“Then you’d be the only one who couldn’t believe it, your sasquatchliness.”
“Oh, Ricky, is that any way to talk? Certainly I can’t look that bad.”
“Yes, dearest Piqua, upon reconsideration, you might be correct, I may have overstated the case a smidgen. Perhaps ‘Your sasquatchliness' was a bit harsh. I hope you can find it somewhere within your puny, frozen heart to forgive me and consider removing the formidable piles of tasteless and repugnant fashion disasters you laughingly refer to as clothes from the floor. ”
Rick stared at Piqua, his expression intended to project all the hostility he could possibly garner. Years ago, it might have possessed a semblance of outright hatred, but time now transformed it into a benignly muted semblance of abject, bilious choler. Predictably, these days his rants fell upon ears jaded from years of familiarity.
Bags of groceries in hand, Rick closed the front door of his apartment and stepped around the mounds of clothing strewn throughout the foyer, making his way through the urban minefield to the kitchen; his face now screwed into a mask of displeasure at the sight.
Piqua looked up from her copy of Beyond Feminism and grinned. “Awww, Ricky… you say the sweetest things sometimes. Oh! Added bonus… apparently that “word-a-day” calendar is finally starting to reap some benefits as well. ‘Repugnant’, indeed… and ‘formidable’! And they said Ricky couldn’t learn.”
Without waiting for a reply she knew would not be immediately forthcoming, Piqua straightened her glasses and once again resumed her reading.
For his part, Rick did have a history of rumination before launching a retaliatory response. It was as if every word out of his mouth was rehearsed again and again, designed for ultimate impact; tiny Cruise missiles of wisdom, humor or even cynicism directed toward a target rather than offered as a mode of communication. The groceries placed neatly in the refrigerator or cupboard, paper bags (never plastic) folded and fastidiously stored next to the trash compactor, Rick decided it was time.
“Jesus, Piq… you couldn’t even make it to your bedroom? Listen, I’m thrilled that you’ve re-discovered your lost sexuality, I couldn’t possibly be happier for you if I came home and found you and your lover dead, the victims of the heart attacks derived from the world’s biggest mutual orgasm; I’ll joyously clean up the mess and even try to attend the funeral, assuming Mom and Dad decided to give you one. Hell, I’ll even sweeten the pot with a few tears… but, honest to God, I don’t think I can endure another single day of your lazy ass taking up space on my couch!”
Again, Piqua looked up, but now she was paying attention. There was something different about his ravings today… something almost jeunesse doree about his tone. Had he actually picked up one of her back issues of The New Yorker or could he really be serious this time?
“You’re the last one I’d have ever suspected to be jealous of me, Ricky…” Piqua sat up and dropped her book on the coffee table. “Disappointed, okay… or even pissed… but jealous? It isn’t like you. What’s wrong, little brother?”
The Chippendale mirror across from the massive French provincial couch yielded Rick a glance at his sister. Now past thirty, she remained agile and lovely. Perhaps he was jealous of her. His tumultuous relationship with Kristienne was but a fleeting memory these days, with no prospects waiting in the wings. Was all the anger he’d directed towards his sister merely the manifestation of his own libido?
“So, now we can start looking for a spot for psychoanalyst to be added to your already illustrious resume? An LLD and MD are not enough letters behind your name?” Deflection time…
Piqua put her glasses back on and looked sternly at the man standing in front of her. So damn big, yet so damned fragile… what a waste of perfectly good warrior-flesh. “Tell you what, Romeo… pitchers and catchers don’t have to report for another twenty-four hours. As your attorney, I recommend that you lighten up on yourself for once and allow your big sis to take you to lunch… but not at that heathen excuse for a meat-market, Champions. I know a quaint little spot in the Village where a certain young lady works. Truthfully, I think she’s out of your league, but she asked about you, so obviously one cannot account for taste; but, who knows... by the time you get on that plane bound for Florida in the morning, you may just need some sleep.”
Little by little, Rick’s face began to lighten as the corners of his mouth betrayed him. Maybe a little lunch couldn’t hurt… after all, she was family, even if she was his agent.
“Okay… have it your way, but I don’t want any frou-frou food…”
“Not a problem…” Piqua reached for a breath mint.
“How long are her legs?”
“Whoa, Skippy, you’re beginning to make me regret my decision to take pity on you, already.”
“Sue me, Counselor… I can’t wait to testify at your disbarment hearing.” Now, a grin…
“Oh? No problem, I’ll have Guido break your kneecaps, and while you’re in the hospital, I’ll use my privileges at Mount Sanai to set you up for a penis reduction… that ought to take up about two stitches maximum… I could probably do it with my nail clippers.”
“Anyone ever tell you that you’re beautiful when you go into lawyer mode?”
“Don’t you ever forget it, either, bunkie.”
As the two walked out of the apartment, Ricky stopped to lock the door. “Sis, I’m sorry about the sasquatch remark. You’re a troll at the very worst.”Without looking back at him, Piqua pushed the button summoning the elevator and uttered, “I’ll remember that next time I’m in Steinbrenner’s office negotiating your contract. I hope you'll enjoy Toledo...”