A message just came in through the wire service: “ROOSTER I AM IN JAIL STOP. NOT ACTUAL JAIL I JUST CAN’T GO ON MY FACEBOOK STOP. BUT THEY LEFT IT UP FOR SOME REASON STOP. ANYWAY I’M GOING TO NEED TO COME UP TO THE BARN FOR A FEW MONTHS AND LAY LOW AND MAYBE PUT SOME HITS OUT STOP. TALKING ABOUT MUSIC HITS OF COURSE STOP. HEH STOP. PLEASE GET BACK TO ME AT THE ADDRESS ON THIS MESSAGE AS SOON AS POSSIBLE I NEED YOUR HELP FAMILY STOP. I DON’T WANT TO GET INTO ANY MORE TROUBLE AND IT’S REALLY STRESSFUL IN NEW YORK RIGHT NOW STOP. TOO MANY TEMPTATIONS AND TOO MANY PRIVATE EYES ON MY TAIL STOP. I’LL SEE YOU SOON I LEFT ALREADY SO MAYBE THIS MESSAGE WILL BE UNNECESSARY BUT YOU NEVER KNOW HAHA STOP. OK STOP NOW. STOP. STOP!”
I think I need to cut my cousin Bennington out of the family. Monica, formerly a fan, is completely fed up with him and will not tolerate another sudden visit where he needs to “lay low” and avoid the law at our house. “We can’t harbor criminals in here anymore, Rooster. Even if it’s Bennington. I know we had Betty in here last week but that was different. She had just gotten #MeToo’d by her male secretary and he was out looking for her with a gun and an axe. I can’t deal with Bennington’s bullshit anymore, he’s just too much, always so loud and obnoxious and arrogant and completely inconsiderate of our feelings, our hospitality, and our safety, all at the expense of his own comfort and happiness. You have to accept that he’s never going to be happy or safe and just hang him out to dry. I’m sorry, Roo. But if he stays, I leave. I have to put my claw down.”
Well, at least I have a reason to refuse him now. But how do I get back to Bennington? I didn’t even know our telegram wire service was still in operation, also how did he find… a place to send a telegram? I guess you can get anything in Manhattan. I’m hungry and feeling cranky and would like to get our movie of the night (The Umbrellas of Cherbourg) going with my wife. I’m shedding feathers over here waiting for the black helicopters to take us back to Cuba any moment—I’m still battling PTSD from our horrid 2016—but I have to contact my cousin. He’s family, as rancorous and disloyal as he is. But I’m sending him an email.
“BENNINGTON: You have a choice right now to get your life together or abandon all hope and throw it all away. Monica and I have both decided that we cannot harbor you here anymore. You’re too inconsiderate, an ungrateful nuisance, and the police are looking for you. We can’t in good conscience keep enabling you or your bad behavior. It’s not funny anymore and hasn’t been in years. Don’t think about coming here because if you do I’ll call the police, and if it comes to it, I will break out my brass claws and leave you blind. So think twice about coming up here. Anyway I have to go now, my WIFE and I are watching a movie together tonight. We love each other, and we have fun. You should try it sometime. But in a wholesome way. Make some steps and show us that you really care and you’re really sorry and I’ll cut the sarcasm, but until then, you’re on your own, buster. STOP—”
A knock at the door. My stomach has sunk subterranean. Monica’s running down the stairs. “GET HIM OUT OF HERE!” I can’t move. But that’s when I reach for my revolver. I move downstairs and toward the front door. Monica is holding the axe. I look through the peephole, and there he isn’t. Bennington is gone, but another wolf is at our door.
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