The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 5
2x37796 was the working title of my novel. It was also the license plate number of the getaway car in Don Siegal’s “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” In the film, only one of its passengers ever got away. The spirits of the others were carried off and replaced. And even though I was back in the high desert—a cheap motel in Twentynine Palms trying to drink myself through it—I hadn’t gotten away either.
On the way here I’d stopped at my cousin’s house in San Diego to drop off paperwork. There was a phone message from Jeannine. Everything had blown up after her meeting with the child psychiatrist, who reported a potential child abuse situation to Child Protective Services, who intervened, and were investigating. The cops forced Roger to leave the house pending the results. I dialed her back:
Me: What in the hell…
Jeannine: Oh, shit, it’s terrible. We’ve each hired attorneys. The cops threw Roger out, like I said. I guess now they’re going to interview everybody we know…
Jeannine: Roger says he’ll fly you back.
Me: I’m not coming back. I’m disappearing, remember?
We didn’t—couldn’t—speak again until it was all over and done. She was on her own. Everybody was on their own.
Mornings faded to blurry afternoons. By night I was numb. I never left the room. TV equaled white noise. I never even looked at the set. I was smoking cigarettes again, rejecting maid service. My old Honda never left the lot except for when I’d make my morning beer and smoke run to Circle K and back.
Domino’s pizza. Delivered.
Dead, dreamless sleep.
Worry as unavoidable as a heartbeat.