Thanks Bone for the words.
I apologize for the triteness of the dialogue. This is a writing exercise and I have too much on my mind and other things happening. I really don’t want to write about my apartment sale until the middle of October–November, however–it’s never ending and there are more things I have to do that are kind of funny.
I loved and felt privileged by the award Cooper gave me. I hope to give it out next week
A couple of years ago this was a nice townhouse complex. Now she wouldn’t even go into the greasy pool filled with foreigners who yelled in strange Asian languages, and all variations of Spanish, she thought as she banged the wall with her broom. Damn kid. Screamed constantly as the kid’s parents talked over her in Chinese or Viet Namese, and didn’t care if neighbors got any sleep or not.
People moved out in the middle of the night. There were foreclosure signs everywhere. Marilee grew tired of banging on the wall. Cigarettes. Damn she was out again. She took a butt from the large silver plated tray that fell. She wasn’t going to pick it up.
Once she had girls to do things like that for her. When she had moved to the townhouse it had been a temporary measure for a girl used to living in 10,000- 5,000 square feet houses with full staffs.
She had moved to Vegas at the end of the Rat Pack era. You could tell a gentleman gangster from the scum wannabes of today. Oh she had been aware that many girls her age became hippies but she laughed at them. They didn’t know about glamour, about gentlemen paying a lady’s bills, about things necessary for a girl’s survival.
Marilee had never made it as an entertainer. Occasionally she would be in a chorus line but it didn’t matter. Marilee and her girlfriends measured success by the size of the rock, the size of the house, the cut of their man’s suit, the silk in the shirt and tie, the Italian loafers and the size of their feet. Still a girl couldn’t gamble with her future.
Marilee became a craps then 21 dealer. Later she became a floor supervisor. Then her rotor cuffs went and she got sciatica; the secret ailments of the Vegas dealer. The money for the seventeen operations ate through her savings. The men who once couldn’t leave her alone couldn’t be found. Still she had the town house and some money in a bank account. One day she would get back. She was keeping the money in the account for facial renewal purposes.
The doorbell opened.
Oh, it’s you. Could you get me a cleaning woman?
The tall girl with the thick brunette hair and smile that could have powered Vegas frowned.
Mother you owe two months mortgage. I’m not going to front you any more money.
Lesley I gave you money for law school. You wouldn’t have the life you have if it weren’t for me. Come to think of it, you wouldn’t have life without me.
Marilee wheezed. The cigarettes were beginning to catch up with her. She sat on a chair and put up her swollen legs. Who the hell did Lesley think she was? When she was a girl she had everything Marilee never had. Lesley was smiling. Marilee remembered all the time she had spent arranging people to take Lesley to the orthodontist. All the money gone to Lesley’s mouth. She looked as if she whitened her teeth to the max. Marilee would have approved if she could stand anything about her daughter.
Lesley sat in a chair across from her mother:
I’ll get straight to the point mother. The other day when you were dead to the world in an alcoholic haze I tried cleaning this mess. You’re not at the top of your game mother anymore. Not even close. I found Johnny’s will. He left everything to me. You spent my inheritance and that fabled law school tuition. You paid for one semester. I had to work my way through school but at least I was a good dancer. Yes, mother people wanted to see me dance. I was a headliner, no thanks to you. I know you told people not to hire me. They laughed at you. You were washed up by the time you were my age and never knew it.
You omitted to tell me that I was Johny’s heir. I found the letter he wrote me. He wanted to know me. You wouldn’t let him. You told me he wanted nothing to do with me. You were scared I might like him more than you. You deprived me of knowing my father and I never can forgive you. How you managed to hide everything for so long, god I’ll never know. You knew he had a dangerous job and could be killed at any time. You’re the ultimate bitch mother.
Your bank account–it’s in trust for me. I had your name taken off. This house is in my name. I’m your landlord mother. I paid off the mortgage, and I might just evict you.
Oh, Lesley, stop being so melodramatic and get me a cigarette.
If Karl Rove goes to jail, my heart will burst. The arrogant prick thought he was better than any of us. He thought he was above the law and spent five years secretly investigating the former Alabama governor
This would be a law way overdue. Keeping pot illegal is to nobody’s interests. It’s a very selectively enacted law and just serves to give poorer people and/or Black people records.