Family (Part XXV)
By Pete Moss
Back at the glass and steel bunker in Venice, Lolita has received an express delivery of a Styrofoam cooler like the kind Kidney Couriers carry body parts in.
I don't have time to think about it ‘cause Lolita puts me to slicing and chopping and dicing, cutting butter into flour, rolling it out. Man I'm telling you, a dinner party is a lot of work.
Lolita has all the pots steaming, smells emanating, burners going, frying pans sizzling.
She has a fine sheen of sweat on her face and her hair keeps getting loose.
Then she hustles me out of the kitchen, tells me to bathe.
"And there's a suit for you to wear."
It's a nice suit too. Whereas Dijay had me looking like a gangster pimp, Lolita has me looking like a downtown lawyer.
After I'm ready there's nothing to do but watch TV and wait for Lolita to get ready. And mix a drink.
Also set the table. There's only four places, but each setting has many plates and utensils. And there's a pretty fancy floral centerpiece.
Finally Lolita comes out. We look at each other. Then we stand together and look at ourselves all dressed up, in the mirror.
"We make quite a handsome couple," says Lolita. She's right.
Then the guests arrive. Lucretia and her husband, a pudgy guy who is so white he must be Norwegian. He also seems to be high.
We have drinks. Lolita gives Lucretia a little tour of the house.
The fat guy and I step out on the deck.
He leers at me drunkenly, then edges in closer, nudges me with his elbow, "So how old is your wife?" he smirks.
I think about the last time I was on a deck overlooking water with some jerk.
But this time I don't have a baseball bat handy, and anyway I don't want to mess up my suit.
"C'mon on guys," sings Lolita "Time to eat."
We sit at the table.
Lolita has prepared Blinis for starters. Buckwheat crepes. There's a filling and garnishes like sour cream and parsley.
The Blinis are quite tasty. Even Lucretia smiles after her first bite.
"These are quite good," says Lucretia. "What's this filling?"
"Well....scrambleds eggs, with you know, a little cream and some herbs and spices."
"It's so fluffy, and it just sort of melts in your mouth. What else is in it?"
"Brains," says Lolita.
"Brains, it's traditional...."
But Lucretia has jumped up from the table, finger to her mouth, cheeks puffing out. She makes a dash for the bathroom where we hear the sound of retching.
Lolita looks at me.
I look back at her and stuff a big bite of Brain Blinis in my mouth. I chew and swallow it and give Lolita a wink.
Lucretia comes storming out of the bathroom, gathers her nodding husband and hustles out of the house.
Later, I say, "By the way, I googled Blinis. Brains are not a traditional filling in any country in Eastern Europe, or anywhere else. You are a wicked little minx."
Lolita giggles. "But did you see the look on her face..." Lolita can't stop laughing.
I have to laugh myself.
"Lucretia is a nasty old witch, serves her right,” says Lolita.
"She's probably done way worse herself,” I add.
"You know she has."
Now Lolita wants to buy a bicycle. So we spend the day going to bicycle shops. Lolita wants to come with me on my morning rides.
"It makes me nervous with you out there, riding your bike at dawn. You might get hit by a car, or some Yogachick might flirt with you." she says.
"Yeah, one of those broads in her tight little yoga pants and sports bra. Rides up next to you or pretends her bike is broke down so you stop to help."
"Not me, I'm not the kind of guy like that."
"And what is 'Like that'?"
"Uh...gallant. I'm not the one gonna stop for some damsel in distress."
"That's right!" says Lolita, and she punches me on the bicep.
Then the doorbell dings.
"Must be Lucretia coming over to apologize," I say.
"Ha!" says Lolita.
It's not Lucretia. It's worse. It's two cops, detectives. They flash badges. I let them in.
"I'm Detective Swanson and this is my partner, Stackhouse, LAPD."
"What can I do for you?"
"We had a report of an underage girl being held at this address."
Lolita comes into the room. "I am NOT being held. And I'm not underage!"
"Can we see some ID?"
And Lolita goes in another room and returns with her ID, which, sure enough, says she's 18.
The cops look skeptical. They examine my ID as well. Then they go back out to their car and get on the computer. Then they return. They hand back our IDs.
"Well...OK, for now," says the one called Stackhouse.
"By the way, Mr. McElroy, you know a Marin county Sherriff Homicide detective named Ramirez?" says Swanson.
"You should get in touch with ASAP." Swanson hands me a card with Ramirez contact info.
"Sure," I say.
The cops stand there for another moment. I can tell they're thinking about having another look at Lolita’s ID, but they don't say anything. Instead they go back out to their car and sit there for what seems like forever, having a serious conversation.
Finally they drive away.