Sunday, October 4, 2009

The M.S. Conspiracy

A HoseMaster of Wine Pulp Fiction Classic

Chapter 2
An Expensive Place to Die

Veronica had walked out of my office in her K-J shoes (very big heels) and left me her phone number, a wad of cash for expenses, mostly a big stack of Fred Franzias (two dollar bills), and a bulge in my pants that made it look like I was packing a Rabbit corkscrew. She was certainly a woman who'd make your hare stand on end. Now, like Alice in Wonderland, I was looking for the nearest Rabbit hole.

I decided to wander into Healdsburg proper and troll for some tourist tang of the poon variety. It was early October and the town was crawling with out-of-towners, folks from all over the United States here to taste the local fare. They wander from tasting room to tasting room, girls in sheer cotton dresses that leave nothing to the imagination when the sun shines through and reveals their terroir--their plush hillside vineyards, their volcanic soils, the extent of their pruning. Most of them were ripe and needed to be harvested. The wines they tasted made them feel sexy, the sheer sensual joy of sipping a Sonoma County Pinot Noir leaves them yearning for the touch of a man's hands on their free run juice, the feel of his lips on their gross lees, the tug of his desire bringing them to a long, sensual finish. It was almost too easy to pluck one. Like finding a crappy bottle of wine at Trader Joe's; it's easy, just reach out and grab the nearest one.

It was a lovely fall day and I was feeling flush with the cash Veronica has bestowed on me for "Expenses." If Meaningless Sex isn't filed under Expenses, what is? I figured all I'd need to harvest a tourist was half dozen oysters at Willi's washed down with whatever their cheapest Sauvignon Blanc by-the-glass was and then my lucky foot of Rabbit was going to be very happy. Though I'd rather have Muscadet with my oysters. Nothing like really ripe Melon.

I had fallen into a rather relaxed and contemplative mood, thinking about what Veronica had said in our meeting, wondering just who she'd meant by "my friends," I'd have to look into that, when a rather comely brunette stumbled into the spot next to me on the bench in Healdsburg Square. She was clutching a wine glass that had more lipstick around its rim than David Letterman's Late Night schtick. This was almost too good to be true.

"Hi," she said. She was. Her breath smelled like a Harvest Fair judge.

"Hello," I said. "Nice day. Are you enjoying your wine country visit?"

She didn't seem to hear me. Seems like she'd tasted a lot of wine and hadn't bothered to put anything in that flat stomach of hers. She was just sitting there, staring off into the distance with the kind of blank look on her face I hadn't seen since the last Wine Bloggers Conference. It gave me a chance to look her over. She was really quite beautiful, late 20's I'd guess, long flowing brunette hair that wouldn't be out of place on a male wrestler, and a body that was tight like a recently bottled Syrah. I could feel my Rabbit coming out of its lair.

"I think I'm going to be sick," she said, the words rather slurred but the meaning crystal clear.

"No one told you not to go into the Ferrari-Carano tasting room?" Not much of a wisecrack, but neither was she.

"Can you help me get back to my hotel?" OK, this really was too good to be true.

"Sure. Where are you staying? Is your boyfriend there?"

"Boyfriend? Do I look like I have a boyfriend? No, I'm staying by myself at Les Mars." Les Mars was the priciest hotel in Healdsburg, the damn wallpaper was hundred dollar bills, what was a young woman doing staying there all by herself? There were some alarms going off in my head but I was thinking with my Rabbit and ignored them. Not a good idea. Like ignoring frost
warnings in April, you can quickly find yourself deflowered.

"OK, I'll walk you there." It was just one long block to Les Mars and the whole way I was sure she was going to puke tasting room crackers all over my gumshoes, but she managed to keep everything down, but my Rabbit, and in a few minutes I found myself helping her unlock the door of her Les Mars room, one hand inserting the key into the door, the other hand lodged securely under her generous left breast to hold her up. I'd gotten my Melon for the day after all.

The door swung open and I led her in. That's the last thing I remember. Someone clobbered my Melon with a blunt object. As I fell to the floor I remember thinking, "I hope I don't pee myself." And, "Urine big trouble."

To Be Continued


D J R-S said...

Hullo, Mr. Hose. Just another recovering wineblogger, as my hiatus seem to have acquired unearned tenure, catching up on the wonderful world of wineblob satire, & I like the followup even better than the first installment-- it's not just postmod hommage with an M.S. edge, think you're on to something. Couldn't hold Mr.Okun's jockstrap, either, but one next-gen hardboiled author who's inspiring & easy to steal from since he's always plotting variations on his recurring, obsessive themes is Ross McDonald. Plus Lew Archer gets out of LA & investigates stuff in Santa Barbara, Bakersfield...I learned a lot about the California away from the two megalopolii(??)from the pseudonymous Mr. Millar. Greetings from the sweltering climactic succotash of Puerto Rico, BTW. Take care, & thanks for the laughs-- awfully short on those these days.

Marcia said...

I had just sat down to check the evening email and crossed my legs on top of my desk to get more comfortable in my seat when there was a knock on my office door. My neighbor poked his head in and gazed at my feet. “Nice Jimmy Choo’s,” he began. He walked in uninvited but with an empty, stemless Riedel in one hand and a bottle of David Bruce in the other. “Did you see that pulp post by the HoseMaster today?” he inquired.
“No,” I replied clicking my RSS feeds, noticing he was disappointed I wasn’t also in a skirt…since the desk is a table…open to view my chair…. “I’ve been out searching for unused steel tanks all day. My feet are killing me.”
He smiled out of the corner of his mouth, holding the glass. “Then have a little Pinot while you take a gander at the pulp post,” he said lasciviously pouring me a liquid dinner as slowly as possible. “Let me know the next time you’re looking for steel.…” And he passed me the glass with the magical elixir.
I arched my eyebrows and tilted my head to inquire after his enticement, taking the glass he offered in hopes I wouldn’t have to give him…. The deep red liquid ran down my throat like a–
“I’ve got sources…” he interrupted my reverie, knowing I’d beg for more, anticipating my longing for the gleaming alloy.
I swung my legs from the desk top to the floor in one slick move (perfected by Cyd Charisse) and stood up to lean over the desk. “I want your source,” I purred in his ear, leaning well over the edge of the desk, propped up by my well-spread arms to provide his tank commission bonus view down my light silk tank blouse. The view alone should have been enough to entice most winemakers (meaning most men) to turn over their entire barrel rooms for my disposal. I rubbed up against him a bit closer to get the sale: “I need that steel…against some skin…fast!”
But, all he said, after taking a long, long look at the view and my best Lauren Bacall gaze, was, “Read the post.”
“What, now?” I replied in surprise.
“I’ll wait,” he lured me on, pouring me another glass of the Pinot Noir while he sat on the edge of the desk, and I sat down to read.

His first mistake was pouring me that second glass of wine right before I began reading. It wasn’t long before the valuable stuff was squirting out my nose. “You bastard!” I exclaimed. “You should have warned me of the dangers of drinking and reading,” I complained. He merely chuckled to himself while I continued to chortle and gaffaw, leaning across the desk from time to time to check the view and see how far I’d gotten in my online reading. I recalled my last visit to Ferrari-Carano over a decade ago. I’d preferred the gardens to anything else…
“Whaddaya think?” he asked, waiting for me to kick back and put my heels back on the desk for a new view.
“I think his Melon is gonna be pretty sore when he wakes up,” I replied (doing exactly as he’d hoped with my feet.) “And I don’t know how we’ll last another week without the next chapter,” I finished, slugging back the last of the Pinot.
“Steel on skin, eh?” he said, walking out my door with the stemless Riedel in hand. “We’ll have to see what we can do….”

Ron Washam, HMW said...

Hey D J,

I love Ross MacDonald and have read all of the Lew Archer novels--brilliant stuff. I suspect some of his recurring themes may creep into my crap subliminally. Millar was a genius. I'm a joke.

My Marcia,

I may write YOU into this piece if you're not careful. Thanks for contributing so creatively. I have no idea where "The M.S. Conspiracy" is going, but the pulp detective form is a brilliant platform for jokes, like crackers are a brilliant platform for cheese. So, as you no doubt discovered, the whole thing is a blast to write.

D J R-S said...

Well, you're a pretty good joke, while I seem to be a fairly lame second fiddle-- hey, you missed your cue! 'That's Mr. Master to you, bub-- unless you've got a mouthful already'. Marcia may make this into a really, really Exquisite Corpse of a literary endeavour, eh, wot? Wink, wink, nudge, nudge...

Andrew Ross said...

marcia, marcia, marcia! stop stealing hosemasters thunder and get off his malolacdic! if he wants to weave you into his hammett-esque narrative im sure he has 'entry criteria'. sheesh.

PuffBogie said...

I was sitting in the bar at Cyrus, the upscale eatery in the Hotel Mars, when she walked in. It was bad enough that the Hosemaster was somewhere on the premises but was stiffing me again on that promise to buy me a bottle of cheap Muscadet. I guess he had other Melon on his mind.

She was wearing that expensive perfume that always reminded me of Willi Schaefer Auslese with a touch of dried violet nuance when I notice that something was decidedly wrong. In the background came this faint smell of Gruner. It was enough to make me sick all over my "Jimmy Choos".

"Marcia", I said, "what are doing in the Hosemaster's place?"

"Hey", she shot back, "this is the blogosphere, not Casablanca, and I can walk into any gin joint anywhere in the world".

Samantha Dugan said...

Damn, I feel left out. Can I be like your Girl Friday or somethin'? I look wicked good in a hat, don't have gumshoes but I'd be willing to wear a tie...let it dangle between my Cotes, whadda ya say?

Marcia said...


Watch it, Mr. Wink, Wink, Nudge, Nudge!....


I couldn't possibly steal Mr. Hosemaster's thunder if I tried. I am not in his literary league, nor could I manage such an erudite tome. ...Not touching the 'malo' comment. Too much coffee squirting inelegantly out the nose....

Mr. PuffBogie, Sir:

Now, now! Don't write me in here. This is Samantha's turf, which I wouldn't dream of usurping in a jillion years. But I will take a bottle of that lovely Willi Schaefer Auslese. Yum!

Dearest Samantha:

Rosalind Russell's part has always been yours. I knew you were otherwise...occupied this week. (Although I tend to think of your interpretation as having a Lana Turner slant to it.) Hope you are now safely back on familiar turf. Girl Friday (or any other day of the week) is yours. I am merely but a poor man's Veronica Lake -- mostly offscreen, out of the scene, and waiting for you to return for your close up.

So bust out your favorite hat, girl. You're on now!

Samantha Dugan said...

Somehow I'm thinking there is enough HoseMaster for both of us...but for the sake of saucy, "wanna wrestle for him?"

TWG said...

Can't wait for the catfight episode.

Samantha Dugan said...

Nah, I would never fight over a man, I might wiggle underneath one or wrestle just to drive one wild but never fight OVER one. Hey anyone else thinking someone ought to check out that hotel room to see if the HoseMaster is still laying in a puddle of his own urine...donde? Donde the HoseMaster?!

D J R-S said...

Mr. Master must be still diving for the non-existentent bottom of that ink-shadow pool. I'm watching it as close as I can without getting my face slapped, Marcia. As close as my nearsighted mind's eye will allow without tipping my pilfered Riedel flute over.

Ron Washam, HMW said...

My Gorgeous Samantha,

You are my Girl Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. You are my Girl.


I am currently in a coma. Hard to tell the difference, I know, but I'm indisposed and won't be able to return to the blog until the end of next week.

It's lovely here in the coma. I suddenly know what it's like to be James Laube.

Samantha Dugan said...

Mr. HoseMaster Sir,
Well shit, that was kinda sweet and junk...are just trying to get me to wear my nurses costume and give you a sponge bath again....I may be blonde but I would not fall for that baloney a third time! Well, unless you were really hurt, are you really in a coma...dammit.