Saturday, June 09, 2018

Drunken Russian Princes

Lying in a bed that is not my own, watching the host of the party tell stories to a small captured audience, his silhouette is Elvis Costello with a better nose, I smile and drift and...

Later we sit in a different room, talking thrums back and forth and...

"I should probably go," I whisper, maybe whisper, my voice sometimes feels like it's there and not there and too there.

"You sure?"


It's part exhaustion from the thrum that has been my week, part too much wine, part too much socializing, part too much figuring out how to socialize.

"Alright, let's get your stuff."

A call a car as I carefully place it foot down unfamiliar stairs, spill on to the street. Wait.

The car pulls up and I hop in and we start to move but about half a block away he suddenly pulls over. I worry a little, wait, wonder a bit...

"I'm sorry," he says with a slight accent.

"Is everything okay?"

"My last passenger. This girl. She was really drunk. Too drunk. She left her bag." He holds it up over the seat at me.


"Do you mind, she was so drunk I should have checked twice she had everything. do you mind if we take this back to her house?"

"No, not at all."

"She was just so drunk-"

"It's really okay."

"Thanks, thanks so much. I'll give you a free ride home."

"You don't have to do that."

But he insisted. As he started to drive he passed the bag back to me to see if I could find anything useful and confirm her address. He had a sense of where he had just been, but the information no longer being useful he had to try to recreate it through his upset.

"I have a license and an address. Ugh and her phone." It will be fun when she notices that is missing.

"Good, Great."

I navigate and in less then a few minutes we pull into one of those old Chicago townhouses, immaculate garden, beautiful Floyd Right influenced prairie style. White flowers were twinkling in the soft garden light that made the front of the house look as if it was full of fairies.

"I'll be back in a moment."

"Actually, maybe I should. A surprise woman may be less surprising at 1 a.m."

"Yes, yes, good idea."

License in hand, I took the stairs and walked towards the classic artdeco stained glass. I could see in: light shining down from a glass chandelier on hardwood floors, a table, a vase, flowers. Immaculate, perfect. I wonder what kind of life it must be to live in such a polished place. So finished, without small piles of books and magazines and letters and the daily ephemera of a life that is being lived. When I see these types of homes I always think of antiseptic, a place scrubbed so clean it is free of everything including living.

As I stand peaking through the windows into the little castle in the middle of the city, the must be owner of the purse, her shoes in hand, she teeters a bit as she shuts the door. I knock on the door. She pauses and looks up. I hear a dog barking somewhere. She doesn't turn around to see me, but I can still see her.

I knock again. The dogs suddenly bound into view, two humongous Great Danes, running up to investigate their resident and the sudden noise. I knock again, this time on the window. She turns and the dogs run at the window. Squinting at me, I think she might decide to call the police, so I slap her ID against the window. Eyes wide she comes to the door.

"Yes," stronger accent. Definitely Russian, given the last name on the ID.

"You left your purse, your bag -"

I hold up the small clutch.

"Yes, yes, thank you, yes."

She reaches out to grab it allowing the door to open and suddenly the two Great Danes leap out at me in the dark and the night. It didn't even occur to me to react, I just stooped and started saying 'puppies' while petting the friendly waggly dogs.

"Yes, shhhhh, yes yes, thank you, in in in, yes, goodbye, okay."

And with that she works to usher the dogs in and shut the door.

I stand on the porch in the fairy lights a moment and watch her sneak upstairs and realize that she must be an escaped princess from this little castle, out on the town and wanting know one to be the wiser. I suddenly feel like the hero of a modern epic, for surely, by running the wallet up to her door I have saved her any amount of endless trouble in the morning. I am epic and might. I'm terribly amused.

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