November 3, three years later.
San Francisco, CA.
As fog drifted below Twin Peaks and downhill into the valley over Victorian rooftops and the very tip of Castro theatre marquee, Abel Erikson folded his arms across his chest not enjoying the breathtaking view. His thoughts were only of the boy who was late and he imagined was in the Castro in a bar discussing his artwork with an imperfect stranger. The thought of the boy, his boy, entertaining any man in a bar was disconcerting.
He swung around staring at a white C-shape bar and storage shelves were underneath and a gold-framed mirror hung on the wall projecting his reflection from behind the bar. On top of the bar were two decanters, one full of gin, another brandy. He swallowed a dry lump in his throat, wiped his thick brow and glanced anxiously around the room. No one around. He could really do it...could pretend to fool even himself.
He crossed the Tibetan rug over to the bar, his mouth watering to taste. He slammed the ice bucket lid down on the counter, picked up the shaker and twisted it open. Eagerly he readied gin and vermouth. But then the problem that had made him feel less than a man only a few weeks ago returned. He squeezed the neck of the bottle hard until he wanted to scream.
Once upon a time, he could drink until he was literally blue in the face. There were no hangovers then, no problem. Now he went to therapy and made special appearances at AA meetings upon his therapist's suggestion. He hated the meetings, having to sit there in that melancholy room, half listening to their stories, thinking he wasn't as far gone as those people. Drinking out of control and waking up in a gutter was not something he had in common with any of them.
And then a mere inch away he heard her coming through the French doors. He pushed the decanter back into place and darted over to the sofa. An antique clock ticked on top of the white mantle, a continuous sound almost deafening, and he shivered as the clock kept ticking. His portrait painted by the boy hung above the mantle with a light fixed in the middle of the bottom frame that shined upwards and the portrait came alive with piercing eyes staring back. Tick...tick...the door creaked open. And therein the threshold she stood with snow-white hair erect like an electric bush. A beige gown clinging unnaturally to her shapeless figure made her look naked.
A second later the room fell into pitch black.
"Farchrisake!" he hollered. "Turn that light back on. Turn it on, Now!"
"Ahab!" the old woman gasped reaching for the light switch. "I didn't realize anybody was here."
"I am not Ahab!”
She squinted until she could see him clearly. When she did hairs rose on the back of her neck. She shook and pressed a hand to her heart.
"Yes, it is I, mother,” Abel said. “Abel, the son, you so ardently hate!"
She caught her breath, swallowed. "I don't hate you so much,” she said.
"Oh, get out of here," Abel said. "Go to hell!"
"Why must you curse me all the time?"
"Because you're a simpleton."
"I'm not a simpleton.”
“Then a worthless, pathetic hag.”
“I'm your mother."
“Yes, a mother as old as Attila the Hun."
"How dare you."
"After all, I'm the one taking care of you. The only one picking up your dirty laundry. Never Ahab who doesn't pay the bills."
"I happen to get a check every month, young fellow! Ahab deposits it in the bank to-."
"Ahab made those deposits of your measly pennies into his own personal account right down to your last nickel. He would have let this house foreclose from right under your nose if-"
"Ahab wouldn't have. Why must you make up filthy lies?"
"I can't get it, mother," he threw his hands up in the air helplessly. "After all the miserable years you've spent with Ahab who purposely used and defrauded you; yet, you insist defending him against me when it was Ahab who deliberately turned you into the pathetic rag doll moping around the house like a mindless zombie."
"I'll get Ahab, he'll speak the truth! Unlike you and these filthy lies."
"Then you'll have to go all the way to 6th Street to find that idiot. That's right, mother. He's been evicted to never set foot again in this house."
The thought of Ahab being evicted had never actually occurred to her. It seemed so remote. But finally some truth of Ahab’s eviction sank temporally, she remembered and shivered. "Ahab can't be gone!" she snapped, her frail voice rising. "He simply can't be. Why would you evict your own brother? Your own flesh and blood? It was because of her, wasn’t it? That woman?"
"Oh mother, if I'd been any smarter I’d kicked you out along with him."
"I don't hate you so much."
"I said get out a silly old bat. Get out of here. Or shall I remove you personally? Dearest mother, you wouldn't prefer that..."
"All right!" She raised her chin high. "I am leaving...now!" She made her way out of the living room and down the hall, feeling her hands along the wall like a blind woman. She fled into her bedroom mustering enough strength to slam the door.
"Wretched bitch!" Abel stumped back to behind the bar. He jerked the cap off the decanter and started to fill the shaker with gin and bit his bottom lip until he tasted blood. It stung a small bit. He grabbed a cloth from the top shelf underneath the bar and dabbed the cloth at his lip until the bleeding stopped. A crooked smile wrinkled his face which looked lopsided gazing at his crotch in the mirror. Nothing about the bulge in his crotch was stubby. Not at all. Effortlessly, he gripped the long shaft poking sideways through his pocket. It had been so long since the last time he initiated such self-hurt and gratification that he could no longer remember how long it had been. Dear God! The cock was itching to explode. He burst into naughty laughter, tears welling in his eyes as he hugged himself in his arms like a lover.
The front door banged open downstairs. Footsteps pounded, rushing up. He threw the cloth on the shelf underneath the bar, grabbed a glass and squirted club soda into it and then hurried over to the sofa.
"Darling, I’m home," came the boy's breathless voice from in the doorway.
His boy had come safely home. He wouldn't complain or question him about his day away from him. Besides, he had argued long enough with Zelta, his scraggly mother, about those goddamn cats. That had exhausted him. "Well, don't just stand there,” he said wiping his eyes. "Come on in my boy."