The next day, I was sitting at Danny’s desk at my Grandmother’s, editing a manuscript, when the phone rang. The caller i.d. said – NEW HORIZONS REHAB. My heart began grinding rapidly against my chest.
Nana Maude had an old answering machine with a micro cassette, so I could hear him leaving a message. Man, was he PISSED! 🙂
“I heard you were trying to sell my car. And that’s not gonna happen! Dad wanted me to have it, and you’ve got no fucking right to sell it! I know what I did to Grandma was wrong, but I’ll pay Nana back*. I’ve gotta have a car to get to work.” Followed by a steely CLICK and the dial tone…
My heavy heartbeat seemed to punctuate the silence. Taking a huge GULP of oxygen, I tried to calm my breathing to a less than catastrophic rate.
Aside from paying Nana’s utilities, I had already amassed more than $1,000 in credit card debt at this point, and I’d already spent my last check, so she and I both really NEEDED the money because she didn’t have a dime until her next Social Security check in 2 weeks or so.
AND when I drove the BMW down to Georgia last year, he never gave me a cent for gas, etc. So, that’s $500 I hadn’t been reimbursed for…
But none of that mattered to Danny, so things were gonna GET UGLY…
Later that day, I signed Nana out of New Haven, and we went over to her house, so she could get some more of her clothes.
When we arrived, I noticed the front door was not only unlocked, but it was WIDE open. You could see right into the front hallway. At which point, Nana mumbled, “Oh, God, I hope your brother’s not here.”
“He’s in rehab, Nana, remember? It’s only been a couple of days.”
“I know, but still…”
Once inside, I locked the door, and we found Connie in the kitchen in the same dirty shorts as the previous day. A moment later, a tall, rather heavy-set brunette in overalls walked with a bottle of toilet bowl cleaner. She smiled pleasantly at me, and Connie introduced her as Vicky (I think).
“Hi, Maude, so good to see you,” Connie said, giving Nana a big hug.
My stomach curdled. I know I shouldn’t assume just because Danny is walking on the crack side, that ALL of his friends are too. But I just had a really bad feeling about this girl from the GET GO.
I immediately noticed that neither of them were wearing gloves. “Didn’t Danny tell you he has MRSA? You should be-”
“Oh, my God. No, he didn’t,” Connie replied. They both were flat-eyed with SHOCK.
Nana Maude apologized and said, “There are some plastic gloves out yonder in the laundry room.”
Connie moved her fast ass in that direction right quick. I felt bad that I hadn’t mentioned it the previous day, but I was a little unsettled when I met her.
It seemed very ODD that Connie had come back a second day to clean because Nana’s house is only 1200 square feet, AND I discovered later that they hadn’t cleaned Danny’s bathroom at all. So were they gargling the toilet bowl cleaner or what? And the kitchen floor was STICKY… didn’t even wanna know why.
As we were leaving, Connie had the NERVE to ask Nana if she could borrow the BMW to take Danny some clothes at rehab. And before I could object, Nana blurted out, “Sure, go right ahead.”
“You’ll bring it back tomorrow, right?” Nana asked.
“Of course,” Connie replied, smiling.
But I knew she wouldn’t.
The next day, I was, once again, at Danny’s desk working when the phone rang. I didn’t recognize the number. Thinking it might be Everett, the man who wanted to buy the BMW, I answered it.
“Hey, sis, how ya doin’?” Danny’s voice hit me like a 50-pound slab of frozen meat.
“Fine. You?” I asked in a rather staccato tone.
“I’m outta rehab. I’m going to do outpatient therapy.”
Yeah, heard that before, but somehow sobriety seems to allude him every time.
“So, what’s this about you selling MY car?” He asked in a venomous voice.
“The car is still owned by Dad’s Estate,” I replied.
“That don’t matter,” he replied going on and on about what a bitch I am..bla, bla, bla.
So, that’s why Connie and Vicky were really here. They came to usurp Dad’s car, which, btw, Connie hadn’t returned as promised.
“So, where’s the title to the BMW?”
“I don’t have any idea where the title is, Danny.” I said calmly, knowing God would forgive me the lie, given the circumstances, especially considering they were about to shut off Nana’s electric. I couldn’t even afford her plane ticket to Ohio if we didn’t sell Dad’s car. My credit card was almost maxed.
Danny exploded, of course, knowing he’d left the title on the dining room table, which was now in my purse. I set the receiver down and sat there shaking my head as he continued a blue streak of rage and profanity until he said, “I’m coming home.”
I snatched up the receiver. “No, Danny, you’re not. Nana doesn’t want you here.”
“That is just as much MY house as Nana’s! You can’t kick me out. I know the law. I’m a RESIDENT!” He bellowed.
“You have NO legal right to this house. Nana changed her Will. She gave me Power of Attorney. I’m now her sole beneficiary. It’s not YOURS any more.” In the previous, 47th revision of Nana’s Will, Danny had been designated to inherit her house, which I knew Danny would take to mean he was half owner despite the fact that Nana was still very much alive.
During his rage-stoked monologue he blurted out, “You’ll have to evict me”… to-wit, I replied, “Whatever, Danny, I’m trying to work.” And I SLAMMED the phone so hard, a tiny shard of plastic broke off the 20-year-old receiver and embedded itself in my arm. I was such a wreck, I didn’t even notice. I dialed 911 and tried to explain the situation, knowing that Danny was probably en route to Nana’s at breakneck speed.
The 911 dispatcher had a kind and soothing voice, and she told me that a Deputy was on the way. And did I want to stay on the line until he got there? “Yes, please so that there will be a recording of my death should Danny arrive first.”
“Are you serious, miss?” asked the 911 dispatcher.
“I don’t know,” I said wondering why there was a rapid trickle of blood drooling down my arm and onto my jeans. I grabbed a napkin from Dominoes in the top drawer of Danny’s desk and held it against my now-throbbing arm.
“He hates me,” I replied to the 911 Dispatcher, “And he’s a drug addict, so anything’s possible especially if he’s high.”
Luckily, the deputy arrived a few minutes later. He confirmed my worst fears that because Danny had lived with Nana for almost a year, and since he was getting his mail there, he was considered a resident. And that we would have to evict him if he did elect to stay there. Awesome. Can you hand me a couple more nails for my coffin?
Danny showed up not 20 minutes after I called 911. He was very polite to the officer and stated that he was only there to get some clothes and such.
“So, where do you plan to stay, Mr. Smith?” the deputy asked.
“A halfway house. The social worker at the hospital recommended it.”
I nodded, knowing there was NO WAY in hell that Danny would live somewhere like that. He would be bunking with his drug buddies, either Connie and her boyfriend… or someone of her ilk. The doubt on the deputy’s face was a reflection of my obvious disbelief.
“Which one? Huckleberry House over in Mt. Sterling?” the deputy asked.
Danny stumbled, “Uh, no, it’s over in Henderson.”
The deputy nodded. “I see,” he said flatly.
Then, as he was leaving, Danny took an envelope out of his jacket pocket and tossed it on the kitchen counter. The Citibank logo was evident on the envelope even from across the room. And very nonchalantly, he said, “I made copies of those statements for my taxes.”
So as not to PRICKLE Danny’s easily rankled temper, I just nodded and feigned acceptance of his stupid and RIDICULOUS notion that he had EVER deposited any money in Nana’s account to warrant making copies of said bank records for his tax return.
Instead, I couldn’t help myself, and I said, “So, you’re actually filing this year, then?” Danny had recently told his ex-wife, Belinda, that he hadn’t done his taxes since they split up in 2006, and that info trickled down to me via the Facebook grapevine because there’s no such thing as a secret below the Mason-Dixon line…
Danny sputtered a weak-sounding, “Of course,” with a scoffing laugh for emphasis. “Gotta file… yer taxes.”
I smiled when he walked out, relieved that I could resume my regular pattern of pumping oxygen in and out of my lungs. I glanced out the window. Danny was leaving in this old shabby-looking green truck. He was hiding the beamer, God knows where, probably at Connie’s.
“There’s no halfway house in Henderson, that I know of, at least not one funded by the state.”
“I figured. Deputy Wilson, could you possibly locate someone for me?” I asked the young officer.
“I’m not a private detective, Miss Smith.” At that point, I wondered why everyone kept calling me MISS Smith… I’m wearing a 2-karat diamond AND a wedding ring… the South, go figure…
“I know. I just…” and I explained how Connie had procured Dad’s car.
“Well, if she doesn’t return it tomorrow, go down to the Sheriff’s Office out on Route 40 and report it stolen.”
With a feeling of trepidation, I watched the deputy drive off. After removing the black sliver of plastic (from the phone) from my arm and applying a band-aid, I headed out to the garage to find Dad’s golf clubs. From that moment on, I slept with a golf club beside my bed even AFTER changing the locks.
More later, boys and girls, as my brain and my carpel tunnel need to rest… 🙂
Peace out from the bat cave!
* Please note as of the date of this revision (which I did to make it SHORTER) on 2/09/13, Danny has yet to give Nana one RED CENT to pay her back for all of the money he stole.