Tonight is about many cherished friends, copious quantities of outstanding food and outrageously good times. A very Happy Birthday to my dear friend Meg…partner in crime these long 19 years. Holy crap…it doesn’t feel that long!

So, here’s a picture of dinner…well, what’s left of it anyway…

[Just a note, Dear Readers:  Today is the 100th post at Dy’s Mind’s Eye! WTF?! I thought to wax quixotic about this milestone with you all…and maybe post something seriously ranty-ravey in my purest political uprisingness style. However, that is not to be. We’re in a happy cozy mode at El Castillo tonight…my marvelous Sky martinis, hot roasted smokehouse almonds, chilled prawns & cocktail sauce, BBQ ribs, coleslaw, Mr. RockStar and Fantabulous Daughter in Da Haus. It’s way too nice & mellow for a ranty-ravey-type hooplah. So sip your Friday Night Poison of Choice, and read this here little blurb of an installment in the continuing story of Jill & Thol. Short and Sweet tonight. We’ll catch ya later and Have a Fucking Marvelous Friday Night! 🙂 ]

“Jillian…darling…Jill, honey?”

Her Mother’s voice continued its irritating intrusion through the fog that was most likely some sort of sedative that had kept her asleep for…how long? What time was it now? What day? How many wasted hours had she been in this gawd-awful hospital? Had she missed many classes? She hated missing class and having to make up and catch up. She tried to sigh without letting her parents hear her.

“Em…” Now it was her father’s voice. “Emilia, leave her alone. She’ll open her eyes when she’s good and ready. Just…Em… I mean it. She’s fine. Come…let’s get some lunch, I’m starving…and we need to continue our discussion where it won’t disturb her. She needs her rest and we aren’t helping anything here.” He made his way toward the door, trying to steer his wife by the elbow in the same direction.

“Jill, dear, we’ll be right back, okay?” Oh, take your time, Mom, really. “You need anything…anything at all…just call the nurse. The nurses’ station knows how to reach your father and I…” Her voice faded away as she was gently pulled out the door by her husband.

Oh, thank god, thought Jill. Finally.

She gingerly opened one eye when she was pretty darn sure they were long gone down the antiseptic-smelling hallway. Good. The coast was clear. Now for the other one. Jeezus, her eyes stung like the insides of her lids were made of sandpaper doused with lemon juice. And her throat…she tried to swallow the golf-ball coated in crushed glass stuck between her tonsils and her collarbone. She needed some water, juice, something, that was for sure…anything liquid and cool to soothe the swollen scratchy painfulness of her throat. She looked around for the little plastic pitcher she was sure was nearby…there always was one in these hospital rooms, right? She’d seen them in every soap opera she’d ever tried not to notice on the televisions in her friends’ apartments and dorm rooms. There had been a one by her bed when she was a little girl of seven and she had her appendix out. Yep, they still used them…there it was on the little rolling table just out of reach. She struggled to sit up and reached for the puke-yellow/gold plastic pitcher and the matching cup beside it. Empty. It figured.

She pushed the button to call the nurse, despite her desperate need to shut out any and all persons at the moment. She needed to think, to try to remember what had happened, to try to figure out what she needed to do. Was her apartment completely toast? Was she going to have to move? Did she have anything left to move? Maybe it wasn’t as bad as that…maybe it was just a matter of repairs and replacing those possessions that were damaged in the fire. She brightened at that thought. If that was the case, she could hole up in a hotel for a while and not have to…she shook her head not wanting to think of the horror of the alternative, and released a torrent of sharp thudding pain throughout her skull. Ouch. Better remember not to do that for a while.

nurse-ratchedThe nurse that answered the call was a heavy-set, older woman…probably in her late fifties to early  sixties. Jillian’s first impression of her was that she was not exactly a sweet grandmother type, yet not quite a Nurse Ratched, either. She was something in between, no-nonsense, with an air of “I’ve been doing this longer than you were even an egg in your mother’s ovum” about her. Tired maybe, but not weary, and to use the word efficient in describing her was probably the understatement of the year. She took one look at Jillian in her upright sitting position, saw the rolling table had been moved closer and knew exactly what was needed next. She swiped up the pitcher without a word and went to fill it from the tap. Jillian could only hope…in vain, she was sure…that the hospital had some kind of automatic water purification system of the Britta/Pur type throughout the building that would transform the water flowing from the tap in her particular room into something other than all the other tap water in the city. Yeah, right. Well, any water was better than no water at this point. A little chlorine right now wouldn’t kill her, but she longed for the sweet H2O of her Pur water filtration system at home even before she let the cup touch her lips and she could smell the chlorine and other unfamiliar miscellaneous chemicals used to treat the city’s water, to make it “drinkable”. Ugh.

Oh, but it did feel nice flowing down her raw irritated throat.

© 2011 D. Kessler

Emilia Rosalind Amhurst Kingfisher was a piece of work, to put it mildly. In her early mid-fifties, she easily and consistently passed for forty due in part to good genes and in large part to one of the most expensive and exclusive plastic surgeons in the world. She thought nothing of jetting away to The Continent (as she called all of Europe) for a few days…or sometimes a few weeks…just to have Dr. Sebastian, her médecin extraordinaire, take a nip here, make a tuck there, inject, siphon, sculpt and plump as she felt necessary. In addition, her arsenal of vitamin supplements, prescription medications, ointments, creams and spa treatments added to her defenses against the all-evil eternal enemy: AGE. Her daily routine five days a week included at least three different exercise sessions…yoga, weight training, and various cardio workouts…all in the comfort and privacy of her own home, all by separate private coaches and all at least two hours each. Add to that her own private dietician to map out and plan her each and every meal with her own private chef and there was no way the enemy was going to sneak up on her. Being independently wealthy from before the day she was born, with no need to do anything whatsoever to stay that way, keeping up her appearance was her job. Hell, it was her duty, as she saw it.

She was, after all, Emilia Rosalind Amhurst Kingfisher, daughter of William Bertram Emerson Amhurst III, sole heir to one of the largest fortunes in America and overseer of over a dozen charities and trusts. Her grandfather, William Bertram Emerson Amhurst II, or “Bertie” as he was affectionately called, had grown up among the East Coast Elite and had been educated in the very best educational establishments money could buy…and money was definitely something the family had in great abundance. It flowed like water…or rather, it flowed like expensive champagne and the highest-end gin…and no Amhurst ever went parched.

Despite the exclusive clubs, the Washington connections, the dizzying array of parties and accompanying hob-knobbing with the elite of every corner of the globe, Bertie had wanted to set himself apart and lobbied his formidable father extensively to let him travel out to the west coast upon completing college on the pretext of temporarily overseeing the various oil interests the family held there. He wanted to see how the money was made, how to optimize the profits, to set himself apart and bask in the victory of millions of dollars bent into submission of his rule. Oh, but these were not reasons for going out west that he highlighted to his father. Heaven forbid he would want to dirty his hands and reputation with actual work! Even though he would really only be overseeing figures and visiting the various oil wells, overseeing shipping and sales arrangements and making business connections…of course, no actual “work” would be done. The mere association and implication of “work” was completely beneath any Amhurst. One hired others for such things. An Amhurst’s place was at one of his various social clubs…yachting, riding, tennis matches, and attending social functions with others of their bored class. No, he didn’t let on his true aspirations. He stressed to his father the importance of travel and a well-rounded knowledge of the country. One couldn’t be expected to end up in the White House if they didn’t know or understand anything of what lay west of Chicago. He’d be back after a few months…maybe a year…and father’s continuous schedule of brandy and cigars would take him over. So, scandalous though it was considered by his family and peers to actually do or even oversee any actual “business”, Bertie eventually won out and got his wish. He left by private rail car to points west the year he turned 23…and the year the country went dry…in nineteen-twenty. And the rest, as they say, was history.

Emilia had been the apple of Bertie’s eye…everyone’s eye, really. Silver spoon? Oh, no…more like a Platinum spoon, and a new one for every course of the lavish dinners that were the Amhust trademark and specialty. The only girl and youngest of only three grandchildren, everyone doted on her and there was nothing she couldn’t have or do. Her two cousins were awful boys, with no ambition and no real intelligence. All they cared about were sailing and cars and which girls they could impress with their old money. Grandpa Bertie knew it from the start, from when they were not even old enough to go off to prep school. It was Emilia that got Bertie’s personal attention, Emilia that went to Bertie’s offices during vacations from her East Coast schools, Emilia that Bertie thought of when he met Raymond Kingfisher and hired him to rethink his business portfolio.

Straight out of college with dual Masters degrees in finance and public relations in the early nineteen-seventies, Ray had been a seven years older than Emilia. She was only eighteen and not yet started at college herself, but Bertie knew he knew best and saw an opportunity he was not about to pass up even if his son, her father, couldn’t see it and wanted her to wait until after college to settle down. Over the course of the next couple years, Bertie made sure that Ray was invited to the same dinners as Emilia, was at every family holiday function, attended every polo match…and set him back Tiffany Platinum Diamond 2.7 caratseast on business during the school year whenever possible. Eventually it stuck. The Christmas she was about to turn twenty years old…halfway thru her junior year at Bryn Mar…Ray asked Emilia to marry him in front of the entire West coast Amhurst clan. Grandpa Bertie had a light in his eyes that most in attendance thought was wistful beaming happiness, but it was the glint of money Bertie saw…the continuation of power as he molded it, as he wielded it even from his impending grave. They were married that June and Grandpa Bertie died a mere two months later in August…and Emilia never went back to finish her degree in Art History, as had been planned. 

But no matter, as she saw it. She had married Bertie’s own protégé with Bertie’s blessing…and inherited a large portion of his estate. It was not as large as her father’s share, of course. William Bertram Emerson Amhurst III was heir to the company and all its holdings, but she received a sizable sum as well as stock options…and in all, it was more than double what had been left to her two cousins combined.

She was pretty much set for life.

© 2011 D. Kessler

IV_Drip2Jillian awoke to the sounds of her mother & father arguing in hushed tones by the side of her hospital bed…hushed, yes, but arguing none the less. Although her head pounded & felt as if gripped by a vice in the worst way, and she couldn’t yet bring herself to open her burning eyes, she could guess what it was they were arguing about: Her. Oh, most definitely they were talking very urgently about…her. For a moment she cringed at the promise of her father’s impending lecture about the damage to the new Lexus, her beautiful Lexus (his words) that he had wrapped in ribbon to surprise her for her birthday…but then she remembered: it had all been a dream. The car was fine…well, she assumed that it was fine. Very most likely it was still parked in the secured garage under her apartment building. Next to the bicycle cage and mere feet from the door to the basement “lobby” as she called it. Not the real lobby of course, but the elevator landing accessible only to the tenants of the building through the garage. Might as well be a lobby, she thought. Sconces on the wall and a rug with an air not suited to muddy boots…but what was her mind doing rambling around about such things! The current urgent reality was vastly more important…and quite grim. She almost rather the Lexus was bashed to a pulp, completely totaled, compared to her current state of affairs! Her apartment was toast…literally. He refuge from her father and his continual urgent expectations, her inner sanctum…burnt to a crisp, probably a gutted box of charred filth…as also were all her belongings, she was sure.

She mentally heaved a huge sigh to muster the courage to open her eyes. She just needed a few more moments to hash out a plan…a story…something that would stave off the vultures, uh, her parents, she meant. She knew that this was all they needed to…

“Oh! She’s awake! Ray, honey…stop, just stop. Our daughter’s awake…”

Jillian chanced a peek from one slitted eyelid to see that, yes, her mother had noticed she was conscious. Hell, her “mental sigh” had probably been a REAL sigh and audible to everyone in the room. Crap.

“Jill, darling…Jill? Can you hear me? It’s Mother. How are you feeling?” Emilia’s elegant fingers with extremely well manicured nails adjusted the thin blanket around her daughter. Jill inwardly cringed. When would she just stop treating her like a child? She felt she was just some mobile real-life accessory…a doll, a pet…to her mother’s never-ending parade of fashionable moments. She was merely something precious to be shown to all on Emilia’s whim, her mother never seeing the real person that was there, the daughter as a force of nature in her own right and not just some extension of the Grand Emilia Rosalind Amhurst Kingfisher. She was an expensive knick-knack to be gloated about or embarrassed about or…worse yet…to be disappointed and annoyed about.

© 2011 D. Kessler

I don’t know about you, but I never use a phone book. You know…a telephone book…that thick  paperback book comprising mainly of yellow pages that gets delivered to your door every year whether you want it or not…a big chunk of wasted paper that lists all the phone numbers in your area. Yeah…that phone book. I can’t remember the last time I actually opened one to look up a number to anywhere.

In the pre-Internet years, I was all about looking up the phone number or address in the phone book, while most anyone else I knew was all about the dial 411 (or some other equivalent for computerized “Information” in the area). I tend to be tactile/visual, so reference books of any kind are welcome, comfortable and even entertaining (yeah, I’m a nerd). However, in this day and age when we all have a computer in our lap and a cell phone in our pocket or purse, the phone book seems about as relevant a corded land-line with a rotary dial. If ever I need to perform the increasingly archaic task of actually calling a business on the phone but don’t have the number, I Google the business name…I look it up on…or, more usually, I open my YellowPages app on my iPhone.  That fat paper phone book usually gets tossed into the recycling bin the same day we get it delivered…and, if your city is anything like my city, there are usually more than one of those obnoxious bricks of paper dropped on your doorstep every year…sometimes more than once a year!

I suppose if you don’t have a computer and are still using an old-style, bare-bones cell phone or…dare I say it?…a land-line, that big tedious book might get more use, but to me it just seems as outdated as the Sears Catalogue. Remember that old dinosaur?

Luckily, there are apparently some options starting to crop up. Sites like YellowPagesOptOut are popping up where you can opt out of having this huge waste of paper dumped at your door.

Thank. The. Gods.

Or…You can find something way more entertaining to do with all that otherwise wasted paper on your…and all your neighbors’…doorstep. Something cool…like, um…I dunno…maybe haute couture?  

© 2011 D. Kessler

Tonight’s segment in the unfolding story of Jillian & Thol has been hijacked by a weekly phenomenon. It’s called Friday Night. After a crazy-ass hell-ish week at The Slave Box.

I think you know what that means.

Drink Amongst Yourselves. Drink very, very well…Cheers!

(Now playing: The Cramps – “Naked Girl Falling Down The Stairs” Go look it up, listen to it. It rocks.)

Looking back over the whole ordeal, the months and days and never-ending minutes of every hour, Thol felt as if a whole lifetime had happened to him. A complete cycle from beginning to end, birth to death, with all its peaks and valleys of stress, adventure, paralyzing monotony, ecstatic happiness, hope, fear and ultimate exhaustion that saps the life right out of a person. He felt…no, he KNEW…that the person he had been at the start of it all and the person who was sitting here on the front steps of this burned-out, gutted apartment building now were so very different as to not even  be related by blood, by time, by space. He felt alien. And somehow vacuous.

burned_bldg_Istanbul 648He buried his head deeper into the space between his knees, long fingers gripping his scalp, nails digging, pulling on his matted and greasy hair intermittently. He was sucking in air in disjointed huge gulps, each one larger and more ragged than the last, trying to keep the tsunami of shock and emotion from engulfing him. The calm methodical exterior that he had subconsciously yet meticulously exuded during the past few months was cracking in a multitude of long running jagged tentacles like ice on a lake after one expertly thrown javelin hits with a deep *k-thunk!* in the most perfect spot. Or a windshield of safety-glass that crumbles into a heap of gem-like, ice-like bits left scattered across the asphalt after a crack-head jacks stereo from the parking lot of an unfamiliar girl you went home with from the bar one night.

Oh, he couldn’t let it happen. It was over. It was going to fine…or it was eventually. And he had others to think of, others that still needed his help. Yes, it was over. And yet there was so much left to do…

© 2011 D. Kessler