Bottom of the 8th



And so I am telling her this thing, the thing we have going, it is getting weird in a socio-domestic kinda way, I am telling her. And she is all “But Pumpkin” this and that staring down at and swirling the coffee in her cup. Her hair is up in a loose almost undone way and she is wearing pretty much what she woke up in I suppose, since I guess she has been sleeping on the couch downstairs the past few days nights. It’s not all that early, she dumped her kids off at school so it must be at least nine. The sun is sorta poking around the end of the block and causing a bit of a glint off the red vinyl seat backs. The traffic is stop and go, but we are sitting in the booth facing the intersection of Main and Magnolia so that explains that, the stop and go anyhow.

It has been raining a bunch, most all winter and the city people are sodden. The urban beings have this curious, frizzy look screwed onto their face, like they are going to barf, or shoot someone or both. I ride the ferry in most each morning so I have a fresh pre-dawn exposure to it, the screwed on expression each wear. The Mariners start spring training in a few weeks so I am pretty cool with everything except well this whole thing Pedal and I have going.

“So Pedal” I say. “This thing, this thing we have going is getting messy gooey maybe.”
“Messy gooey maybe” she says.
“Might be,” I say.
“So what are you saying?” she says.
“Your work your kids,” I say.
“Work is fine,” she says “Kids are fine.”
“And Thomas?” I say.
“Let’s runaway,” she says. “Somewhere sunny.”
“Runaway?” I say.
“Somewhere sunny,” she says. “Arizona maybe”

Vivian is calling from the back, the kitchen where it is dark except for the single bulb glow above the grill where she putters in a grimy red sweater and apron. She calls everyone sweetie and only does bacon and eggs or ham and eggs. It is a funny deal, her system what with no waitress. You pour your own coffee (us regulars take turns making it, the coffee) then meander to the back and chat up Viv. I usually do bacon/scrambled/white toast and we talk about the weather, baseball, and her arthritis. Pedal being here has kind of messed with our routine.

“Don’t do it sweetie,” she says.
“Don’t do it?” I say
“The girl sweetie,” she says. “Don’t do it.”
“The girl?” I say.
“She wants to be rescued,” she says.
“Rescued?” I say
“Don’t do it,” she says.
“It?” I say.
“Eat your eggs,” she says.

So I respect Vivian and all, but this rescue thing? I mean I get stoned and watch baseball, I do not consider myself up to the task of rescuing anyone, especially so a certain female architect. I had a pretty good gig going washing windows for the guy, and then well this Pedal thing and he up and fires me. Owes me a couple weeks pay still. Not like I blame the guy, I mean I do know what her armpits smell like I guess.

“Eat your eggs,” I say.
“She does not like me much,” Pedal says.
“She does not like you?” I say.
“Not much,” she says. “The lady in back, the kitchen, in the grimy sweater.”
“Vivian?” I say. “She’s ok.”
“Can we runaway?” she says. “Somewhere sunny Arizona maybe?”
“Runaway,” I say. “Arizona sunny maybe.”
“I have your pay” she says. “It’s all there, 800 dollars. I took it out of my account.”
“My pay?” I say. “800 bucks!”
“It’s all there,” she says. “We can runaway.”
“More coffee?” I say.
“Thanks no,” she says. “I have to go. Think about it. Somewhere sunny.”

And so Pedal strolls out in the clothes she has been sleeping on the couch in. Just like that. And I have an envelope with 800 bucks in it. I take the plates to the back to the sink.
Vivian is at the grill.
“Just who’s rescuing who around this joint?” I say.
“Goodbye sweetie,” she says.

Union station is down near the stadium. I walk by it on most evening weekend games all summer. The gal at the ticket counter asks if she can help me.

“Can you?” I say.
“Can I ?” she says.
“Help me?” I say.
“Help you,” she says.
“Somewhere sunny,” I say.
“Somewhere?” she says.
“Arizona maybe,” I say.



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