Roddy Granger looked down at the congealing green puddle on the alcove floor, in front of the men's room door.
“The lost city of Atlantis,” he whispered in Estelle’s ear, spattering her with spittle.
She nodded solemnly and whispered back, trying to slobber as much as she could into his ear canal: “You have magical powers, stranger. I see the green glow of Atlantis as well, but only because I am drowning in its swirling vortex. There is very little time. Water fills my lungs and bronchial passageways as we speak. The sand in the top half of the hour glass has almost run . . .”
She coughed loudly, causing the stranger to flinch.
Roddy Granger emerged from his reverie, realizing there was no time. He needed to gasp the bull by its horns being the only Lone Ranger in the bar with no Tonto to help him. His horse Silver, also, had clearly fucked off. The bottom line was: Rescuing needed to be done and done pronto. Finding himself within the restroom alcove in this seamy bar on the industrial outskirts of a deserted city, not knowing exactly what he had just whispered into the ear of a raven haired MILF enchantresses' ear was NO ACCIDENT. He sensed Danger with a capital D, as if he had just arrived unclothed, pale and hairless, 2000 years BC, in the cave entrance of a Neanderthal family having their lunch with Daddy 'thall looking up, brontosaurus burger tipping out of his hand onto the dirt floor.
Roddy Granger knew EXACTLY what he was: An Insurance Fraud Investigator, Investigator with a capital I, naturally. No one could take the title away from him; and few would comprehend what his calling precisely entailed. All he knew he had to STAND STRONG and HOLD HIS GROUND. Thoughts in his head were coming off the psychic conveyor belt so fast he had trouble keeping up, just like in I Love Lucy: Lucy was forced to start eating the candy travelling along the all too speedy conveyor belt, cramming pieces down into her shirt as well, her and Ethyl.
What I need to do is ingest my church bulletin in its entirety and thereby harness its power," he whispered to Estelle. "Not just fondle it in my pocket."
Estelle regarded him closely. She was beginning to wonder if the dunderhead stranger would be able to help her at all.
Roddy Granger, on the other hand, knew this was one of those occasions when the sign clearly read: “Break glass in case of emergency.”
Estelle whispered back with more urgency: “We don't have time for church bulletins. We both have to be selfless at a time like this, both of us have to give to charity and follow the agenda of others. Your South node is in Aries. It's time to give, stranger, not to take. Uh. . ." Estelle paused, thinking of something to say. "Lester is too old and too angry but there’s more, a lot more.” She took a deep breath and went on. ”And you wouldn’t want to know the more part. That’s why you have to go out in the world and get help, get all the help you can find. Go pee then finish your beer and leave to get help. Oh, but before you leave to get help, there's a little something I'm going to ask you to do for me, just a little something. I'll tell you what that little something is while you are peeing. I. . . " Estelle wasn't entirely sure what the something was yet. All was proceeding as had been foretold, that a stranger would come and help her find the thing Lester hid. The cards just didn't reveal the details beforehand. That was the way it worked. She knew she needed to kill a little more time until answers became clear. So she said the first thing that came into her head. She was good at improvising. As Lester quite rightly described her:
"Estelle is a goddamn Transylvanian survivor!"
"Pretend like we’re not talking," she whispered. "Don’t let Lester see you talking to me, Mister. Oh mister, don’t let him see us talking. But pee first. Go.”
Estelle ran her hand down the stranger’s chest as if she wanted to tear the stranger’s chest open and eat his organs. The stranger didn't know this was what she wanted to do, only that she looked to be behaving extremely MILFy and JPEGishly. Her freckles seemed to vibrate. This was impossible: Freckles don't vibrate. She ran her hand down the stranger's pants leg without him telling him she was going to do that. Roddy Granger could not help but blurt out:
“Were you some kind of MILF stripper or something?”
Estelle hesitated then replied calm and cool as an Alpine lake: “Yes, I was, a stripper and a MILF at the same time.”
“What are you two whispering about over there, goddammit, all comfy cozy," Lester bellowed. "MISTER! You heard my question!”
“The stranger’s just peeing, Les. I’m fixing to pee as well.”
The stranger and Estelle proceeded into their respective rest rooms, the men’s room and the woman’s room. Estelle sat on the toilet, supported her chin in one palm and listened, a bored expression on her face, to the thick stream of urine. The stranger stood in front of the urinal, removed his penis from his fly and directed the tip toward the holes of the drain so his urine would create less back splash.
Estelle hissed, projecting her voice through the door, penetrating the men’s restroom:
“Mister, you’re going to have to tell him something. Tell him something, Mister, and make it good.”
It occurred to Estelle at that moment that everything taking place was very much like the assemblage of a collage. She knew in that instant she must utilize her instincts to their fullest extent. There was no turning back now. This was the day she would regain her freedom.
Roddy Granger heard Estelle hiss, as if she stood right behind him breathing down the back of his neck. He reached into his pants pocket, and was surprised it had become damp. Unbeknownst to him, Roddy had been peeing everywhere but where he should have been peeing; that is, into the porcelain target area. He nevertheless removed his crushed and soggy church card, placed it in his mouth and started chewing.
Roddy Granger knew Estelle wasn’t really standing there behind him but suspected, quite rightly, Estelle was like some kind of oily Raven haired freckled witch! He chewed the bulletin and swallowed hard. The reason Roddy Granger joined the church in the first place so many years ago was a feeling that would overtake him from time to time: He liked evil and wanted evil in his life. Evil was so exciting. And he was thinking those very pre church thoughts AGAIN! He hoped digesting the church bulletin would be enough to quench the warm and all too pleasant tropical breeze of evil thinking. Things had been so good for so long without evil. But at that moment, in peeing into the urinal, the imaginary Estelle standing behind him, he never wanted evil back in his life as much.
“I want someone to stuff a hand grenade up my ass,” he whispered.
The thought seemed to have been syringed into his brain by some unknown cosmic physician. And as soon as he whispered the words, it was as if a murder of crows began to caw and fly about his head. He swatted with his hand and in doing so, peed on his shoes.
“What was that, mister?” What where when?” Lester bellered like Faulkner's Benji running alongside the cow pasture.
Roddy Granger realized he had whispered a bit too loudly. Lester continued.
“What are you whispering about to the stranger, Estelle? I’m out here trying to disenfuckingtangle myself, of all the goddamn times this would fucking happen, naturally, right when the goddamn stranger hits town. . . “
Roddy Granger stepped out of the lavatory at that very moment and began walking back toward the bar. He had thought of something to say to Lester while dabbing his shoes off with a wad of toilet paper. Lester had mentioned “bowel movements” at the moment he had been pushing through the bar’s front door. This was something he could run with. The stranger had an issue with constipation, a big issue.