Tuesday, September 23, 2014

The Break (Part 6)

Just past nine in the morning a girl with jet-black hair, barefoot, and wearing a t-shirt and panties appeared yawning in the "breakfast room" and began loading up a couple plates with muffins, bagels, butter, and cream cheese.  She also filled a couple glasses with ice and orange juice.  Having worked as a waitress in her youth, she had no question about getting everything up to the room, but was a bit fuzzy-headed and not processing well.  While she stood there staring at the plates, she was aware of a Midwestern voice grousing about "it shouldn't be allowed" and "the very nerve."

     The dark-haired girl turned her head and located the source of the complaints.  It was Maw, Paw, fourteen year old Billy (who had no complaints about the dark-haired girl's appearance), and young Janey, who hoped to look that good in underwear in a few years.  Not be biscuit-shaped like her mother, round and lumpy.
     The dark-haired girl saw no reason to not fuck with the heads of lumpy people from Iowa.  She walked to their table with a growl in the back of her throat.  When she reached the table, she barked, sharply.  Maw and Paw jumped in their seats.  Billy hoped he wasn't asked to stand up, due to the raging hard-on he had.  Janey giggled.  And raucous laughter came from a different table.
     The laughter came from Alvin and a man she'd not met before.  She walked over and gave Alvin a kiss on the forehead, saying, "Morning, sweetie!  Sorry I dropped out so early last night, just the combination of a long day and good whiskey."
     Remembering her request for gentlemanly behavior, Alvin kissed her on the cheek and introduced her to his table-mate, Richard.  "Richard, this is.... Becky Page.  Her and her man are on vacation."
     Richard giggled and said, "You seem to have upset some of your fellow tourists."
     Bekka said, "I guess they plan on never setting foot on the beach.  I'm wearing more here than they do there."
     Richard said, "You look familiar, and the name sounds familiar.  Are you on TV?"
     Bekka said to Alvin, "Should we tell him, or let him wonder?"
     Alvin smiled and said, "Nah, let him figure it out for himself."

     I came downstairs, wondering where my breakfast had made off to.  I'd pulled on jeans and my engineer boots, not in the mood to lace up Doc Martens.  I located Bekka and sat down at the table.
     "Shit!  I'm sorry babe, I ran into Alvin and stopped to talk.  This is his friend Richard."
     "No biggie, I'll just give  you a spanking when we go back upstairs."
     "Promise?" Bekka said with a grin.
     "Now I know where I've seen you!  In porn!" exclaimed Richard.
     "Bingo!" cried Bekka.  "Becky Page, at your service."
     "Oh my God!" came a shrill voice from the other table.  A chubby hand grasped Bekka's arm.  Bekka grasped a finger and pried back in a painful manner.  The woman squawked.
     Paw got to his feet, I jumped to mine. "Throw down, see what happens," I told him.  "This is all them."  He slowly sat back down, then I did.
     Bekka grabbed the woman's hand and purposefully set it on her table.  "Bad touch, El Santo," she growled.  Then in a perky voice, Bekka said, "As you may have heard, my name is Becky.  And yours is....?"
     "I am Angeline Foster," Maw said, glaring hatefully at Bekka.  Maw was still worked  up over having to share space with a trollop.  "I can't believe you just announce to the world that you engage in hellbound behavior.... In front of my children!"  (The children were looking for holes to crawl into; there was no question what hole young Billy had in mind.)
Bekka got up and poured us each some coffee.  Pointing her chair directly at Maw, she said, "We'll come to the 'hell-bound' part in a moment, after I give you a warning: I don't know how things work where you're from, but around here putting your hands on someone is considered a direct challenge, an invitation to brawl.  I highly recommend keeping that in mind when you interact with people in California."
     Bekka took a couple doses of her coffee, then said, "So.  I'm going to hell.  Care to explain why, and by whose authority?"
     "This should be good," I heard Alvin whisper.
     "Under the authority of Christ our Lord!" declared Maw.
     "Nope!  You're wrong!" said Bekka.  "Contemporary pornography didn't exist in the time of Christ, so how could I be condemned for helping make it?  You may as well declare speeding to be a mortal sin, or playing one's stereo too loud.  The closest you'll come is the various letters from Paul, and he was not Christ.  Personally, Paul was really pent-up, he didn't like the fast and loose living going on in Rome or Athens at the time, so he used his relationship with the apostles to fling mud at both societies.
      "You could point to the Sermon on the Mount, but I have issues with that one.  Never seems to have occurred to anyone that Christ was just plain in a rotten mood that day."
     "Testify, sister!" I called out.
     "Seriously, he spends almost all his time hanging around bums and hookers and assholes and scumbags, and he gets along just fine with them.  How could Christ have a problem with some chick making fuck-flicks for a living?  Her'd probably watch them: what the hell, he was single."
     "This is all blasphemy!"  Maw shrieked
     "But ma'am, you still haven't answered the question, why is she going to hell?  She's made some good points to the opposite," said Richard.
     "My god is a kind and loving one, whose son died for the sins of the world.  Sorry yours is such a dick," I threw in.
     Paw growled, "You market in sexual temptation --- look how you're dressed! --- and that is a mortal sin.  You lead men into immoral behavior."
      Bekka laughed.  "You're worried about how I'm dressed?  You're gonna hate being on the fuckin' beach, Lumpy.  And if anything, I lead men, and more than a few women, out of immoral behavior, by providing them with a release.  People get themselves off watching my videos, removing the tension and unhappiness they feel.  They view my videos, they make themselves come, their stress is gone.  They're relieved of the sexual angst they felt.  Oh, and if you suggest masturbation is a mortal sin I'd respond that heaven must be an empty place.  There's two kinds of people: those who masturbate, and liars"
     "It's true," said Alvin.  I masturbated just last night."
     I smiled at Alvin and asked, "Really?  What about?"  Alvin stammered a bit.
     Bekka said, "Alvin.... Should I be flattered?"  Alvin turned red, but looked up at Bekka and gave a shy smile and a nod.  "Aw honey, that's sweet!  Thank you!."
     "You people are all disgusting!  Are all you Californians obsessed with sin as you are?"
     "Well, we try," said Richard.
     "It's a hobby," said Alvin
     "A way of life," I said.
     "A spiritual calling!" said Bekka.
     "We're leaving.  Come on,  kids, let's go pack," Paw said.  The family marched out.

     "It sucks being in my position," said Bekka.
     "What's that?" asked Richard and Alvin.
     "Loving Christ and loathing Christians.  Organized religion is what destroyed faith."
     "Not to sound selfish," I said, "but since they're gone, can I eat now?"
     "Excellent idea," said Bekka.  We dove into our bagels and muffins.

      Ninety minutes later, we were laid, showered, packed, dressed, wired, and had taken one hit each of the MDMA.  Two guesses who were already at the desk when we got there, first guess doesn't count....
     And they were working like steam presses to try and get out of the bill.  Apparently having one's moral sensibilities offended by another guest is the fault of the motel.  The desk clerk was trying to explain the fallacy in that logic.  To kill time, I lifted Bekka onto the counter, she wrapped her legs around my waist, and we made out for a while.  "There they go again!" cried Maw.  "Disgusting!"
     "Oh yes, you're the woman who tried to pick a fight with my girl," I said.  "Your husband was going to join in, too."
     I noticed Billy and Janey had ensconced themselves in the chairs in the lounge area, trying to avoid any connection between themselves and their parents.
     Paw declared in his best Charleton Heston voice, "We know minions of evil when we see them.  There is nothing wrong with combating evil."
     "Oh, I get it," I said, "Becky and me are evil.  Shit buddy, you're gonna love being in Los Angeles.  Even the students at BIOLA will have you pegged as pious shitheads.  Tell me, where are you from?"  In their eyes, Bekka was confirming our evil-ness by kissing and licking and nuzzling my  neck, giving me an electric charge through my whole body.
      "Creston, Iowa.  A town you could learn much from."
     "Do tell, do tell.  Yeah, I hear a big night in Creston is when the Coke machine at the gas station is workin'.  Their newspaper is so rinky-dink they print the crossword puzzle on the front page, above the fold."  The clerk covered a laugh with a cough.
     "Creston is.... a.... fine town...."  Maw caught my attention, she wasn't looking good.  In fact, she was starting to look rather poorly: she was sweaty, turning red, and her breath was wheezing.  Paw was still arguing how discounts should be given to the morally offended.  I decoupled from a slightly confused Bekka, walked over to Maw and asked, "Ma'am, how do you you feel?"
     "Outta breath.... Arm.... hurts...."

     Oh.  Holy.  Fuck.

     I guided her to the lounge area: "Come this way please, I'd like you to lie down on the carpet over here."  I yelled at the desk,  "Hey, dial 911 NOW!  She's got a cardiac goin' on!"   The clerk didn't ask questions, just began dialing then speaking.
     Her breath was wheezy, and her pulse was like a drum roll.  Paw stood over me asking what I was doing with his wife.
     "You know CPR?" I asked him.
     "Um, no....."
     "Well, your wife's just hit the wall.  Pray for your God to send that ambulance fast, 'cos it's been a few years since I took the class, and----- "
     Maw had made a vague popping sound in her chest, which had stopped moving.  She had ceased breathing.
     (Dear lord, I've done enough things that ostensibly  have pissed you off over the years.  This may be another one, because I ain't lettin' you take this woman yet.)
     I tilted her head back and cleared her mouth with my fingers, in case she was chewing gum, then began: breathe, 1,2,3, breathe, 1,2,3, breathe, 1,2,3, breathe, 1,2,3, breathe.....
     ..... And Paw decides I'm molesting his goddamn wife!!  He tries to pull me off in the middle of emergency breathing.  I try to kick at him while not losing count; Bekka, bless her, gives him a running body check to get him off me, yelling , "He's trying to make her breathe, you stupid fuckin' asshole!"
     And she's not breathing and I keep working, blowing hard due to her body mass and it feels like hours are passing and she's still not breathing and where the royal fuck is the ambulance, the people who know what they're doing, please don't die on me lady, you're not mean, just a little ignorant, please breathe this isn't funny i'm so damn tired here please please please breathe you may hate me for how I live my life but I don't hate you, honest, you're a good person and I want you to ----

     ----- live -----

     ----- She suddenly took a violent breath in and moved her head to each side.  I felt her pulse, it was still sprinting, but not nearly as bad.  I held my face in my hands, knelt there, hearing the ambulance pull into the driveway.  I looked at Maw and told her,  "Welcome back."  And I heard applause....  The clerk, Alvin and Richard, a couple housekeepers, the kids.... And Paw.  The last three have tears streaming down their faces and I realize I do too.  So does Bekka, who stopped applauding to get me out of the way of the back board and gurney.  I tried to stand up, but my legs didn't feel like cooperating, so one of the EMTs --- and Paw --- got me into a chair.  Bekka went to the breakfast room and got me some orange juice, rescuing it  from the housekeeper who was about to dispose of it.
     "Bekka dear?" I asked.
     "What's up, baby?"
     "Don't suppose you'll be willing to do the driving today?  I'm in the mood for a Valium."
     "Probably best if you don't get any more high on anything, since you've gotta talk with Ventura PD in a few minutes.  Just standard report stuff, I guess, it's not like you're nailed for anything.  If that was the case, it'd be me they'd want to talk to.  Attempted murder by scandalizing a Midwestern doughnut to death."
     And she was right.  We explained we were "in the entertainment industry" and merely on vacation.  We were waiting to check out when I noticed Maw not looking well, I had her lie down, then she stopped breathing so I performed mouth-to-mouth.  I made a weak joke about usually only speaking to the police when trying to explain how I'd gotten the numbers on the signs mixed up, ha ha ha ha ha ha.  They thanked me for my time and went about their way.
     "It's the end times," I declared.  "I keep having pleasant conversations with cops."
     Bekka queried, "As opposed to.....?"
     "Having  my head bashed into the hood of a Crown Victoria because some city employee with a gun and a badge didn't like my haircut.  And no, I'm not exaggerating."
     "Huh.  That explains why Encinitas cops are all from out of the area.  C'mon, who wouldn't want to be a cop in a mellow seaside town where the biggest problems you run into are teenage beer parties and the occasional house burglary?  I mean, half our cops are on foot patrol, giving directions to tourists.  EPD doesn't have skull-crushers on the force."
     "Fair enough.  The people I've known and bitched about Encinitas PD were usually getting busted for something dumb like an open container violation or smoking a joint on the beach.  Avoidable shit."
     "Speaking of drugs, the cops have left.  Did you still want that Valium, and for me to do the driving today?"
     "Yes and yes.  Let's find a good motel on the beach in Santa Barbara.  We can double up on the Ecstasy and watch the ocean come, like Jeanette and her husband do.  Sound good?"
     "An excellent plan."
     Alvin and Richard came up; they had to make their rounds.  They were fertilizer salesmen, covering that week the stretch between Oxnard out through Santa Paula, Fillmore, Piru, and east along Highway 126, all the way to Magic Mountain.
     Alvin was in a state of awe.  "I've never seen anyone, like....Save another person's life before.  I just wanted to say, that was heroic.  You're a hero.  How did you learn to do that?"
      "They have classes in every  Red Cross in the country, and they're cheap.  It just seemed like the right thing to to in an afternoon, you know?  Take the course, hope you never need to use it, and take the refresher courses so you don't forget what you're doing.  I'm out of date by three years so I was out of practice.  Bud, I was scared to death working on her."
     Richard said, "But you did it.  You pulled it off.  Like Alvin said, you're a hero, and I'd be honored to shake your hand."
     Alvin said, "Me too."
     I shook hands with both of them.  Alvin turned to Bekka and said, "You've got a hell of a man.  Don't lose him."
     Bekka looked at them, then me, then back at them and said, "I'm gonna keep him around.  He never ceases to amaze me."
     They said goodbye and headed for the door.

     Our suitcases and toiletries bag, the one with all the drugs in it, were sitting next to the chair Bekka was in, across from me.  The lobby was quiet: just Bekka and myself, and the clerk taking care of paperwork.  I wondered absentmindedly if there was any special form to be filled out for having a guest nearly croak in the lobby.  Was it different from if they'd nearly popped off in their room, or out by the swimming pool, or.....
     I sat and watched my knees tremble briefly.  "Bekka, that all just happened, right?"
     "What do you mean, Lenny?"
     "I mean the big woman from Iowa having the coronary and her stopping breathing, and me giving her mouth-to-mouth, and her husband trying to stop me, and her starting to breathe again and the ambulances and fire engines and EMTs and everyone.  It's weird, it feels like a fugue state, like we watched it on TV before we came down here.  I hope she's okay.  Her and her husband aren't bad people, just ignorant and scared of the world around them, who knows why they chose California to vacation, they've been better off at the Wisconsin Dells, maybe we shouldn't have teased them so much, I feel bad for doing that 'cos they weren't mean they're just scared and you shouldn't give people shit for being scared....."
     Rock & roll nurse Bekka dug in the bag and pulled out two Valium, which she handed to me along with the orange juice.  "It all happened, Lenny.  You saved that woman's life."  She sniffled.  "You did something very few people can ever claim to have done, and I'm proud of you.  Proud to be with you.  You're a hero."
     The Valium didn't have time to kick in, but I was feeling better, so we checked out, fired up, and hit the road.... Momentarily.  The Falcon was a cold-blooded old beast, and needed a few minutes to idle to warm, otherwise it would kick and sputter.  Bekka held my hand while we sat which I needed.
     "You're stressed," she said.
     "How can you tell?"
     "You're cutting off the circulation to my hand.  What's going on?"
     I sighed and said, "You're the third person to call me a fuckin' hero.  So I took the classes and did what they told me.  That doesn't make me a hero, it makes me  someone who can follow instructions well."
     "You'd better accept it.  There is now a small group of people who will think to themselves, 'I met a hero.  He had bleached hair and cherry-red Doc Martens and a sexy girlfriend, and I watched him save the life of a lumpy woman from Iowa.  And he was human enough to cry from relief when it was all over with."

     It hit me like a mallet.  "Turn around, we have to go to the hospital.  Please!"
     "What on earth for?"
     "I have to apologize to that family.  I hectored that woman into a heart attack, it was my fault she's in the hospital."
     Bekka gave me a worried look.  "If anyone needs to apologize, it's me.... And It wasn't me, it was the fact that she smoked two packs a day and was morbidly obese, living on gravy and fried chicken.  I skulked behind the EMTs and the family and heard them talking.  They weren't talking about porn-monster punk rockers pushing her over the edge, they were talking about how they knew how bad her health was.  Honest Lenny, it wasn't us at all."
     "Please Bekka, this is important to me.  I just want to see how they're all doing."
     "Okay we'll do this."  She flipped a 'U' in the middle of the block and headed back to the motel for directions.

     We were given good instructions and were at the hospital ER lot in under ten minutes.  We walked into the waiting room and spotted Paw, Billy, and Janey huddled together or those miserable chairs.  They didn't notice us until we were directly in front of them.
     The responses  of the various Fosters  varied wildly.  Paw was utterly confused by our presence, as if we were there to harass them some more.  Janey seemed happy that the cool interesting people had retrurned.  And Billy was suppressing his joy --- barely --- that the most beautiful woman he'd ever seen in person was in his presence; wearing a halter top and short shorts.
     I cut to the chase and said, "We were worried about her, we wanted to see how she was hanging in."
     Paw explained, "she's going to have multiple bypass surgery; they've already started.  Her heart was off the tracks.  You getting her breathing going again is what did the trick.  I don't know.... I can't say what...."  And the human body's ability to generate tears once again continued to amaze me.
     Bekka said, "have you prayed for her yet?  Seems like the right thing to do.  My Mama died of leukemia, I know that more prayer happens in ER waiting rooms than anywhere else, including most churches."
Paw Foster said, "Are you sure it won't disturb people?"
      Bekka said, "Fuck 'em if--- sorry, to heck with 'em if it does.  Hands?"
     We joined hands and Bekka said, " Dear lord, please listen up.  We have important shit to say.  Angeline Foster, one of your flock, needs your help big time.  She needs to have multiple bypass surgery, they're doing the work on her right now, and we're asking for your strength to get her through this, the strength you have.
     "We're just mortals, we ain't got shit on you and your unending wisdom and power.  Please, please keep Angeline with us, with her family who loves her dearly, and her friends and fellow church members.  You got it all, lord.  Please do your your work.  You know we love you, so stay close to  us.  In Jesus' name we pray, amen.."
     A chorus of "Amens" went through, with Billy and Janey  telling Bekka what a cool prayer that  was.  They'd never heard one like that one before.  Knowing what was coming from Paw, Bekka explained, "It's not the words , it's the message.  Jesus and God know me, and love me, so they don't worry about how I express myself.  It's all in the message, you know?"
     We passed out hugs to everyone.  My hug to Billy  and Paw was a bit stilted --- men don't hug other men --- but they figured it out after a couple seconds.  Janey was happy to be hugging the two most cool human beings on the planet, and Billy's hug of Bekka had provided him with sexual fantasies to last him until his mid-twenties.  Janey  wanted to know where to buy the cool boots we were wearing; we told her she could find them in whatever the largest college town Iowa has, and they came in all sorts of styles.  She could also check local record shops for advice on where to get them in Ventura and Oxnard.  I couldn't help but feel like we'd build a thirteen year old trendy.
      After our meeting with the Fosters, we went to the gift shop  and arranged to have the biggest damn bouquet they had delivered to her room when she was in a room and conscious.  Then we cornered Paw Foster and told him to return to the motel, he'd find there was four days paid up on a room.  Don't ask questions, sir.

     ""Feeling better?" asked Bekka."
     "Infinitely," I replied, slouching into the seat and falling into a doze.



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