Tuesday, January 26, 2016


Jonathon was sleeping when the houseguests left. Edith gave them each an envelope with a gift card inside... Twenty five hundred dollars on a pre-paid Visa debit card. I think it was Sarah's idea. They were thrilled to get it. The woman cried. Of course between herself and the little girl they had five thousand dollars, but children need a lot, so that was all right. The wino's card was set up so he couldn't spend it in a 'state store' (Pennsylvania's Government controlled liquor outlets) , or any other venue selling alcoholic beverages. So he bought a whole mess of counterfeit movies and sold them from outside a state store on Walnut Street. Winos ain't dumb. Spent some for other stuff... two packs of tightie-whities... matching t-shirts... couple magazines.... eighty-eight cent pack of store brand 'Bic' style pens and one of those plastic measuring pitchers bedridden men use to pee in at hospitals. Wino has some class, after all. Oh! I almost forgot to tell you. He made a lot of cash selling bottles of cheap wine on the street. Opened a bank account and everything. Spent a night in a hotel every couple weeks for hot baths and piped in porn. Life was good. The lady rented a nice room from some old woman who had a house in University City (the 30's) for about $400 a month plus chores and errands. Had a refrigerator, a microwave, access to a clean bathroom, a washer and dryer in the basement. After two weeks, the little girl was calling the old woman 'mom-mom.' Never had any memories of her 'talking in tongues' episode and Jonathon never told anybody except Edith. She looked at the words he wrote down. Said she didn't know what they meant, but would ask if any of her Red Paint neighbors knew something. Red Paint People are supposed to be one of the oldest cultures to reach the east coast of North America. Folks think they're extinct, but they're not. Little pockets survive deep in woodland hidey-holes. Quiet folks, but they know a lot. Some say they have a 'clan-mind.' What one knows, they all know. Who knows?

Doctor Franklin met Jonathon in a warm, little brasserie for dinner. The streets were still slippery and icy, though cars could maneuver, provided they kept going and didn't park. Where could they park? But the place had a lively walk-in, local crowd and Franklin's driver, Joey, left him off right out front. The head waiter came out to help the old reprobate in to his seat and Jonathon was already there.

I'm sure you know vampires are quite adept at faking a full meal... No salad, just broth... and Jonathon can eat that.... a glass of wine.... pasta Bolognese, or whatever the French equivalent was. Could always mash that up and move it around, even ask for a little Styrofoam container for the leftovers. Who'd notice? Besides, Jonathon enjoyed the atmosphere. Franklin skipped his usual Kelly green Eagles sweat suit for a slightly loose, soft wool turtleneck and a brown, velvet sport coat. Combed his wispy hair back neatly too. He really was quite charming when necessary. I don't know if this night was one of those occasions, but his demeanor was more than adequate.

Jonathon said - What did you find?..... The Eternal Patriot said - They found another child in The Holy Land. On the beach at Elat, in the south. Came right up out of the water. Even the lifeguards couldn't explain it and they watch the surf. And do you want to know what else? She was dressed in a bathing suit from the nineteen-fifties..... Does the press know? - asked Jonathon..... No, but the internet does. Everybody's on line. People at the scientific center where they took her knew. Some people on the beach saw. You know how parents and grandparents guarding  kids in the surf are? They watch everything. Oh, and ask your friend Billy what Twitter's been saying about it. He knows. They think it's a feral language. They think it's something she made up. But I have a copy of what she said, a video. I'll show it to you. Some of the words sound like Basque - he whispered. Look, who knows how much people at nearby tables could hear?... They say every mysterious language sounds like Basque - added the vampire. Basque, or Welsh..... They say a lot of things - said Jonathon... But one thing they can't talk away is her costume, that bathing suit. It appeared to be relatively new, but hasn't been in production since nineteen-fifty-seven - said Franklin. They have a big beachwear industry in Israel. They know..... Jonathon asked - So what are you saying? She was 'dead' under the waves and came back?..... Oh, come on my life-eating friend, can you deny that 'miracles' happen? - said Franklin....

Jonathon didn't say a word and his dinner partner stopped a passing waiter and asked for a side of roasted vegetables....

Just a grandfather and his grandson, enjoying a meal after the storm in a warm, crowded, cozy room.

But back at the townhouse, Edith made a call to The Pines...

<more nest time>


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