Ode to Miss Texas: Pt. II
Miss Texas called again the following week. She sounded a bit strained over the telephone, so I asked if anything was wrong. She said no, but then told me that she needed to sleep over, and that she’d be there in ten minutes. Per her request, I waited at the curb, presumably to haul that lead weight of a suitcase.
Ten minutes turned into twenty before a blue mini-van pulled up in front of my building. She got out along with a guy, not much taller than she, late-thirties/early-forties, sporting a short, graying afro. He took out the suitcase, and a lot of other stuff too--shopping bags, a beach pail, and a multi-colored basketball among the loose items. She wanted to make it up to my place in one trip, despite this guy’s suggestion that we should make two. Her companion then insisted that she put the stuff back into the mini-van, and go back to New Jersey with him. She declined, politely at first; but as his insistence wore on, it took on the tone of an order. He started going on and on about how unfair it was for her to make me sleep in my dirty clothes, and she countered by declaring that I didn’t mind. Of course, nobody paid any attention to me. This was strictly an argument between the two of them. It finally ended when she turned to me and said, “Let’s go.”
Once inside, I put down the suitcase while we waited for the elevator. I caught her friend watching us from the street through the glass doors of the lobby. In the twilight outside, I had spent a good deal of my time trying to butt out of their “conversation.” Consequently, I didn’t get a good look at her by the curb. Indoors, with bright lights reflecting off mirrors both behind and in front of the elevator, I saw that she was deathly white. Golden bangs matted against her sweaty forehead, she trembled.
“Something’s wrong,” I said.
“Is he still out there?” she asked.
“I’ll explain soon as we get to your apartment.”
The elevator finally came and we got in. She couldn’t come close to relaxing. Still clutching her shopping bags and the pail, she stood rigidly in front of the door.
“If he attacked you, we have to call the police.”
“Oh, no!” she said. “Just wait ‘til we get to your place.”
We finally reached my studio. I ambled inside. She followed, her hand on my back. She didn’t really push me, but her sense of urgency seemed clear enough. I dropped most of what I had in front of my electric piano. She just threw everything on the floor, locked the door, checked the bathroom, and the closet, then under the bed.
“What happened?” I asked, now that we had reached the promised land where she would explain all.
“That guy out there?” she started.
“He says his name is Jimmy. But it’s not Jimmy.”
She shook her head. “He’s CIA. Real creepy.”