Sunday, March 4, 2012


Photo by Jack Pantolino
The force was too much. His head hung down. A long sigh filled the space where he stood. He felt exhausted, he was exhausted. Bob Bustamonte felt that he’d been battling this thing for hours, but in truth it had been only minutes. Alone in what looked like a seemingly simple bedroom carried something that dark indeed… something that people deny exist, but it did and it was here with him… it had no name, but it was there… even though he couldn’t see it… he felt its heavy presence. The air on the room was cold and syrupy. He knew he was in over his head, and he wondered what to do… he didn’t realize it, but maybe it was his ego that was giving him strength and keeping him from running out of that fucking room.
It all began that day. It seemed like every other day… yet what started so simply spun into something oh so crazy… oh so fucking crazy. The phone rang and woke Bob that Friday morning, and he felt like a plate of warm Jell-O. He had been dreaming about playing poker with dogs... and he was just about to drop a Royal Flush on that bulldog; the one wearing that damn derby hat when he woke. Not only had he bartended till closing, he’d had some after hour’s fun with some locals. Isabel, a fare skinned redhead with a sprinkling of freckles and a tattoo of some kinda Harry Potter thing on her ass, that he remembered seeing up close and personal the night before, was still there in fact. Bob liked redheads… and one as beautiful as Isabel was like finding like a Unicorn or something magical in his book. His magical Unicorn was sprawled to his left; in one of his old worn out concert t-shirts, her orange underwear lay somewhere among the ruins that was his bedroom. She did not wake, when he answered his cell…
“Hello Bob,” said a female voice.
“Yeah,” Bob said, he could hear sobbing on the other end of the line.
At first Bob didn’t recognize the voice on the other end… it was distressed… he made it a point not to know too many distressed women.
“Who’s this?”
“Yeah,” Bob said and then more sobbing.
“I… I need to talk to someone… I really need to talk to someone,” the shaky voice said.
Bob looked over at the Harry Potter tattoo on the ass that was starting to wake.
“Well, can I call you back? Who is this?”
No name was registering on his phone; he’d recently lost his old phone and had lost many numbers.
“It’s Karen… Karen Hernandez.”
Bob was confused, for a moment.
Hurricane Hernandez? He thought why would she be calling on a Friday morning… upset? He hadn’t spoke to her since she slapped him across his face a few years back… for what he couldn’t recall. Bob’s eyes remained on the Harry Potter tattoo, as he spoke.
“Hey Hurricane, what’s wrong… sorry, I’m just a little surprised, it’s been so long… somebody we know die or something?”
“Can we meet for coffee today? It’s important Bob, please!”
“Okay, but I’ll need a couple hours… if that’s okay?
“Sure, how about 1pm, do you know where the Starbucks is in the Marina?”
“Over there by the Costco?”
“Yeah,” said Karen.
“Okay, see ya at 1pm, Hurricane.”
Bob hung up the phone and thought, “what the fuck is going on with her? And why did I agree to have coffee?” He didn’t have a good feeling about meeting a distressed Karen Hernandez…. Since he hadn’t seen her in years, he thought that whatever it was, it wasn’t a personal issue with him. So Bob felt some relief there. Isabel woke and started to stretch, she gave him a lazy smile.
“Hi,” she said stretching her arms with a slightly embarrassed smile.
She put her hand to her mouth as a guard for her morning breath.
“Hi, don’t ask me were your underwear is,” said Bob.
Isabel looked under the sheet in a comical way.
“Oh, my goodness… I’m naked from the waist down! How did that happen?
Bob was not handsome, but women seldom realized it when caught by his charm, as even though he was a rascal, he had sincerity that woman loved about him.
“Let me ask you; are you the type of man who likes having sex in the morning, after having sex all night?”
“I’m that kinda man, and then some,” said Bob.
Isabel crawled up on top of Bob and smiled.
“You just want free cocktails the next time I’m bartending don’t you red?”
Isabel kissed his chest and moved on up to his neck.
“How did you know?”
“Ninety-five percent of the women who come home with me all have the same idea,” Bob said as he slid his hand along the valley of soft skin in the center of her back.
“Well maybe, I’ll slide a couple freebees to you the next time you walk into the bar… Excuse me, what is that thing? It’s Harry Potter right? Bob’s finger made its way all the way down to her tattoo.
“Uh huh, it’s the Goblet of Fire… that’s my favorite Harry Potter book. What’s yours?”
Bob looked down at Isabel’s Bermuda Triangle, which was neatly dressed, and proved to him that she was indeed the rare unicorn he imagined.
“I like Harry Potter and Red Flame of Deliciousness,” Bob said.
Isabel laughed and kissed him.
“You do!”
“I’ll tell you one thing honey, every time I see anything Harry Potter related; I’m gonna think of you… believe me, honey.”
“Yeah baby,”
“You want some breakfast? What do you feel like eating?”
“I can only think of something really dirty,” Isabel smiled.
“I’m not a psychic, but is the answer, my socks?” Bob said.
Bob laughed.
“Gross! Is that what you really want me to be craving?
Bob flashed her, his most devilish grin.
“Didn’t think so,” Isabel said, as she began to zero in on her target. Bob closed his eyes and thought of a unicorn in a green meadow.

When Bob walked into Starbucks, Lou Reed was singing Sweet Jane on the sound system. And there she was; Karen “Hurricane” Hernandez. She was already sitting there with her coffee. She was wearing dark glasses and a Lakers ball cap. She got up and came over to Bob and hugged him… Bob wasn’t expecting that or maybe not that hard of a squeeze. He looked at her; she looked a little beat to put it bluntly.
“Let me get your coffee, it’s the least I can do,” said Karen.
Bob let her, after his morning work out with Isabel, he was a little rubber-legged. So he didn’t protest.
“Make it simple… coffee black… that’s it,” said Bob.
Karen motioned Bob to sit… and she soon walked over with his simple black coffee.
“So Hurricane, I was surprised to hear from you this morning… matter of fact… I’m surprised to be sitting with you right now… here at Stabucks; never been in here,” Bob said looking around.
“Oh my god,” Karen said holding her head.  “Can you please, stop calling me that; those days are long gone.”
“Sorry kid, just a habit.”
Karen reached out and put her hand on Bob’s hand.
“Sorry Bob, old silly nicknames are the least of my problems; I’m in trouble… to be honest; I really don’t know why I called you… I was in a panic… you just came to mind as someone to call.”
Bob could see Karen’s eyes tearing up… he had to admit he was intrigued… but at the same time hesitant to know her troubles.
“My dad’s gone, I don’t have any brothers and my sister lives in Florida my mom thinks I’m crazy.”
Bob looked at her; he felt that she still leaving something out.
“Well, there is a reason. It’s a long shot, but I thought you might be the one person in my universe who might be able give me some insight,” Karen said.
Bob looked at her.
“Insight to what?”
Karen grabbed the napkin on the table and started to nervously twist it.
“Bob, there’s something in my apartment.”
Bob raised an eyebrow.
“You’re gonna think I’m nuts…”

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