Tag Archives: Macallan

Something akin to an epilog

It turned out that Walt preferred being a dog, all instinct, and oh, don’t get him started about all the information coming in through that marvelous nose. It was as if he’d been living in a flat, soundless world suddenly endowed with dimension and orchestration. Sure, he missed his thumbs and the ability to grasp objects with something other than his mouth. He both missed speech and welcomed its absence. And he no longer had to waste his time selecting and wearing clothes. Freedom.

Susannah Fontaine-Williams and Walt bonded. His former owner, the very responsible, ethical and momentarily heartbroken Vanessa Schlage, heiress of the Schlage lock fortune, had neutered Walt when he was still her Vernon. Are you following this? And his attraction to SFW turned into something more canine and pure. Perhaps something like love even.

Walt often thought about what had become of the creature in whose body he’d materialized. Of course, living with a dog mind meant he really couldn’t think deeply about things, so distracted was he by smells, things flashing past, sounds near and distant, urges to lick himself, itches, and visions. All these and more would banish thoughts until something new gained his attention. Anyway, was Vernon lurking within, obedient, subservient, waiting for Walt to vacate the premises so he could bound home to Ms. Schlage?

Vanessa Schlage played her part and papered Manhattan and Brooklyn with pictures of Vernon/Walt and offered a respectable but not excessive reward. She fantasized about his return even after her best friend Ethan had presented her with twin puppies that closely resembled her lost companion. For weeks, though she spent hours staring at an unopened bottle of gin, she didn’t open it and remained sober, thank goodness. I don’t like writing about alcoholism.

Susannah had, with the help of Walt’s nods, facial expressions, and paw gestures, worked out what happened. Obviously (well, duh), the bag had dragged Walt in and spat out all that was Walt in the form of a tasty treat to be gobbled by a passing living thing. Once consumed, Walt’s essence took hold and that was that. They debated bringing Walt back to the bag’s storage pod entrance so he could be devoured by a human, but that had more serious ethical issues that neither wanted to address just then. Though he now aged seven times more quickly than she, they had time to work out an exit strategy.

Susannah, with the convenient advent of Second Susannah, enjoyed an even fuller life if you can imagine that. Second Susannah appeared when needed, performed her task as admirably as if she were the first Susannah, then drifted away like mist. Original Susannah absorbed her memories and experiences and after a few years passed stopped thinking about it, as if this were a perfectly natural and normal feature of human existence. It made shopping so much easier. Necessities were taken care of: a stocked fridge, public appearances when she’d rather binge-watch Deadwood or Breaking Bad, someone to look after Walt on those occasions that she could not bring him along.

Walt loved car rides and Susannah Fontaine-Williams bought a powder blue 1963 Corvette Stingray convertible for their Sunday road trips. Macallan, a classic car aficionado, helped her with the purchase and dutifully handled the Stingray’s maintenance. She would wear big sunglasses and a long, flowing head scarf and would outfit Walt with goggles, which he didn’t mind. It kept the grime and insects out of his eyes and he appreciated that.

She set up a limited liability corporation – to be on the safe side – and bought the building on Canal with Walt’s basement workshop, and kept the counterfeit bag store going and the employees employed. She put a gigantic lock on the door and rigged up some Dropcams so she could check in on the pod from time to time. She pounded out the nail on the twenty-seventh step so she wouldn’t step on it if she ever went back down there. It cost a medium fortune but proved to be a solid investment.

Susannah had a simple Steinway baby grand in her Manhattan apartment, and one in the shore house as well. (She once turned down a scholarship at Juilliard so she could train for the Olympics and backpack the Andes – you can’t do everything.) The piano initially caused Walt much distress as his lack of fingers and dexterity prevented his playing. Once, she found him standing on the piano bench, paws on the keyboard, clinking the keys and howling. He eventually took pleasure in curling up at her feet while she played.

One August Sunday, she’d been reading the Times and it referenced an exhibit of recently unearthed Egyptian artifacts. She wasn’t interested, but Walt’s eyes caught the photo of the mysterious knife with the ivory handle and the intricately carved ankh, the one she had used to defend herself against the serial killer in Delos. He leapt to his paws and barked and pointed. She stared at it. “I guess I’ll have to go over there and steal it, won’t I? Oh yes I will, won’t I, Walt! Won’t I!” She was talking in that enthusiastic way people talk to dogs sometimes. “Will you miss me? I won’t be long and besides, other me will be here with you. I bet you can’t tell the difference, can you? Can you, Waltie?”

Walt hadn’t really thought about it ’til then. She scratched him behind the ears and he rolled over onto his back so she could rub his belly.

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What about Bob?

Bob is standing next to Susannah Fontaine-Williams’s hospital bed. Macallan slouches in a chair on the other side of the bed, eyes shut, a crossword puzzle on his lap. Bob grasps her hands in his. A Dylan song plays dreamily, coming from someone’s phone or tablet.  (Bob backstory here.)

My love, she speaks like silence
Without ideals or violence

“What happened to you?” he whispers. Her hair is frizzed and tangled and the dividing line of a sunburn runs from her hairline to where it disappears at her neckline. Susannah stretches her legs and toes, yawning. She is too tired to open her eyes.

“Where are the kids?” she asks. “Are the kids here?”

“Mrs. Quackenbush is with them. They’re sound asleep.”

“More likely watching a movie and eating ice pops.”

“More likely,” Bob laughs.

“Bob honey,” she says. “You know that guy in Greece they found?”

“You mean the couple on the boat?”

“Uh-uh. The guy that killed that couple.”

“They’re still looking for him. They’re looking for the woman in the hat, too.”

“Oh, that’s good.” She drifts off and in a moment she snores herself awake again. She opens her eyes and sees Macallan. The dividing curtain is open and the handcuffed man is watching her.

She doesn’t have to say she’s faithful
Yet she’s true like ice, like fire

“Hello,” Susannah Fontaine-WIlliams says.

“Hey,” he says. His voice is scratchy and he coughs.

Macallan stirs. “Susannah, you’re awake.”

“Mac… What are you doing here? What am I doing here? Where is here? I’m in a hospital,” she concludes, satisfied.

“Apparently you were electrocuted.”

She squints and scrunches up her face as if she’d just bitten into a lemon. “I was electrocuted?”

She runs her fingers in her hair, or tries to. “My hair,” she says. “Is there a brush anywhere?”

“Who were you talking to just now?”

“The gentleman in the other bed. Would you mind handing me my bag?”

“No, there was a visitor. You called him ‘Bob.’”

“Bob was here? He’s just imaginary, silly. He’s my make believe husband. We have make believe triplets.” (More about Bob here.)

“Really?”

“Two boys and a girl. I think. Maybe it’s the other way around.”

“He’s tall…telegenic, like you.

She props herself up on her elbows and stares him down.  The effort tires her quickly and she shakes her head and drops back down onto the pillow. “You were dreaming. Hand me my bag, please.”

“I saw him too,” the stranger rasps. “Good lookin’ guy. Tall. And them kids weren’t with no babysitter neither. Swear to god, they were sittin’ right outside the door, cute as buttons, makin’ faces at me.”

Statues made of matchsticks
Crumble into one another
My love winks, she does not bother
She knows too much to argue or to judge

The man coughs again. “Allergies.”

Visiting hours

Macallan doesn’t mind hospitals the way other people do. He gets some peace, some quiet, finds some meditation in the beeps and blinks of monitors and equipment. Hospitals are interesting mixtures of folks either waiting to die or desperate not to, sometimes sharing the same hospital suite.

Susannah Fontaine-Williams, still unconscious, lay in the bed next to the window. Mac sat beside her, the unstarted Monday Times puzzle in his lap. He listens to the sounds coming from outside the room,  cart wheels on the hard, polished floors, the hushed voices, the buzz at the nurse’s station. He doesn’t care about the time; nevertheless, it is early evening.

He had answered his phone a short while ago, Susannah Fontaine-Williams’s name on the display, yet a strange man’s voice speaking with an accent he couldn’t quite place. “She is in the New York Downtown Hospital…there was a power surge.”

“What kind of a power surge?”

The man was impatient. “She was caught in a burst of electrostatic energy. Difficult to explain. She will be all right.”

“Who are you?”

“Not important. A friend. She will tell you. Maybe. Come. She should not wake up alone.”

Walt did want to explain. But how does one explain the paradox that would be created by bringing the exterior of an extra-dimensional object – the bag – into its own interior, which had nearly happened. This is all speculation, but that might very well turn the universe inside out on itself. He couldn’t know for certain; it was a theory he was too afraid to test. What did happen is that she stopped at the bag’s side entrance, a flash of energy knocked her backward and she crumbled unconscious on the spot.

Walt hoisted her over his shoulders in a fireman’s carry, took the stairs up to street level two at a time, and sprinted her to the nearest hospital, the Downtown Hospital, nearly a mile away. He raced her straight to the desk in the emergency room, screaming, “she’s been electrocuted!” This got a lot of attention and two attendants lifted her from his shoulders, dropped her onto a gurney and rolled her away through a pair of swinging doors. He shouted, “Susannah Fontaine-Williams…she famous…has a TV show,” as he ran back out of the emergency room, away as quickly as possible.

Racing back to his shop in a zig-zag pattern, he looked at SFW’s recent call list on her phone, and pressed Macallan’s name. He didn’t think anyone had followed.

Macallan sits patiently at her side, watching her breathing, zoning out to the rhythmic beeps. It makes him sleepy. He should call Alethia soon. He pulls out the Monday puzzle, the easiest of the week and just stares at it, seeing the clues, but not registering them. He falls asleep.

He awakens to the sound of voices next to him, a cop talking to a nurse. “Do you have to cuff him to the bed like that? Between the morphine and that leg wound, he’s not going anywhere.”

“Sorry,” the cop says, “it’s procedure. ”

“What did he do anyway?” she says.

“This clown goes into a drug store to get allergy medication. But he doesn’t have ID. He roughs up the girl at the counter, takes the stuff – he actually pays for it! Then he runs away, gets clipped by a car and goes off into the woods.”

“So he didn’t actually steal anything?”

“No, and he nearly bleeds out. Sumbitch could have died, and for what?”

Macallan chuckles to himself. The nurse looks his way and says, “Visiting hours are over soon. You have about 15 minutes.”

He nods, “Thanks.” He scans SFW. She has what looks like a bad sunburn on the right half of her face and on her right arm. He thinks that if he pulled back her covers, he would see that her right leg is burned as well. Her hair is a tangle. “Think she’ll be OK?”

The nurse glances at her monitor and takes her pulse. “Everything seems normal.”

“Then why hasn’t she woken up?”

Hats and upgrades

Models posing in examples of three floppy hats.
Models demonstrating examples of three floppy hats.

Walt thrummed his fingers on his workbench as he watched the newsfeed on BBC International. Susannah Fontaine-Williams, tanned and relaxed, watched from a bar at Athens International, while Macallan and wife, back on the Greek mainland, drove back to Alethia’s ancestral home.

It came as no surprise to any of them that the bodies of a man and a woman were found in a cabin below deck, that the man’s skull had been caved in by a fire extinguisher and the woman’s windpipe had been brutally crushed.

“Authorities are searching for a tall man and a woman wearing a floppy hat in connection with the double homicide,” the news said.

A picture taken by a security camera at the dock showed a man and an unrecognizable woman wearing a floppy hat. Walt screen-grabbed the image and enlarged it. SFW’s grainy, hat-obscured features grew even less distinct, but anyone could clearly see the stylish handbag dangling from her sunburned shoulder.

Susannah Fontaine-WIlliams boarded her flight, pleased that she’d upgraded to the pod section in the front of the jet. On her mind as the jet taxied to the runway:

  1. Take a zolpidem and try to sleep, or stay awake and watch movies?
  2. Turn to a life of crime?
  3. Turn to a life of heroic deeds?

She popped the zolpi and chased it with duty free cuban rum.  Are  numbers two and three mutually exclusive, she wondered. “Oooh, they have the Lego Movie!” she said. She’d been scrolling the movie listings.

“Excuse me miss,” a flight attendant said, “did you need something?”

“A glass of champagne would be nice,” and she pulled the blanket up around her, put on the complimentary eye mask, stretched out in her pod and started the Lego Movie.

Errors, omissions, clarifications, and corrections

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Susannah Fontaine-Williams thought about dipping her toes in the pool.

A few details have fallen through the cracks of this leaky story, so the editorial board and I agreed (I was coerced) to use this post to clear up a few matters and and to address some errors and omissions that the both of you may have noticed.

First, before boarding the ferry, SFW wrapped a scarf around her neck to cover up the bruises left by the serial killer, Dr. Morose – I’ve forgotten his name, but if you read back a post or two, you’ll see it.  Glenfiddich notices SFW’s bruises while chatting with her on the ferry but says nothing.  Second, SFW cut her finger on the blade of the knife while fiddling with it in her purse just before using it to stop the attack of the evil Dr. Morose, ending his villainous life. Perhaps he should have been dispatched earlier in life before he entered this tale.

It’s likely that the cut on her finger means nothing and has no effect on the story. Of course she daubed it with neosporin and a waterproof bandaid, just two of the many supplies tucked away in her extra-dimensional handbag/medicine chest. So no need to worry about infection.

Next, not only does she feel no remorse for killing Dr. Morose, the up close life or death combat left her exhilirated, as do most of her experiences. Fun fact:  remorse and morose are almost but not quite anagrams.

One of you asked if SFW would end up in a threesome with the store detective and his wife. Kudos for picking up on the subtle sexual tension between the lines involving Glenfiddich, Alethia and SFW. Short answer, doubtful, but yes, why wouldn’t she? Consenting adults and all that jazz.

Bob from Jenkintown points out, “this started as a kind of sexy sci-fi thing, but has veered into uncomfortable territory for me. I’m sticking with it though in the hopes that maybe there’s some time travel or aliens.” Bob raises a valid point.

Now, on with the narrative:

After she had explained everything, omitting the extra-dimensional qualities of her bag, the three of them sat on the Macallan’s villa terrace in bathrobes, limbs entwined, and watched the news.  “Authorities are investigating a yacht found docked unattended on the island of Delos…”

 

The 8:00 PM ferry

Is my life better or worse since the bag, SFW mused, watching the docked Gambit recede from the stern of the ferry. She opened her handbag and gazed into its blackness wondering what happened to all the things she put inside that disappeared then reappeared. Walt gazed back, unseen, still stunned by what he’d seen from the other side of  the open bag. She relaxed forward on the railing as the sun slowly dropped toward the horizon.

“I don’t remember seeing you on the ferry out here,” a man said. She recognized Macallan’s voice. “Mac,” she said, turning, inching close in to him like she would a lover. This wasn’t a flirtation, but a sudden need to be encircled by someone familiar. “In fact, I swear I saw you get on that boat over there with someone a few hours ago. Different dress, but she had your walk.”

“Do I have such a distinctive way of walking?”

“Did you know that a person’s gait is as individual as fingerprints?” Did I leave fingerprints? She began thinking about details. Could she just sail away on the 8:00 PM ferry trouble-free? Now there was Macallan to consider.

“You know,” he said. “Alethia has family here. We don’t get here as often as we’d like but I’ve seen hundreds of sunsets and this one’s going to be a good one.” She nodded. There will be a story tomorrow about a yacht abandoned on the island, and a search for the owner. Hopefully they won’t find the body or the dress. Maybe a witness saw them together. Maybe she left fingerprints or something else behind on the boat. Macallan will quickly piece it together so she decided she would tell him what happened before they docked at Mykonos.

“We’re out here on this ferry in another part of the world and I’m hoping you can clear something up for me. This has been eating at me for weeks.” She smiled. “How did you do it? How did you get those clothes out of my store?”

“Mac, who is this?” a woman’s voice said. SFW turned toward her, extended her hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Susannah Fontaine-Williams.”

Let’s leave things as they are for today and end with the cloudless sunset that didn’t quite live up to Macallan’s prediction.

DSCF1553.JPG

An unlikely coincidence

Alethia stared out at the harbor while Macallan paid the 34 euro for the two tickets to Delos on the 5:00 p.m. ferry. He smiled at his wife even though she was looking the other way. The Macallans journeyed to Greece every other year to visit Aletheia’s grandparents and assorted relatives, distant and otherwise. After a week of dinners, dancing, and drinking they were relieved to have a couple of days to themselves on an island, and they especially loved Mykonos because of its proximity to Delos and its famed ruins.

“Two tickets to…,” he said, handing the tickets to Aletheia, stopping mid-thought.

“What’s wrong?” she asked.

“Nothing. I thought I saw someone I know just now.” He pointed at the blond woman and the tall man strolling away from them toward the dock.

“Well, I don’t know who she is,” Aletheia said. “But the man is Yiannis  Kardas.”

“Kardas?” he said. “Why do I know that name?”