There's a residual effect in the air, like he left some ghostly effluvium here, such that I can almost hear him groaning "The pain! The pain!" as he treaded up the stairs at night. I still realize with a start, at 5:15 pm, that no one is cooking my boys a gourmet dinner, and now I have to toss some frozen lump of a thing in the oven to get them fed. I look out the window and expect to see him shuffling through the garden in his slippers, inspecting the pea shoots and looking for Bun-Bun, his special tame friend, who must have lost his (or her?) parents to a hawklike personage because the thing is FEARLESS.
|This is Bun-Bun.|
Before he left, we suggested that he would be lonely without his special animal friends, Bun-Bun and Fatty the Groundhog, who lives under our shed. So we jokingly plucked a "lovey" out of the Vast Bin of Neglected Stuffed Animals and gave him Chippy the Chipmunk, who is a hand puppet,
He really took to Chippy. He walked around with him a bit, talking to him and working the hand puppet so that Chippy would "respond." I said it made him seem less crazy because at least he was talking to SOMETHING as opposed to just babbling to himself. In fact, he took Chippy with him to Mexico. But, he left the back scratcher (pictured below) behind. Do you know how I found out? When we were cleaning his room, after his departure, my husband gently scratched me on the back with it as I was bent over stuffing things into a garbage sack. glgflflh!!
|Chippy and the Back Scratcher. Use your imagination to picture the scene with the Manny in it.|
|The things we leave behind.|
"Someone's gonna screw my pooch!" he said dolefully. "Everything that could have gone wrong for me has gone wrong. All of it!"
I said: "Are you drunk?"
He staggered backwards into a doorframe as if I'd punched him in the gut, his eyes bugging out.
"Drunk? DRUNK? howonearthcouldibedrunk? Huh? Heh?"
"Well, even a child can see that you're drunk."
"No no no no no I'm not drunk! I don't drink! Why would I be drunk? My life is so bad...the pain, the pain." And he massaged his aching hip. He stumbled around, mumbling madly and bumping into things.
My husband had words with him. Well, they weren't just "words." They were bad words, spoken at a high volume. By the time we came back from a school concert event, he had gone into the city to conduct one last errand. Husband sent him a note apologizing for raising his voice, but Manny simply must not drink and lying about it just made it worse. He wrote back:
Not drinking I'll have a hotel Saturday need to go don't trust you
What about thee quorts in your space you have your own problems
"Thee quorts" referred to something he'd seen in our own liquor cabinet—intriguing, given that he had no possible reason to look inside that cabinet. But then again, we'd been noticing a few things vanish from that cabinet now and again.
Here was a dreadful dilemma. How was he to get to the airport? How would we ensure that he was going to get on that plane and fly to a different country? And would he return in time to pack Chippy, his wok, the back scratcher (evidently not, in this case. glrk!), his French press, his lemon squeezer, and a handful of underwear?
Fortunately, he did. And he came back wearing this jaunty chapeau, which I think he imagined as a Mexican sombrero-like accessory but, on him, looked a little small atop his big ol' head.
|Heisenberg Dos, in straw.|
This isn't the last chapter, of course. You've probably figured that out by now. There is more. Indeed, there is more.