Alex redux

Got Alex to talk to his Zizima (mother of Zizi) on the phone yesterday.  I like listening to my mOm melt on the phone, it’s so charming.  I got an email from her jam packed with medical news, some pending, some good some… well, it’s like you’re a car, but you’re never tuned up, you’re never getting the right octane fuel, and you’re covered in rust. But you still run.  Sorta.

Carly, Nita, Mike, Jan, Katie, Alex, Paul and (late) Keith and me all joined up at the Bombay Bistro and ate our little faces off.  GOD THEIR BINDI DO PIAZZA is so fricking awesome, and the lamb biryani likewise. We got seated too late for Jeff to feel comfortable joining us (it was pushing 8 pm…)

NITA AND MIKE LOVED LOVED LOVED THEIR WEDDING PRESENT.  I am, as you can tell, inordinately pleased.

Now Jeff and I are off to a Downtown Shopping Adventure, and it sucks, except we’ll be happy when it’s done.

3. Midnite Moving Co 900 words

Jesse had been living with his sister up until the diagnosis. Watching her try to cope with his schedule was too painful. He often found himself watching her sleep, which center-punched the Venn diagram of creepy, sad and jealous, as Raven put it the next day when he told her. So he moved into a co-op house, sound-proofed and blacked-out his room and did his best to cope. He joined a 24 hour gym, bulked up as far as he could without drugs, watched a lot of movies, and tried to find work that would suit a vampire.

After six months he realized that there were no jobs designed around the absence of Sol, and he really was cast out of humanity. He applied for disability. It took for bloody ever to come through, and his aunt sold her second favourite horse to pay his rent for a couple of months. He ate so much packaged ramen he told Raven he thought he was turning into a solid lump of MSG.

He was written up in medical journals. He was interviewed by a woman who made a living from squeezing ad money from tragedy, and stopped answering his phone when it was a long distance number he didn’t recognize.

Each time he went out at night, depending on his friends and sister to buy him beer, young women and sometimes men would glimpse his blue eyes, dirty blonde hair and shoulder-waist ratio, and try to pry him out of his clothes.

Jesse enjoyed sex but a pattern emerged that drove him out of the market for a partner. He’d sleep with her without telling her about the atypical solar urticaria (Raven always scolded him when he did that) and then the woman would ghost once she knew.  So he’d tell her in advance. Half of them bailed, since no matter how smart a human is they can have damned strange ideas about infectiousness and then again there’s the welfare of unborn generations to consider. The other half banged him out of curiosity and then bailed when they realized he wasn’t joking about the Evil Villain costume.

Or they realized he was broke, and he wasn’t good looking enough to support.  (Raven always lost her cheese when he mentioned that.) Or his new queen would say something racist or sexist and Jesse would call her on it and then it was ass, meet snow.

He gave up, joined a polyamory group, and met dozens of cool people, layered with the usual assortment of assholes. He settled among a group of older and mostly unpartnered poly women, and told the Vancouver dating scene to kiss his dimpled ass. He was getting laid despite being unemployed and his mental health markedly improved.

He ran into George at a poly meet. They got talking, and the conversation wound around to unemployment and illness.

“I’m in perfect health until the sun hits me,” Jesse said.

“And then?”

“Generally the first thing happens is that the bags ‘round my eyes inflate to about 150 p.s.i., so driving can be interesting. Then I bust out in hives so bad I have to be restrained to not scratch them. Then I whip out an EpiPen® and eighty dollars later I can see.”

“But you’re okay at night.”

“Yeah.”

“You’ve looked for night work,” George said.

“Yeah, but it’s never night work, not really.  You’ve gotta work rotating shifts, or you’re forced to go in during business hours for HR or staff meetings or training or whatever-the-fuck and then I show up in my Evil Villain outfit and sad times are had by all.”

George considered him for a moment.

“You know what I did last night?” he asked.

“Just so’s you know, I’m a bit of a prude,” Jesse said.

George made a barking noise which might have been a laugh.

“I’m a bit of a prude, too, according to my family, but no, I wasn’t needing to brag.” He considered Jesse for a moment, a rueful smile on his face.

“One of my girlfriends is a sex trade worker,” George said. “She works independently and would like to keep it that way, but a pimp had a different idea. He decided to follow her home and beat her up.”

“Holy shit,” said Jesse. It was a great story, but that wasn’t what impressed him. George was unembarrassed to have a sex trade worker girlfriend. Jesse had never met another man who could utter those words in public, let alone squeeze it into a sentence which normalized poly to that degree. Jesse felt for the first time the tidal pull of George’s charm.

“Yeah.”

“What did you do?”

“Helped her move.  As I was shoving things into the truck, by the light of the silvery moon, it occurred to me that there might be many people who need to move out in the middle of the night.”

“Yeah, but are they people who can pay?” Jesse said, and took a long pull on his beer. That was always the chokepoint.

“Desperation makes cash appear, in my experience,” George said blandly.  “Perhaps you could start a business doing that.”

Never say you have a problem, the solutions folks offer are twistier than the problem. “I’m not really cut out to be an entrepreneur,” Jesse said. “I’m kind of a born employee.”

“Fine,” George said. “I”ll start the business and hire you.”

Jesse grinned. “I warn you, I’m a terrible employee.”

“How so? You just said you’re a born employee. Are you lazy? Tardy? Unsanitary?”

It wasn’t the words themselves so much as the way George enunciated them that made Jesse laugh.

Sobering, he said, “I beak off a lot.”

“You didn’t answer my question.”

“I am not lazy.  I probably have a better attendance record than most people my age, and I frequently shower twice a day.”

“You’re hired.”

lovely walk

Another walk at Oakalla, followed by a sushi lunch on the back deck at Planet Bachelor, followed by a quick drive back here. And more Burn Notice, and Jeff did a rewatch of Senna and I watched it for the first time.

Supper tonight with Nita and Jan and Carly, and the Caspells, so that will be simply wonderful too.

Gosh I’m up late aren’t I? But I just finished writing, so I’m feeling quite content.

Midnite Moving Company chapter 1 continued 1523 words

The wind picked up and pushed a noxious smell down the alley along with a couple of fat drops of rain. Jesse had the driver’s license, so he walked back to the truck parked around the corner and moved it as directed by George until the rear of the truck nearly touched the awning over the back entrance. George got the tailgate down halfway and then jumped to one side, causing a man with a baseball bat to strike the tailgate with a thunk and a clang rather than stave in George’s skull.

“What are you two assholes doing here?” the man with the baseball bat said.

“You’re going to hit a total stranger with a baseball bat?” Jesse yelled in disbelief, coming round the far side of the truck and keeping George between himself and the jackass.

The man with the baseball bat swung it at George again. George put out a hand and stopped the swing, wrenching the baseball bat away with such force that the jackass fell hard onto one shoulder and then, cursing and moaning, rolled onto his back. From this vantage point, gasping, the jackass watched as the baseball bat went soaring into the air to land with a subdued thump on the roof of his ex-girlfriend’s apartment building.

“Go away, or it’ll be you next time. I’m sure if my friend helps me I could throw you onto the roof.”

“Toss the human caber, oh, the hijinks you get up to,” Jesse murmured.

The jackass got up, wheezed in a way which would have been comical if he hadn’t already tried to kill George, staggered from alcohol and lack of oxygen and in a sideways lurch, closed the distance between himself and George. George tripped him, pulled two tangled zap-straps from his jacket pocket, and slid one over the jackass’s hands and the other around a bike rack before anyone could react.

“What the fuck! I’m gonna fucking kill you!” the jackass screeched, finally figuring it out. He looked up to where he had last seen his bat, as if it was going to pick itself up and fly back down to him. George pulled out a handkerchief and gently put it in his prisoner’s mouth, as he had extended his jaw to its furthest gape. The jackass doubled over and started scream-coughing behind the handkerchief, and then he blew it out of his mouth and started yelling again.

Trying to cut through the din, Jesse said, “Jesus. You carry handcuff-style zip-ties.”

George picked up the handkerchief, which had not been improved by its brief trip to the asphalt. He fashioned it into a gag and tied it around the thrashing jackass’s mouth while saying. “Not usually, but I couldn’t resist stealing them from that flaming asshole cop who was bugging us on our last job.”

“George, when I grow up, I want to be you.” The jackass was making disturbing noises, running the gamut from angry squeaking to sound-dampened growls.

“The position is already taken.”

“I’m sure I can take over if you die,” Jesse said. He made his blue eyes as puppy-like as he could, even though he knew George was impervious to cuteness.

“Can you wait a couple of hundred years?” George asked. “I don’t actually plan on dying for at least that long.”

“Me neither. Or growing up, either.”

“Oh, I imagine I’ll have to grow up someday,” George said. “Here she comes,” he added brightly.

The jackass, seeing his ex, Ilanna, started thrashing around and howling against the gag. Jesse was amazed nobody was coming to windows to yell at them to shut up.

“Devin,” Ilanna said.

Three words, likely, “You goddamned bitch!” came out in three explosive grunts.

“Language,” George said. “You’re going to sit here and stay quiet until we’ve moved everything. If you’re good, everything that’s yours will be in the apartment packed up for you when we’re done. If you are noisy or get loose or try to hurt anybody I’m going to spend fifteen minutes describing what I’ll do to you and thirty seconds actually doing it.”

“Wouldn’t advise it,” Jesse said. “The description is scarier, but the doing hurts like a bastard, especially if he pulls out the Sub-Atomic Wedgie,” he added with a smile.

Ilanna shook her head and tried again. She sat on the ground next to Devin but backed away rapidly when he tried to kick her. Looking down at him, pity and disgust meeting in her expression somewhere between her knotted brows, she said, “Devin, I went to the cops today and asked for a peace bond. If you agree to sign it and leave me alone – “ at which point two grunts which sounded like “Fuck you!” forced their way past the gag, “– it’ll go better.”

“If you don’t, in about three weeks they’ll put together a picture of how you get drunk and high and like to threaten to throw me off a building, and to prevent that they’re gonna make you pee in a bottle every month for a year, and we all know how you feel about cocaine and fentanyl, so you’ll be in breach pretty much right away, and then you can detox in jail while figuring out how to pay the fine.”

The response to this was a hate stare and a growl. Jesse said, “I think you’re getting through to him!” at which point the hate stare swiveled around to him like a laser pointer. Jesse smiled and gave him a little wave.

“But if you do, I’ve got some protection and you can keep snorting coke and if you don’t stalk me it’ll stop in a year anyway.”

“Can I talk to you for a second?” George asked Ilanna. They walked briskly out of earshot.

Jesse tried to make conversation, mostly to cover how uneasy he was that they were unlawfully confining a violent drug addict with a decade-long history of domestic violence. Ilanna hadn’t pulled any punches in describing him, and Jesse and George, per their mandate, spent no time sighing over her poor relationship choices.

“So,” he said, “Did you vote in the election? You look like a provincial Liberal to me if I ever saw one. I voted Green though and we got our asses kicked.”

The move went fast, considering Ilanna hadn’t slept in 24 hours so she could both pack and work a last late shift at the restaurant. The boxes marched down the stairs, and then Jesse and George staged all the big furniture. By four a.m. it was pretty much done. Devin’s wrists were bleeding and his eyes looked ready to pop from his head.

“Ilanna, get in the truck,” George said pleasantly. “I’ll make sure Devin’s somewhere else when we leave. Back soon!”

“Let’s go back to your car,” George said to his captive. He cut the zap straps, and faster than Jesse could make out from the dim reflection in the side-view mirror, George put Devin in an elbow lock and marched him past a sagging chain-link fence covered in dead ivy, away from Jesse’s view. George pushed Devin toward his car and tugged off the gag at the same time, sending him into a spin. He smacked into the car and bounced back, roaring and trying to grab George, who ducked and wove and didn’t even breathe hard while Devin puffed and blew and cursed at him.

“I’ll kill you!” Devin said. George checked for security cameras, and finding none, choked Devin until he passed out. He leaned the unconscious man against the passenger side door, found the box knife he was carrying, and carefully slashed all of his tires. He stepped back to admire the effect and, leaning forward, put the knife in Devin’s limp grasp.

Then he trotted back to the truck.

“Is he okay?”

“Last I saw he was passed out next to his car,” George said, truthfully if not usefully.  “I think he’d had a lot to drink and we tired him out. He never asked me how I knew which car was his, but I think the cheap cologne would have been as effective as a flare gun!”

“So he’s alive,” Ilanna said. It was impossible to tell whether she was happy about this.

“Yes, you’ll still have to push on with the peace bond. Don’t ask me to kill him though, we’ll be lucky if he doesn’t report us.”

“Fuck,” Ilanna said, with no volume and little expression. “That won’t happen.  The only people in the Lower Mainland he hates worse than you right now are the cops.” Without further conversation, they drove through streets empty of anyone but addicts, cabbies and cops.

The unloading was into a ground level storage unit, since Ilanna had decided to leave town, and they got everything off the truck in forty-five minutes, working flat out because dawn was coming and Jesse had to get the truck back. Ilanna paid them just under a thousand dollars, cash, and the party split up; George and Ilanna shared a cab back to their respective crash spaces (George picked up Ilanna’s fare, it only seemed right after she’d laid out a g-note), and Jesse returned the truck and took a cab home. The sun came up while he was going home, and he put his Evil Villain mask on, after warning the cabbie.

“Holy shit man,” said the cabbie, looking at him in the rear view mirror with sleepy horror.

 

 

 

 

more walkies, Midnite Moving 879 words

Paul took me for a walk yesterday in Oakalla, quite early.  Then we went to Liquorgate and picked up beer and a chicken and I made a salad and we had lunch on the deck until about a hunnert wasps crashed the party.

A friend of a friend wants more people to see his facebook page so here it is. I would really like one of his dulcimers, and they’re only 200 bucks plus freight hint hint.

Jeff had mentioned that the project he’d like to see more of is Midnite Moving, so I wrote 879 words yesterday and this morning on one of their adventures, most of which is setting the stage for what kind of person Jesse is and what kind of person George is, and it is after Jesse has figured out George ain’t right and before he figures out (by himself) that George is not human.

Herewith, with all the typos and grammatic decompositions.

Jesse Silver moved quietly for a big man. At twenty-three, he was as muscular as his junk food intake and nocturnal workout schedule allowed. No-one, seeing him move with exaggerated stealth around the alley’s dirty puddles and broken glass at 1:25 in the morning, would guess he had chronic health problems, or that he was anything but a guy ducking into an alley to unload after too many pitchers at the Brickhouse.

He was not, in truth, scoping a place to take a leak. He wanted to sneak up on his coworker/partner/friend, and as with every time he’d tried, at the last second George turned toward him and waggled a finger.

“You covered in mirrors, or what?” Jesse exclaimed in disgust.

“If you’d had my childhood, nobody could ever sneak up on you. I heard you coming; it’s hard once the glass shards get stuck in your shoes.” George tried to sound sympathetic and smile, but often his intentions were better than his execution.

“You never make a sound when you walk,” Jesse said.

“It’s a gift,” George said, in the self-congratulatory tone Jesse liked least. Then, with more edge, “And I do make noise; I make the floors creak at your place.” For perhaps a tenth of a second, George seemed to vibrate slightly under the cone of orange glare from the sodium vapour streetlight. Jesse blinked and the sensation was gone.

“You okay?”

“Whatever,” Jesse said. “Did you find the apartment?”

“It’s over the Money Mart. There are two exits – not sure where we should park the truck. Our client texted that she thinks her ex will show up any minute.”

“Well, you can use your famous charm on him,” Jesse said.

“We’ll see,” George said. He was a slender, sharp-featured man in his late thirties, dressed as if he’d been at an Edwardian re-enactment and had somehow, in a fit of adventurous befuddlement perhaps, found himself in an alley famous for administering needle sticks to the incautious.

Jesse knew three things about George for certain. He was improbably strong, very smart and imperturbable. As they plied their odd trade, nothing that cops or clients (or their ranting landlords and former lovers) could do, and no hindrance the drunken wreckage drifting out of bars could create, made him lose his good spirits and inventiveness in dealing with problems. He seemed to like problems, although not to the extent of making trouble for himself for bonus points.

George was a piece of work, and Jesse had no clue what motivated him. As far as Jesse knew, George had an independent income and a complacent girlfriend, whom George insisted on referring to as his ‘mate’. She was some sort of difficult, gorgeous creature who apparently made the independent income possible. Jesse had started to think she was imaginary. George hadn’t so much as given her a name, let alone introduced her.

Why George would be okay with sitting in a rental truck for hours while waiting for the client to show and then moving a one bedroom apartment in the middle of the night, for however long they had until they lost the dark and Jesse had to bail, was still a puzzle to Jesse. If he had money he’d never work again. Only an idiot would. No, George was after something else, but Jesse was not able to work out what it was. He’d started to wonder if there was a Greek word for sexual gratification from moving furniture.

And it was a job, and it was a cash job, and it wasn’t every night, so it didn’t dig into Jesse’s personal life too much. He didn’t have much of a personal life, since the diagnosis, but he tried to see his sister and one of his ‘girlfriends’ at least once a week. It was better than collecting disability and feeling that his life was over. He felt like he’d just barely managed to escape from his shitty excuse for a mother. Then, within a few years of his glorious liberation he’d woken up in hospital after an allergic reaction that nearly put a lily in his hand.

Welcome to Vancouver. Here, have some atypical solar urticaria. Being in the sun raised welts all over his body. His eyes would swell, the itching was on a scale he could not have believed if he had not had to live through it.

“Oh well,” said one of the many residents who had come past his bed, collecting him like an animé critter, “The sun hardly shines here anyway.”

And that was true enough, and with tight clothes and a special mask with special goggles he could go out during the day, if he felt like being stopped by the police and glared at by civilians all fricking day long. Jesse couldn’t deal with the freak show.

He almost died, but the doctors had nothing to do with that.

It was still hard to be up all night and sleep during the day, and the grogginess and digestive strain of it was made even harder to bear by George’s ability to get along on four hours of sleep, whenever he felt like sleeping, and bounce out of bed with all the eagerness to face the day of a Labrador pup.

 

 

 

walkies

Yesterday I started rereading the Niccolo Series by Dorothy Dunnett, as, thanks to Lady Miss Banjola, I now have all the books again.  I am taking it slowly and trying to see what I missed on previous readings.

Yesterday Keith called me at 730 am to tell me he was doing fine.  I’d been up since 130, although I’m pleased to see I made it all the way to 330 am this morning.  Jeff’s already up.

Yesterday Paul dropped by and we did a small shop at the Farm Market on Kingsway so I can make a proper salad and then we had a beer after and had a really good long talk.

I did a couple of loads of laundry and ran the dishes.  An ordinary and domestic day.

The AMC show which I should be watching and never really took to, Halt and Catch Fire, comes back today, which should please Jeff as he’s been waiting for S3 for a while now.

 

Oops

Sorry I didn’t post yesterday.  I should have.

Mike called Friday night, so flattened he couldn’t leave the house after his work week (much feels here, I think the Death Spiral of closure of the Vancouver office has begun) so I walked over and picked up a rotisserie chicken and some salad at SaveOn. God, it was hot.  I was quite overheated when I got there; the sun blasts down Kingsway and there’s no shade for the last little bit.

Watched Suicide Squad, meh.

In the morning we went to Cora’s and the bagel with lox was even better than the last time; like last time I brought Jeff the leftovers of a tomato cheese bagel and fresh fruit, and then we watched Killjoys and Dark Matter, both of which were great even though Jeff calling each move of the ‘alternate universe’ play got a little, I don’t know, TOO on point?  Damn, kiddo, you should be writing this stuff if you can predict it!!

I am enjoying the rewatch of ER S2 and Burn Notice S4, which continues. Mr. Robot is kinda going off the rails, I’m hoping for a little narrative relief. September 23 Netflix will drop the next season of Longmire, which means Jeff and I will only come up for air a couple of days later unless we decide to go easy on it. Love love love that show.

Made cheese sauce and tricolori noodles for supper. It was so cheesy Nick Cage’s recent performances are suing me for infringement.

Hope it’s not too hot today

The poor ac is working pretty hard these days.

Jeff’s indicated a desire to eat less red meat so I’m putting meal plans together. First step, get some veggie burgers into the house; they fix up instantly and go with just about everything.  Second step, wraps, soft tacos and whole wheat muffins plus the innards for same.  I’m looking up recipes!  Crockpot scalloped potatoes yay.  So, breakfast – lunch – dinner as below.

french toast home made soup & toast Crockpot stew
oatmeal taco salad veggie burgers
mexican brekky bowl eggy potato salad leftovers
poached eggs on toast chicken strips & taters onions veggie split pea soup
whole wheat pancakes with choc chips fish and green salad pork chomps & veg
baconandegger veggie burgers veggie tacos
breakfast wrap chicken stir fry with rice tuna salad bowl
dirty rice rotisserie chkn

 

Jeff bends somewhat better than I do and volunteered to clean out the disaster left by an exploding (and festering) large can of peaches in the pantry, so that’s what he’s doing right now.  Yay.

Now to wait for stuff to dry so I can put it all back.

Alex the wondergrand

I got to see Alex yesterday at his momma’s house (Katie is doing very well) and he smiled his face off to see me. Then I gave him my three pound barbell (after all, it SAYS Alex on the side) and he started lifting, bro, which was hilarious, (good form too, even funnier) and then he rolled it all over the floor and then he started dropping the sumbitch, more than once, and this look came over his face – every parent knows it – and after some kind and pleasant voiced persuasion (his mother doesn’t yell at him unless it’s life or death and Alex is more compliant than any child his age I’ve known, as he really really wants to keep his mother happy) Alex went back to rolling it across the floor.  He has learned to say ‘antenna’ which is very sweet.

He has crossed some kind of developmental barrier which allows him to consider things rather than assuming that it’s bad and he should proceed immediately to a-wailin’ and a-grizzlin’.  He didn’t even come close to even thinking about crying the entire time I was there.  The last month has also been amazing in terms of language development. It’s very clear that he understands virtually everything that’s said to him and his speech is becoming clear enough to understand.  I was out of the room and he was toddler-arguing with his mother so I called are you grumpy Alex? and he said, just like a teenager would, No!

No sign of being interested in toilet training.  For this summer camping trips were invented.

He played for a very long time with my Cat Alone app. BUG! BUDAFY!

“DO YOU WANT THE FINGER ALEX” is actually a question appropriate to the game. (If he presses on the magic finger that appears it vibrates and buzzes.)

No pictures. I have memories of a sunny faced toddler running like a fool all over his apartment while issuing sticky kisses and high fives. This from last summer, Prismafied, will have to do.

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There were castor bean and nightshade plants on the walk back to the car.  New West, it’ll kill ya.

Ray Donovan was awesome, Dark Matter was okay I guess (fave continues to be 5, played by Jodelle Ferland), Killjoys is ramping up with great scripts and performances and then Keith and Paul came over yesterday to watch the Sugar episode of Addicted to Pleasure, and that was very nice.

Ghostbusters is still on at the International Village Cineplex. I should have gone last night but whatever.

I bought a battery backup for my phone (since you can’t actually replace the battery on a One S, god strake them in thayre tendre partes) and then, in a sudden blinding flash of You Know the MacBook is Doomed Since the Interior goes to 84 degrees C every time you run video and components will inevitably blow you fool! I purchased a replacement in the form of a MacBook Air, from London Thugs. I backed up the old one, Time machined the new one, everything took an hour and worked perfectly (except having to enter brOJeff’s ludicrously lengthy wifi password three times, o well) and now I have a computer with twice the power, half the weight, three times the storage and a much faster video processor. Everything I need to work transferred over without difficulty including Scrivener and Finale, the two really big ones for creative work. I’d like to publicly thank Jeff for providing the backup drive.  All part of adulting….

No I can’t afford it.  But I definitely can’t afford not to, so there you go.

 

Flying visit

Jeff’s out today helping a client.  I did manage to get the weedwhipping done, and now I need to push a few more things back in corners.

ea0a54e82cc49485196a40ae66dede65resNet10_ndAs you can see I’m having a lot of fun with the Prisma app on my phone.  It turns crappy photos into cool pics. In this one I look like a crone from a graphic novel which I kinda like, but also you can still see the big eyed child inside me, which I also like.

Others I’ve done…

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mOm’s Penrose quilt plus paper art equals bizarre mashup.
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Forbidden plateau really looks forbidden

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Saint Sue looks like a fierce old lady, don’t she? That was over brekky yesterday at Ricky’s.  YOM.

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Alex.