Today I have the second part of OUT OF TOUCH from Robin at Your Daily Dose. When we last left Gigi, she had just gotten fired after blurting out something she shouldn't have known: that Bambi got the promotion because she slept with the boss.
I left the building with a police escort. Sean Fitzgerald, one of Franny's (who's Franny?) older brothers, and his partner, and my ex-boyfriend, Leo Connolly, performed the honor.
Leo marched back inside Brown and Bell to talk to Bambi once I was safely removed from the premises. Meanwhile, Sean gave me the hairy eyeball in the rearview mirror, along with a scalding lecture on moral responsibility. He finished and glared at me expectantly.
I stared back and tried desperately not to touch anything. Police cars were ripe with visions. All I could see in the mirror were piercing green eyes boring holes into me. They were topped by auburn eyebrows. His hair was no longer than a quarter inch. Even though I couldn't see them, I knew that he had the whitest, and possibly straightest, teeth of anyone I knew. However, good looks weren't going to sway me. We were next door neighbors and family. My history with the Fitzgeralds was long and tight-knit. After my father, John Reilly, was killed in the line of duty when I was one week away from turning six, they pseudo-adopted me. The oldest sister, Mary Margaret, married and produced the first grandchild, Kelly, a few years before my father died. When Kelly named her grandparents Grady and Mimi, it wasn't long before they were my Grady and Mimi, too. Do we need to know all this now?
"It wasn't my fault. At least not ALL my fault."
"Is that your statement?"
"Yes. I think I will stick with that."
He twisted in his seat so that we were facing one another."What is it with you? The only other time you've clocked someone was Kenny Ross back when you were in kindergarten. Of course, he did sort of have it coming."
"Exactly" I punctuated my point with a hand slap to his front seat. I yanked my hand back like the seat was laced with herpes.
"You're saying she had it coming?" He looked doubtful.
I nodded enthusiastically.
He shook his head before reminding me, "As I recall, all that netted you was a spanking that didn't allow you to sit down for a week and a new name that stuck to you like glue."A smile lit up his face that made my cheeks burn.
"Hey, buster, easy on the smiling up there. It wasn't that funny."
The front passenger door opened and Leo angled in to the seat. He absorbed all of the air in the car. His hair was black, eyes blue, and his lips skilled. Leo was my first serious boyfriend and I thought it was love. We spent one idyllic summer together between my junior and senior year of college. I still didn't know why it ended.
When I heard through the grapevine that Leo and Sean became partners, I figured the odds were fairly good I'd see him again. Prior to that, I only glimpsed him in passing since he moved back home. I avoided him like spandex, poison ivy, and small, yappy dogs. The memories of that summer still had teeth and my heart was carefully stitched together with dental floss. The slightest puncture and it could all come undone. So, despite living in the same town for the last four years, this was the closest we had been since that summer. I expected awkward. What I didn't expect was a flash of desire that prickled the nape of my neck, as well as a place further south. Leo was still dynamite and a smart person didn't play with explosives.
"How did it go?" Sean asked Leo.
"Let's just say she decided not to press charges after some careful consideration. Several secretaries corroborated your story that she smacked you first. What was odd was that none of the men saw anything." I rolled my eyes."She made a lot of noise about pressing charges anyway. So, I told her that was her right, but with the eyewitness testimony I didn't see it going anywhere."
"What did she say?" I asked.
"She crossed her arms over her chest and pouted."
Undoubtedly she was pushing her breasts up in order to sway Leo. Maybe Roger Brown granted me a favor by sleeping with that tart. Never again would I have to watch Bambi flaunt around the office with overflowing cleavage and short skirts. What kind of name was Bambi anyway? A deer name. That's what.
"So, is she pressing charges?" Sean asked.
"No," Leo said.
I shifted my line of sight over to Sean, trying to ignore Leo. I A rivulet of sweat ran between my shoulder blades. I needed to get out of this car. "Sean, does that mean I can go home now?"
"Gigi, please go home."
I stepped into the sauna that was July. Sweet, sweet relief.
The address of my license has always been 3118 Edgewood Drive, Newfield, New York. As a New York City suburb, half of Newfield lines the train station platform for the daily hour plus commute. I live in a three square mile chunk of homes made up of mostly Irish families that the locals refer to as New Dublin or New Dub. (I'm not sure we need this info either. I'd rather have a description of the neighborhood once she enters it.) Since I have yet to reach the high water mark of six months of steady employment, that is the same address on my mother's license. It was tempting to detour to anywhere else because I dreaded the confrontation with her. However, it went out on the police scanner, so in a matter of hours, it would be all over New Dub and served up with the pot roast for dinner.
Eileen, aka my mom, was waiting for me on the front porch swing. She didn't want me to call her Mom in public after my dad died (why?) and it didn't take long for her to become Eileen all the time. Only an emergency drove Eileen outdoors in July.
All of the houses on our street look pretty much the same. They are all big and lumbering with wraparound porches meant for sitting outside and gossiping, with scraps of front yard, decorated with an oak tree or two that umbrella out like a quilt. Most houses have four stories, if you include the attic and cellar, and a bay window. Good description.
She lit a cigarette as I stopped the car. That meant seven to eight minutes of conversation about my latest employment fiasco. The set of her shoulders indicated her tension. She was dressed for work at Last Call, a local bar, in a white blouse and black slacks. Her blonde hair was knotted at her neck. She was beautiful, like a Roman statue, or a Rembrandt painting, and just as untouchable.
I decided to attack this situation aggressively and took the steps to the porch at a quick clip. I settled myself on the swing beside her without her even missing a beat in her forward backward motion.
"Nora called to say that there was an incident at Brown and Bell." Eileen threw out the opening gambit and then waited for the criminal, which would be me, to offer up the details and incriminate herself. This was an old dance step, so I knew better than to open my mouth.
She flicked the ash off the end of her cigarette into the brown ceramic ash tray on the porch railing. The lines around her mouth tightened and she continued. "Nora said that Sean Fitzgerald was the officer at the scene and that you were involved." Whoever talked now lost and it was critical that it not be me.
She sighed and continued, "Nora said that you punched another employee in the nose and it might be broken."
"Really? I broke Bambi's nose?" Oh, crack. I should tape my mouth for these interrogations.
"So, it's true. You really did punch Bambi in the nose?"
"Yes, but it wasn't my fault!"
"This is starting to sound like Kenny Ross."
"Exactly! Bambi is a slut who will do anything for a promotion and I hope I did break her nose."
She took a long drag on her cigarette and then exhaled. Without missing a beat in the swinging, she tapped the ash off the cigarette directly into the ashtray.
Most people say that I am a carbon copy of my mother, which is untrue. I am 5'6" to her 5'2". There is a horrifying gap between my front teeth and I feel everything, while I wonder if she feels much of anything. However, we share straight blonde hair, blue eyes, straight nose, pale complexion, and an athletic build that is completely deceptive. On me, anyway. Eileen moves like a cat.
"Well, I hope you remembered that your thumb goes on the outside of your fist this time. You were lucky you didn't break it on that idiot, Kenny," she said. She smiled and I knew the worst was over.
"Yeah," I said, and grinned back at her.
"Do you remember the lessons I gave you on self-defense after Kenny?"
How could I forget? Even Franny spent that month over at our house learning Eileen's heretofore unknown self-defense techniques. My favorite was still the "kneecap to ankle" maneuver which can only be performed if you are wearing hard soled shoes and the "perp" gets you from behind. You placed the sole of your shoe on the top of his kneecap and pressed as hard as you could, sending it down to his ankle. The idea was to inflict maximum pain, disable him from pursuit, while you ran like hell. We didn't actually "practice" that one, but I've executed that move a hundred times in my imagination. She said my dad taught them to her when they were dating.
"So Brown and Bell is history?"
"Yep. Even before the knockout punch."
"You want to talk about it?"
"Not really." It was embarrassing to be unemployed again. My capacity for losing jobs was starting to become legendary. If I continued at this rate no one was ever going to hire me.
"I could ask around at the diner or the bar..."
I cut her a look and she grimaced. She had already called in both of those favors. I had been fired from both the diner and the bar for the same reason: my income to outgo on the destruction of glassware were not in the same league.
She took one last drag on her cigarette.
My thoughts: My first thought is we need to know who Franny is so that any reference to her makes sense. My second thought is that some of the descriptions are unnecessary while others would be perhaps be more useful in a different spot. My third is that I'm curious about where Gigi will go from here. I also wonder about her relationship with her mom. Why does she call her Eileen rather than mom? Does Eileen know about Gigi's little talent? Understand why all the jobs haven't worked out? All of this is enough for me to want to read on and find out what happens next.
Readers, what do you think? Any thoughts for Robin?