Bradley Schuster and the Holy Grail: Chapter 13

Sunday was spent much as Saturday had been except that we got off to an earlier start, since I didn’t have to make a fool out of myself again with the pistol I still hadn’t gotten rid of. Also, we were over the steepest part of the learning curve, with fewer fits and starts than the day before. And there was one other wee consideration—I wasn’t dealing with a major hang­over. So all-in-all the whole day went a lot smoother.

I decided early on that I’d better answer the phone or I’d likely end up with a concerned Judy Blue Eyes barging in and stumbling onto words I couldn’t lie my way out of. Once something’s in writing, it’s a lot harder to pretend that it doesn’t mean just what it says it means. Actually, if that were true, forty of the fifty million lawyers who have leeched off the rest of us since the be­ginning of writing would have had to become something useful, like ditch dig­gers or gigo­los. Could The Cup convince Mademoiselle Blue Eyes that the manifest she was reading over my shoul­der was really an ar­ticle on the French Monarchy for the Sunday New York Times? Did­n’t seem like a worthwhile risk.

Around noon she did call, and I did have to make credible ex­cuses for the day before. I held on to The Cup while we were talking, not having any idea if it was helping. She didn’t know either. All of my expo­sure to telephones has been in the last few years, and I wasn’t close enough to any of those own­ers to let them know about me, she relayed to me. But mostly I used a lit­tle psionics of my own: I told JBE some­thing that she want­ed to hear. In this case, that she had loved (mean­ing “screwed” but cer­tainly not being crass enough to say so) me so thoroughly and well that not long after she left, I’d given up working and gone back to bed with a pil­low over the phone. Anyway, who­ever’s psionics was re­sponsible, she bought it and that was that.

I had absolutely no twangs of guilt about keep­ing my dis­covery from my girlfriend. I might tell her later, but right then she would be a major distraction. The Cup’s description earlier that day of the female thought process—”a wild, random flight of thoughts, along with an opulence of feelings and emotions”—was pure understatement as far as I was concerned. Judy Blue Eyes would come up with some absolutely alien opinion about The Cup which I would have to give validity or there would be a big fight, and who had time for that stuff right then? I was spending the week­end with greatness; JBE would have to wait.

And yes, I know—that’s a horribly shabby way to treat your steady girlfriend of a year. But realistically, I only use the term ‘girlfriend’ because in the 70s there wasn’t anything more accurate. Today people would refer to our relationship as ‘friends with benefits.’ In other words, we were sleeping together and liked hanging out (another expression that hadn’t come to fruition yet), but there was nothing between us that you could call love, no matter how broadly you stretched the definition. We were exclusive because it was too much trouble not to be, not because of any agreement or expectation. And anyway, I would get around to telling her when it was convenient. So I wasn’t being as much of a prick as it might seem.

Late in the afternoon The Boomer called, and that was a dif­ferent story. Just the rever­beration of his jovially erudite articulation made me realize how much I needed to talk to someone. Someone male and predictable, which could only be him.

“Boomer, you just won’t be­lieve what’s hap­pened and it’s the greatest and at the same time the scari­est thing in my life since I discovered sex and now I know why Hitler went crazy and . . .” I blurted out before I realized I was babbling and reached out to touch The Cup for help. “Pardon me, that must have sounded as if my mental fac­ulties had been temporarily waylaid, but I must con­fess to being rather overwrought. Some­thing of major consequence has come up, and I would like to discuss it with you later this evening, if that would be con­venient.”

Long silent pause. Then, “Boy, that was a neat trick. Are you stoned?”

The Boomer didn’t do drugs, but neither did he act righteous about it. In fact, he didn’t act righ­teous about anything, except maybe the little girl who made robots out of disassembled tape recorder parts.

“Unstoned cold sober.”

“Hrummp. Well, I have a date tonight but I’ll break it if you need me to.”

There is no truer friend than a man who will give up getting laid, even with one of his Cost-Plus housewives, because you need to talk.”No, tomorrow is soon enough.”

The Boomer hung up without saying goodbye. He never said goodbye over the phone. OK, add that to the list of things that he was righteous about: once you ran out of things to say, just quit talking. I’d long since gotten used to it, but it drove most people crazy (JBE included).

I went back to Rachel’s sad saga with a lighter heart.

holy grail 1


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