the head dracula

I had just passed Building 28, how was I suddenly in the 50s? It just skipped the thirties and forties altogether. I’ve delivered pizzas to some labyrinthine-ass apartment complexes, but there is none more confusing than this one assisted living facility in the really rich part of town. If I had wanted to spend my life weaving through some huge maze of bullshit to get anything done, I’d have filled out the paperwork to go back to college. Suddenly a teacup doberman in a diamond collar ran in my path, with multiple overmatched staff in ponchos in hot pursuit. One held up his hands like a cop as they crossed in my headlights, another held up his hands in apology. Relieved to see that my brakes still worked in the rain, I then looked up through the part of my windshield that the wipers can’t get to and saw above the crescent the sign marked Building 37.
The man answered the door in a smoking jacket looking just like Veronica’s dad from Archie comics. I probably should have clarified earlier that this assisted living facility is for people who can still cook their own meals and play golf, not like a nursing home. Before I could even say “Hello sir, I have an olive, tomato and mushroom pizza for you” using my talking to someone at the bank voice in a likely futile stab at a good tip, he got annoyed and said, “I had requested delivery from a female driver.” In fact, my making this delivery had been the subject of some controversy back at the pizza place, one complicated by my gambling debt to Wanda, and Wanda’s and my differing rock-paper-scissors techniques. You’re supposed to show what you got as you say the word “three”, not one beat after counting. I thought that was so obvious that I wouldn’t need to specifically mandate that before we played, but on an aborted first try she saw that I was planning to play paper. Probably did it on purpose. Remembering that Wanda couldn’t lock up until I get back, though, I accepted this oldster’s weary, resigned offer of a drink and wiped my feet on the way in.
“Have a seat,” he said. “That scotch is older than you are. Better enjoy it.” Those were the first of volumes of words that came from him as he paced the room over the next twenty minutes, telling me how his son had put him in here so he could take over the company. I got the impression that he didn’t entertain guests frequently. He kept the money in his hand, sometimes waving it tantalizingly in front of me as he got worked up and began to season his speech with gestures. Finally, he slumped exhausted into the wingback chair opposite mine and said, “I wouldn’t even be considered a young President. A young heart attack victim.” He blinked a slow blink that contained the hint of a wince which conveyed decades of accumulated hurt. I was then fully aware of his awareness that he had already begun his life’s final transition, that would end not with a new stage of life, but between impermanent stays at advancing levels of convalescent care. The end of his life would be mired in a transitory state, and he was in the process of giving up hope of ever emerging restored from the tunnel’s end. This interminable passageway was the stage, not a path to some hard-won achievement. I know what that’s like. When I was a kid, there were a couple years after my brother was born but before my sister graduated where my bedroom was in the hallway. Didn’t have any posters or anything, and I had to wheel my bed in every night. Now we were both depressed. He then stood and opened his smoking jacket a bit, raising a hand like a cop at my apprehension, I the only company he could still wield influence over. Displayed were the most comfortable-looking pajamas I had ever seen. They glowed. “These were originally owned by Pat Sajak. I accidentally wore them home from a week-long National Cookie Day party at Ludacris’ and he said to keep them.”


1 Response to “the head dracula”

  1. 1 dogmom
    February 1, 2012 at 3:37 pm

    but was it a week full of hot cookies?

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