One Does What One Mustard

Since Kilgore had visited, two days had passed.  Two terribly uncomfortable days.

It was revealed to me in an unceremonious fashion that my fellow jailbird, Eddie Dantes, was Kilgore Trout’s long estranged son.

Don’t act so excited to see me, Pops.

Kilgore shifted awkwardly in his seat, an act he rarely performed.  Usually, he doodled when things went awry at Marlin’s Inn, but in your local jailhouse, the only paper you get comes on a roll, and the only writing tool you get is… well, it goes with the paper. 

Edward, I wasn’t aware you were in town.  The last I heard from your aunt, you were in Tulsa.

I haven’t been in Tulsa for seven years.

That’s about the last time I spoke with your aunt.

Is he one of yours?  Eddie thumbed in my direction.  I was slightly concerned what the yours referred to.

No, I only recently met his mother.  My mom – the reason I’m locked up in the first place.

The cryptic conversation kept up for awhile.  From what I ascertained, Kilgore quite possibly could be a modern Johnny Appleseed.  I know he claims to have left doodles all across America, but he may have also diddled.

When their method of catching up reached it’s end, Eddie faced me and asked: Has this old man done all right by you?

I didn’t know what to say, so I nodded.  He was the third person to visit me.

Eddie nodded back, knowingly, as if my word, or head nod, was enough to mend the pain, or the strain, or whatever the toll was their father and son relationship had on him.

I can visit when I get out.  It was a statement as much as it was a question.

Of course you can.

Eddie nodded to the guard, and he was lead back to his cell.  Kilgore looked exhausted, so I repeated Eddie’s actions and was taken away.  I looked to Kilgore to wave, but he remained lost in his buried memories.

So for two days, Eddie and I spoke nothing of the matter.  In fact, we spoke of nothing at all.  Our routine had come down to exchanging mustard packets for an extra bologna slice in silence.  (I gave him the condiment; he gave me the meat.  Maybe I shouldn’t say it like that, since I was in jail after all.)

I was 41 bologna sandwiches in when an officer stepped forward and opened my cell door.  You’re free to go.  I was hesitant, thinking it was some kind of beat down trick.  I looked to Eddie to wave, but he remained lost in his buried memories.

“How did this happen?  Am I cleared of all charges?”

It appears you have a judge working in your favor and waiting to see you.

A judge?  That worked in my favor?  And wanted to see me?  After I collected my belongings, I entered to the lobby to greet my liberator.

You’ll never guess who it was…

The Toasted (Addendum)

Before I get to the beginning of the end of my world, I had a few more things I wanted to bring up about St. Patrick’s Day.

  1. H.L. is a great singer.  I don’t think I made that clear.
  2. It seemed that Santiago wanted to talk about Ms. Barkley with me, but Kilgore was around the entire time.  The reason why it seemed like he wanted to have a word with me was because he said so.  Just that he wanted to have a word with me.  Not that it was about Ms. Barkley.  That’s my interpretation.
  3. Kilgore swore he saw a leprechaun come into Marlin’s Inn.  Here’s his unfinished doodle of it/him:napkinleprechaun
  4. And the last thing… The Princess made it a point to come over and talk to me.  I found out her name is Esme.

The Next Round

This is where I’m supposed to be.  At Marlin’s Inn.  Drinking some beer.  Watching TV and shooting the turd, as Kilgore likes to say.

I was going to confront the others about the bingo hall bait-and-switch they pulled on me, but the first thing said upon my return.

We went to a different bingo hall to get your mind off of things.  Santiago said it.  I believed him.

Unsure of whether I would make it back or not, Kilgore doodled this:


I was going to tease him and say I wasn’t Santiago, so why the upside-down question mark?  Cubans use upside down question marks, don’t they?

But the truth and the fact of the matter was that the diagram fit me to a T.  I felt like an upside-down question mark.  My life has been in a constant state of flux, and I don’t have the capacitor to deal with it.  Sorry.  We were just watching that time travel movie from the 80’s at the bar.

I didn’t know if that’s what inspired H.L. to approach me, but he came up and asked, What if I told you I was working on a device that could erase your memories so you wouldn’t have to keep dealing with them?

And I told him, “I’d tell you that if it worked, I might be interested in it.”

And he told me, What if I told you I already tested it on you guys, and it kinda sorta worked?  I’m just getting some kinks out.

And I said, “What?”

H.L.simply grinned and returned to his MegaTouch.  I’ll keep you posted.

Hmm… I wonder.  Was he talking about that day of the mystery?