“Well well well JayBird, I was wondering when you’d get here. When we opened I thought, this place will be a beacon for him. He’ll find his way back. And I was right. Oh I was a few years off on when you’d show up, but I was right.” Big was beaming as she stepped off a milk crate and walked around the front counter to greet us. “You’re crying, my little bird. I have that way with people.”
In a flash so many memories ran through my mind like a strobe. Bang bang bang. How we could find each other in a big city or a crowd. How I could walk out of my apartment with the idea that I would see Big, with no way to communicate. And we would. In a coffee shop, a bar, a park, and once at a police station but that is another story for another time.
“I am crying Big. I am so happy to see you. Are you the rich artist that paid for this hotel? Or was that Charles Pachter?” We were hugging and her head rested just under my chin.
“Charles Pachter? Are you for real. That guy is a fraud. I am the artist. You’ll note I didn’t say what kind of artist funded this hotel on our website—just a Toronto artist. I am an artist of fashion.”
Big, Pamela and I went into our Pablo Escobar room, and Big had drinks sent up. Lots of drinks.
“OK, spill it. What is going on? People stay here when they have money and are on the run. Some just want the experience, sure. But many…trouble. That is your case. I can feel it.” Big sat on a broken kitchen chair, once owned by Pablo where he used to sit and stare out his window longingly, talk on the phone to his wife who was in protective custody (I love you Tata!) and plan assassinations and bombings.
We told Big the story over many drinks, probably too many drinks, and next thing I know I am waking up at midnight with a sea monster on one side and Pamela on the other, both snoring, fully clothed and lying on my arms.
The sea monster opened her eyes and stared at me, and said in a whisper, “and then there were three…” Moments later she was asleep again.