She is also very angry.

August 15, 2013


 

I always wanted to be a trophy wife. It is the ultimate prostitution. You sell your soul as well as your body. I like ultimates. That’s what Mrs. Newton is. She is also very angry.

Rachel

……………………………………………..

OUT OF HER PURSE POPPED A PACKAGE OF PILLS

Mr. Edwards, the pharmacist, smiled at the attractive blond across the counter from him. And waited. She might not be finished. But Mrs. Newton had nothing else to say. So she smiled at him. Mr. Edwards continued to smile. One of them was stressed out.

What’s wrong with her? Suddenly nothing to say?

“They flipped out of the package?” Mr. Edwards repeated.

Couldn’t think of anything else to ask. Probably the wrong question to ask. She probably thinks that I’m accusing her of lying.

“Yes,” Mrs. Newton said. “They just flipped out of my hands. I took the package out of my purse and when I tried to open the lid of the pills… oops! The top flipped off. Somersaults. Like a 200 metre dive. Off a cliff in Argentina. And the pills flew into the toilet. My heart fluttered. I swear it. Like a butterfly in your fingers. Then I knelt down and wept for an hour. It seemed like forever. God, this is so impossible. Why do I confess all of this to you? But like the old song says, love will bloom in that starlit hour with you. Have you ever waited in a train station?”

Mr. Edwards stared at the customer. Train station?

At a loss for words Mr. Edwards was left repeating Mrs. Newton’s.

“Right into the toilet.”

Mrs. Newton licked her lips with her tongue. Just the tip of her tongue. My mouth is so dry. She nodded.

“Yes, I understand.” Mr. Edwards smiled. What is it with the tongue?

“Did you know,” Mrs. Newton asked, “that in 1956 Nat King Cole was beaten while performing on stage in a small city in the South? Who beats Nat King Cole?”

While Mr. Edwards considered Mrs. Newton’s story about Nat King Cole she continued to talk.

“And I just got the prescription the other day. Something to settle my nerves. I’ve been clumsy of course. But it’s my nerves. They’re so jangled.”

Mr. Edwards continued to smile.

“Didn’t anyone help Nat King Cole?” He couldn’t remember any such story. He’d heard lots of stories about that baseball player. What was his name? But he’d never heard anything about Nat King Cole. It was possible of course.

The blonde smiled back at him.

Why doesn’t he say anything?

“Excuse me?” she said.

“The story,” Mr. Edwards responded, “about Nat King Cole.”

Mr. Edwards smiled. As did Mrs. Newton. She stared back at Mr. Edwards. Waiting as did Mr. Edwards wait. One of them was stressed out.

Is he trying to find out which one of us will break first?

No one spoke. Finally the pharmacist could take it no longer.

“Do you have the package with you?”

Mrs. Newton fished into her purse and pulled out the empty pill container addressed to Mrs. Newton. It was a prescription that Mr. Edwards himself had issued. But he could not remember doing so. He couldn’t remember much of anything so preoccupied was his mind with the beating of Nat King Cole.

How come I never heard that story before?

“Mrs. Newton?” Mr. Edwards asked, looking up from the empty pill tube.

“Mary Newton.” The blond smiled. She licked her lips again. “Or Tess if you wish. Friends call me Tess. My husband calls me Mary. The maid calls me Miss. My husband is the manager of the bank in the plaza. He is a very powerful man. A man who can be beneficial to anyone in business. A man not to be trifled with.”

“Yes.” Mr. Edwards nodded. “I have met your husband on a couple of occasions. Business meetings. What would you have us do, Mrs. Newton?”

Mary Newton brushed the hair from her eyes as she sighed.

“I would like you to replace the pills. If you would, Mr…” She’d forgotten his name.

Mr. Edwards keyed in Mrs. Newton’s name into the computer. He asked her for her address. She complied. He licked his lips. It was a habit he had acquired any time he had to pass on bad news. Mrs. Newton was still licking her lips. They were still dry.

“We can’t replace your pills, Mrs. Newton.”

“You can’t…” Mrs. Newton’s mouth hung open for a moment. Like a garage door that has yet to automatically close after it’s automobile has departed.

“I don’t understand.” She finally added.

“We can’t renew your prescription. There was nothing on the previous prescription to allow that.”

Mrs. Newton stared at the pharmacist. She could not believe what she was hearing.

“I don’t understand,” she said. “I haven’t taken any of the pills.”

Mr. Edwards smiled again, his tongue running along the edge of his lips. Mrs. Newton squinted. If she hadn’t been so upset she would undoubtedly have made a comment on Mr. Edwards’ proclivity.

“The prescription does not cover refills.” The words rushed out of Mr. Edwards’ mouth.

“But, I haven’t taken any of the pills. It’s not a refill.” Mrs. Newton raised her eyebrows ever so slightly.

“If you would like, Mrs. Newton, we could phone your doctor and ask him if he would allow you to renew the prescription.”

“And you’ll tell him what happened to the pills?”

“We’ll relay your story.”

Mrs. Newton took a deep breath.

He thinks I’m lying!

“It isn’t a story. It’s the truth.”

The pharmacist smiled. “I’m sure it is, mam, but we have no way of confirming that. I’m sure that your doctor, who knows you better that we do, will renew your prescription.”

“I’m sure he would but… he’s gone on holiday.”

Mr. Edwards looked at Mrs. Newton and shrugged.

“What does that mean?”

“What?”

“The shrug.”

“There’s nothing that we can do.”

Mrs. Newton took a deep breath. She was growing increasingly impatient.

“Is there something you could suggest?”

Mr. Edwards thought for a moment.

“There is a doctor on duty in the clinic attached to the drug store. He might be able to help you.”

Mrs. Newton smiled with relief.

“Oh,” Mr. Edwards said. “I’m sorry. I forgot. It’s six o’clock.”

Mrs. Newton looked at the pharmacist.

“It’s six o’clock. What does that mean?”

“He’s gone home,” the pharmacist explained. “At least he has left. I’m not sure where he went.”

Mrs. Newton stared at the pharmacist for some time. She wanted to remember his face. Then she turned and walked sharply away from the counter and down the aisle toward the exit. Peggy Castle, Mr. Edwards’ assistant, stepped up behind Mr. Edwards.

“What was that all about?” she asked.

“Trouble,” Mr. Edwards replied.

Outside in the parking lot, pointed directly at the store, sat a smart red foreign sports car. Mrs. Newton sat in the car. Grinding her teeth. Black seething asphalt. Black leather upholstery. Dead aim. At the front window. A red sports car. Smart efficient German design. Power under the hood. Fuming. Listen to that engine roaring. That cool stroke of the pistons. Soft black Italian leather upholstery. Talking to herself. Sensitive. Music coming from the radio. Don’t Get Around Much Any More. Impulsive. Heaven on wheels. Fire in her eyes. Smoke coming out of her ears.

“Who the fuck does he think he is?” Mrs. Newton said. Pronouncing each syllable separately. Like bullets in a chamber. “Thinks I’m lying! Thinks I’m some kind of pathetic pill popping suburban pooper scooper.”

Her hands squeezing the steering wheel. Thoughts racing through her head. Homicidal thoughts. Eyes popping. And the soft smell of a clarinet. Smoke from her cigarette climbing daintily through the air. Fingers tinkling over shiny yellow ivories. Cigarette air. And a husky voiced blonde. With a big mike next to her lips. Thought I visit the club, got as far as the door.

“I could drive this fucking car right through his precious plate glass window.”

The keys in her hands. Dangling. Like church bells. Like drum sticks. Like soft puffy fingers around a child’s neck. Moving towards the ignition. Been invited on a date,
I might have gone, but what for.

“Are you alright?” a voice asked.

Startled.

“Is something wrong?” the voice asked again. A Charleton Heston voice. Out of the clouds. Coming down on you like a storm. Dark clouds. Rolling thunder. And the smell of sweet jangled jasmine.

Mrs. Newton looked out her window. And then up. Her vision fled. Like mist at the first sight of the dawn. A giant stood outside her car. He bent over to look in her window. His huge hand pressed against the glass. Like the mouth of a python. Ready to swallow her. To drag her down it’s throat. Everest. She could hardly hear his voice. Like she was reading his lips. Like his lips were dancing. A classic waltz. Liquor dancing drunk in their veins.

“No!” she cried.

“Why are there tears on your cheek?” Everest asked. “I couldn’t help noticing.” He smiled. Lines broke across his face. Rivers eating out the dust in a desert. Continents being tossed aside by rift valleys.

And the stand up base kept thumping against her heart. A clarinet. Whistling.

She turned sharply on him.

“What business is that of yours?” She spoke towards the steering wheel. Like it was an ear. Like the smart red foreign sports car was listening to her. Like she had to address the automobile. Like she was in Berlin addressing the cream of German engineering. And the horns laughed. And the clarinets could not believe they’d ever heard anything so funny. Would someone lick my cigarette? But the stranger on the outside could not hear a thing. He kept looking at her with concern. And the drummer laid a fan across his drum. Stirred it like it was stew. Was somebody ever going to eat?

“I think we should all look out for each other,” Everest said. “I saw you. You look agitated. Distraught. I was afraid that you would do yourself an injury.”

Where am I? What kind of world is this? Have I just woken up? Was a crime committed. Someone throw themselves off a sidewalk? In front of a truck? Oh God, I need my medication. Or a hug from my father. And why did he leave us? Leaving her was easy. But how could he leave me? With her?

“I think people should mind their own business,” Mrs. Newton cried, turned on the ignition, the motor screaming, and sped out of the parking lot. Squealing her tires.

Everest straightened up and smiled. He felt like Murray Westgate. If he could remember who Mr. Westgate was. There was an annoying tune playing over and over again in his head.

“Sometimes I get so sad my knees begin to shake,” he said to the space where the little red sports car had been so happy.

 

 

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