Can you really blame me for dropping the phone after hearing her name? My legs felt like dry fucking spaghetti! Weak and stiff. The name of my late father’s mistress? It was like being stoned on bad, cheap dope! She called me up, asking if I wouldn’t mind house sitting for her, for just two nights, nothing extreme. I’d be watching her three children, one of who couldn’t even talk- due to age.
I was totally unsure of what she was asking me. A chill kept walking down my spine, taking an all-day stroll. Babysit and house sit, sure, fine, but for my late father’s mistress?
She told me I’d be paid, okay, a little surer but still not sold. She closed the deal by saying it was up in the mountains and had a vast view of the lake. That sold it. I was sure. And when I arrived to her quote unquote modest sized cabin (three stories, an indoor koi pond and a private trail to the lake…modest my ass!) I was glad I told her I could do it. I arrived when the sky had started to grow dim with the twilight.
She gave me $500.00 and I’d get the other $500.00 if everything was still here when she returned. Just because my father had sticky fingers doesn’t mean mine are. But whatever. When we had met for the first time since my father’s death in 2006, we were both shocked to see each other. “Kristen, Kristen Chapman,” I said, holding out my hand for her to shake. I’m not the huggy type, can be, but not really, especially towards this woman.
She looked at me skeptical. “Andrew’s last name wasn’t Chapman,” she said, as if I was trying to scam her. Then why would she have handed me $500.00? But we stood in the kitchen, my fingers tracing the lips of the coffee mug (filled with tea) as she continued talking. I guess she had some time to kill before she had to kill time at the airport. “Did your fat cow of a mother remarry?”
I snorted back a laugh. My dad was a piece of work, but my mom was a fucking masterpiece. “No,” I said. “I married.”
She dumped her mug into the sink, apparently, I’d be getting to that later. I’m used to being so unremarkable as to being almost invisible. “Congratulations.”
“Wow, my father’s mistress tells me congrats, but not my own mother,” I said, granted my husband and I hadn’t been married for too long, a month. Nothing unique or impressive bout that, but my other mother still hadn’t given us her congratulations. His own mom can’t, she’s dead. “Thank you.”
“Anyways, keep the noise level down. The kids are asleep,” said noted to me. She sorta smelled like sour on old milk. A thin smile cracked her dark colored lips. “I know you love to watch horror films, and at the loudest setting. Your dad told me your favorite was Halloween H20.”
“When I was a kid. It’s Poughkeepsie Tapes now,” I said.
“If you hear banging around upstairs, that’s probably Liz, our live in,” she said. “She’s renting a room on the third floor from me.”
“Why not have her babysit?” I asked. “Why call me?”
“Liz is about as trust worthy as a man behind bars for grand theft auto,” she said, smiling.
I nodded, can’t argue that; even if it was simply a feeling she had – I had feelings and acted upon them a lot of times too. “I can’t blame you,” I said. “Your house is amazing!”
“Your daddy left me a lot of money,” she whistled. “He loved me and my kids.”
Her words hurt me, I don’t think she had meant to hurt my feelings, but they had; but she left quicker since I had grown quiet under my hurt. I dropped my stuff on one sofa and I placed in my copy of Alice Cooper’s Nightmare into her DVD player, poured me a little glass of red wine, flopped onto the couch and settled in.
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