Wisdom And Wolf

by

Stonesoul

C5 - Sunday: Rev. Because it wasn't quite frelling Monday / {That Fucking Cat} <Or> (Hearts & Scars)

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C5 - Sunday: Revisited. Because it wasn't quite frelling Monday /

{That Fucking Cat} <Or> (Hearts And Scars)

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What do you hear? Nothing but the rain. Then grab your gun and bring the cat in.

Boom, boom, boom.

 

I stared into the dark gray space around me knowing only that I was awake. Something had pulled me back from the embrace of a really good muse. I'd have been pissed if I didn't find myself right next to a different kind of fancy. I tried shifting without disturbing the girl who was covering me like a quilt. She was warm and soft and engaged in her own dream, and I didn't want it to end for her. She looked like she was having fun there.

I failed.

Emily stretched beside me. Wiggled her boobs against my ribs and nuzzled in.

"Hi."

"Hi. Oof. Roll up a bit, my arm is asleep."

"Sorry."

"Don't ever be sorry for that. If it means I woke up, with you draped across me. It's so fuckin worth it."

And… It was a knock at the door. That woke me. And now, it had caught both of our attentions.

"Hold on."

"It's Suzzanne from team builders."

"Giveasec." (giveasec: pronounced; give a sec: undercommon for; I'm coming, keep your pants on and let me get mine:)

I crawled out from under the covers and slipped on my jeans. I heard Emily start to rise behind me.

I kissed her and pulled the blankets back on her. "Floors cold. I'll invite her in. One of us has to keep this bed warm."

I opened the door. The hall light caused my eyes to look away. When the focus came back, I saw the face that was at the podium speaking, when I got the glare from the woman seated behind her.

"What's up?"

"Hi, sorry to wake you, but we have a problem."

"Come on in. Suze."

"It's Suzzanne."

She was blonde. Naturally blonde. But she came off as the type of blonde that thinks that, because she's blonde, skinny and has boobs, you should worship in her brilliance and bow before her radiance. Because that's what she's been told, to be.

California Uber Alles.

She was wearing the team building company's, navy blue polo, black khakis and completely, impractical shoes. Pumps, that probably cost more, than the entire wardrobe I had up here. Possibly my entire wardrobe, complete. With boots. Her finger nails were the same color as her shirt. The exact same color. I looked up and for a microscopic moment in time there was no facade.

How can I describe her eyes and get anything close to the point across? I can't. But I'll try.

How's this? You know how some people have different colored eyes? Heterochromia I think it's called. Well, you know how that, one eye, feels like it has a pull? Either because it's so dark it feels like a black hole to your vision. Or it's so much lighter, it grabs you, calls to you, and no matter how much you look at the other eye, that other one is there. Almost uncomfortably there. Pulling you, drawing you in. I kinda like that feeling. People call it a condition. I call it fucking awesome. It's mystical… That Sensation. Is both of hers. At the same time. In Hazel Green. The only problem was, she kept trying to muzzle it.

The corporate mannequin took control and shut it off. And it got cold. My stomping grounds.

"Okay. 'Suzzanne'. What's up?"

"Joseph, right?"

"Joe is fine."

"And you're Emily?"

"Mmhmm. But you can call me Em, if you'd like, or Emily, whatever makes you happy."

"O-kayy, Emily... Didn't you have a stutter?"

"Mmmhmmm."

She looked confused. Life altering circumstances, confused.

"Good sex, I knocked it right out of her."

I felt the fingers before the pinch.

"Oww. Jeez Em, that's gonna leave a mark."

Suzzanne got flustered and turned up the cold.

Then Em turned up the heat.

"I'll kiss it and make it better later."

"I'm holding you to that." And Joe brings the cold to a whole new level. "So, Suze-Anne, what's the problem?"

"We're missing someone." straight faced, annoyed.

"Did you call the cops?"

"Yes." The contempt was real. Toward me, not the cops, "But they can't do anything, with out proof that he didn't just leave to go to town. His stuffs still here. And there's no sign of any problem."

"Who was it?"

"Paul, red squad."

"My partner in the race yesterday?" Emily asked.

"Yes, that's him. When did you last see him?"

"After the race, we left. So I guess, around the race was the last time."

"How about you?"

"I think he was out in the parking lot, waiting for the bus when we split."

"Not at all after that?"

"Nope. We went for a ride. Didn't get back until after eleven."

"Joseph?"

"Yes, Emily"

"Can you grab my robe? Please."

I grabbed her robe from her suit case, It was then that Suzzanne saw the bike, sitting where the single bed used to be.

"Why is there a motorcycle in your room?" She wasn't pissed. Nor was she disgusted. She was; Honestly Curious.

"We didn't want her to get lonely. All by herself. Out in the cold." Em joked.

"And, she," I nodded in Em's direction, "is a bit of a voyeur."

Suzzanne choked back something she really needed to get out. I almost felt bad. No I didn't. There's something so much better in there, you can see it, but she just pushes against it. But this wasn't her. So I did not feel bad. I could feel the word form in her mind. It was right there, on the tip of her tongue. She wanted to say it, real bad. But not yet. She's stoic. Meeting a professional corporate standard. But I think we nicked the shell.

She departed, deadpan and calm-…

"I have to go gather some of the other people. Can you meet in the lobby?"

"I'm there."

"Mmmhmm."

She turned to the door and fumbled with the knob. The door closed behind her. She dropped her clipboard in the hallway outside.

…-ish.

"Asshole."

And there it was.

On our side of the door, the conversation was, "Welcome to the family, Suzzanne... That girl, needs to get laid."

"So does this one."

"Oh! Cheeky."

"Mmmmhmmm."

"But you know you have some coming. How you feeling in there today?"

"Much better. Still a bit sore. Not really painful anymore though, just kind of itchy, itchy."

"Well, if it's only feeling itchy tonight, I'll scratch it for ya."

"Promise?"

"Consider me your personal cat post."

She turned to face me and her robe fell open. I held her at arms length.

"G&G did a great job bringing your parents together."

"Thanks." She said softly.

"Sorry. Bad memories?"

"It's... My..."

In a breath, her resolve became rock and she got, her look. The same one she gets, when she's found the tweak.

It starts with the sense of something brewing. Then she gets that,

':If?

That, shouldn't be if.

That.. should be case (when):', smile.

"I'll tell you later."

Then she grabbed my ass with both hands, pulling us into each other.

"Wanna see if we can help?"

"Mhmhm."

When we got to the lobby it was three, fifteen or thirty, in the morning. My time to shine, mother fuckers. I was born for this hour of the day. There was about eight half sleepy people sitting around in a daze. Pamela was the only one who looked conscious enough to speak. So we walked on over.

"Any word on what the hell is going on?"

"Not a clue. The cops woke me and Carol up over an hour ago, asking if we heard him leave or saw anything suspicious."

"So he came back on the bus?"

"He never got on it. But he was here when we got back. He told his roommate he was going to take a nap, but he wasn't there when Chris went to change at eight."

"He's probably just off sucking cock somewhere." (shit. that came out. there are things I've seen.)

"He's gay?"

"Oh! I don't know, I just got a feeling about him yesterday."

"You psychic?"

"Hah. No. Psychotic maybe, sociopathic, quite possibly, but nobody can label me, a psychic…"

Pamela tried holding back a laugh, due to the circumstances, of our discussion's cause. But she couldn't help giggle a bit. I didn't think it was all that funny. We are all psychotic. To the last human being on the face of this planet. It's our legacy, it's inherent. All we can do is channel it into something useful. And when mental health professionals, say, 'you're normal', they're really saying, 'You're the same crazy as a majority of the population'.

"You remember the three legged race?"

"Yeah."

"Well. You didn't like getting partnered with me. And I had no like for you either. I tend to stand off. Til I get a read. That's just the way it is. That's me. And you kinda came off like a slutty J dude."

"OK. If we're going to be honest, true. I thought you were a scary psycho mother fucker. But J dude? Really?"

"Yes."

"Ouch. Sorry for that. You may continue."

"Thank you kindly, Ma'am… Even though we didn't like each other, we found a way to work together. I didn't dislike you, just because you were female and you didn't dislike me, just because I was a guy. We just had untested attitudes, colloquialisms and lifestyles."

"The age gap didn't help either."

"True, but that's where the colloquialisms came into play. Anyway. The one thing we had in common was, neither one of us wanted to be the reason we lost. I had an idea and you improved on it. We had fun with it. And we kicked some ass out there. Pamillasaur."

"Yeah we did. It was a major butt banging. But you're losing me."

"I watched Em's race, he was her partner. And he had a disdain."

"Yeah. I know. Been on the receiving end."

"You're standing, you survived, all good, chalk it up as an only made me tougher win. Like I was saying, he took control, and practically dragged her through the mud. So I watched him for a bit and noticed, that it wasn't her he had disdain for, it was her sex. He treated all the girls with distaste, but all the guys were met with friendly banter, and a little too much hands on communication."

"But he's a football player. He might just be used to that type of… uhhh,."

Suzie came up, clip board in hand, looking anything but confident. She looked worried, perplexed, and pissed. Still, she kept some control. She'd seen us talking and closed the distance. Her cohort Darren looked even less sure of himself.

"Camaraderie."

"Yes."

"True. Like I said it was just a feeling. It could be he just got fucked over by a girlfriend so bad. He's putting all of you in her ranks. I don't know. Maybe he found someone to hate fuck. Or just decided he needed to be alone. Who knows. Either way. It doesn't matter. IF, he's hurt, or hurting someone, or someone's hurting him, he needs to be found. If he's not, then at least we can get back to bed. I was comfy."

"I'll bet you were."

Just then Suzie spoke up, "So you guys are thinking he just hooked up with somebody or just left unannounced?"

(ahhh, suze, anne, where is the other half of your brain, you missed the important half of the conversation)

"Could be," Emily interjected, "we did."

"True! But you guys came back, and EVERYONE knew, you left. You definitely made an exit."

"It was that obvious huh?" I asked rather sarcastically.

"Yes."

"How many people heard us come back?'

"A couple."

"Saw us or heard us?"

"I don't know, I didn't hear you, so saw, I guess."

"Okay. An offer of peace of mind. If you and Darren are really, and I mean really worried, I might have a way of helping out. I just don't want to take the blame for this. So go talk it over with him and if you both decide, this needs resolving, tonight, come back, and let me know, and I'll see if I can help… Beyond, running through the woods with flashlights, screaming his name with eight other people. And bear, And coyote."

"And snakes."

"Thanks Em."

"Mmhmmm."

"And snakes, And, now I hear… Mountain lions."

With that, she shuffled off to confer with her partner. I stopped paying attention when Darren ran his hands through his hair. I didn't need to watch the guy make himself bald. That's what helmets are for.

"Oh. Manners…"

There's this here too. They're more fun.

"...Em, Pam. Pamela, Em or Emily, take your pick."

"Nice to meet you Emily."

"Nice, to meet you too - Pamela."

"It's just Pam or Pammy."

"Em, is fine."

"I like Emily, it has a womanly quality. So? You're stuck in the same room with this guy huh?"

"Worse," She said, "I'm stuck in the same bed with him."

A body entered our space and stood there. Patient.

"Hah. I've seen you two together. That doesn't surprise me. In the least."

"Excuse me. Joe," Suzie interrupted, "how exactly can you help?"

"Are you guys that worried about him?"

"Yes."

"And you want this resolved? Because I'm probably gonna do this anyway."

"Yes."

"Alright then…" 'He's gonna hold this over my head, like a banner forever.' (but now I have someone else to blame. thanks suzzanne)

I went to the front desk and borrowed their phone, again. I slid a five across the counter and Grampa Hicks just shuffled it back and waved it off, "I'll put it on their tab."

"Thanks."

I dialed the number and waited.

The phone rang about fifteen times.

Then,

"WHAT?"

"Hey, ya Cranky bastard, Sorry to wake you."

"Hey. You didn't wake me, Fuzznuts... hold on… What??? It's Joe... Wolf, Yeah... What? If you want to… then just keep... he can't see… So! What's up?"

"Now I'm even sorrier old man."

"Yeah, yeah, get to it peckerhead."

(that's his way of saying you're thinking with your dick and your wrong. which I was, on both counts. how could I not be. he is having sex with her, just not this second. she was actually making presents for everyone. I know, because I got mine, and the story, later. frank started the story with himself fixing breakfast, and no, she doesn't think you can see through the phone, yet. she's just really shy about it. no. it's not my story to tell. This one is)

"Does Bob still have those hunting dogs."

"Yeah. Why?"

"Seems they lost one of the participants over here. And local ain't bein local."

"Shit. He's out of town. I'll see if… hmmm, lemme call you back." Click. Doooooooooooommmmmm

I should have listened to that hmmm before the dial tone a little closer. But I didn't. The dial tone itself should have been forewarning.

Five minutes later the front desk rang. "Hello, The Lodge On the River, William speaking.... Oh! Hey Sarge, how's things... They're good here too, thanks... Sure... Next Sunday at seven.... Mabe would like that... Yep... Look forward to it…" then he handed me the phone, "It's for you, Peckerhead."

"Thanks. Gramps… Yeah, Crankshaft."

"You're lucky."

"Been living that my whole life."

"Haven't we all. See you in half an hour."

"Thanks, see you then."

At four twenty five a brand new, dark blue pick up, pulled in the lot. That should have given me a clue. A second clue.

Big Frank was in the passenger seat with Beccah on his lap, her feet out the window, barefoot, drinking a beer. Waving.

The drivers door opened and a medium height, skinny, bald, black dude stepped out. And it clicked. Frank's idea of a good practical joke. Make you sleep on the shittiest cot he has, while your banged up, after getting into a tussle alongside his son, because it's going to fall apart on you, it always does, and you're gonna go, boom, badda big boom, and he's gonna giggle. Like a mother fucker. Or, He's going to bring two people, who haven't seen each other in awhile, together, and surprise both of em. He's a strange man.

The blackish dude, saw the whitish dude, walking to the truck, as he was turning around to go to the back. He took two steps, stopped, and turned to face me, with a squint, and a shoulda seen this coming eye, "Wolf?"

"The Nigerian. Fucking. Nightmare. Of course. Heya Jag. How the fuck are ya?"

"Ha ha ha, Frank you sneaky bastard." That was Nim, Jag, My other brother, from another continent's mother.

"Touche, mother fucker." That was me, at Frank.

"That's cheating." That was Frank, at me.

"Not in this case, Cranky." That was me back to Frank.

"Holy shit man. Come here let me look at you." And that, was Nimbuwe to me.

I closed the gap between us. Two hands, bigger than the frame would suggest, grabbed my elbows, "Voice works. Still got your hair, still got the rest of your teeth, both arms, legs work fine. Fingers work?"

I flexed them. "So far."

"Be nice if you remembered how to dial a phone with em. The only thing I miss up here, is good reception."

Then I was wrapped up in a firm embrace.

"Missed you too, Nim."

"Olofi smiles on us today."

"Seems like it. I thought you and Bob were training birders."

"We expanded to Search and Rescue. Have five in the field."

Frank leaned and yelled out the window. "He just got home."

"Come, help me get my Liffa."

Now most people you'd refer to as black aren't really.

I've been a lot of places and I haven't met a 'black' or a 'white' one yet. It would be really fucking cool to meet someone with actual black skin, and it would be just as cool to meet someone who was actually white. They don't exist as far as I know. 'Black' people are somewhere between a light cafe mocha and a very burnt umber. It's really a beautiful spectrum. The skin we humans bare. From a milky cream to a deep dark brown and a whole array of wonderful tones, with different hues, mixed in between.

Nimbuwe, was the color of a really charred wood, not quite black, but about as close as you could get, with out actually being there. He stood about five foot seven and weighed all of a hundred twenty, thirty, pounds. He had scars, on a good portion of his body. Some cuts, some burns, even a couple bullet holes. Here and there and there. His left shoulder had so many lines across it you'd swear it was tribal art. Done in a ritualistic purpose.

The place he was born, was to say the least, a tough place to live. Luckily he was adopted, along with his sister, and gotten the hell out of there. He never lost faith in his childhood religion. Even if, as he admits, the only thing he really knows, is that, His Olofi, is a messenger, between heaven and earth. And he likes that idea. For many reasons. And much to the character of the people that adopted him, they didn't fight it out of him. They figured he was a good soul, and this Olofi was a good influence on him, so they just let it be.

I met him when we were both seventeen and we were brothers from, somewhere along the line. Not quite from the moment we first met. But definitely shortly after. Or maybe from a moment somewhere in between lives. Who knows.

When Frank's neighbor, Bob, said he was looking for help, training hounds for hunting, I introduced them. The Nigerian Nightmare had a natural gift, that became a well honed talent. He was a rarity of heart and spirit.

He's been up here ever since.

"You named the dog after your sister."

"Yes. About time I get to boss her around. Don't tell her I said that, she'd have my hide."

"She'd tie you by your ankles and beat you like a pinata."

"That too. But that might be fun, even if she is my sister. Don't tell her that either."

We brought Liffa to Paul's room and gave her his scent. Socks. Fifteen minutes later she tracked to the medium barn and sat. With her tail thumping. I looked in the window, shook my head and turned away.

"Come on, let's head back."

"Bad track?"

"Nope he's here, he just... Hijacked a donut."

"Ahh, found a nice little place to let the snake burrow."

"You could say that."

"Ha ha."

(yes. we're in our forties, and still, the silly shit of our youth, keeps us laughing, and keeps us humble.)

Emily met us on the landing, along with a dozen or so curious faces. Suzzanne gave me the 'well?' look.

"He's fine. Just needed some alone time."

I couldn't tell if the air produced, from the crowd, was one born of relief. Or, Ah Shit! No one died.

Yeah, that would have been nice. (that was sarcastic)

The vultures, dispersed to their rooms rather quickly.

'no fresh kill for you tonight'

Pam was not a vulture. She seemed to have had a little more curiosity than the rest. In a completely different, particular interest.

Emily gathered me in close and squeezed.

"Double N, this is Em and that's Pamela. Guys, this is Nimbuwe."

"Pleased to make your acquaintance Em, Pamela." he said, with a bow, to both, but he was definitely eyeing up the strawberry blonde.

Yeah. Just wait for it.

Emily shook his hand, "Nice to meet you too." She bent down and pet Liffa on the head. The big, two toned, black and brown dog, practically knocked her on her butt pushing in for more attention.

Pamela just eyed him up and down, reading his scars like a romance novel, "Pam is fine," she looked to the dog. "That's not a Shepard, is it?"

"Malionois, Belgian not German."

"She's very, very, pretty. Aren't you girl?"

Thump, thump, thump.

"Tough, spirited and loyal too. You, may be kindred in that as well?" (Hook. Right where you want it)

"Me? Tough? No. Not me. You look like, You, survived some things though." (Uh oh. He could be in trouble)

"Ha. I survived nothing. I lived through things. Yeah. But the promise of a sunrise as fair as what I see before me. That is what's kept me alive to this day." (Line. Right where it should be)

"Charmer aren't you."

"Only. When I am charmed, myself. Maybe, you would like to share some wine, under this wondrous sky, and ask, what you want to ask." (Sinker)

(Now, let's see, if she decides to pull HIM in.)

"I think I'd like that. Let me get my coat." She did. He's done. And off she went.

"You never cease to amaze me."

"When you look like this…"

"You better know how to charm the earth."

We made our way to the truck and waited for Pam. Frank and Beccah were fast asleep. I never thought I'd ever hear myself say this but, Frank looked, happy? and kinda cute? In a really old, gnomish way, the way he held Beccah in her sleep. He looked strong. And she looked, Loved, Safe, Alive. Protective.

I played with Liffa tossing sticks. Em, stayed by the truck with Nim.

"Joe tells me you've been friends for a while."

"Twenty-six years almost to the day."

"Mind talking about those?"

"They are remnants of war and hate, and deception. Nothing that needs glorifying."

"They look like they hurt."

"Not anymore. Paper cuts hurt me more now, than even the memories of these. Besides, everyone has them. Some more than others. Some on the inside. I'm thinking you have a few too. On the inside."

The first thing I loved about Nim was his heart, it's purpose. The second was his intonation. He just had a different way of coloring his words. They came out lyrical and warm.

"Why would you say that?"

"Him. He likes you."

She narrowed her eye's, "Input required."

"I see his look. He loves scarred people. The ones who still have their heart anyway. Sees the beauty in them. Sees their grace. Sees their strength. Sees their struggle. Sees himself a little."

"He does have a few too doesn't he."

"More than you can see. He's resilient. Most have faded. But yes he's eyed a few in the mirror. But maybe not more than you've seen yourself."

Em saw me walking up to the spot were they sat in pow wow, she spread her legs for me to sit, "Hi."

"That dog tired me out, brother."

That's not true really. Voices carry this time of night… morning… whatever… and I was just starting to feel, a little… outed. Not in that way. Getting too old for this shit, maybe. But, not that way. Whatever makes you fly, though. Like a sparrow.

Not a Vulture.

I sat, she wrapped me up and put her head over my shoulder. I brushed my beard against her ear.

"What are you two chatting about?"

"Wisdom and the Wolf." he said, with a Nightmarish smile.

"Hearts and scars," Em said, with a hug.

Pam came walking up the path, and finally asked about the curiosity, she wanted the answer to.

"Did you guys really find Paul?"

"Liffa found Paul."

"And?"

"And what?"

"Were you right?"

"He's was sleeping."

"Riiiiight… Oh well." She displayed the bottle of wine in both her hands, "Ready my dark prince charming."

"Olofi smiles. We'll get together before you go. The pond?"

"Sounds good."

"Have fun."

"You as well my friend, tell Frank sweet dreams for me. And Thanks."

"Franks living the sweet dream, my brother. Believe it or not she is very good for him and he is very, good for her as well. She's a tuff-ass. She takes care of him as much as he does her."

The truck doors closed, the engine started.

"She did, quiet him down a bit. That's something."

"Yes. Yes it is."

"What do we owe you?"

"Tell them no charge… It was fun."

"Wisdom and the Wolf, huh?"

"It would be nice."

"That it would be… Thank you."

"My pleasure."

We went back to the lodge. Found Suzzanne in the atrium and told her not to wake us. She asked how much they owed for the search. I told her not to worry about it. He chalked it up as a training exercise. She promised to buy us dinner and asked what he liked to drink.

"Wine."

"And whiskey."

"Thanks, Em."

"Mmmhmm."

Then she said her good nights.

"I need sleep."

"Oh Suzie, before I forget, if someone reports 'Pamela' missing. She's... well let's just say she's catching the sunrise."

"That sounds like a euphemism for something."

"A euphemism? Hmm. No. I think taking a ride on the dark comet would be a euphemism."

"I didn't wanna know that."

"Yeah you did."

"Asshole."

She took a couple steps, then turned, with a much more genuine aura, "Thank you for the help. I'm going to bed. Night all."

Darren turned to me and told me something to the effect of, "That was mean."

"Only because she thinks, she can't have a sense of humor, to live up to somebody else's expectation. She's channeled herself into a tool that other people can use to better their pockets with. Kinda like you in that aspect. She looks down on others and all things, her superiors, consider 'distasteful', without even knowing it. There's a caring there, like a big sister. It's a strength that's been molded into something colder though. She just really needs to lighten up. Especially since she's family now."

"Didn't you kind of look down on her just now?"

"No. I'm just being me. I can be an asshole at times. Especially Tuesdays. No doubt. But I have a do unto others policy. I treat everyone as an equal and how I want to be treated and that includes, If I'm being a stuck up cunt then I'd want you to beat it out of me. I'm just tapping at the shell, giving her a place to push."

He just shook his head, "Thanks for the help. Have a good night."

"Already had one. Sleep well"

"Me too. Sweet dreams." Em smiled and stretched.

We started the walk back to a nice warm nest.

"Nimmy seems nice."

"It's the vocal chords they just resonate it. But yeah, Nimmy is one of the finest people you'll ever meet on this fantastical rock. Especially when it goes into, 'You Wanted Adventure?' mode."

We barely got each other undressed before we flopped into bed, falling asleep with both of our feets, firmly on the floor. (there's two sets of feet that's plural)

"Just humor him. He's tired"

"Thanks Em."

"Mmhmm."

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About the author

Stonesoul

  • NY
  • Scruffy Dude

Bio: Old enough to know better, too stupid to give a damn.

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