Helping You Get the Most Out of Your Misery
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Farewell, My Lunchly: A Jose Amador Mystery
Noon. A fall day, brisk like underwear fresh from the salad crisper. Jose sat at his desk and looked out the window at the guy crapping in the alley across the street. This was the world he lived in. One day, you're having tea and scones that your butler serves on a silver tray with doilies; the next day, you're wiping your ass with a stock certificate you found in the trash.
Jose took another bite of his sandwich and washed it down with bourbon. The bourbon was like a three-dollar hooker: it was cheap and toothless, but it did its job. The sandwich was iffier. Stale bread. A hunk of aging tomato. Two mayonnaise packets he'd found in a drawer he hadn't opened since he moved in. Hard times.
Times like these, a man could get desperate. He could start thinking crazy thoughts. Thoughts like, "Look at me! I'm cra-a-a-zy!"
Jose forced another bite of the sandwich down his throat. It went down like a glue-covered ass on a sliding board. It took two swigs of bourbon to dislodge it.
The office door swung open and there she stood. She was a tall dame, with legs and a torso, just the way Jose liked them. Her hair covered her head and her lips looked like they could form words. As she walked toward him, she didn't have a noticeable limp. She was his type all right. And that usually meant danger.
Jose wiped some mayo off his chin. "Pardon the sandwich, doll-face. Normally, I go to the Yacht Club for lunch, but I seem to have misplaced my membership card."
The dame sat down. "Just like a broad," Jose thought. She took off her hat and fixed Jose with a look like one of those velvet paintings of the kids with the big eyes. Or maybe dogs playing poker. Jose wasn't an art critic.
"I need your help, Mr. Amador," she said. He'd been right about her lips.
Jose refilled his glass with bourbon. "You're lucky, sweetheart. My help just happens to be for sale." He'd come up with that line two months ago and this had been his first chance to use it. "I get twenty-five dollars a day, plus expenses."
The dame's eyes fell, like a Twinkie dropped off a roof. "I'm afraid I don't have any money, Mr. Amador. You see, I invested my life savings in a donut farm."
Jose knew this story. It didn't have a happy ending and its character development was spotty. "I'm sorry to hear it, baby. I'm not going to be able to help you." Jose didn't work for free. Not since he got burned by a bunch of orphans with polio.
A single tear raced down the dame's cheek, like a slinky descending a staircase, only wetter. "I'm desperate, Mr. Amador. Would you be willing to accept payment in vaginal intercourse?"
Jose was about to tell the dame that sex was as useless in his office as a Discover card, when all of a sudden, the mayonnaise from his sandwich decided to make an escape attempt from his digestive system. His stomach lurched like a nun on a bender.
The dame saw that something was wrong. "Mr. Amador? Are you okay?"
Jose fought it. He fought like the National Guard on Mississippi River sand-bagging duty, but the tide of vomit was too strong. His sandwich and the booze it had been swimming in burst out of his mouth and landed in a warm splatter on the dame's chest.
She stared at him in numb horror as he picked a chunk of tomato out of his teeth. "You just got lucky, sweetheart. I don't normally take charity cases, but I can't turn down a lady covered in my own puke. Tell me your story."
Looking back on it later, Jose would come to regret accepting the Case of the Regurgitation-Covered Client.
Happy Birthday, Beigey!