Saturday, June 2, 2012

From At Large...When "mad, bad and dangerous to know" is not a good thing...

From At Large, Josephine goes home and knocks on the building manager’s door only to be startled to find sixty-something Maxine's unsavory new boyfriend. Groucho, Maxine's super shrill macaw, is now banished after threats to cook him for dinner by said boyfriend.

"He is such a kidder," Maxine said with a chuckle, not exactly a girlish giggle, but her voice was normally so husky that I guess it counted as a giggle. I gazed at her in astonishment. If I hadn't just seen it, I could never have imagined Maxine allowing that kind of threat-in-joke's-clothing about her beloved and fragile, if totally cantankerous, Groucho.

"Josephine Fuller, meet Dick Slattery," she said fondly, running her fingers along his muscular forearm. I murmured hello, still wondering at Maxine's new incarnation as sixty-going-on sixteen. The guy had a certain muscular resemblance to Popeye the Sailor, although I'd eat a can of spinach on the spot if he turned out to be a hard-working, good-natured type. Dick Slattery was not tall. Maxine was short, and his chin dug into her shoulder. His hair was brown, shot with gray and thinning. His face was carved down to a leanness that reminded me of a coyote, maybe it was the predatory yellow eyes. Maxine would be the rabbit in that scenario. Maxine looked totally dazed and blissful. If she was a rabbit, she was a happy rabbit.

I turned to go as Slattery pulled Maxine back in the door. He reached across her to pull the door closed, but as he did, he looked at me one more time and winked. I shook myself, realizing I was standing on the stairwell like—well, like a hypnotized small mammal. Not good. The guy gave me an anxious feeling in the pit of my stomach that was the opposite of erotic.

Groucho, at least is safe, Maxine...not so much.

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