The hot shower felt great. His nasal, offkey baritone rose above the hissing water. Monday,
Monday, dah--dahdah, can't trust that day. Monday, Monday, sometimes it just turns out that waaaay.
Invigorated, he grabbed a towel and stepped to the mirror to rub his hair. Fuck it, his foot slid into something
slimy. He decided not to let it spoil his mood. Oh Monday mornin' Monday mornin' couldn't guarantee ... that Monday evenin'you would still be here with me. But she would always be here. God bless her, his
poor sweet suffering lady. He racked his brains, figuring how he was going to make it up to her this time. Oh Monday mornin', you gave me no warnin'of what was to be. Oh Monday, Monday, how could you leave and
not take me? Take a trip, just the two of them. Wait till the Christmas holidays, take Melinda and Ricky. All four of them together, the nuclear family, starting over. Jesus, the nose and the lip. Before they
went anywhere, he'd find her the best plastic surgeon in the city. Should have done it before. Should have done it after the first time. Bad vibes! Look forward, not back. He'd asked, he'd asked plenty, but she'd
stare him down and say she wanted to bear his marks as a living reminder. No more of that shit, no more living reminders. His brain was scorched with living reminders. Leave the fucking apartment and the whole
fucking city. Find a house upstate, enroll Melinda in a country school. He laughed. Yeah, Vinnie Snell's house, he wouldn't be needing it for a while. Get a house in the country like Vinnie's, on the water. Private
dock for the boat. Separate room for Princess Melinda, with a chintzcovered dressing table and matching canopied bed. Nursery down the hall for Ricky. Become a country lawyer. A squire. Barry Kantor, a squire.
Rambling threestory white clapboard with an upstairs roomno, a complete floor!for his mother. Why not? Why not make it real? Get the goddamn marriage license for real instead of holding it in front of
her (squashed) nose for seventeen years like a carrot on a stick. Say goodbye to the Cstuff, the Hstuff, no more fooling around.
Buoyant, he stepped out of the bathroom to survey the damage. The living room reeked of shit, piss, and vomit. Bad
boy, Barry. Bad boy.
He turned on the water for instant coffee in the kitchen and checked the clock. Six a.m. Ricky was dead to the world
in his playpen. Melinda was ... where? The sofa was empty. He scratched his head. Light of my life, redhaired angel of sunshine, Princess Melinda, today is school day, where did you spend the night?
Must be curled up in the back room with her blanket, Jesus the poor kid. His eyes followed the blue blanket to the
puddle of child near the wall.
He knelt beside Judi th and shook her shoulder. She strained like a sensor to pick up the signals before she forced
open her swollen lids. Last nightoh last night, it had to be over, she couldn't be certain until she looked into his face.
"Help me," he said in a broken voice.
She followed behind as he carried the limp bundle to the back room and laid it on the bed.
Oh Monday mornin'you gave me no w arnin' He took out the vials. Mechanically
he mixed the two white powders, cutting a short hit of heroin into the coke. Speedball.
Her tongue worked the cleft in her split upper lip. Following his cue, she bent forward and vacuumed the dust up her
battered nose, waiting for the terrible fog to lift. It didn't. "Blood on your shirt. Soak it in cold water."
They mustn't see! Obediently she changed into her black pullover and limped to the
bathroom to soak her shirt. When she came out, he handed her the phone.
"Nineoneone," he said. "Dial it. Give them the address. Tell them you have a child who stopped
She did as she was told.
Outside the front windows it was still pitchblack. Dawn would not come for another halfhour, if it came at all. He
had taken Ricky from the playpen and tied him securely to one of the bars. Moving swiftly now, certainly, he walked through the apartment, pausing at each light fixture to unscrew the bulb. Her scrambled brain
worked feverishly to understand, to comprehend. Yes, that was it they mustn't see!
He reached up to unscrew the last remaining bulb in the hallway. She gazed after him in wonder, barely able to
discern his shape in the final darkness as he walked to the back room, to wait.
Her man. He always knew what to do.