“My ex-wife asked me to bring her some weed. I saved until I could get her the good stuff. I paid a lot for it, which was hard for me because of gas, and I had to take time off work to make the trip to Ohio.”
You’re leaning against the balcony railing, three stories high over the swimming pool. Last night it stormed. Lightning shorted the floodlight outside your window. You were grateful for the cut. It made your room darker.
“Going through North Carolina everyone was driving 75, 80 up this one hill, and at the top of the hill the speed limit changed to 55. Everyone let off the gas, but gravity kept them moving, you know, and at the bottom of the hill there were like 15 cops just waiting to pull you over. Every other car got stopped.”
You fix the straw hat so that it sits slanted down from the crown of your head. The sun peeps from behind a hole in the cloud cover and shines your chest. You look at the tangle of hairs. Rune shaped.
“They saw my Florida plates and pulled me over. I got out of the car and they checked me for hidden knives. Then they told me if I was honest with them they’d let me off easy, but I had to talk if there were any drugs in the car.”
You watch a girl open the gate to the swimming pool. She’s candy-wrapped in a lavender towel. She slips off her thong sandals and walks down white steps and wades towards the diving board.
“So, I told them there was some weed in a sock on the bottom of my duffel bag in the trunk. I told them I was taking it to my ex-wife in Ohio. They understood. The cops put me in handcuffs and brought out their sniffing dogs. They started barking at my bag. The cops asked if I had any other drugs in the car, any cocaine. I told them no. They wrote me a ticket for speeding down the hill and interstate transportation and let me go. It was like a couple hundred bucks, but I could pay it by mail when I got back to Miami. I didn’t have to go to court or anything.”
You sip on a glass of lukewarm water and marvel at how the girl grabs onto the diving board and pulls half her body out of the water. You see the pipes in her arms contracting.
“Then there was the time when we were living in Miami, and we got a call saying that my little brother was in the hospital in Kissimmee. He had a brain aneurysm.”
You don’t hear the gate open, but you do see a gray brindled pit bull skyrocket into the swimming pool with a galactic splash. What’s happening?
“My mom asked which car was the fastest. We got on the highway and I got clocked doing 102. The cop asked me what’s the deal, you were going 102? And I told him that my little brother was in bad shape. I told him about getting my mom to the hospital. And he understood. But he had to scribble out a ticket. He said if you keep on driving that fast you might never get to the hospital.”
You see her arms shaking mid-pull-up when the pit bull reaches her side of the swimming pool. It could be hers. You look around for an owner with a leash, but the grounds are desolate.
“After he finished scribbling out his ticket, he told us to follow him five exits down the highway. He started pushing a 100 and we followed right behind him to the exit. It was a good thing because I didn’t know the way to the hospital. If you just explain what you’re doing, they’ll understand. They’re human, too. But my little brother died before we got there. The hospital only called so we could try to see him one last time.“
The pit bull paws the girl. You think about how much more geometrical the painting would be if blood were less dense than water. Then you nod your head, and the man standing next to you on the balcony sips on his third espresso.
::photo by bridget::