Sunday, July 08, 2007

"The Liquid Life" (installment twenty-nine)


Saturnina was big in the belly by Cassius and forced to leave them when her mother, an indirect descendant of Mozart, ordered her home... immediately. That broke the charm. She licked her chops like delicious over the brawl she had started back home and left at midnight with all types debts and bets unpaid.

No one came to foreclose.

Elendele remained stoic and true to her principals of free love, but she bled internally, and thereafter her smile was always more knowing. That Cassius had beaten her barely with a little seduction of his own.

No one was surprised.

Saturn left with a Cortez original under her arm. She’d had it so long and the paint still hadn’t dried. It was from his flinging phase. Since then he’d painted on rugs, throw away doors, and sheets. He used much less paint now since it was cheaper that way. She had given the grateful painter a thousand dollars for the work just to get under Elendele’s skin. But Elendele was too saddened at her leaving to notice.

Saturn, she said, was a once in a lifetime friend who would simply grow up to become someone we once knew.

I was sad, too. My affection had always been hers and she drank freely of it, longingly, without ever laying a hurtful glove on me. And I was flattered. She remained forever softly Saturnina. I didn’t even get an hour with her to say goodbye. And you should always say goodbye. She invited me over to smoke a joint while she was packing and seemed mildly surprised I hadn’t brought the Maria myself.

And even though she didn’t get her treasure, she gave one, a bracelet; her blue-stained glass moon crescent, and a new drug she and Trini had invented called Executrip, on the condition that I think about her through most of it. That was easy, and I did.

We called her every week until we lost track of how long she had been gone. The conversations had no detail. We’d get clumsy and would end up saying things at the same time. Then she’d say, “I’m sorry, you go ahead,” and I’d say, “No, you, please.” Of course, when Saturn was near I could hardly be heard, but I never got soliloquy from afar. And anyway it was the same on the phone with either of them, they were rainbows and were reduced by wire to one color in voice.

“Maybe she was afraid someone was listening,” I indulged Elendele whose speeches I had to content myself with, and which were in the end much better; more jaunty, more thickness in the lyric. Whitey McEntee had said he’d hire her after watching her turn a speech to a local union on the plant closings bill into a song.

Anyway, Saturn was changing politically, was growing enamored of a dangerous French outfit called Direct Action or, at least, wasted way too much time pulling their leaflets off the walls of Marseille, reading at night for insight into government, and ways it might be moving market forces.

Elendele approved. Only they, she said, believed in real revolution, anymore. So, Saturnina had come to know them, had grown away from us to brighten their edgeworld. “Sad Lisa Lisa” remained her favorite song.

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