B&R61: Club Med
by Dee Gilles
Disclaimer: No money made from this venture.
Benny & Ray 61
I thrust open the door to Club Med, exhausted, late.
"Hey Darcy! We was startin' to think you was dead. Where ya been?" Kenny greeted me affectionately.
"Just a rough morning. Cold as shit out," I remarked.
"Yep," he agreed.
Besides Kenny in the room, there was Danny, Lee, Nurse Rocco, and the new kid, Ray. I liked that new guy. He looked like one of the kids from around the neighborhood, somebody you'd see on the corner shooting craps, or running the numbers. I was surprised to hear him say last chemo that he was a cop, and a detective no less. Bet he got underestimated a lot.
A sudden coughing spell came on me as I sat down. Rocco put his hand on my shoulder for a moment. It was getting harder and harder to breathe these days. Would help if I stopped smoking.
I saw one empty yellow chair, and looked around, doing a silent roll call. "Where's Fred?" I asked. In a place like this, if somebody was missing, you immediately got worried.
"He'll be here in a little while," Rocco whispered. "The snow squall's slowing everybody down." Rocco was a peculiar man. He never talked louder than he needed to.
"Mmph," I said. "Just checking. He didn't look too good last week, if you know what I mean."
He nodded. Rocco had a real soft, gentle way about him. He was a real contradiction. Chicago hard guy on the outside, but soft and malleable on the inside. He was easy to con and manipulate, which is why I liked him so much.
Just last week, I conned him into letting me take a butt break with him. He unhooked me for a little while, and we snuck out to the parking lot and sucked down a couple of Winstons. We crouched behind somebody's van so we wouldn't get busted.
Didn't make a lick of difference to my health either way whether I smoked or not at this point. Shit. In fact, I'm not even sure how long Dr. Hays was going to keep up this charade of chemo, anyway.
I looked at the new kid, distracting myself. "Hey, how ya doin', new kid?" I unbuttoned my top two buttons, and Rocco got my port ready to hook up the drugs. Rocco smelled like garlic and cigarette tar.
Ray seemed like a good guy. He loved the Bulls as much as me and that made him a standup guy in my book. Wasn't much in the looks department, but he had one of those interesting faces, one you couldn't help but look at. Mostly, it was his eyes. His eyes danced and flitted, and I knew that there was a strong and lively spirit behind those eyes. This one was a fighter. This one had a chance.
"I'm doing alright, Darcy," Ray said, fake, polite half-smile plastered on his face. He looked drained.
"Hey, where's that good-looking brother of yours? What was his name, Peter?"
"Paul. Home. He flew back to Boston."
"Oh yeah, knew it was one of those saints...Pity he left. He was hot. I'm looking for a fellah, you know. I'm looking for a guy who's turned on by six feet tall bald Amazons with one lung. You know any guys like that?"
"Can't say as I do," he said wryly.
"Well, keep me in mind, would ya?" I was all plugged in. Rocco started the methotrexate.
"So," I asked, as I got settled in. "What do you think of our Club Med? It's not so bad, huh?"
"It's okay, but no offense, I'd rather not be here at all."
"I hear ya, brother."
"I like the mural. It reminds me of Miami."
"Like it, do ya? I painted it."
Ray sat up. "Really?! Wow. You know how to do that?"
"Yeah. That's my thing. I majored in art in college. Painting was my forte. Oils. Water color. I teach now. To kiddies. Little kiddies who just don't get it and are taking art class hoping for an easy `A'."
"And do they usually get them?"
"Hardly ever. HA! HA! HA!" I enjoy being spiteful from time to time. Big character flaw, I know. "You go to Miami a lot?"
"Every once in a while. I gotta aunt lives in Boca Raton. When I go there, I try to get down to Miami, or vice versa. Last time I was there was almost a year ago. It was 90 degrees, and I was with my...companion. What a difference a year makes."
My mind instantly translated that slight hesitation before `companion' to `gay lover.' Wow. Never would have guessed it. "What's he like?" I asked, instantly curious. I put my hand on my chin, sliding forward.
He looked at me, startled. Ray looked around for a moment, not sure of what to reveal.
"Hey, sorry, it's none of my business," I hedged, trying to look shy. But I really wanted to know.
"He's... a cop too," he said. "a Mountie."
"A Canadian Mountie?" Kenny piped in.
"Are there any other kind?" I shot back. Kenny wasn't too swift sometimes.
"Yeah, yeah, he's a Canadian Mountie." Ray said. "At least for a few months anyway."
"What happens in a few months?" Lee asked. I didn't know Lee was listening. He had his eyes closed since I got in, and I assumed he was asleep. He still kept his eyes closed as his Taxotere was administered.
"He's going to retire and join the CPD."
"What's a Canadian Mountie doing working in Chicago?" Lee asked.
"Long story," Ray said.
"Well..." Lee said, looking around. "Nobody's going anywhere anytime soon." He chuckled.
"Yeah, tell us all about him," I said, grinning. I could use an afternoon's free entertainment.
"Well-a, you see, he first came to Chicago on the trail of his father's killer's..." Ray began.
He kept us entertained all afternoon long, telling us all kinds of crazy misadventures the two of them had gotten themselves into.
I think I dozed off with a smile on my face.
End B&R61: Club Med by Dee Gilles
Author and story notes above.
Please post a comment on this story.