I HAVE AN ETERNITY AHEAD OF ME
(Intermittent Waves Recorded From The Transformed Heart of A Woman)
AUNTIE YONNY: PIGS FLY AND HELL HAS FROZEN OVER?
Hal woke up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee. He’d gotten use to the smell wafting down the hallway, but, this morning it was so strong that it seemed like it was right under his nose. He knew that he had slept hard through the night. He was hugging his pillow and drooling like he did when he was a little boy after a long day of playing outside. Then, he realized that his face was feeling a little too wet and cold. He opened his eyes to see water pouring down on his mouth.
“Wake up, son, you’re slobbering in front of the lady.”
Hal, turned over and sat up. Zenobia and his Dad were howling with laughter. Startled, embarrassed, and still not fully awake, he pulled the sheet and blanket up to his chest making them laugh even more.
“Too, late, son, we’ve both seen it all before.”
“Good morning, I’m sorry to wake you Hal, but, your father insisted on coming in. I’ll…I’ll just leave you two gentleman alone and let you enjoy your coffee. I have to get Mrs. Yanovich ready for the day. I’ll see you later, Mr. Siegfried.”
“Yes, sweetheart, I’ll see you later. Here, son, I brought you some coffee. You look like you need it.”
“Good morning, Dad. Yeah, I do…sweetheart?”
“No, but, aren’t you a little old for…”
“Hey, don’t hate because I’m great. I’ve still got charm, you know, if nothing else. Back in the day, they called me Rico Suave.”
“Your name is David, Dad, and you’re not Hispanic.”
“Uh-oh! I think you’re jealous. Maybe you’ve got a thing for Zenobia, too. Am I right?”
“No, Dad. I’m grateful for Zenobia and all she’s done for us since you’ve been here. Look at you, you’re up and out of the bed, able to…”
Hal started to get choked up about his father’s recovery. This was the first time he had been there when his father was having a heart attack. Watching him suffer had been almost unbearable for him and the days that followed, waiting for him to respond to treatment, had been torture.
Now, he was sitting in a wheelchair, wearing his oxygen tubes, still hooked up to an I.V., but, smiling and laughing, and that meant more than anything to Hal.
Zenobia had brought in one of her assistants full-time to help with Tanya, while she cared for his father. Hal couldn’t have asked for better care or a better person to give it. Of course, he found Zenobia attractive and nice to be around, but, he didn’t feel the same way about her that he felt for Rachel.
“We have a lot to talk about still, Dad. I don’t know how much you remember while you were heavily drugged. I told you how I came here initially to do a story on Mrs. Yanovich. Miriam, her niece, who was murdered, asked me to work for them. Then, she said that Mrs. Yanovich had named me in her will to start a foundation and a media company. That’s all I knew, at first. Then, things started getting strange. I found out a lot of stuff that had been going on in the White House that nobody really knew about. Derek Graves is running for president and the family is divided into two factions feuding with one another. I knew a lot of people hated the Graves, but, I didn’t know that there were secrets people would kill for to keep quiet. Arturo and Miriam were murdered. I found out that we are part of the Graves family and inherited the money from them. I took over the businesses and now you’re here.
There is a lot about our family you need to know, Dad. I want to keep you safe. You need to talk to your aunt.”
“I don’t want to talk to her.”
“I don’t want to talk to her because she let her father and the rest of those crooks up in the White House get away with murder! And, she was a big crook too–selling dresses, shoes, bras and panties from the White House. They were all huddled up in there nice and cozy, telling lie after lie after lie after lie after….”
“Okay Dad, I get it! But, she’s not like that any more.”
“WHAAAT?! Well, look out the window, because pigs must be flyin’ and hell done froze over. Boy?! What do you mean she’s not like that anymore? They must have turned you into a candy-headed fool!”
“Dad, I’m going to be gone a lot today. There are final preparations to be made for the funerals, tomorrow, so, you might want to go in and talk to Auntie Tanya and keep each other company.”
“Auntie Tanya? Listen to you boy! They’ve got your mind ALL messed up! If your grandfather could hear you…mm-mm-mmm. Lord, forgive him. All that money has gone to his head.”
“It’s not the money, Dad. Just try to go talk to her. She may not be here too much longer.”
“Well yip…you almost made me say something I didn’t want to say. Listen, boy, I told you. Do I have to spell it out for you? I-DO-NOT-WANT-T0-SEE-HER! Besides, I saw her old wrinkly behind already. I’ve been over there and I’m not going back. It was scary and I might have another heart attack.”
Daaad! When? How’d you…
Zenobia rolled me over there to see her, but, she was asleep, thank goodness. I told her I didn’t want to go. But…Zenobia’s hard to resist, hee-hee. If you know what I mean.”
“Dad!…Did you tell her that…?”
“I didn’t tell her nothin’ I don’t want people knowing I’m related to those people.”
“Those people, Dad? Okay, but, I don’t want you staying in your room all day watching t.v.”
“You go on to where you’ve got to go. I’m not going to be in my room all day. I’ve got a date! Zenobia is taking me out on the rooftop later on. She said we can eat lunch out there and maybe dinner, too. She said if I’m up to it, she’ll help me get in the shower later on and…”
“Dad, get your mind out of the gutter. Zenobia is a nice, decent woman.”
“I know she is. I haven’t looked at a woman like that since your mama. She’s the kind of woman that you ought to be looking at.”
“I have a girlfriend.”
“Is she black?”
“No…what difference does it make if she’s white or black? Now you’re sounding like the Graves family.”
“I bet she’s not as pretty as Zenobia. That’s one tall, dark beauty and smart, too.”
“You keep messing around Dad and you’re going to give yourself another heart attack looking at Zenobia. Let’s go get breakfast.”
“Yeah, let’s do that. I want to hear more about this three hundred billion dollars we have.”
“Two hundred ninety billion, Dad.”
“Two hundred ninety billion, three hundred billion, it’s still a lot of dirty, ill-begotten dough.”
“The way I see it, it’s money owed to us, after what Willard Graves did to your grandmother. You can’t put a price on a life. ”
“That no good…Lord, forgive me.”
“It belongs to us and the people, especially the ones that they swindled and lied to.”
“The people? You’re going to give all that money away, son?”
“I’m going to put it to good use and do what Willard Graves should have done if he cared about people, but, Willard Graves never cared about anybody but himself.”
“He was a mean, hateful, sick, demented man, but, let’s not waste our time talking about that muskrat, stinking polecat, slimy snake.”
“Forgive me, Lord.”
David Siegfried continued mumbling to himself as Hal threw on some clothes. They were about to leave the room, when a call came in to the bedside phone. Hal hurried to answer.
“Hello? Yes, hello, Lieutenant Hamilton. You do? Yes, that is good news. Mmm…I’ve got a little time this morning. Yes, about ten o’clock. There? Okay. I’ll have my chauffeur bring me around to the station at ten. Okay. Bye.”
Hal backed up and almost sat on his father who had crept up on him to ease drop on his phone call.
“Who was that, Hal?”
“That was Lieutenant Hamilton, the investigator for Miriam and Arturo’s murder case. He says that he has new information and possible leads.”
“Are you going to the police station by yourself, son? A black man should never go to the police station by himself. You might not walk out of there. Just because you have money doesn’t mean they won’t try to lock you up or beat you down. Some of those cops hate to see us with money.”
“Don’t worry, Dad. I’ll be alright. I’ll try to see if one of the attorneys is free and send my chauffeur to pick him up.”
“Your chauffeur…my, my, my the richest black man in the world. Lord, have mercy. Come on, son. I want some bacon.”
“You’re not eating bacon, Dad.”
“Zenobia and the doctor.”
“Well if I die, at least I’ll die a rich man.”
“I hate to remind you, but, you know what the Bible says, Dad.”
“How does it go? It’s easier for a camel…”
“It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God. Mark 10. OH, NO! OH, LORD, JESUS!
“Are you okay, Dad?”
“NO SON! IT’S THE DEVIL’S WORK! HE AND WILLARD GRAVES ARE TRYING TO TAKE ME TO HELL WITH THEM!”
“Daaad! You shouldn’t play like that!”
“You trying to tell me what to do…why I’ll. I’ll get up out of this wheelchair and wallop you, boy. I’m going to run you over!”
“I’m going to tell your auntie on you.”
“Oooo…you look like Willard Graves when you make that face!”
“That’s it! I’m going to get you this time!”
“Too slow, old man!”
David Siegfried did his best to run the wheelchair into Hal as they went down the hallway. All Hal could do was laugh and dodge, encouraging his father’s playfulness, until, fearing for his father’s health, he slowed down, bracing himself for the collision. Then, taking a seat on his father’s lap, he wheeled the two of them into the dining room.