She wrinkled her nose so I blamed the smell on my friend Marco who had being watering my plants when I was away. She said “It’s not that. It’s merde.” I said “Excuse me. Marco may smoke and that’s bad enough but he sure doesn’t take dumps on the floor.” She said, “Are you sure?” and she pointed towards the living room. Sure enough, there was a big steaming pile of poo right on top of my award winning white shag rug. Darn cat! I looked up and saw the little rug murderer lurking on top of the book shelves staring at Fagette with malice. She asked me if I had a cat. I said “No. That was Marco. I’m very sorry.” Look. It’s easier this way. Uday has to meet her on his own terms. I’m just going to keep her away from the walls for the first few days.
When I went to clean up the mess she insisted on doing it. I said “I couldn’t”. She said “I want to.” I said “Make sure you brush up, never down.” Rita was doing something right. As Fagette worked the dark wet excrement out of the long white fibers I asked her if I could run a bath for her. It sounded like something that a young lady would enjoy in a Jane Austen novel after being chilled to the bon while mucking out a stable. Turns out she was not cold at all. Her body temperature is enormous. She pours out heat like a Franklin stove. I wondered if that was an evolutionary adaptation to her mother never buying her winter gear or just part of her genetic makeup. I’m certainly not like that. I’m more of a conduit. I only heat up when I’m touched.
As she worked, we chatted easily. I found out she was quite disappointed with the fact that I no longer owned a bar. She told me she wanted to go into the hospitality business which upset me so I said ,”Please don’t be a hooker,” and she said, “ No, a hotelier. I want to own a bar like you and I want to call it Fagette’s.” That got to me and I thought about letting her stop working but then I thought that there was still a little more to get out so instead I suggested she try some baking soda and vinegar and her eyes lit up. The vinegar fumes really got her talking up and soon she was confiding that her father is either this guy from the Rock Machine who put a pin from his Remembrance Day Poppy through the eye of a guy who used it to wink at my sister or he’s thirty other guys.
Eventually we gave up on the rug though. There was nothing for it but to throw the damn thing out. Oddly enough I felt glad. As I rolled the monstrous thing up and handed it to Fagette to take out to the garbage, I felt a lightness I hadn’t felt in years . That rug had been holding me back. That’ was the problem.
Later we ordered Swiss Chalet and watched television. She really loved ‘Intervention’. It was the one with the bulimic girl who vomits into plastic bags hidden everywhere in her apartment. We both thought the woman was ridiculous and that the whole plastic bag thing was a put on. Then later when she was in the bathroom she made pretend vomiting noises. It was hilarious.
But the thing she liked the best was the local news. There was a report on tension between the Italian and Portuguese communities over a communal chess table in Portutalia Park and she got very interested in the story especially with this boy who was heavily featured. He was a handsome lad about her age with perfect hair who was a spokesperson for the old Portuguese men fighting for control of the table. Most of them didn’t speak English so he was their mouthpiece. He was quite impressive and Fagette was completely enamoured. There’s a council meeting about it tomorrow and she wants to go. I think it might be fun. Anybody who knows me knows that I’ve always wanted to get more involved in municipal politics. Oh my God. What am I saying? What have I got myself into?