CAUTION: Intimations of buggery ahead….
“You been in there, right? Top floor?”
“Ah…it’s been years-and honestly-those days? Not much in the way of memories…”
“Well, it’s a long hallway and I’m at this end…” to make his point he did a chopping motion in the air and held his hand on edge. “Y’see? And Colleen’s room is halfway down-more than that actually-just a door up from the loo. Right there.” He pointed through the window and up the hill to the rambling ramshackle of a boarding house overlooking the few standing structures that still defined Wichymeade as a town on some old maps. “The one with the purple curtains”, he continued to point.
Glennon’s shrug was equal parts “I see”, “I don’t get it” and “get on with it.”
“Anyways” he shrugs getting on with it, “I’m creeping down the hall to do my night’s business and I hear this…hum. More like a moan.”
“That could be a moan”, then shrugging. “Or a hum. And it’s coming from….”
“You got it. Right! Colleen’s room. And it’s getting louder as I get closer-which of course makes sense-and I get there, again, on my way to the loo…just passing by, and I see Dennehy-of course I think it was Dennehy. Never seen him from that particular angle.”
“What angle was that?”
“He was laying over Colleen’s lap-like a naughty baby-stark naked from what I could see…”
“Facing which way?”
“Away from me.”
“Right. And that’s not the worst of it. Colleen was pushing a cucumber into his bottom.”
“What? A cucumber?”
“Had to be”, he answered struggling to remember the details.
Glennon sipped his coffee. “Why don’t people shut their doors when they’re on about something like that?” Then, after a pause as he tried to envision the calamity, “You’re sure it was a cucumber?”
“And not a….”
“Zucchini, let’s say.”
“Would have had to be a small zucchini…”
“And the sound you heard, the ‘mmmmmmmmm…”
“That was coming out of him.”
“I don’t doubt it. Was there lights on in the room?”
“See, that’s the thing what gets me wondering if it were a dream or not. It seemed to be sunlight leaking in around the curtains…”
“But it was night.”
“Were you soused?”
“No more, no less.”
“Sampling any of Dixon’s latest”, he asked pantomiming puffing on a joint.
“My credit’s no good with him no more.”
“Did you speak with either of them?”
“No, not speak. But when Colleen noticed me at the door, she gave me a look.”
“What kinda look?”
“I’m sure I don’t.”
“Like I had come upon them playing bridge or something. Chess maybe. Like ‘nothing to see here, best be off.’ As if she wasn’t jamming a zucchini up me mate’s behind.”
“I thought you said it was a cucumber!”
“It was, what did I say?”
“No. Had to be a cucumber. Of produce, I guess I could see a carrot…a banana, of course…”
“Oh, yes. Forgot you were an altar boy.”
“Shush!” hissed Glennon clapping him on the shoulder. “What you do then? After she spied you?”
“What ya think? Bypassed the loo completely. Down the stairs and out into the yard. Did my business behind a tree and went over to Sadies.”
“Ah Sadie. She’s always good for a piece of day old pie and a cuppa that hideous coffee of hers.”
“You really have to work to make coffee that bad.”
“Then I come over here soon’s June Bug opened. Did you see Dennehy this morning at the dock?”
“No. But his boat leaves early so I wouldn’t, typically.”
The sharp double toot of a steam whistle cut the heavy air.
“That’s me”, said Glennon, drinking off the rest of his cup. “I’m off. Salmon to be caught.”
“You need a hand?”
“No, we’re full today. Why? Don’t you have a train?”
“No I do not! Fools threw a wheel down the bottom of the lake.”
“So you have nothing today.”
Standing Glennon patted him on the shoulder and headed for the door. “You should set a bit. Stay down here and get your thoughts in order. And oh”, he paused hand on the push bar “on the off chance, pass on the salad if she tosses one for dinner.”
The door closed and he was alone at the counter.
“Junie? Would you give me a wee,” he held his fingers up a scant smidge apart for emphasis “tiny bit a’ schnapps please?”
“I will not, Kevin Duffy!”
“It’s not an hour past sunup and you yourownself told me to never serve you before noon.”
“I did, didn’t I?”
“Yes you did. So unless you want a good, sound spank you’ll have another coffee and be happy about it!”
She stood in front of him with the pot. “D’ye want another cup?”
“What…else? The other thing…? What did you say? Besides coffee?”
“Are ye daft as well as deaf? No alkyhol till noon. Now, ‘nother coffee?”
“Uh…no. No thank you.”
He pushed away, leaving more coin on the counter than was necessary.
“See ye at noon then”, she called at his back.
Outside the sun burning from over the lake warmed his back and threw his shadow well up the hill. He set out, trudging after it as if underwater, up toward the boarding house.