I check the clock next to the bed: 12:40. I consider, reconsider, then answer the phone anyway.
“You haffa come up here.”
“Come up here. I need you to help me kick someone’s ass.”
Hmm. Marie just may be drunk. Slender and beautiful, in all the years I've known her, I don't think I've heard her like this more than a handful of times.
I sit up, switch ears. “What’s going on?”
“Todd, that –“ She goes on to describe her recent ex in glowering, apocalyptic terms. Words related to his physical shortcomings, his mental deficiencies, his fiscal future, and a particularly juicy bit of supposition regarding his lineage tumble out of her angrily.
I laugh softly. “Why do you even care? Seriously, he’s an idiot.”
“I – hic! – know!” she slurs. “And that’s why I’m gonna haffa kill this girl.”
“His new girlfriend! The stupid bestid has a new girlfriend! It’s been two weeks and he brings her to my bar? My bar! My pool table!”
She pauses, takes a drink. In the background, a toilet flushes, a hot-air hand dryer comes on.
“I want you to get dressed and come down here,” she continues. “Bring a pillow case an’ some rope.”
“Aw, shoot, Marie. What for?”
“’Cuz I kicked in the bathroom door earlier, made her jump up on the toilet.” Marie laughs. “Oh, Pearl, you shoulda seen ‘er.”
“I’ll bet it was awesome,” I say.
“It was. Seriously, she thinks she can hide from me in a bathroom stall? I tol’ her I was gonna throw a pillow case over her head and beat her with a tube sock full of oranges, stuff her into the trunk of my car, and drag her out to the nature center.”
Marie takes another drink. “Oh, yeah,” she says, hiccupping softly, “I need you to bring a tube sock. And some oranges.”
“Absolutely,” I say. “Tube sock. Oranges. That’s a great idea. Who do we know with access to bail money?”
There is silence followed by a heavy sigh.
“I can’t do this, can I?”
I switch ears. “Probably not,” I yawn, “but we can talk about it some more, if you want.”
A small puff of air escapes her: Pffffft. “Nah. I’m better now. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Call a cab, would ya?”
She laughs. “Good idea.”