Drop #56: Loose ends

What happened to the human belonging to these shoes? A detail that will remain unresolved. And that’s lilac ostrich leather too!

Frank finds his phone under the summons papers and answers. Jane is talking so loud on the other end, Kate can hear every word: ‘Yeah, I’m calling you back. What’s so damn important?’

‘I’ll take this in the other room,’ Frank says, getting off the couch. ‘It’s my sister.’

‘God, I hope she does the right thing, Kate thinks, but situations like this are so unpredictable, especially with Jane acting so erratically after the procedure. The nutcase keeps talking about suing but seems happy to just drink and sulk for the time being – though she has been threatening to get her old, stupid plan back on track, and everyone knows how that ended up last time. Of course, she’s hanging out with this mysterious new guy with the shady business now. Frank looked him up online. Damn interesting what he found out, especially the part about Uncle Guido and Southern Boys. Well, the steam cleaner story was pretty intriguing too, and so was the whole bone marrow thing, now that she thinks about it. Anyway, why would Jane want to get mixed up with someone like that, particularly after what happened to her last serious guy? – speaking of which, what were the chances of that happening? You couldn’t write it any weirder.

Sally comes in through the back door. Kate isn’t expecting her after last night’s incident but they both act as if nothing happened.

‘Where’s Frank?’

‘In the other room, talking to Jane.’

‘Oh, God!’

‘I know.’

‘Are they having the conversation?’

‘I think so.’

‘God, I hope Jane does the right thing.’

‘Me too. It would make all our lives so much easier.’

‘You’re telling me! I still have fifty boxes of that shit to get rid of.’

‘Where are you coming from?’ Kate asks.

‘The shop. It’s a mess there. You heard about what Nestor did, right?’

‘Yeah. That was totally fucked up.’

‘I know. The mood is really low.’

‘Gwen must be devastated.’

‘Beyond devastated. She looks like a skeleton. I just hope she doesn’t relapse.’

‘Yes,’ Kate says. ‘That would be sad.’

‘Or end up like she did when the The Institute sent that letter.’

‘Oh God. That would be terrible.’

‘I don’t know if I can ever talk to Nestor again, after this.’

‘Me either.’

‘I mean, seriously. What nerve!’

Frank comes back. His face gives nothing away though he looks surprised to see Sally. He says hi to her.

‘Hey,’ she says back.

‘Well?’ Kate asks him.

‘Tell you later.’

‘Good or bad?’

‘Later,’ he says conclusively, and sits next to Sally. ‘How’s Gwen?’ he asks her.

‘Not good.’

‘That was messed up, what Nestor did.’

‘You’re telling me.’

‘Did you talk to her? Did she give you any insight?’

‘A little.’

‘What did she say?’

‘I don’t want to get into it, now, if you don’t mind. I just don’t know enough yet.’

‘But what set him off? I mean: people don’t just up and do that type of thing.’

‘It’s too complicated to explain right now. Sorry. I just don’t have the energy.’

‘Fair enough. We can talk later. Too much else going on anyway.’

‘Good. Hey, did you guy’s see this?’ Sally throws a magazine onto the coffee table.

Frank picks it up. ‘Wow. That’s crazy. Check it out, Kate.’ He hands it to her.

‘Oh my God!’ Kate says, looking at the cover. ‘That’s just like—’

‘I know!’ Sally says. ‘It’s a spitting image.’

‘Man, that was like, the funniest day ever.’


‘When he took the…’ Kate slaps her palm rapidly five or six times, ‘and put the…’ She starts laughing. ‘Holy shit, that was funny!’

‘Yeah,’ Frank says, ‘and then Hugo came and took it away.’

‘Yes! Bruce must have thought he was going crazy.’

‘Damn straight!’

‘And of all the places he could have hidden it!’

‘Brilliant. Absolutely brilliant.’

‘Totally priceless.’



‘Nice to be able to laugh at something for a change,’ Frank says.

‘Yeah,’ says Sally, getting in one of her ambiguous smiles. ‘Hey, I’m going to take a shower. I’m ripe from all the stress.’

‘Sure,’ Kate says, as Sally heads for the door. ‘Catch up later.’

‘Yeah, later.’

When she’s gone, Frank turns to Kate. ‘You two didn’t talk about last night?’

‘No. She acted like nothing happened.’

‘And so did you, it seems.’

‘Yes. I’m happy to avoid drama for once, even if I’m only postponing it. I think she feels the same.’


‘What about Jane? Did she agree or not?’

‘Not exactly. She laid down a few terms. Some of them are not very palatable.’

‘Like what?’

‘Really, Kate, I’d prefer to talk about this later.’

‘Not the Wisconsin thing again, though, right?’

‘Please, Kate. Not now.’

‘Fine,’ Kate says, leaning back into the couch, ‘we’ll add it to tomorrow’s list—oh, speaking of which, you have to get that fixed.’


‘That!’ she says with a sharper tone, pointing. ‘It’s really dangerous, especially with the kids coming this weekend.’


‘Besides the obvious hazard, you can imagine what it might imply.’

‘Yes, I’m well aware.’

‘We don’t want that type of thing on your resume, now do we?’

‘I got it, Kate. I said I’d do it. Tomorrow. Right after I get the car back.’

‘I can’t believe they wouldn’t let you have it till now.’

‘It’s Jack’s fault. All of it!’

‘I know, but you can’t say anything this time.’

‘I won’t.’

‘Promise me, Frank.’

‘I promise.’

‘I’m serious! We can’t afford another situation like that.’

‘Listen, I know. Christ!  I’m the one who’s been dealing with it for months.’

‘As if I didn’t do my share!’

‘Of course. That’s not what I meant.’

‘I was at the damn State Attorney’s office every day for weeks straight. I practically pulled that scooter out of the river myself!’

‘I know, Kate. And I appreciate it. Look, let’s not fight. We’re almost through this.’

‘OK. Sorry. We’ll deal with it all tomorrow, as usual.’


‘It’s going to be another fun day,’ she says morosely, shaking her head.

‘Yeah.’ He shakes his too.

They sit quietly for a few minutes, drained by the details of all that had them beat; then, suddenly, Kate starts laughing. It wasn’t much more than a chuckle, but it lasted several seconds.’

‘What is it?’ Frank asks.

‘Oh, nothing.’

‘What’s so funny?’

‘Nothing. Forget it.’

‘Come on. Tell me. It’s rude to leave people hanging.’

‘Oh, that’s fresh,’ Kate says.

‘Piss off, Kate.’

‘Yeah, Frank, you piss off too.’

By E.M. Vireo


About EM Vireo
flooding the world with fiction

3 Responses to Drop #56: Loose ends

  1. I want to know the rest of it!

    Pulling the scooter out of the river… oh my God. This sounds like something that happened in my childhood (how timely this is, given my post today) when my father – under the influence – hit a child’s trike and it had to be wrenched free from the bumper of his car. Money and lawyers. I wrote a story about it, fifteen pages of that and other things. Unpublished as of yet.

  2. Pi says:

    That was special.

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