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Glen and Phoebe, Coda

The phone opened to the picture he’d requested of her feet. People had all sorts of fetishes, and she didn’t mind indulging this one of Glen’s. Phoebe was very familiar with the paraphilias, having been schooled through the Kinsey Institute. She searched the phone for any clues that might tell her where Glen had gone and why. She needed details.

There was much too much money for the sale of her father’s house. Glen knew she was struggling financially, but she hadn’t asked him for anything other than a fair price for the house. What was he thinking?

The phone search turned up next to nothing except for a number that was not hers listed under the Dialed Calls directory. It was an international number, to Germany, and she called it straight away. When the German Cancer Clinics answered, she knew what she had to do next.

Mattson was waiting for her when her train arrived in Oklahoma City. Glen had told her  a little about Mattson and their enduring friendship that had begun when they served together in the Navy. If anyone knew the details of Glen’s situation, it would be Mattson. What Phoebe didn’t know was that Glen had confided to Mattson his relationship with her; they both shared an interest in feet, and Glen had mentioned his curiosity about Phoebe’s small feet to Mattson. After that slip, he had told all, even though Phoebe had asked him not to. 

“Miss Williams,” Mattson greeted her, “I trust your journey was not too difficult?”

“No, Mr. Mattson, the trip was very pleasant, quite soothing in fact.”

“Very good. After we collect your bags, I will take you to the cottage and introduce the staff to you.”

“Staff?”

“Yes, Miss. There is just myself and my wife. She’s the cook and housekeeper.  I double as your driver and gardener.”

Phoebe sat stunned. She’d always longed for such a life, and here it was. But what of Glen?

“Mr. Mattson?”

“Just Mattson, Miss, if you please.”

“Mattson, is it far to the cottage?”

“No, Miss. We are about thirty minutes away.”

“What is your wife’s name?”

“Joyce, Miss.”

“If I am to call you Mattson, will you please call me Phoebe?”

“My pleasure, Phoebe.”

They drove the remainder of the short distance in silence, Phoebe wondering if she could get the information she wanted from Mattson and Mattson wondering what she was going to ask. She was everything Glen had told him and more. Direct, clear-eyed, poised. He understood his friend’s affection for this lovely woman. 

The “cottage”, designed by architect Robert Roloff, sat on a little more than four acres of land in a private setting that offered exquisite views of the outdoor living spaces, that included a pool. 

Image

Overwhelmed by the enormity of the gift she’d been given, Phoebe wept tears of gratitude, then turned her teary amber eyes on Mattson and asked him, beseeched him to tell her all he knew of Glen. Mattson happily obliged.

“Did…did his wife go with him?” Phoebe asked.

“No, Miss,” he answered, slipping back into formality. “In fact, Bernard and his wife were divorced about a year ago, shortly after he understood his condition.”

“Do you know where he is exactly, Mattson?”

“Yes, Miss.”

“Would you please make arrangements for me to go be with him?”

“At once, Phoebe, at once.”

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All, before 10:30

Someone called in a bomb threat on me.

The Century Sheriffs responded, 3 cars X 6 deep, frisked and detained me in the back of the lone cruiser that remained when bomb was not found in the place the caller apparently said it would be.

The Deputies were very efficient and not  violent at all. I was frisked thoroughly, but barely noticeably by the female deputy.  The deputies asked me about a lockbox under my bed and I told them it was there and what it contained. They retrieved it and found nothing out of order, and returned the lockbox to its original location.

My idiot neighbors, the gang family, came out to gawk, flipped me the bird; one was in such a hurry to try and snap my picture (It was almost as good as being followed by the paparazzo, not), she nearly tore up her big old, out-a-date, fossil fuel burning, rolling target of a van backing out of her driveway.  She pulled alongside the cruiser, but I lay face down on that hard plastic back seat.

It was my first time being in a squad car or whatever you call ‘em now.  That back seat is hard as black walnuts.  You can’t open the back doors because the mechanisms to exercise such autonomy do not exist back there in the nether regions of the cruiser.

One of the crowd (maybe you can tell I’m trying to find a concept with which to label these inhabitants, these neighbors born of propinquity – yeah, I said it) in the van attempted to take a picture of me with her cell phone. And me without my lipstick . . ..

I’ve always brought out the worst in people, the jealousy, the sense that I can be goaded and won’t really retaliate in any way. I bring out that sense that I can be bullied. Of course, I see myself as a strong, lithe, independent scholar artist who only wants to be left the hell in peace. Dejame en paz, por favor. 

Having this marked characteristic, as well as a series of similar experiences for comparison has always made me think I have AS because I cannot for my life figure out why people are jealous of me.  I mind my own business, am a helluva good dancer, can cook well with even the meanest equipment, and while I like to laugh, I have a skewed sense of humor. Nobody’s perfect.

Hence, I suppose, the bomb threat.

It is almost nice to know I’ve still got it like that, not.

 

Peace be upon Nora Ephron forevermore.