So the Manny had gone into the city, and his flight was the next day. On that day there was a snowstorm. But that's not why he didn't make his flight. In fact, we texted him during the snowstorm:
"Make it out OK?"
"A-OK! 70 degrees and sunny," was the reply.
But the very next day I got an ominous message from Manny's friend, to whom I had never spoken directly. She told me that Manny was in the hospital and asked that I call her immediately. Wild speculations flew through my mind. He had arrived in CA and had mixed it up with the criminal dentist, who had placed a hit on him that had misfired at the last moment. He was now on the run with a bullet hole through his midriff and the evil dentist's disembodied teeth implanted in his shoulder! All bets were off.
I called her back.
"Well," she said. "Manny was supposed to catch this plane tonight, right?"
"No, last night. He already caught a plane last night. He's in California, right?" I said.
"Uh, no. I think he might be in Bellevue?" she said.
As it turned out, Manny had gotten the date of his flight wrong by one day. That left him with 24 hours in which he thought it was, perhaps, a really grand idea to go out and buy a few bottles of Tito's vodka. He had apparently gargled with Vodka, washed down his eggs with Vodka, had a Vodka-induced nap, and proceeded to sample additional Vodka snorklings until his friend arrived home from work. He'd knocked over the shelf in her bathroom and was lying about in a stupor, mumbling about the evil dentist who was going to extract his molars without permission.
"You gotta plane flight to catch!" she said, helping him out the door. He retrieved his roll-aboard and promptly fell all the way down the stairs of her apartment building, his luggage clattering after him. A horrified neighbor popped out and said: "Call an ambulance!"
"He has no health insurance!" said Manny's friend. Manny was lying comatose at the base of the stairs, his exploded luggage of T-shirts and briefs around his ankles. Faced with little alternative, she called the ambulance. The EMTs arrived and tried to get Manny into the vehicle. He awoke quickly and resisted fiercely.
"You fat sons-o-bitches! You sons of pig-whistling cockmonkeys!" he shouted, as they tried to take his vitals.
Finally the EMTs subdued our Manny and strapped him down into a bed in the ambulance, where he continued wailing and thrashing and burbling about the criminal dentist who was out to pull every good tooth in his head.
They asked Manny's friend what his name was, but she didn't really know anymore. So she gave some random name that was an amalgamation of his "real name" and his "fake name." It probably sounded like "Maneerdaniel Smith."
So no wonder when, later, she called every hospital in the city and they didn't have him. They'd never heard of him. We did some searching and could not find him.
"He detoxed while at my apartment," said the friend. "He stayed in his room for a week and sweated and swore. I wanted to help but...it was like Grey Gardens. There were like 1,000 empty bottles of Tito's under his bed."
|Just don't invite ANY tenants into your home, OK?|
"He's out to kill me," said the sweating friend, who Manny had told me wore a leopard-skin bathrobe that didn't tie properly and revealed a naked tummy. "I seriously think he will take revenge on me because I knew he didn't have health insurance. But I was just trying to help."
"He's as gentle as a kitten," I said.
"Tell that to the bouncers at every bar on 10th avenue!" she retorted.
I said that I would investigate and, if I had any clues, I would report back.
I went to bed. I woke up the next morning, and went to open the living room curtains. The morning sunlight illuminated a rolling suitcase, seated by the door.
"Aw, honey?" said I. "Whose suitcase is in our living room?"
Husband came down and rubbed his eyes and looked at it.
"Why, that's Manny's," he said.
"He's in the house," I said.