The Trickster Diaries/Chapter 4
7AM. Roger walkied down the driveway carrying a briefcase, wearing a dark blue T-shirt with an orange star inside a orange circle, a brown herring bone sport coat, khaki cargo pants, hiking boots—typical Silicon Valley hardware designer attire—then he spotted me leaning on his Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Roger: (Oddly hesitant) Rico… I just knocked on your door.
Me: I wasn’t there, I’m guessing.
Roger: Listen, can we talk? Just getting up and walking out like you did last night? That sort of behavior makes it very hard living with you.
Me: It’s time for me to go, Rog, that’s all.
Roger: I didn’t mean it like that. I meant, we should talk these things out.
Me: Then I’ll start. Your marriage is doomed, brother.
Roger: What? It’s, maybe not what it was but…
Me: (Interrupting) No. It’s over. Unless you immediately remove Erin from the center of your little galaxy, it’s over. You’re turning your child into a mean, entitled little brat. She’s chased away half her friends since I’ve been here.
Roger: She’s entitled to love, isn’t she?
Me: Isn’t Jeannine?
Roger put his briefcase on the hood of the Jeep, hung his head, leaned against the fender. Jeannine was in the upstairs kitchen window, watching us.
Roger: You have a bill for me, I assume.
After we’d completed business, shook hands, wished each other luck, I waited till he’d started the engine, then walked around to the driver’s side.
“Listen, Rog, there’s one last thing. This will be the worst part of your day, but I promise it’ll put everything into perspective.”
Roger: Go ahead.
Me: Jeannine had a facelift while you were in Ireland last year.
He killed the engine.
Me: It’s not a matter of betrayal, or of her stealing your money.
Roger: Right. Then what is it?
Me: It’s a matter of her trying to win back your love. And of you not even noticing.
The door of The White Raven Coffee House flew open, Jeannine flew in, dropped her big handbag on the floor by my table, slammed both hands on to the glass tabletop and squawked in my face: “Squeak squeak squeak squeak squeak!”
Cat, the proprietress, looked at me from behind the bar with a concerned expression. I nodded that things were good, under control. Mad as she was, Jeannine looked absolutely sensational. Her long sand colored hair pulled back into a thick single braid, her face gently backlit by the cafe window. She finally slid into the booth, exasperated.
Me: So, what can I get you?
She burst out laughing. I called Cat over. “Did you know he was leaving?” Jeannine asked her.
“Are you? For where? How long?”
Jeannine: That answers that. Sumatran, please.
Me: Sorry. It’s time.
Jeannine: It isn’t time it isn’t time it isn’t time, Rico. I’m seeing the child psychiatrist today. I need all the support I can get…
Me: It’s… time, Jeannine. I can’t be here when all this goes down.
Jeannine: (Suddenly seeing the full picture) Oh, shit, you’re right. They’ll find out…
Me: I need to disappear.
Jeannine: We can’t even fucking talk…
Me: Here isn’t even safe. Unless…
Me: Unless we kill Cat, dissolve her body in quick lime.
It was crazy out of control. We laughed like hyenas.
Cat showed up with the coffees, suggested liquor instead.
“Yes,” I said.
“No,” said Jeannine. “Shrink’s orders.”
I drove south, alone, wondering about that magnificent mountain lion.