Munday Morning by Frederick Foote
Munday Morning by Frederick Foote
At 6:30 in the morning, it’s already ninety degrees in San Juan, California. This Central Valley town’s facing its thirteenth consecutive one hundred plus degree day. I’m exhausted after nine too-hot-to-sleep nights in a row.
My truck’s parked on Elkhorn Slough a few feet off the crumbling, single lane, blacktop road. I plan to drop my eight-foot Jon boat into the Slough, tie up under the overhanging trees, toss in a line for catfish, and, hopefully, sleep the morning away.
In the far distance, I see dark clouds and an occasional flash of lightning. The simmering hot air is uneasy, on edge, waiting for relief or calamity.
I’m unlatching the boat from the lumber rack when she speaks to me.
“Nathaniel Gibson. You the Finder? I need a favor.”
I almost jump out of my skin. This’s an isolated spot, well off the main County road. I didn’t hear her car or even hear her approaching on foot. My instincts tell me not to turn around. I have a powerful desire to slip into the cab of my truck, haul ass, and never look back.
The distant thunder chuckles like a demon in the background. I turn around slowly to face the speaker.
Short. A five-foot-tall, brown-skinned, black woman. A well-used belt secures her baggy blue jeans clinched tight, and hung down like a wrinkled brown penis. Her men’s plaid long-sleeve work shirt’s three sizes too big for her. A red scarf or bandana conceals her hair. She has a U-shaped face with furry, comet-shaped, eyebrows. Her plump lips compliment her round nose.
The eyes are what get me, lock me in, they’re large, black pupils, intense, and unblinking – like a snake.
The thunder crackles. The hairs on the back of my neck stand rigid as fence posts. She has my eyes open wide with attention.
“Who are you? How did you get here? Where’s your car?”
“I’m Munday with a ‘u.’ Munday Morning. Morning with an ‘o.’ I need you to find my sister quick.”
“You’re not sweating.” I give a nervous laugh. I think I smell ozone and brimstone. “You have to be sweating in this heat, in that getup. Got to be.”
“You got twenty-four hours. Find her. Call me. Wait for me to get to you, understand?”
“Ms. Munday, with a ‘u,’ I’m on vacation with a capital ‘V.’ You don’t need a Finder. You found me out here.” I wipe the sweat from my brow with my handkerchief. “Find her yourself.”
“She hide from me, but you got the power, Finder.”
For a moment, we’re locked in a stare. Her eyes are as black as the pit and as inviting as the grave.
She smiles as I look away, but the smile doesn’t reach her eyes. “Nat, you don’t know me. So, I gives you a second chance. You ask that cripple, foot-dragging whore you love to fuck so much about me. My sister’s somewhere in South Port. The clock’s ticking.”
The thunder booms directly overhead. “Shit!” I blink, duck. When I open my eyes, she’s gone.
What the hell was that? I’m driving too fast for the raggedy one-lane road. I’m alternately sweating and freezing, and I can’t catch my breath. What the fuck just happened?
I shake so bad I have to stop the truck, sit, gather my wits, think this out. I can’t make sense of what just happened, but I calm down. I drive slowly and carefully the fifteen miles to the derelict section of San Juan.
Munday wants me to check with Soledad, but Sol and I are on the outs. I have other reliable resources. I park outside the decrepit-looking William Boarding House, the oldest whore house in San Juan.
I cross the weedy lot; that’s a sorry excuse for a lawn. I turn sideways to squeeze through the narrow space between the Boarding House and the Tucker Funeral Parlor. I’m drenched in sweat as I travel that narrow passage. I vault the five-foot fence and creep along the slender banks of the San Juan River to abandoned Pier Thirty-nine.
The click of bones and the calling of the count greets me as I move down the wharf. My three oracles are in the weight shack jutting out over the pier. Tadeas is a one-eyed brother over ninety-five years of age, and he still picks up a few days of work a week as a stevedore. On his left is Huss, a blind-as-a-bat seventy-year-old who’s without a doubt the smartest person I have ever met. Huss is of indeterminate race or ethnicity or gender. On Huss’ left is Big Nose, an eighty-year-old, short, stout Crow, or Lakota or Kiowa depending on his mood or the time of day or the direction of the wind.
“Nat, what your lazy ass doing here?” Tadeas glares at me with his good eye and spits tobacco through one of the holes in the floor.
I snap back. “Tadeas, you polluting the water. No wonder the fishing so bad.”
Big Nose points a stubby finger in my direction. “Nat, boy, you better learn to respect your elders. We Crow always— “
Huss shouts, “Shut up and play. Shut up means you too, Nat. I got money on the line here.”
Tadeas shouts as he slams his domino down on the wooden table. “Five-three and a nickel for me. Give me my money, Honey.”
Big Nose marks Tadeas’ score in a school kid’s composition tablet.
Huss stands and shakes his head in mock disbelief. “Lord, Lord, today. Thank you, Jesus, for sending your humble flock my way. Amen. Domino! Five-blank on your five-three. Hand me the money. Amen, can I get an Amen?”
I give Huss his/her amen and turn to Tadeas, “You let a blind person beat you. You two need to give up on dominos. Take up checkers or something.”
“Shit, boy, I’d like to see you do better.” Tadeas spits again.
Big Nose starts shuffling the dominos. “Well, I see plenty good. I see you look like you done met your maker. I see you scared shitless. That’s what I see.”
Huss brings a silver flask from her/his back pocket and offers it to me. “Yeah, I hear it in your voice. You been spooked.”
Thunder rumbles like an empty stomach in the distance. I take a drink of one-hundred proof rum and pass the hipflask back to Huss. I get the shakes again, just thinking about Munday.
“I was out on Elkhorn Slough— “
Big Nose snarls at me. “Where the fish? You bring us some fish?”
“No. No, not this time. I, I saw something…”
The three elders stop and stare in my direction. The air’s as thick as a bearskin coat.
“I saw a woman… She came out of nowhere… Just appeared and disappeared.” I wipe my brow again. “A little, short, brown woman. She calls herself— “
“Uh, uh, don’t you say that name here. Don’t you do it. You need to get on up out of here. We don’t want that kind of trouble.” Tadeas is dead serious.
Big Nose shakes his head in dismay. “Nat, Nat, you deep in the shit. Don’t track it into our house. Beat it. Now!”
Huss rubs his/her face hard with both hands. “Godamn you, Nat. We too fuckin’ old to deal with her. You on your own. Now, get on out of here. Go!”
I start to protest, but the three wise ones are as hard as statues and as unmovable as mountains. I back away from these stone-faced strangers who were once my friends.
As I’m leaving, Huss shouts at me. “You need to take this up with that witch you live with. She your best bet.” Thunder snaps at my heels like a rabid dog as I make my way back.
By the time I get to the front of the town’s oldest home, of the oldest profession, my shirt is wringing wet. I’m short of breath. My head is throbbing like some mad bongo beat. I duck into the Boarding House. I step into a lobby worthy of a four-star hotel; cool air, a carpet so thick you think you walking on pillows and rich tapestries on the wall and comfortable glove-soft leather chairs and couches. Classical music plays in the background.
Pinky, the albino boy/man who maybe eight, ten, sixteen, or sixty strides in from the door on my left with a bright smile until he sees me. He stops short; his smile turns into a grimace. “What you want? You’re not welcome here.”
“Nice tux. You look like a penguin. Bring me a pitcher of ice water and a glass and get Ruby.”
“Fuck you! Services are for customers only. Get out, or I’ll have Lou throw your lame, bony, black ass out.”
I take two quick steps toward Pinky. His face switches from anger to concern. “Ruby’s busy— “
“You get Ruby now and the water. Do it. My patience ain’t what it used to be.”
Ruby, all six-feet-three inches, 180-pounds of her, steps out of that same door. “Well, the thief returns to the scene of the crime. Nat, you sure have some balls on you.” She turns to Pinky. “Remember your manners. Mr. Gibson’s our guest. Get his water.”
Pinky starts to protest. Ruby’s casual backhand catches him on the mouth and chin, lifts him off the floor, and leaves him on his back on that fine carpet. He wipes his bloody nose and mouth on the back of his hand. He quickly scrambles to his feet and gives me, not her, a look of pure hatred before he rushes out of the room.
Ruby takes my arm and leads me to a couch. “How’s that long, skinny, cripple cunt? Is she ready to come back to work for me? You send her back, Nat. I’ll forgive and forget and open my house and heart to you and put a little money in your pocket.” Ruby smiles as we sit. Pinky returns with water and a glass on a silver serving tray. The boy/man stays out of reach of Ruby’s long arm span as best he can. He manages to give me the finger on the sly as he sets down the tray. He makes a quick getaway.
“Ruby, I didn’t steal anything from you. You didn’t own Soledad— “
Ruby leans in close. I smell the bourbon on her breath. “Finder, I had customers ready for her. I had a special wheelchair built so my special clients could fuck her in that chair. That blonde, kinky-haired, black, devil owes me. And one way or another, I will get paid.”
I move away from Ruby and pour and drain a glass of ice water. I turn back to her. “Ruby, one last time. I didn’t steal Sol. I don’t owe you shit, and neither does she. I did do you a solid and found your Ex. Now, I need a favor in return.”
Ruby’s hanging on to her legendary short temper by a thread. She bites her bottom lip and swallows hard. “Gibson, you son-of-a-bitch. You don’t talk to me like that in my own— “
“Ruby, I’m having a really bad day. A favor for a favor that was our deal. Don’t be a deadbeat.”
Ruby huffs and puffs like she’s about to explode. She speaks between clenched jaws. “You, asshole.” She pauses for a moment to control her anger. “What do you want? Be quick, Gibson.”
I drink another glass of water. I pause and let Ruby cool down.
“I need some information on someone, some extraordinary person. I met her— “
“Her? Describe her hair. I’ll know who she is.”
“Well, that may be difficult. She had on a red headscarf – I don’t recall seeing any hair.”
“A red scarf, men’s clothing, and a way too long of a belt?”
As I nod yes, Ruby’s slipping the drinking glass from my hand and placing it on the tray. She pulls me to my feet and tugs me toward the front door. As she opens the front door, she whispers in my ear. “Finder, you are truly fucked. Nat, if you ever bring that demon up again in my house, I will shoot you dead on the spot.” Ruby gives me a shove, and I’m outside in the oven watching distant lightning flash on the Western horizon,
Sol lives in rooms above the Night Train Gentleman’s Club, a dive with a reputation for danger, duplicity, dynamite down-home fried foods, and first-rate live music.
By now, it must be well over a hundred degrees. I stare at the steep flight of steps up to Sol’s back door. I don’t want to involve her in this mess. I think I’m on my own, but I do want to see Sol. I’m not that happy when I’m with her, but I feel even worse when I’m not. Shit, I might not survive Munday. I owe Sol a goodbye, even if we were only together for three weeks. Weeks I will never forget.
I fight the heat and the glare of the sun with each of the twenty-six steps. I’m breathless as I stop at her door and compose myself.
Sol comes to the window and pulls down the top. “Nat, you sound like a herd of elephants climbing those steps. What do you want?”
What I want is for those huge brown eyes and inviting lips to smile on me, welcome me home between her long, lean thighs. What I’ll settle for is a glass of water. It’s warm tap water in a battered tin cup passed through the window.
“Again, what do you want? I work tonight, Nat.”
I don’t know what to say. There’re three rapid rolls of thunder like a warning to keep my mouth shut. “Sol. I, I miss you. I have a gig – I may not see you for a while.”
Sol looks out the window past me like she’s searching for the storm. “Good for you, and good luck. Can I have my cup back?”
I hand her dented container back through the window, our fingers meet. I hold on to the handle and treasure her touch. She slowly pries the cup out of my hand and steps away from the window.
I sigh and start toward the stairs.
“Nat, what’re you afraid of?” Her voice’s disinterested, almost bored.
“Nothing, just the heat getting to me, that’s all.”
I start down the steps.
“She came here about a year ago. She claims to be from New Orleans, but she’s from Mississippi just below the Tennessee border.”
“Sol, how do you know— “
“Ruby called. She was gleeful. She invited me to return to the fold because you would not be around much longer.”
“Sol, I don’t want to get you in trouble. I got this.”
“What does Munday want you to do?”
“I got to go, Sol. I— “
“She’s powerful but not as powerful as she thinks she is. Come here.”
I start back up the steps.
“What does she want you to find?
“Soledad, you don’t need to get mixed up in this.”
Sol opens the door and limps out. At six feet, she looks me in the eyes in her bare feet.
She has the most exciting and beautiful eyes— “She wants me to find her sister, but she never told me what she looks like. I’m just going to tell her to go to hell. Sol, it’s too hot to breathe.”
“If you refuse her, she’ll hurt you bad, so bad that you’ll do anything she wants. Find her sister. Do it quick. Call me when you find her. Call me immediately.”
I reach for her, but she steps aside. “Nat, where do you think her sister is?”
“South Port. That’s what Munday told me.”
“The murder capital of California. Damn! Nat, for once, you might want to carry. I have a revolver— “
“No. Girl, you look so fucking fine— “
“Not the time, Nat. That time has passed. Go, get this done on the fast track. You call me as soon as you see her sister. And, Nat, try not to get yourself killed, okay?”
As she steps back into her place, I reach out to her, but she closes the door.
“Sol, Sol. How will I recognize her sister?”
Sol responds as she closes her window. “You’ll know her when you see her. Good luck, Nat.”
There’s a furious, angry clap of thunder that rattles my teeth, shakes the building, and vibrates the stairs.
I climb down the steps and steel my nerves for a visit to our own killing fields.
South Port is forty-one miles from my front door, but it might as well be on another planet in a distant galaxy. SP or South Piss, as many natives of that city refer to their town, recently surpassed Oakland as the town with the highest murder rate in California. SP is also known for high rates of obesity, venereal disease, unemployment, auto theft, low educational achievement, racial segregation, and deep despair for many segments of the colored and poor communities that make up most of the SP population.
My business takes me to SP about twice a year. Each trip has shown the city continues its death spiral. I hope for better luck this time.
My first stop is at Alberto’s Taquería five blocks from the Interstate. The food here’s the best thing about visiting SP.
No such luck. My hopes are in vain. Alberto Jr. tells me that his father’s retired after one too many hold-ups. Alberto Jr. is closing the restaurant at the end of the summer. He says the gang situation has increased tenfold. He advises me not to go north of F Street. There’s gang turf warfare between the Huks, SA-13, and The Tribe. Last night the police attempted to restore control of the twenty-block area. Four police cars were burned, and an armored police vehicle was disabled. As of now, the area north of F Street’s a no man’s land.
Besides, it’s hotter here than it was in San Juan. The only saving grace is that the food’s as good as ever.
Ramona, Roberto Jr.’s fourteen-year-old daughter going on thirty, slides onto the bench across from me, flashes me a fake smile. “My Abuelo say that you can find lost things and people and shit. He says that you’re dope. How did you learn to do that? Did you go to school for that? Could you find something for me?”
Ramona is stick-thin with pock-marked cheeks and teeth that look too big for her small mouth and thin lips.
“I didn’t learn how to locate lost things or people. I don’t know how I do it. I just do it.”
Ramona pulls her wispy hair back from her right ear and reveals a gold earring with two brown stones bordered and separated by two gold balls hanging down in a row. The stones are about an eighth inch in diameter. The gold balls are about half that size. “I lost the other one. My Abuela gave them to me before she died. It means a heck a lot if you could find it. I got money. I got twenty-three dollars.” Ramona pulls a wad of bills from her pants pocket and starts unraveling and counting the bills on the table. She glances at her father in the kitchen and gives me a goofy smile. She pushes the money over to me. I push it back to her.
“If I had the other earring here in my pocket, what would you pay to get it back?”
Ramona sucks on her oversized teeth and pretends to be confused by my question.
“Look, Ramona, if the earring’s only worth twenty-three dollars to you, it’s not worth my time to look for it.”
“But it’s all I have. I don’t have anymore— “
“I understand. It has sentimental value, but not very much sentimental value.”
Ramona looks serious now as she snatches up the money and stuffs it back in her pocket.
“Fuck, man. How much do you want?”
“How much are you willing to pay? How much is it worth to you?”
“Okay, man. I give you a hundred. A hundred’s fair.”
“Ramona, why you want to play me like that?”
Ramona nods and gives me a look of respect. “Three hundred. That’s it. That’s what I would pay, Okay?”
I motion her closer and whisper, “Six hundred. All in advance and nonrefundable even if I don’t find your earring.”
Her eyes narrow as she whispers back, “No fucking way. Man, I can’t just give you money and get nothing in return. Fuck no.”
“Good. Now, I can enjoy my meal, and you can keep your six hundred.”
Ramona starts to leave. I return to my tacos. She stands and sits back down. “Shit! Okay, odds. What are the odds you can find it?”
I swallow, take a sip of beer, wipe my mouth, respond. “About as good as the odds of you having six-hundred dollars on you right now.”
Ramona glances at her father and reaches into her shirt and removes bills folded in half from her bra. She peels off six one hundred dollar bills, checks to see if her father’s looking, pushes the money to me, and carefully returns the remainder to her bra. I push it back. Her face goes dark with anger.
“What the fuck? Man. What the fuck? We had a deal.”
“Ramona, when I search for things, I put my life at a higher risk. I don’t know why, but I do. I need to be well paid, and I need to know the danger I might face. So, I need to know the real story about the earrings and the money. I think they’re connected.”
“Fuck you. You couldn’t find your ass with a flashlight.” Ramona grabs her money, slides out of her seat. She heads to the kitchen. I finish my meal in peace.
She catches me as I’m leaving the restroom.
“Carlos, my boyfriend, gave me the earrings. He’s the leader of the Southside Huks. He will kick my ass if he finds out I lost one of his mother’s earrings. Shit! Come on, Mr. Gibson. Please.”
“Carlos gave you the money?”
Ramona nods yes and moves closer to me. “I can give you something really good, really good, better than any girlfriend ever gave you.”
“I’m sure you could, but I’m on a tight schedule. Give me the money. I take it and walk to the kitchen and ask Alberto Jr. if I can come in for a second. He looks puzzled as I walk in and open the walk-in refrigerator, look in the vegetable bin for a second or two, and fish out the missing earring. I show it to him and point to Ramona. He waves at his daughter. She waves back. He thanks me and returns to his cooking.
Ramona’s amazed. She hugs me and warns me. “Okay, thanks, this is so cool. Look the Huks, and SA-13 got RPGs, and The Tribe is supposed to have some kind of tank-killing rocket thing. So, man, keep your ass out of the battle zone. Wow, this is sick.”
I try to pay my bill, but Alberto won’t take my money.
The Taquería is two blocks from the battle zone. I grab my wide-brim fishing hat and my canteen out of my truck. I start walking. I don’t think about Munday or her sister. I put all of that out of my mind.
I think about Ramona’s questions about becoming a Finder. I remember.
I was five or so. I’m not sure, but it was before I started school. I lived with Grandma Small in the country outside Florence, South Carolina. Sunday afternoon after church, five or six of us playing tag in the front yard all loud and fast and free, running free. Grandma come out on the porch and point at me. My back’s to her, but I feel her pointing. I call time out just before I get tagged and run to my Grandma.
“Nat, help me find my glasses.” I smile at my Grandma, pat her hand as I rush into the front room right past my mother. My sometimey mother who visits for a week every year just to make my life miserable. She’s looking under and behind furniture. I brush past her and go straight to our pump organ and open the panel where the music books are stored. Without even looking, I reach in, flip open Grandma’s personal Bible, and pick up her glasses. My Grandma’s smiling as I turn to give her the readers.
My mother snatches me by the back of my shirt and gives me a hard shake. “Nat, you know better than to hide your Grandmother’s glasses like that. After all she do for you. I’m going to wear your narrow behind out. You get me a switch.” She digs her fingernails into my shoulders and shakes me again.
Grandma’s there in an instant. “Leave him be. He didn’t hide my glasses.”
My mother gets indignant and squeezes my shoulders harder. “Of course, he did. The little scamp went right to them.”
“Ethel, let the boy go.”
“My child. He’s my child, and I will discipline him as I see fit.”
“My house. This is my house and you the guest here. Let him go. I’ll not tell you that again.”
I’m free and full of tears. I run out to the backyard. Why does she have to be so damn mean? Why do she even bother to come here every year?
My mother comes and sits by me on the back porch. I stop crying. I don’t want her to catch me crying.
“I’m sorry, Nathaniel. I didn’t know. She should have told me.” She takes my hands in hers. “You mean everything to that old woman. Nathaniel, I love you as much as she does. I do.”
“Know what Mama? What didn’t you know?”
She smiles at me and kisses my forehead. “You’re a Finder. There’s magic in you.”
“A what? What’s a Finder?”
“It’s nothing to be proud or ashamed of. It’s like the color of your eyes or the shade of your skin. Your Granny will tell us about it after dinner. You ain’t the first in this family. There’re others. You go wash up. You got a lifetime to learn about being a Finder.”
It’s taking a lifetime. I’m thirty-five years old, and I still haven’t figured out precisely what a Finder is or what I’m supposed to do as a Finder.
My great-uncle Martin did all right as a Finder. He found his way to Kentucky and 6,000 acres of land. He opened and ran a general store all before he was twenty. It looked like his finding was working for him. But, he died before he reached twenty-one. I don’t have any land or a general store, but I’m still here at thirty-five. So, I guess I got the better of that deal.
I’ve crossed F Street into the battle zone, blocks of small one- to three bedroom, one bath, single car garage homes built in the forties and fifties. And it feels hotter here. There’re no trees and few shrubs and flowers.
The homes are stucco with bars on the windows, steel screen doors, and something I’ve only seen in abandoned or storm-ready homes — big, thick sheets of plywood covering the windows facing the street. Three of the first six homes I pass have multiple bullet holes in the wooden shields. Damn, anyone inside those sweat boxes must be suffering like crazy from the heat. A few window AC units whine pitifully as they struggle in the scorching urban desert.
There are rivulets of melted tar forming networks in the street.
There’s no one on the street – not one single person.
Ahead of me, there’s a commotion. Two black crows as big as full-grown chickens are pecking at something on the sidewalk. Their bladed, black beaks are stabbing jackhammer beats as they hop around their prey. They let me get within six feet or so and move away from the sidewalk and the struggling crow they have been attacking. The bird limps to its feet and staggers away from its attackers, dragging one wing.
The two ambushers keep an eye on their victim and give me impatient glances. I pass them. I don’t look back.
I stop, take a long drink, wipe my brow, think about turning back, going home.
I hear the chain rattling on the sidewalk before I see the fifty-pound plus Pit Bull chugging toward me, dripping saliva and picking up speed as it advances on me.
Fuck me! I find an old GM car and snap off the antenna. I take deep breaths and back up to the ancient Olds. The beast’s gaining speed, the broken chain attached to his collar’s kicking up sparks as it bounces along. Six cars away, five, four, three, and… A raggedy, black, Tomcat mews and steps out from between cars into the path of the charging monster. The Pitbull races toward the Tom. The cat leaps on the hood of a car, and the dog tries to follow with his own jump, but he can’t gain his footing on the hood. The scruffy cat’s only on the hood for a hot second. He leaps on the dog’s head, digs in his claws, and with one swipe, he rips out the dog’s right eye. The Pitbull howls in pain and paws at his attacker. The Tom hisses arches his back, and rakes out the other eye. The blind dog lurches into a chain-link fence. The maiming feline leaps over the same barrier and watches the blind dog blunder and stumble. The cat grins maniacally at me. I cross the street.
I don’t think I can go another step when the voice turns me around. “A badass cat, huh?”
He’s skinny as a rail, Mexican-looking, in cargo shorts and a dirty white wife-beater shirt, with a zoo of tattoos from his feet to neck.
He grins and shows a missing lower front tooth. “OG, you ain’t in the Game and you ain’t Five-oh or a reporter. You look like a lost fisherman. Where your fishing pole?”
I wipe the sweat from my brow, blink. I see double for a minute as Missing Tooth advances on me, his flip-flops clopping as he raises his tee-shirt to reveal a huge pistol. “I got my pole right— “
We both look up the street at the black and white squad car rolling slowly toward us.
“What the fuck!” Missing Tooth drops his tee-shirt and struts out in the street to intercept the police car.
The car slows to a hesitant stop right next to me. The cop’s white, young, and scared. Missing Tooth moves to the driver’s door and motions for the lawman to roll down the window. I know what’s coming. I don’t want to see it. I start walking. I hear that big pistol bark one time like a canon.
I turn right on K Street, blink the sweat from my eyes, try to hold down my tacos, walk up to 1313, and pound on the steel security door.
“Hey, fisherman, where you think you goin’, huh?”
I turn to face Missing Tooth. He has his pistol in his hand. I see “Huk” tattooed in red and orange on the back of both hands. I point at the skinny gunman. “Carlos? Ramona’s Carlos?”
Carlos gives me a huge grin, “Finder! You, the fucking Finder!”
We both turn our attention to the sound of the door opening behind me. I step back as the steel door swings open. It’s her, Munday! Except it’s not her. It’s her twin. She’s all ass and tits in a clinging white dress, with a head of curly black-as-crows hair. She looks like an African fertility carving.
“Oh, shit!” Carlos keeps repeating that phrase as he backs down the street. He tucks the gun in his pants and turns away and stretches his long legs as he flies down the road.
“So, you’re the Finder. I’m Mawu. Please step into my chambers. We don’t have much time.” She tugs me into the dim room that must be twenty degrees hotter than outside.
I squeak out my one-word request, “Water.” She points to a door that leads to the kitchen. I drink the warm water from the faucet, splash my face, soak my head.
Mawu tugs the back of my shirt. “Time to get busy and save both our lives, in a most delightful fashion.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“Munday’s close. She followed you. She’ll kill us both.” Mawu pulls her dress over her head, reveals curves and mounds – an invitation to a lifetime of delights.
“You have to fuck me. Do a good job, and you just might live to fuck your limping, fallen angel again. Hurry!”
“I don’t understand— “
“Finder, your dick understands.” She’s unbuckling, unzipping, pulling down my pants. “See, it knows what’s good for you.”
She pushes me to the floor, mounts me – brings me to a climax in minutes.
“Well, Finder, you understand ‘quick’ at least.”
“I don’t—why I— “
Mawu starts to rise. I pull her back down on me. “Wait— “
“Oh, now you want to fuck. Finder, Munday will be here any minute. You’ve done your work.” She settles herself on top of me, brings back my erection, smiles down at me. “Remember this when the lonely one comes for me. Give me grace when your club-footed, fiend finds me.”
We’re nearing a second climax when Munday appears in the kitchen.
“Hello, Munday. You’re too late as usual. His sperm have introduced themselves to my egg. I’m beyond your reach. Go elsewhere to sulk and moan.”
Munday stares down at me with those graveyard eyes, and I’m lost.
Mawu pouts. “See what you have done. You have ended my fun.” Mawu stands and pulls me to my feet. I’m pulling up my pants, and the heat and exertion hit me all at once. I fall back to the floor.
Munday steps close to her sister, and tenderly touches her cheek. “You have nine months to think about me. To know what’s coming. To live in fear and dread.”
Suddenly both women are alert, maybe alarmed. They turn toward the front door. I hear the sound now of uneven steps moving toward the kitchen.
Mawu sweeps me up, tosses me over her shoulder like a fifty-pound bag of rice. She jerks open the kitchen door, flees into the backyard, kicks down a section of wooden fence, and steps into the neighbor’s yard.
There’s the sound of thunder coming from 1313 as Mawu kicks open the side garage door, enters the house, and finds the bathroom. She fills the tub and dumps me in the blessed bath.
“Your putative girlfriend is an unholy beast, a cannibal, a predator, and I hope she recognizes this kindness I have done you. Mawu gives me a quick kiss full of tongue and is gone.
I’m dreaming. I’m nude in the bathtub full of water with a nude Soledad. She’s riding my dick and smiling with satisfaction. “Soledad, what are you? Are you a witch? Are you a demon? Are you a fallen angel?”
Soledad’s smile broadens. The water splashes over the tub onto the thirsty floor.
We cum at the same time. My ex smiles, relaxes, falls back into the tub. “I’m all of that and much, much more.”
“How could that be? An angel and a demon?”
She playfully splashes water on me. “Mawu sent her pit bull to vex you. I was your angel. I sent my emissary to protect you. That blind dog saw the evil side of me.”
“And a witch and a cannibal?”
“I’m your mate. We’re made for each other. You find them. I destroy them. A marriage made in heaven and consummated in hell.”
She never answers my last questions. The dream’s over. I find myself fully clothed in the same bathtub of warm water Mawu left me in. I climb out of the tub, glance out the bathroom window, and see where 1313 K Street used to be. It looks like a hurricane or tornado leveled the house and destroyed all its contents.
I’m trying to comprehend what could have happened to 1313, but there’s an insistent car horn honking from the street. I drip my way to the front door and out onto the porch. Soledad’s in the driver’s seat of my truck. The passenger door is open. She waves me to her.
I’m not sure which, if any, of these adventures are real. I must have had heat stroke or something. Still, I feel that I have somehow, someway taken some steps to understand my role as a Finder. And I’m not at all comforted by my discoveries. The next thing I’m gonna find is a way to not be a Finder.