Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"Mr. Barbicane Takes A Trip" Chapter Thirty


They initially had sex right there in the hallway at the base of the attic stairs. Vickie would later learn that Rory had come over to the house and let himself in when the doorbell went unanswered. Vickie couldn’t hear it up in the attic.

What she never learned, because Rory never told her, was that he was coming over to break up with her. The previous night, picking her up at the airport, the chill in the car, that had all been the last straw. It was pointless to go on like this, so Rory decided to just pull the plug. He went over after he knew Vickie’s mom would have left for the library and rang the bell. There was no answer, but he knew about the emergency key in the plastic rock next to the porch so he let himself in and called Vickie’s name from the bottom of the stairs in the entrance way.

He heard someone moving around the upper part of the house and went up the stairs. He looked down the length of the hallway and saw his oddly shaped person coming down the stairs from the ladder all bundled up in an old army uniform or something.

Rory took a couple of steps down the hall then the person reached the bottom step and turned and he saw it was Vickie swimming around in these old clothes; a jacket and pants and a man’s shirt with a tie and this army cap falling down over her eyes.

She felt there was no way she could explain this to him. She couldn’t explain it to herself. She looked down at herself, all lost in her daddy’s clothes.

For a second he thought she was going to start crying. What did she have to cry about? She lifted her arms in a sort of shrug, sort of “well” gesture and she looked at him and she started to blush. He could see the color move from her ears, across her forehead and down to her cheeks.

He wanted her to know whatever it was it was okay and he reached out for her, just to hug her, just a “don’t worry” hug. But there was something about seeing her in those clothes, seeing her look so small and lost in that uniform.

She knew she had to say something, but in the next second Rory was kissing her and the best thing to do under the circumstances was to kiss him back. She did and she felt the blush run down her neck and right into her body.

Rory unbuttoned the jacket and reached in to cup Vickie’s left breast under her father’s shirt and things progressed very rapidly. They were on the floor and Vickie was snaking out of the oversized pants, but she never got out of the shirt or the jacket before Rory was on top of her.

The cap came off her head and rolled away on the hallway carpet.

If it was weird, Vickie didn’t notice. Or if she did notice, she sort of liked it.

They moved from the hallway to Vickie’s bedroom and stayed there for three hours. In the pauses between sex Rory never asked what the hell Vickie was doing in her father’s uniform or what was the matter with her the night before, and Vickie volunteered nothing. They just sort of caught their breath.

In this manner the bargain was struck.

Rory eventually got dressed and left before Vickie’s mother got home from the library. Vickie invited him to join them at The Olive Garden.

Vickie went downstairs naked and poured a big glass of orange juice then went back to her room and took an amazingly satisfying shower. Then she got dressed and went out into the hall where she collected her father’s uniform and climbed back into the attic. Up where she put the uniform, shirt and tie back on their hangers and back into the garment bag. She rebagged the cap and put it away as well, then grabbed the shoes and sweats and t-shirt she wore when she first climbed into the attic, went back down and pushed the attic stairs shut on their thick springs.

Vickie came downstairs with her sweats and t-shirt and went the long way around to the back of the house so she could stop and look at the pictures on the mantel underneath the simulated oil portrait her parents had made out of Vickie’s high school graduation picture. One of the framed pictures over the fireplace was a picture of her dad in his uniform, standing at the entrance to Chinatown in San Francisco. He looks about twenty-five in the picture and he’s smiling for the camera.

Vickie stood there in the living room looking at the picture of her father. She took a deep breath, realizing her heart was no longer tainted by confusion. After a long moment she turned away from the picture, went into the kitchen, tossed her t-shirt and sweats in the washing machine, selected “small load” and started the washer. Then she made a peanut-butter and jelly sandwich for herself. As she did so, she started to sing “Sheep May Safely Graze.”

Schafe können sicher weiden,
Wo ein guter Hirte wacht.
Wo Regenten wohl regieren
Kann man Ruh und Friede spüren

Which in English is:

Sheep may ever graze securely
Where a worthy shepherd wakes.
Where the rulers well are ruling,
May one rest and peace discover

The rest became humming as Vickie ate her sandwich.

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