Friday, February 27, 2015

Padded Room Be Damned

“Well hell yes I know him officer. He’s my brother. Why do you ask?”

The cop mumbled something to his partner who, I presumed, showed him a sketch of Clay.

“Sir, you are a close match to the photo we have of your brother. You twins?" He asked.

“We act that way sometimes but no, different parents officer.”

“Is your brother okay? When’s the last time you spoke to him?”

Flat out lying, I bullshitted him about being in the restaurant eating and catching up, about me living 8 hours away and being back to visit. I told him Clay had hurried home ahead to get a room ready for me as I settled the bill.

“So yeah officer, I’m headed back to the Rez, to his place specifically. Yeah, he’s fine. He likes walking and sometimes forgets the time. He was out and about when I got into town and called him. Yep, told him to meet me here. Good grief, that woman of his, she worries too much. I suppose she called him in as missing. Does it often my brother says. Regardless, all is well. Thanks for checking.”

The police pulled away, happy to have washed their hands of any tribal matter. Jurisdiction conflicts were something to be avoided and the city blues were expected to cooperate with tribal enforcement.

I climbed into my seat to the unmistakable smell of nail polish, florescent orange of all colors. And there sat Clay, I mean Jovee, applying the stuff to toes planted on the dash. Where in the hell did he get it from? Oh well, Jovee and Clay seemed content and I was going to keep it that way as best I could.

I reactivated the Blue Tooth and called His Favorite Gal. I was relieved that she answered Clay’s phone and wasn’t at a cousin’s as predicted.

“Hi there, I got a nice young woman here by the name of Jovee who says she knows Clay. She’s showing me the way to his house and we’ll be there in a minute.”

“Oh cripes Ain’t It. You lucked out and I can’t believe you found him, yah, and found Jovee being the one looking out his eye balls. Lucky bastard you are for sure. Whew, glad you got to him. Okay then, I’ll get a pan of coffee goin’ for yas.”

We rolled into the rutted driveway. The yard, surprisingly tidy but not mowed, was free of junk. Tribal operations had been hitting the code hard and getting after people to make their places more presentable and most were.

Clay had already got his sock and shoe onto the dainty foot and was ready. His Favorite Gal hustled out to Clay’s side and spoke through the open window.

“Hey there Jovee, ya wanna come in for coffee? Clay has a flower waitin’ for ya.”

Obviously, His Favorite Gal was well acquainted with Jovee and “her” behavior. I wondered at the total number of people in Clay’s melon, people who were expressions of Clay’s gump, a term coined by his companion to explain his mental issues.

I looked closely at Clay who stared intently at His Favorite Gal. I saw a subtle change happening in his facial muscles as did Gal. I saw it her eyes, a look of increasing concern that only seemed to speed a possible shift in Clay. Just as my friend’s body started tensing up for fight or flight I intervened.