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House of the Brickmouse
Motherboard #2
© 2023 James LaFond
APR/14/24
The awning of painted metal green was held up together and aloft by vines with leaves of a deeper green, as if the earth were announcing the overtaking of Mans’ ambition, and that some of her viney children took pity upon this place and were holding aloft this one handmade refuge.
‘Why is it called the Brickmouse House?’
‘It is brick and a house? Perhaps it is home to a talking mouse?’
How he loved this awning, this porch below, of thicker metal coated in rubber, upon which his steely canes had such good purchase. This was a magical place of healing and he naturally, wounded as he was, wanted in, wanted to whine.
‘Yes, an open sesame, a code,’ he thought as he saw the speaker and screen on the brick face next to the door, “Buzzard to Nest.”
‘That was witty.’
The screen on the brick face lit up with a vision of that pretty Asian girl, smiling as she worked at a work bench with a power drill, dressed all in black, “Poppy, welcome back, come on in.”
With that the door, actually a door that should be on a gun safe, opened outward. Then another door, a refrigerator door, opened inward. He walked into a bedroom, a place he now of sudden recalled sleeping often. As the twin doors closed behind him he noticed that there was a bricked in window to his right. Ahead, over a dresser that should have been a sink, was a window that was blocked in with plywood. Screens showing what one would see outside with the naked eye before the kitchen turned to bedroom was fortified reflected a vantage that was once provided directly by each window.
‘They will come in through the plywood,’ came his inner voice.
Behind him was his cot, a bed that looked so cozy, over which hung a weapon rack from the wall with shotgun and swords, and an I.V. drip system, a medicine go-round thingy with bottles of pills. Next to that was a basement door, another gun safe door.
Do north, opposite the bricked in window, was a bullet proof glass panel. Behind that panel was a workshop built around a stainless steel table. Here that pretty Asian girl with red hair, a surprisingly big butt and bodacious rack, tinkered with what appeared to be a model of a little Willy Jeep from WWII.
‘Wow, she’s pretty. No wonder he has me guard this place...who is he? Who am I?’
She beamed up at him, clicked her wrist pad and said, “Come on in, Poppy!”
With that a portal in the panel of triple thick plexi glass bolted to steel beams top, bottom and sides like a great window, opened. She looked at the thing she was working on and said, “We’re done. Clear the workspace, Willy.”
With those words, the jeep seemed to sprout little mechanical monkey arms and dragged itself down off the table, retracted them, engaged its wheels and whirred into the front room, which was dominated by a stainless steel commercial elevator shaft—so strange for such a nice little brick house. He noticed that the insides of the house were reinforced with steel beams, and plates, like the steel plates that used to be placed over gaping holes in city street repairs way back...when?
She was stronger than him, really strong and was moving him around, unstrapping the stuff on his back and shoulders and cooing, “Poppy, you are the best, amazing! We are so proud of you, all the progress you made since you came to us. Tinman and Cline are going to be over the moon about this juice. They have a big contract and the Forty Feet have cut off supply on the low line—its all by zip line now.”
She sat him down at the head of the table.
He burned, she was dabbing him with alcohol. When he winced, she chirped, “So sorry, Poppy,” reached under the table and placed a great big bottle of Jim Beam upon it. Next to that she placed a bottle of Fireball and a bottle of Don Krew 151 rum. “Start out light, Poppy. I have a lot of work to do here. Your friends were playing rough today.”
Something behind him began to squeak and he felt a deep pain. A shot glass was placed in front of him. He went right for the Jim Beam, understanding by long experience that the Fireball cinnamon whiskey was just a pallet cleanser. Extending his left arm and grabbing the neck of the bottle—the caps had all been thankfully removed—he lifted the heavy bottle and something popped in his shoulder, sending a terrible pain down his spine.
“Sorry Poppy—on it. Pour with the right hand.”
He tilted the bottle and lifted with the right hand. But that hand shook like a plump Dominican ass and he could not get the mouth over the glass.
“I’m so sorry, Poppy,” she said, and reached forward with a blue rubber gloved hand covered in blood, deftly poured that first shot and then helped steady his arm as he tilted glass to mouth and drank.
‘Yes,’ and he shook a little less.
“Good, Poppy…”
He seemed to have leapt forward in time and noticed a wider glass, like a fancy iced whiskey glass, before him, into which he was dumping Fireball with a steady hand, then 151 in the small dram, a touch of Tabasco for kick.
“Take a big drink, Poppy,” and he knocked them both back.
As he poured a straight shot of Jim Beam he heard a loud ping behind his right ear and a terrible pain shot right up into his brain. The table began to spin. He reached for the 151 and his left hand could not make it, the right one seemingly out of command.
The table rushed up to meet his one working eye.
He was jerked upright, was blind in both eyes, had hot rum poured into his mouth as two caring man hands held his head and asked, in a gentle voice, “The gasket behind the ear? Are you sure?”
Something was yanking on his hip with a whir of wire as pain coursed through his spine and legs, “Motherfucker,” cursed the sweet Asian voice, “I installed it—you bet I’m sure!”
A TV screen appeared before his right eye—actually in it—in horizontal lines of static, and there, before him, as his left eye began to clear with a kind hand wiping it free of blood and Bucket Head juice, pulling back the eye lid, he heard the kind man voice say, “Should I reattach—I have…”
“You have shit, this isn’t the roof top. It’s not a fucking shingle. Here, slap this on, its better, just refurbished it.”
“Sorry, Buddy,” came the kind voice with a pat on the chin.
Then the TV screen was filled with a vision of a Dominican dancer, so well proportioned that the waistband of her G-string was lost in her tiny obscured waist, an expanse of stupendous hips and enormous breasts swaying before his questing vision.
“Oh, my, should I drape a towel over his lap?” sounded the man.
She giggled, “Poppy’s not dead yet!”
“What is he seeing in the ocular unit?”
“I think her name is Ruby—don’t worry Poppy—reconstructed from an interview with the casualty. That’s right Poppy, Ruby is coming to town, she’s going to be down at Jaseman’s Cafe tomorrow night!”
“What the fuck?” came the kind, soft voice.
She then snarled, as Ruby so lusciously danced, “Motherfucker, I’ve got the tweezers—more rum.”
“You bitch!” he said as more hot rum coursed down Poppy’s throat. The woman was yanking on his hip with pliers while using a ratchet wench in his back, and purred in seductive agreement, “Don’t you forget it, Tinman.”
“I love You!” he exclaimed to her as Poppy’s vision began to blur; in his left eye looking at the liquor bottles growing fuzzy and in his right that vision of cushy grace pixelated into black static.
He heard, but did not feel his forehead hitting the steel table…
He woke upright, seated before a washbasin and faucet that had popped up from this end of the steel table, the cute Asian babe stitching his head. He was sober, so this must have taken some time.
‘Wow, she’s pretty.’
“Okay, Poppy, wash your hands off, I cleaned up the rest.”
Something creaked and a pain shot up his back as he leaned forward. Seeing the oil and grime and blood on his hands he was self conscious, reached for the soap pump, filled his right palm and turned on the hot water.
‘Damn that’s hot,’ he winced inside as he pulled his left hand back, as she giggled.
He soaped both hands and plunged them back under the running water, which should have surely calmed down—
‘Who even had hot water anymore?’
“Awe,” he gasped as he pulled his scalding hands back and she giggled.
‘Sissy,’ he indicted himself within, rubbed the soap together and put them under the water, holding them there and scrubbing away the dirt as he grimaced and hissed.
She giggled again as he jerked his hands back in pain. A few breaths and he rubbed more soap and went to challenge the scalding torrent again and her pink nailed little hand stopped his blotched, scarred and hairy arm, “No! You can’t adapt that quickly. You will hurt yourself—please, let me add some cold water so that it’s just warm.” [1]
“You’re a doll,” he confessed as he became suddenly tired and the syringe she was draining into his hip with her free hand emptied.
He looked down at his hip, which seemed to have a gear box attached to it, “I’m wearin’ my old fight shorts—thanks…”
She hauled him in a fireman’s carry through the plexi glass door to the dream cot where she lay him down. The room spun and his head swam in the spinning whirl as she plugged the IV into the port she must have just installed in his left hand.
She said, “Dim, ambient two,” and the lights softened as if spake to by the very Queen of Night.
Old Poppy, secure at last in his identity, but a bit hazy as to the name of the Tinman’s mechanically inclined bride, drifted off upon the waves of a dark and turbulent sleep.
Notes
-1. This happened in September 2023, when I was washing dishes next to my Hostess as she cooked, just as I was recovering strength enough to help about the wonderful brick house, after living in stages as a shrimp, crab, monkey and then man, at first on her living room floor and later in the loft.
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