she was "imaging" her latest journal entry, reading it in dramatic voices to see how it sounded.
Her eyes widen in horror as Mickey comes in with "Roger", who plays a tape for her.
"Listen to this conversation, and dare to tell me you were alone," he sneers.
Tony speaks up. "She does 'dramatic readings.' Ask Alice. She'll tell you how good she is."
Mickey raises an eyebrow at her. "Pina? Can you give us an example?"
"I wrote a conversation in my head, then 'aired' it in what I thought of as the privacy of my room. I have a personal problem I was trying to solve." She blushes as she repeats both her words and Cu's, as completely and fully as she can remember, making her voice sound as much like his as she can manage. "As you can hear," she pleads with Mickey with her eyes, "even when I THINK I am totally alone, I can't even DREAM a romantic interlude for myself. If you can't dream it, you can't make it happen."
"Well, Roger, I think I have to deny your 'hot pursuit' request to enter her room. It sure sounds like what I heard on that tape to me."
"Deny? I've already CAPTURED an intruder dressed and armed just like the ones that I saw flitting around the motel. I think I DO want to file harassment charges this time. This is a pattern that infringes on my basic liberties. You can search the room. You can INTERVIEW his man. He'll confirm that I was in there alone. HIS OWN MAN."
"What are you talking about, Despina."
"I left him handcuffed to the heat pipe above the bed."
Mickey tears from the room. Tony again calls the sheriff from the next county who came over the last time the Feds overstepped their authority. Despina sits in front. Roger is left at the office.
"God! Do you know where he is now? DON'T ANSWER THAT! Surely, they have the whole area cordoned off. How's Vi?"
"I'm sorry, Mickey. I didn't even think to check. I didn't hear anything stirring down there, so I came straight here once I had him neutralized."
She hands him the key to his handcuffs.
"Where'd you get that?"
They careen onto Violet's normally quiet street. Turning on his bullhorn, he bellows, "All unauthorized agents, return to the local police station at once. Anyone not cooperating will be arrested and charged to the full extent of the law."
Despina goes into the front door, heading at once for Violet's bedroom. Without turning on the light, she asks softly, "Are you okay?"
Instead of getting an answer from Violet, Cu whispers, "Sí. ¿Qué pasó?"
"Mickey and Roger have a tape of our conversation. I made my voice be as much like yours as I could and told Tony I was practicing a dramatic reading like I do at the library in what I thought of as the privacy of my own room. Mickey pronounced my rendition to be the same as what he heard, and we left, leaving Roger there. Tony called in that other sheriff he used last time we had this trouble. I handcuffed an agent to the heat pipe in Mickey's room."
"Why would you do that Despina?"
"Oh, Violet, I was just so scared."
Opening the covers, she offers, "Come curl up with me. Mickey will take care of it, I'm sure. I dreamed he was bellowing over that loud speaker of his."
"Last time, they searched the room," Despina warns.
"Oh. Do you mind being by the wall? I need to be able to get out to use the john. I doubt they'll disturb ME. I'm going back to sleep."
She moves to the edge of the bed closest to the door, leaving a HUGE amount of space. Soon, snores emanate from her.
Pina tips her head under the bed, motioning Cu to join her on top. She carefully stashes him between herself and Vi's back, tenting the blanket in such a way that it looks as if nothing is there.
Soon Mickey peeks in. "This is my mother's room." He carefully shines the light inside enough for the other sheriff to see the slumbering form of his mother. Despina sits up on the far side of her, bulging her eyes wide, putting her hand to her mouth as if she were going to scream.
"It's okay, Pina. We're just securing the house to be sure the Feds have no leg to stand on. Go back to sleep."
Nodding mutely, she lays stiffly back down.
At five, she gets up and heads to the john. Violet joins her. "Are they gone?"
"I don't know. Can you call the sheriff's office without seeming to be snooping?"
"No sooner said than done."
He'll be a sitting duck if it gets much lighter.
"They're all accounted for, dear. Better get your young man back to the reservation. Why don't you take my car? Mickey can pick it up later."
Cu has appeared in the doorway. Silently, he takes the coffee she hands him. "I remember, you two always got into trouble on sleepovers. Some things just NEVER change."
Draining the cup, Cu pecks Violet's cheek as he leaves, Despina behind him, Violet's keys in her hand.
Last updated 3/11/10 Corrected sleepovers and changed the door softly opening wakes her. 3/7/10 Corrected bullhorn, looked to looks, move to moves, added italic on He'll be a sitting duck if it gets much lighter. 2/4/10 Used Violet when in narration form, reserving Vi for conversational use. 8/7/08 Add Despina’s thoughts - Who’s in danger? He shouldn’t be in town! How short can his memory be? Her heart pounds faster.
Add Despina’s thoughts - Afraid for me, or of me? Of my falling for Mickey? Despina thinks. I’m definitely afraid of HIM... I am so totally out of my depth, here, and in danger of losing my heart.
rearranged (8/5/08 - Added/rearranged “Despina and Cu talk quietly, but intensely in Mickey's boyhood room. Their voices form a comforting low murmur that Violet can't quite catch.
First added “It's reassuring to hear young people in the house again, she thinks.”; then added/rearranged to Vi, who has lived alone for a long time, has fallen into the habit of talking to herself. As she has aged, she has become increasingly hard of hearing. Despina is startled to realize that she is overhearing Vi’s intimate thoughts about how reassuring it is to hear young people in the house again, that Cu's been absent from our lives far too long, that he sure grew into a lovely young man. She prays that Cu is not also overhearing when Vi says, “I pray he can make Despina happy,” before evidently drifting off to sleep, leaving Despina wondering if her face is flushed as red as it feels. Cu appears as stoic as ever, Despina thinks, studying his face for clues.;
Their voices fade. Cu climbs into Mickey's bed, under the comforter and cover, but not the sheet, which forms a layer between his body and Despina’s.; added after “So lovely”, she thinks, relaxing against his warmth.; changed Pina to Despina tips her head...; 3/11/06 to use same format for Vi's thoughts as Despina's and add breaks between her part and Pina's. Otherwise, 2/6/04.
Word Count: 1639