Tuesday, August 25, 2015


Sometimes, if they want to, Ca-Ca's cousin Mike shows his clients something else they can do, like if they're jealous of the people they're robbing, or hate them, or something.  He'll show them how to plant bedbugs. Exterminators have 'em. They got every thing and they'll sell you some, if you want them. Mike has a guy on South Broad Street. Three generations in the business he is. That's who he gets them from... the bedbugs, I mean. Puts 'em in little empty pill bottles. Pop the lid and throw it in a corner, or under as bed and it'll be itchy season real fast. And if the student-thief already has bedbugs, all he has to do is rub an old t-shirt all over the effected parts of his bed, tie it up in a small plastic bag and ditch it in a ransacked bedroom. Some thieves shove toothbrushes down their pants and spit in whatever they find in the refrigerator.

Ca-Ca says she don't want to mess with no bugs. Mike shrugs and goes - Your loss... She asks him if he has bedbugs... He laughs and makes like he's gonna tickle her. She gets off the old sofa and sits on the cold linoleum floor.... Then he asks her if she really killed Esther, or is only afraid the cops will think she killed her.... She tells him to drop dead and go to hell..... Mike says - If I drop dead and go to hell, who's gonna go with you?... She sits there... He goes - Yeah, you didn't think of that. Did you, you little shit..... Ca-Ca says - Lemme alone. I don't need you. I can do it by myself..... You shit can do it yourself - goes the cousin. What if there ain't nothing under the window? What if it's a six foot drop to the floor, a hard floor, a cement floor? What if they got rats ? How you gonna open the safe? You sure she has a safe?..... She says - Yeah, I'm sure.... He gives her a look..... I know! I know! I know, you friggin' son of a bitch! Pony talked about it all the time, from when she used to babysit me when my mom was makin' all them pierogis! I know from BEFORE I killed Esther! You SHIT! You SHIT you!..... Mike's mother (Ca-Ca's aunt) yells down - Jesus Christ! What the hell's gone on down there!?....... They get quiet, but Mike gives her a look and it makes her feel funny... He says - I'm gone in with you... and I get half.... She just sniffs and nods her head. Then she starts to tear up. Mike gets down on the floor and hugs her. Not because he feels sorry for her. He doesn't want his mom to hear her crying.

When he walks her home, her mother's already dragged herself up to bed. Ca-Ca double locks the door and turns on a battery powered dollar store phony burglar alarm. Then she sits on the sofa and sees a copy of their neighborhood weekly. It's all about Esther's 'senseless' murder. God, her mother looks so sad.

Ca-Ca doesn't cry. She just sits there... Forty nine minutes later she quietly puts out the light and goes upstairs....

<more next time>


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