Archive for the ‘Post 3.3’ Category

Sunday, March 25, 8:18 a.m.

I drive—yet again!—south to the Nordic ‘hood of Ballard. It is way too early to be carting myself around Seattle proper. I long for my suburb. I long for my bed.

I knock on Jack O’Lies’s front door. It’s army green, the paint peeling away to reveal a gray undercoat. From somewhere within, his daughter yells something.

I think she yells, “Come in!”

I assume she yells, “Come in!” I turn the knob. It’s unlocked. I come in.

I’m met with worn hardwood floors, ancient throw rugs, and a coffee table littered with high school textbooks (depressing), empty vodka bottles (more depressing), and smearily printed Catholic tracts (depressingest of all). In my current state of hungover Sunday morning blahs, “depressingest” is a word. So is “smearily.”

“Hello?” I call. “Lucy? Jack?”

I hear a TV jabbering. I follow the sound.

In the kitchen, a scary looking bald guy in a white suit is grimacing and shaking his head at Lucy.

“You out there!” he shouts from the TV screen.

“Yes,” says Lucy, as she spoons cereal into her mouth.

“You witness to society’s sin!”

“That’s right,” Lucy agrees.

I hesitate in the doorway for so many reasons. So many that it would take hours to list them all.

Perhaps the top five will suffice:

1)     There’s a televangelist on the TV. That does not bode well.

2)     Oh Roseanne-esque kitchen of my childhood!

I thought I had escaped you. White trashy lower middle class, shall I never be free of your seductive embrace?

3)     Lucy is dressed in a black grandma dress with no décolletage and a hand-crocheted collar. She wears four rosaries of varying weight and color around her neck. This does not bode well.

4)     Lucy is eating Lucky Charms. I love Lucky Charms. If offered a bowl, I will accept, ruining the restrictive and scientifically unfounded diet I invented for myself.

5)     I smell not a whiff of coffee in the air. I will die without coffee.

Seriously… I will die without coffee!

“Hi, Lucy,” I say, waving with a limp, decaffeinated hand. “How’re you?”

“Shh!” she hisses between slurps of cereal.

“You watch as society parades its perversions, its sin, and you do nothing. Well, I say, stop!” shouts the scary bald man on the TV.

“Stop!” Lucy agrees.

“Stop! Tell it, don’t you come over here, into my house of God! Stop!”

“Stop!” Lucy exclaims.

“Why? You break another glass?” Jack says from the doorway.

Oy vey, he’s clad in the classic open door bathrobe. Seriously—come on, Jack! I told you I was coming over!

“Want me to go wait in the living room?” I blurt, shading my eyes like a Puritan.

“What?” Jack says. “You had breakfast yet? Lucy, get her something.”

Jack meanders on unsteady, bare legs to a set of folding doors at the far end of the kitchen. He sports a dark bruise on the left side of his jaw.

“That’s fine, I ate already,” I say. “Should I just leave your keys and stuff on the counter?”

“Calm down,” says clearly hungover Jack. “We’re almost ready. Finish up, Lucy!”

Lucy rolls her eyes, continues spooning cereal, and reaches out to crank the volume on the televangelist. Jack slides the doors open to reveal a washer and drier.

Oh God, he is going to disrobe right here and I’ll be struck blind!

Thankfully, I hear the front door open, then slam shut. Christopher, The Future Priest, enters the kitchen.

“Hey,” he says. “Ready to go?”

“Dad’s still messing around,” Lucy snorts, picking up her cereal bowl to drink the milk like a three-year-old. Jack, not entirely oblivious, steps into the laundry alcove and pulls the doors shut. Spared his nudity, I relax. I am a married woman, after all.

From within, he calls, “Hey, Katherine, you want any coffee? Lucy, make some.”

“No,” Lucy snaps. “You just want it for you, because you’re hungover.”

“We have a guest,” he says from behind the doors.

“She doesn’t drink!” Lucy asserts. “Hangover, Dad—”

“Is this all there is? Didn’t you throw the load in like I asked?”

“Wear the good pants, Dad. I hate when you go in your work clothes. You look so sloppy.”

“I hate these things!”

“You look so sloppy!”

”Will you just make Katherine a cup of coffee and get yourself ready to go?”

“Hangover, Dad, is a necessary and a good thing.”

“What?” I bleat. Right now, I’m hungover as hell, thanks to her dad’s boozy conversation with me till the wee hours. I crave a cup of coffee. I would kill for a cup of coffee. I am not in a good or necessary state!

“You see,” she continues, “As you pour unholy poison into your body, the Lord sees and sends a pain unto you. And this pain—”

“A pain unto me?” Jack exclaims from behind the flimsy laundry doors.

“Unto?” I echo.

“Please tell me they didn’t teach you that in English class,” he says.

Bolstered by Christopher’s knowing smirk, Lucy clanks her crucifix covered self to the sink, where she deposits her empty cereal bowl.

“And this pain is meant to cleanse your soul, just as pain cleansed Christ on the cross,” she continues. “So when you drink of coffee, you erect a barrier between yourself and God, who wishes to help you end your drunken ways.”

I feel this is a bit stagy. I feel that she’s acting out for my benefit. Exactly why does she think I’m here at this raw hour of the morning?

“So, can I go? Is your church walking distance?” I ask her. “Did you really say ‘when you drink of coffee?’”

“It’s six point eight miles,” Christopher says.

Damnation.

“Jack? Do you need me to drive you all to the Washingtonian to get your car?”

I think actually I twang, “Need me ta drive y’all?” This white trashy lower middle class kitchen is dragging me back down the social ladder.

Jack slides the laundry doors open. I flinch.

He’s dressed. I relax.

He’s in a get-up exactly like his editor would wear, unattractive pleated front khakis, golf shirt, and all.

“I hate this,” he says. “I told you.”

“And I told you!” Lucy shrills at gauche teenage volume, stomping her foot. “You are so embarrassing! Why can’t you be normal on Sunday for once? Why can’t you stop embarrassing me?”

I glance at Christopher, hoping for an ally in my discomfort, but he’s smirking at Jack with his gangly arms folded across his thin chest, clearly on Lucy’s side.

Crap. That means I’ll have to side with the only other adult here, which is alcoholic, hungover Jack.

“Okay,” Jack says. “Let’s get going.”

All three look at me.

“Go where, exactly?” I say.

Sacred Heart of Jesus,” Lucy says.

“Pardon?” I say.

“It’s in Belltown ,” says Christopher.

Fantastic. Belltown, land of impossible parking, wandering junkies and computer programming bar hoppers. My second least favorite place in Seattle.

“I’ve got stuff to do today,” I begin. Then I realize that Belltown is quite close to the Washingtonian building. I perk up.

“So, I’ll just drop Lucy and Christopher off at church, then we’ll go get your car,” I say.

“Don’t forget the offering,” Lucy says.

“What?” Jack says, grabbing his much-laundered Members Only jacket from the back of a kitchen chair.

“I left it on top of your wallet,” Lucy says. From the back of another chair, she pulls a black lace veil that resembles a mantilla. She swathes her shoulders and head in it, like some kind of Catholic chador.

“Are we gonna drop you two off first? What’s the plan, here?” I say.

“That twenty dollar bill? Forget it! I’m not dropping twenty bucks in a collection plate,” Jack says, as he and Lucy motivate angrily through the kitchen toward the front door.

“Wait,” I protest. “We need to figure out how we’re going to work this.”

“We tithe practically nothing, Dad!”

“We tithe plenty! We tithe away your damn college fund.”

“Don’t take the Lord’s name in vain!” she snaps.

“God’s last name is not ‘damn,’” Jack says.

“Stop it!”

“Oh my God, are they always like this?” I hiss at Christopher.

“Do not take the Lord’s name in vain!” he hisses back.

Yeah, I’ve been missing this kind of Catholic fun.

 

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