La Grasse Matinée



Dzinski woke up on the bathroom tile, nose against the sweaty, cold porcelain of the toilet base. His eyes opened and stared at a section at the grout, caked brown, while above his right eye, his head throbbed, harder and deeper than the rest. He turned to his back after calming down from the effort reached up and touched the spot crying louder than the rest and winced. His fingers came away sticky and he started to piece together what happened.

It was only then he noticed the knocking. Until now he thought it was part of the hangover, but this noise came from without. His ears followed it out the bathroom and down the hall and realized it was coming from the front door.

He found the edge of the tub with his left hand, and leveraged himself to a somewhat sitting position and stopped. He had to take this slow. The door kept being pounded and now there was another noise behind it. He listened. It was calling out his name.

Dzinski got to his feet, sat down, hard, his teeth clicking together.

He got up again and bracing himself first against the sink, then the door, then keeping one shoulder against the wall, made his way to the front door and opened it.

“Jesus, Frank,” someone said, “I almost had to kick the damn thing down.”

Dzinski leaned back from the door and obliged the men to enter. They walked in quick, eyes darting from side to side, glancing into the kitchen as they passed, and then lingering in the bathroom. He didn’t need to see them, to know, these types only walked into places one way.

He found them in the living room. Vigneault sat on the couch lighting a cigarette, while Desmarchais leaned against the windowsill, his nose curled up, and pretending not to look around.

“You could have at least brought me a coffee,” Dzinski said, wanting to sit, but standing.

“The captain wants to talk to you,” Vigneault said and after looking at his watch, added, “We were supposed to bring you down half an hour ago.”

“I’m a deep sleeper,” Dzinski said.

Desmarchais made a scoffing sound and Dzinski gave him a red-eyed stare.

“It’s early for all of us,” Vigneault said. “Get yourself cleaned up. But do it fast. Paul here will make us all some coffee, if you have the means.”

Dzinski grumbled something about it being in the kitchen, and him being a detective and all, could likely find it. Then he went to the washroom. He turned the shower on, warm a few minutes and then hot, and then cold for as long as he figured it would take Desmarchais to get the coffee made. He dried and thought about shaving but saw the bump and decided not to stare at himself in a mirror. He dressed and came in the living room to see Vigneault holding a cup towards him.

“Better drink it fast, Frank,” he said.




Back Porch Blues, Too

If he didn’t come in off the back porch, and start helping her with the baby, she didn’t know what she was going to do.

Three times now she’d hollered at him that she had something on the stove and she needed to stand there and stir it, otherwise it wouldn’t set, and what would he say when his gravy was nothing better than brown water, so she couldn’t very well deal with their son crying in the other room, that he probably needed to be changed, and god help him if he just kept sitting out there, ignoring her.



Companion piece to this.

Back Porch Blues

The train whistled and then pulled out of the station, its engine turning, slowly, but speeding up as it headed out of town carrying grain and cattle and likely a few tramps climbed in between them.

His wife was going on about something, but he just kept that old chair rocking along the porch, half listening and thinking about how he was going to tell her he lost his job, and how he was going to feed the three of them now.

He heard the far off whistle blow once more, as the train hit the bridge over the river.


Prompt courtesy of Velvet Verbosity. Bonus companion piece.

Tuesday, After Work

It had been a long day in a longer week, and Elk and Bear had one elbow each firmly fastened to the imitation mahogany bar of the tavern a few blocks away from the office.

“You try to show a little initiative,” Bear said, “and what does it get you?”

He lifted the bottle and drank.

“Nothing,” he said. “Worse that nothing. You get called into the office and chewed out. You hear about how there’s a way to do things here, and how he’ll be damned if some punk is going to change them.”

Elk ordered two more beer.

Summer Nights

Arms tucked tight around shoulders and their lips stained purple with wine, Fox and Badger stumbled along the path chewed out from the grass by a thousand feet a day. The bottle, no more than a few mouthfuls left, swung loose from Badger’s hand as they sang and laughed to themselves.

They fell to the grass between two trees, trunks curved and jutting out over the steep bank of the canal.

Passing the bottle back and forth, smiles when fingers touched, taking small sips, they stared at the shimmering white reflections of the streetlights on the water of the canal.