BLOOD ON THE CONCRETE HARDWOOD CH.5 - CALL THE 'TROTTERS
By Debbie Davis
“I need a phone, Nancy, er, Clive,” you say, holding out your wing.
Clive’s eyes dart to the door his ninja-like mother just fled from before shrugging and handing you a cell phone. It’s large and looks like a brick, and you briefly ponder where the cord and suitcase is that goes with it. Your fingers are not easily accessible, dressed as you currently are, so you do the most natural thing in the world and use your beak to dial the number.
“Good evening,” a voice says on the other end of the phone. “Kentucky Fried Chicken, will your order be for pick up or delivery?”
You scream in horror and throw the phone at Clive’s head. He ducks. You miss.
His eyebrows furrow, and with his face all crunched up like that, you see a strong resemblance between him and his mother. Wordlessly and with a calm that warns of an impending storm, he picks up the phone and hands it to you.
You beak-dial again, praying you get the numbers right this time.
“What up?” Curly’s familiar voice answers. You are sure the cadence of his voice saving your ass is the sweetest sound you’ve ever heard.
“Curly,” you say. “It’s me.”
“Who is me?” Curly asks.
“It’s the boss.”
“Wrong number, my friend. We don’t have a boss. He quit. Said something along the lines of takin’ on more than he can handle. Went all jellyfish. A nancy.”
“I changed my mind,” you say with as much conviction as you can manage, which isn’t much.
“Curly!” Sweetwater’s voice thunders in the background so loud, your eardrum actually vibrates. “GET. THE. FUCK. OFF. MY. PHONE.”
“Gotta go,” Curly says.
“Wait!” You practically scream. “Please Curly, I didn’t mean to get all nancy on you. I’m sorry.” You feel a river of tears welling in your eyes just like the nancy you don’t mean to be. Chalk it up to the chicken suit, but you’re an emotional wreck.
You spend the next two hours telling Curly your problems as Clive listens on. You tell him that you never quite fit in at school, that your mother babied you far past the appropriate age of being babied, that your first real girlfriend cheated on you, that when you look in the mirror you see a balding, middle aged bachelor, even though you know you have body dysmorphic disorder.
Curly gently tells you that isn’t the body dysmorphic disorder.
By the time Curly agrees to get the boys together to collect you and you hang up, Clive is teary eyed also and holding his arms out for a hug. Much to your disgust, you step forward into his waiting arms. You’re still wrapped in their comfort when the door flies open so hard it almost splinters.
Sweetwater is waving something in his hand above his head frantically. It’s a piece of paper. He’s screaming like a depraved lunatic. “This is your fault!” He says.
You look behind him, trying to see Curly or the rest of the trotters, but it’s only Sweetwater.
You step away from Clive. “What are you talking about, Sweetwater?”
“This!” He screams. “My god damned phone bill. It’s more than I make in a year!”
You step forward to calm him and notice his eyes are devoid of any kind of connection to you. They’re glazed over with hatred. “Calm down,” you tell him. As you reach your hand out to grab the paper, Sweetwater goes all kung fu and the next thing you know his hands are wrapped around your neck. And squeeze so hard, you think your beak might burst.
You gasp to catch your breath and look into his soulless eyes. As you feel your life slipping away, you can’t help but think he’s got the worst roaming charges ever.