chapter 25

Wha Chu Gonna Do

       “Good morning Celia dear” Sheila declared, smiling broadly and brightly as a distraction to her pushing a box of mini donuts under the ledge of her reception desk. 

       “How was the vacation? You look so, so, nice. Are you pregnant? You can tell me.” Giggle.

       “Good morning to you, Sheila. No, I don’t think so. Wouldn’t I need a ma’an in my life for something like that?”

       “Please send my daughter in, Sheila, thank you,” intoned the all knowing intercom.

       “Bye now,” said Celia entering the den. 

       Sheila smiled tah-tah and unsmiled just as quickly. She grabbed a donut. “Hot gossip, the kid’s a dyke, I knew it!” Giggle.

       “For once Sheila is right. I would never have thought delivering mail and chewing grass would agree with you so….”

       “Contented mother. Real content. Real folks, real air, and a night sky full of stars. You might try it sometime.”

       “You know dear, the instructions that came with these Jimmy Choos specifically said “No cow pucky,” so you can take my seat on the next wagon train. Now get or should I say, git yerself a cup of coffee and let’s begin.”

       Celia went to the breakfast cart with the shiny samovar and poured herself a cup of coffee into an uncomfortable coffee cup and saucer. The first sip was pretty bad and it wasn’t going to get any better.

       Petra had taken up her position on one of the couches either side of a low glass table. She came to this position with a small collection of pre-arranged and labeled manila envelopes, and her coffee mug which was big and comfortable with a handle big enough for four fingers, same coffee though. 

       Petra having claimed one couch meant Celia would face her from the other. Reclining as if tossed on one end of Celia’s couch was a magnificent leather garment, a coat of superior leather, high design, and well, just an incredible garment. Celia looked once and resolved to ignore it.

       “So you didn’t quite live up to your daily report quota. What happened, did you fall off the mail wagon?”

       Celia re adjusted her sitting position, looked for the seat belts and readied for battle.

       “Delivering mail is a real job Mother. Once I was acclimated, I was working real hours, hard hours and coming home exhausted. I did a lot of that work on the plane.” Celia patted her shoulder bag which she had put on the floor so as not to offend the coat.

       “Mailman is a tough gig, Mother. You should try it sometime.” 

       “Again darling, just don’t have the right shoes, dang it all. Now, here’s what it is Celia, we had a meeting and then we had 6 meetings and we considered your reports and everything else and this is what We have decided. We just want to ‘go for it’ before anybody else gets the same idea. Thank you for the evaluations, but dang it all!”

       Celia wrote in her now dismissed evaluations everything she thought would dissuade her mother from moving ahead on this damnable project. Now it would be a fist fight.

       “You know, Mother, I don’t think this town is the toothless redneck, cud-chewing incestuous revival meeting you think it is. I’ve detailed it in my reports and you might save yourself a lot of  trouble if you looked them ov…” 

       “No no no, it’s in motion even as we speak. We have crews already headed to ‘ground zero’ from Chicago and L.A.. They’ll be there in a few days barring twisters, injuns, or just getting lost. Here is a part I love. Do you know who our man on the inside is, out there, in Ardensville?, hmm? I mean besides you. Want to guess?”

       Celia shrugged, truly not knowing the answer.

       “An idiot sheriff named Morrow!”

       “Morrow dropped a dime on the town?” Celia jumped up like she was snake bit. Petra was slightly taken aback though conditioned to her daughter’s outbursts. 

       “You know him? Good. Next time you see him, please ask for me, if his parents got divorced, would they still be cousins? It was two phone conversations with that cowpoke that convinced us, Ardensville was ground zero.” Self satisfied, Petra got up to retrieve a bowl of cut strawberries from the breakfast cart. 

       “Did you know Dear, your sheriff Morrow entertains dreams of being Governor? With the right Christian appeal Dear, I dare say he’s a boot in.” Petra considered and rejected a strawberry she deemed imperfect. “Heads will roll. They were warned.”

       “Darling, why don’t you try that coat on, hmmmm?” asked Petra, having found an acceptable berry.

       “Is this your coat, Mother? Quite a coat.”

       “No Dear, yours. Try it on.”

       Celia rose from the couch and took up the coat. It was a remarkable piece of work. She put it on. Wow. She walked to the full length mirror her mother always had in any office and explored this coat of coats. It was magnificent. 

       “Great pockets Dear. How do you like the pockets?” asked Petra with a measure of guile.

       She reached into the perfectly located pockets and her hand was met with a jingle. She explored some more. Keys, there were keys, and she brought them out from the deep satisfying pocket.

       “Look Mother, someone forgot their keys.”

       “They’re your keys Darling. Your new home on Central Park North. It's still a little bit rough now but in 2 years you will think you were on Park and 77. Got it for a song, and in a few years it will be worth an opera.”

       If “swoon” is the word, then Celia nearly did swoon in the now apparent presence of all the capital, conspiracy, and bad behavior coming into play for this massive project. A condo plus this coat were insignificant to what Petra had in mind for the American vidiots and Celia.

       “I don't know what to say Mother,” Celia whispered terrified as if in a leaky lifeboat surrounded by shark fins.

       “How about something like...thank you Mother. I’m so excited, so happy. When can I move in and get out of that tenement in the flight path called Queens? You could say something like that Dear.” Petra found yet another acceptable strawberry.

       Startled to composure again by her Mother’s self-satisfied elitism, Celia breathed through her nostrils and pursed lips. 

       Slowly, she took the coat off. She smelled the fine leather and admired the stitching. She returned it to its place on the couch and seemed to reflect.

       “Thank You Mother. I'm so excited, so happy. When can I move in and get out of that tenement in the flight path called Queens?”

       There would be a few days of strategy meetings with some execs. Top secret. Hush hush. Celia was punctual and attentive. It would be a guerrilla war.