"Something's Up" In America's Big Berg
Selected Poems from The Alaska Mystery Collection
and The Tree Series
by Paula Marie Rose
How does the music move ya? Especially when "Baby" and "Love" are in the lyrics? Patterns, Patterns! They just aren't for sewing.
"We must always have old memories and young hopes."
1 22 25 26 30 40
"Ya can't make this stuff up!", as the old saying goes. Nor is there any need to. I dunna know about how you and your family members interact, but here's just another stellar example of unusual or odd events occuring in my life, and folks I know don't ask the right questions, or none at all.
Anyone who knows my siblings, even casually, can recall how they usually can't wait to find out what's new, and who's involved. The questions usually start flying before any action does; so for me to be in Charlotte less than one week, and having a person visit me who didn't know the local freeways and streets was an unprecedented event. Nary a peep from either sibling as to "Who's on the phone? Who is she giving directions to? Why are they coming here?", or anything even remotely close to their baseline standard of inquisitiveness.
September 30, 2012. The arrival of a not so secret secret agent man, of some sort.
Sunday evening, Jeff arrived from Ohio with his mixed breed female dog, and this side of worse for wear pickup truck. The passenger side rear window was neatly covered with rows of grey duct tape that would impress any Alaskan who has used duct tape for DIY auto body repair. Both rear tail lights had been patched with red tape, the rear bumper was bent, and the tailgate gapped away from the side a bit, at least on the passenger's side. A rooftop carrier that reminded me of a giant dishrack was somehow connected to the top of the canopy.
A medium sized dark colored dog was perched on the driver's seat. He said she was Black Lab and German Shepard, but her body looks like the Black Lab female my ex husband has, with a head similar to a Pit Bull. Not a spec of German Shepard to my non DVM trained eyes.
I asked, casually, "what's her name?"
"Baby," he replied. "I got her on Craigslist."
He added, "And don't let her get loose, because she's really hard to catch."
My ears perked right up on that name, as my last date, back on March 10, used that same name of "Baby", when he referred to me. His name is Vern, and he and I met via Craigslist back in early 2008.
Jeff and I had discussed possibly going camping together up in the upper quad of the Eastern US to scout out some areas he might be interested in purchasing, and doing some Leaf Peeping.
For approximately the last 2 years, via email and on the phone, he had repeatedly stated that he was going to come out to CA, and that we should go camping. I knew he wouldn't, and he never came out to CA to visit me. I did wonder why he repeated that subject so many times, and for whose benefit it was, but I played along with the "I'll believe it when I see it" line.
NC is much closer to Ohio, and I knew he'd arrive here in short order, altho I didn't mention it to anyone, nor did I prepare to go on any camping or road trip. I knew it would be necessary for my family members to be around for the benefit of his production, and they are. Shades of our family interactions from 2007 and 2008 (chronicaled throughout Frozen Fiefdom) would soon be casting large shadows on the pleasant Charlotte evening.
He phoned about 7:15 pm for directions off the interstate to the cross streets I had previously provided via email. There was no way in Hell I was going to give him my sister's address, being as I am her guest, and he and I had never met in person. My lack of local knowledge of the streets and intersections was not helpful, but I handed a visiting neighbor gal my phone, and she expertly provided turn by turn directions, almost to the front door. I had reached for the phone as I heard her mention the street name which was one over from the house, but she kept talking as I glanced out the window and saw his truck toolin' down the street towards the house.
"I was planning to meet him up at the corner," I explained, as I bolted for the door.
"Be sure to invite him in!," she called after me.
Since neither my sister nor my brother seemed curious as to who was visiting me from out of town (how odd, Sniff Sniff!), I decided to greet him outside and take an extended stroll around the neighborhood and over to the huge cemetery; his rambunctious dog enjoyed some much needed exercise.
A few minutes into our walk, addressed me as "Marilyn."
"You know my name isn't Marilyn."
He kinda smirked and said, "It is now."
I believe I raised an eyebrow as I looked at him with my less than best smile.
He hurriedly said, "Well, OK. If you could have any name, what would you choose?"
"Jane," I replied.
"Jane," he repeated.
As we were strolling up the road to the CVS to see if they sold dog collars or harnesses as "Baby" was wearing a collar and leash combo that was fashioned from a sturdy piece of rope. The dog was gasping, wheezing and choking as she pulled; at one point, he picked her up, and somehow draped her over his neck.
"He is one piece a work," I thought to myself. His head was pushed forward and both he and the dog appeared to be in highly uncomfortable positions.
After a few paces up the street while the dog struggled and he appeared to be not enjoying the walk either, I said, "For God's Sake, put her down! She doesn't like that."
He complied, and appeared to be relieved that the charade was over. I suggested that he invest some time and effort in participating in a dog obedience class, and that I could recommend a few good books on dog training. He agreed the class might be a good idea. From time to time on that leg of the walk to the CVS, he made an odd gesture of extending his hand behind and around my back, as if he was going to wrap his arm around my waist, but didn't. The first time he did it, I asked "Why did you do that?"
"Do what?" he replied.
After a few more of those less than smooth moves, my curiousity and common sense got the best of me: I stopped, turned sideways, and said "Knock it off."
He stepped forward a pace and mumbled down towards his chest, "Lightening Fast."
"Who ya mumbling to, Elves?," I asked.
"Lightening," he mumbled again, into his chest.
(That odd style of mumbling continued throughout the evening, and during most of the following day.)
See my defination of "Elves" under the chapter entitled "
WHO IS, WHAT IS? (Link) "WHO IS, WHAT IS"
"What did you say, Marilyn?," he asked.
We all know who Marilyn Monroe was, and what happened to her.
As we neared the CVS, he seemed befuddled as to who would stay with the dog while we were inside. I explained that I was perfectly capable of staying outside with her, while he went in to check the pet section. I knew they wouldn't have what he needed for his dog, but I thought he needed a few minutes alone.
He walked out empty handed, as expected, and we wandered over to the cemetery.
As we strolled down the winding roads talking, he would periodically stop and lift his dog into a full face to face embrace, or have her head looking over either of his shoulders. I was already on full point, knowing that "Something's Up" with his being in NC, and clearly not for my benefit. I wondered what the almost constant parade of charades was about, and knew I'd know, PDQ.
Shortly after 10:pm, Gail phoned and said "Paula!"
I replied, "We're at the cemetery walking around, he has a dog."
I didn't have my house key with me, so I asked her to leave the door unlocked, as she was going to bed. Jeff and I took another lap around the cemetery, and stopped to sit a spell on a bench. While we were seated, he would periodically pick up the dog, and try to hold her in a position on his lap with her facing outward, or again with placing her in positions so that he was hugging her, and she had a head on his shoulder.
"Baby" ain't no lap dog, folks!
My guesstimate would be she weighs about 45 pounds or more.
Yet Jeff would repeatedly hold her as one might hold a lover; however unsuccessfully, or briefly the "pose" would be held.
We spent several hours in total talking that evening, as I had many questions, and he provided damn few real answers. For someone I've never met in person, and who appears to have almost "insider" information about me and some of those I know; I knew I wasn't going to get much in the way of factual information, but I'd glean a few straws from the piles of BS he tends to deliver while using various tones of voice coupled with bad foreign accents.
October 1, 2012. Monday mid morning, he arrived for coffee wearing what appeared to be the same clothing from the night before, and to take me out for lunch. He and Mark exchanged greetings, and I finished cleaning the bathroom, while he drank coffee and cruised the net on my laptop. After a few minutes, he said "I'm going out to change my shirt, it smells." I hadn't noticed any nasty BO, but his truck was filled with camping gear, so I presumed he'd spent the night in it. He returned wearing a long sleeved tee, and the same jeans and hiking style boots (unlaced). I glanced at the screen as I reached for my boots and socks, and exclaimed "Wow! Tyco's takin' a dive. What happened?" And he said something about an acquisition, and Mark mentioned how he'd lost money on Tyco years ago.
Out the door and into a day filled with more fodder for Frozen Fiefdom. Jeff had an odd habit of whistling a few bars intermittently from a tune I didn't recognize, and spent much of the time we were together shopping, eating, and driving around Charlotte speaking with a stilted and poorly contrived British accent, ogling my body, and making more than a few sexual innuendos.
When I asked him why he was using that particular accent, he said: "Well, you told me you had dated a wealthy English guy, so I thought you'd like it."
"Not me," I replied. "You must have me confused with another of your Targets."
Jeff said nothing, and stared straight ahead.
I suggested we take his dog for a short walk around the neighborhood, prior to the trip to Walmart. "Good idea," he replied, as "Baby" bounded out of the truck with apparent doggie delight.
A minute or 2 into the walk, "Baby" hunched up and assumed the position for taking a crap. He whipped out a poop bag, and scooped up the deposit. Somehow, as I handed him the rope leash, one of us fumbled, and she was off and running like a Greyhound at the racetrack.
"My fault!" Jeff yelled up into the air, as he took off after her, but his unlaced boots slowed him down a bit. I don't know who he was "talking" to, but there wasn't anyone around but me, and I wasn't passing blame. And it was much louder than any of his regular whispers/mumbles to the Elves. Maybe some were on sky patrol?
I was wearing high heeled boots which I knew would be useless on a dog chase. I'd holler "Come Baby!" or "Here Baby!" as she weaved in and out through the adjacent yards, and would disappear behind houses and shrubs. I stood on the sidewalk, holding the bag of dog crap, and tried to grab her the few times she zipped by me.
A passing police car stopped by, and through his unrolled window the Officer said: "Looks like ya got a runner there," with more than a hint of amusement in his voice. He opened up his door and made an attempt to grab her as she headed in his direction. Close, but not close enough; she zoomed past, and the chase continued. A few more unsuccessful attempts by all were made, and she was finally caught by Jeff in an impressive tackle on a neighbor's driveway.
We returned to the truck, and due to the piles of change and assorted debris, Jeff took a few minutes to clear the clutter and make room for me. Looking at the stained and sort of icky looking seat rather dubiously, I asked if he had a towel or something I could sit on. He rummaged around in the back and arranged 2 freshly laundered towels on the seat. I explained one would have been more than adequate, he insisted on using both, and said he had another.
After a stop at gas station up on Monroe Road, I thought we were heading for the nearby Walmart. He was driving, and I mentioned when he was headed in the wrong direction for our current destination, he said: "I know there's a Walmart back over that way, so we'll go there."
I was a tad disappointed, as I actually Knew where the Galleria Plaza Walmart was located, and had been there just a few days prior. And for me, who has an extemely poor sense of direction and location, it was a tiny blow to my ego. Being my usually agreeable self, I nodded in agreement, and down Monroe Road we went.
I figured he has some sort of an agenda, and I had all day to try to figure it out. Cruising down the highway somewhere off Independence, we both saw a Walmart. Only thing was, he seemed unable to figure out how to get there. After taking an exit, and turning around on a residential street, once again, we headed back in the direction from where we had just came from. I said, "I know how to get to the other Walmart, so let's go there."
As I was exiting the truck, his dog began barking. She was in back, under the canopy, and was probably eager to get out. A older woman passed by, stood near the back, and said "Is that a German Shepard?"
The windows appeared to be rather tinted, if I recall correctly, and I don't know how she could have come to her conclusion, due to the limited visiblity, and she wasn't exactly nose to the glass. Jeff replied with his standard line of Black Lab and German Shepard Mix, and I stood nearby, and thought "Lady, them must be some kinda eyeglasses you're wearing. Ya can't see into the back of that truck too easily, and that dog is unlike any German Shepard or German Shepard Mix that I've ever seen."
Jeff offered to let her see "Baby", and the woman stated it wasn't necessary. He whipped open the top, and let the woman have a look. She said something about the dog, and said, "So, you're traveling."
I smiled and shook my head, and replied: "He is, I'm not." I mentioned for her to have a nice day, and I turned to head into the Walmart, as Jeff locked the canopy.
We wandered around a bit, and finally found the pet section. He examined the assorted colors, sizes, and styles of collars, leashes, and harnesses, while making a few statements as to their possible use during sexual activity. I made some comment about that not being my bag and that we weren't going to be hittin' the sack together, but he certainly could look up a former landlady of mine, who earned a living as a Dominatrix, on his next trip to L.A. She's listed under the WHO IS, WHAT IS section.
He wanted to make another lap around the store with me, while clutching the bright red collar, harness, and leash. He was apparently so excited with his purchase and perhaps his future dual purpose use of it, that he headed for the exit without stopping at the checkstand. I reminded him that paying was important, and there was an available checkstand.
Who'da thunk there's so much behind the scenes action happenin' in the aisles at Walmart?
At the truck, he immediately discovered the collar was too large for the dog, but he could punch another hole in it at a later time. Inspecting the harness, he slid the adjustable parts around a bit, and proceeded to put the dog's paws into position. She's a bit unruly, and it took a couple of attempts; he snapped it together, as I handed him the leash. After a few laps around the a portion of the parking lot, I announced that I was hungry, and suggested we find a place to have lunch.
We went into the Party Store and Dollar Tree, as he was looking for some sort of Alien doo dad to put on his head, "to play along with the theme," he said. I don't know what "theme" he was referring to, as I'm an ordinary looking human being and was wearing an attractive print blouse, jeans, and stylish boots. Nothing Alien about my attire. Aliens must not be a hot costume trend this year, as he was unable to locate whatever he was looking for, and I was pleasantly pleased. We passed by a display of Glow in the Dark Wands, and he suggested we purchase one for my sister Gail. The wand stick was a brilliant shade of green with a star for the top, and it would have been a perfect gag gift for a "Wand Waver."
"No," I said firmly. "She doesn't need more crap and clutter," and I was becoming grumpy and short tempered, due to a lack of food.
Boy, Oh Boy! The Tells of his real Mission and purpose for being here in Charlotte to see me were becoming crystal clear. And it wasn't a good thing.
I adjusted the towels on the passenger's seat a bit, and plopped down. Jeff climbed in, and asked what kind of food I would like. After a few laps around the parking lot and across the street or something, we landed at a Chinese place, Big Wok. I was getting a headache, so after glancing at the menu posted on the window, we stepped inside to order.
I like spicy food, so I ordered Schezwan Beef, and he ordered General Chicken and some sort of soup. I wasn't sure if that was a misprint, and it going to be General Tso's Chicken, but I was too hungry to care. He paid with a large bill, and I handed him the coins needed for the change. We sat near the back, and I went to the restroom to wash. He was eating his soup, and the Fortune Cookies were laying on the table, next to the small cup of chili sauce.
The food arrived, and looked and smelled yummy. I dug in with enthusiasm, and enjoyed every bite. Jeff had a few bites of each dish and some rice, and agreed it was good, but he said he doesn't eat very much at one time.
I have no self imposed dietary restrictions, and helped myself to a second serving.
I was intermittently too warm and a bit chilly, so I had my jacket on during part of our meal. He leaned over to peer at the label , and asked if it were REI. I couldn't tell, and was experiencing a mild hot flash, so I removed it, and handed it for him to inspect. He looked at the inside label, and said it aloud. I said I had purchased it at ROSS, and I really liked it. He passed it back to me, and never mentioned it again.
For some reason, he was especially keen for us opening our Fortune Cookies ASAP.
They were both pointing in his direction, so I suggested we put them in something and mix them up. Into his hat they went, and he passed it to me.
Reaching in, I pulled out one and remarked "Geez! It's hot in there!"
"My head is hot," he explained, unnecessarily.
I did notice during our time in the Big Wok, that he would take his cap off and on, almost like on cue or something. But I didn't say anything, cuz I was busy absorbing his actions and words.
I dunna know what he learned about good manners, but when I was growing up, hats were never worn indoors by well bred males, and certainly never at the table. I'll bet he had the same No Hats at the Table rules in his parents' house, because he is younger than I am, but not decades. And having good manners is always in style.
Out of the blue, he asked me if I'd ever had a Lesbian sexual encounter, and then moved on to the subject of a menage a trois. Exasperation was slowly surfacing, as he seemed to be finding any opportunity to raise the topic of sex, in all the various ways and means in which it can be experienced. I explained to him that having three people simultaneously participating in a sexual act was at least one too many for me. Then I said, "I hear it's a very common fantasy of many men." I don't recall his answer, as he might not have responded. I then said something like: It seems that you're interested in being with another man in that."
The look on his face is why the term "KODAK Moment" will not leave the vernacular of photographers for at least another century, if ever.
Sing it, Paul.
Full Disclosure: I am a current common stock shareholder of Eastman Kodak Co., which is currently in BK. Looks like we common stock shareholders are going to be wiped out, but that's the chance one takes, when investing in stocks. I also have 2 Nikon cameras, and a photography website; some of my photos on that site were originally taken on Kodak film.
I have a little knowledge of photo editing, and I know that anything can be made to appear as something else. Take out the dog, replace with a woman. Replace the woman holding a red mesh dog collar in the pet section, with a likeness of her holding one made for some BDSM activity. Film a threesome with bodies similar to folks you want to run into the ground, and edit their faces to serve your purposes. Make an animal one of the participants, and you have yourself a crime in progress, and on some form of visual media which will pass as valid if any "expert" will testify it is unaltered.
Happens every day, somewhere on the planet.
A stop at the Harris Teeter was on his agenda, as he claimed he only feeds his dog people food and chicken was on the menu that afternoon. For some reason he wanted to dilly dally in the aisles, and I had worked up a thirst, so a 6 pack of bottled water was my selection. He settled on a roasted chicken for his dog (said her name was Baby, but he never called her by name) and we were off the cemetery, so he could feed her and we could take another stroll.
My Fortune and numbers appear at the top of the page. I don't have Jeff's, as I used the numbers on his to purchase a Powerball Lottery Ticket at the Harris Teeter, which I tucked into his glove box with the form, his ticket, the receipt, and the Fortune Cookie slip. The order of the numbers on his slip didn't work exactly for the PowerBall, as 40 was his last number, and they don't go that high. I suggested he reverse the first and last numbers of his slip, and put the 2 down as the Powerball, and the 40 in the box of the first five numbers. He did. I pulled out $2, and put my CA driver's license on the surface to be scanned. "Barcode Rejected" appeared on the screen. I suggested he try his, and he received the same message. He looked closely at the machine and there was a specific statement about scanning a NC Driver's license. I explained to a cashier that we were from out of state, and weren't able to purchase a lottery ticket. She smiled, and directed us to the Customer Service booth, where the attendant cheerfully completed the transaction. Jeff had offered to provide $1, so that he and I could split any possible winnings 50/50. I insisted it was a gift to him from me, and paid the $2.
He said it was time for "Baby" to eat, and was apparently considering the Harris Teeter parking lot as a place to put down her bowl. I suggested we return to the cemetery and feed her there, and have a walk.
I thought a $6.99 roasted chicken was a pretty spendy meal for a dog; especially one which would benefit much more by having the money put towards Dog Obedience Training. But he didn't ask for my opinion, and I noticed he did have a few bites, while he was preparing her bowlful. It smelled delicious, and he could use a few pounds. "Baby" wolfed down the bowl of chicken, and we all walked through the cemetery up towards the CVS. I had a headache and wanted the walk back to the house alone. He and "Baby" crossed the intersection with me, and we exchanged a rather stiff and awkward hug while standing on the sidewalk.
Throughout the day, just as he had done the night before, he repeatedly commented on my figure; a Tick or a Tell which I found to be highly annoying after the first ogling. It ain't bad for an old broad, but hardly worthy of the level of appreciation he apparently had for it.
He made a few attempts to brush up against me, and reached the pinnacle of juvenile behavior by doing a few air kisses in the direction of my chest and face while standing in various places, including the walkway outside the front door, when he returned to deliver the remaining Chinese food which I had left in his truck, as I had chosen to walk home from the cemetery. I had some of it last night for dinner, and offered Gail the container of white rice, which she took for part of her lunch today.
While we were standing on the walkway in front of Gail's house, he said: "You know we'll never see each other again.
I replied, "Yes. That's probably true."
Then he lowered his head and made some sort of kissing motion into his upturned palm. He looked in my direction and said "I Love You", moments before he turned and walked away.
Nineteen Eighty-Four, Encore.