“She’s always over there just staring at the fire, waiting for him to come home and tell her what to do. Robot, I say. Completely controlled. *I* was the rebel. He didn’t like that.” She paused in her soliloquy to take a drag off her cigarette, a Virginia Slim I believe, long and lean on smoke. She blew what little she had away from the child sitting next to her, then turned. An Asian, she thinks. Just like Sally over there at the Coast Guard building. Could it be? She packed those suspicions away and sent them down a baggage conveyor. Nah: impossible. She’s just a lackey, not smart enough to live a double life, much less shrink down to child size if needed. This was just an innocent youth before her, a *friend*. She hadn’t had one of those in a while. Not since Bettie. Or was it Ruth?
So she decides to unload more. Why not: it makes her feel good and that’s what matters in the moment. Another drag off the slim cigarette; another pleasure. Today was the day for enjoyment, since this was her day off from that other job that’s suppose to bring joy but almost always doesn’t in the end. Except for Pete.
“The Fortress, it is called by some. Maybe John.” She stops; another drag, another exhale away from the child.
“Who owns it?” the child dared to venture, picking her openings carefully. She had to keep up the ruse. No time to get cold feet now. That will be later when she ices them down from the hot sand. Azura Beach! She truly loved this little hidden spot with its cute dunes just away from the Airport grounds. But she must remember her real task: digging for information instead of clams, although that would be later as well.
“K.C. some call him. Others: L.A. I think he likes to use the initials of famous cities. Maybe ones he’s visited.” She stares directly over at it, knowing the new gal, if you could even call her that, the robot, would be sitting in there, staring at the flames that would certain consume her just like they did herself. A witch, they called her, and then she had to live in that ditch behind the airport for a couple of months until she was able to at least rent this cottage on the edge of his property. He had at least the dignity to do that. And he’s probably just keeping her around when he gets tired of the new one, with her more ample bosom and brown-not-blue eyes. He tired of blue, he tired of normal. And always with the golf club; might as well be a baseball bat the way he cracks it. Always plays the odd numbered holes and skips the even. Then in the evening he evens it out with the even holes. Complicated man. And she could still spy on him, but of course that’s what he wanted. He wanted her to see the new gal-robot and how he controlled her just as she was controlled. “Look,” he could hear him say with his smokey, deadpan voice in her head, “and learn.”
(to be continued?)