A HOSEMASTER OF WINE PULP FICTION CLASSIC
CHAPTER 2 Ticket Out
Why do babes always seem to need dicks? It’s like they have a hole, right in the middle of their being, that only a guy like me can fill. I’ve seen ‘em all. The babe who thinks her looks are going to last forever, only to look in the mirror one day and see more sag than a Russ Meyer movie. The babe who bad luck follows around, like the saps who keep betting on Syrah to be the next big thing, as if a horse that always finishes last is suddenly going to find a way to get to the finish line first. Good money being thrown after bad—like buying a second bottle of Prosecco. The babe who thinks she’s got life figured out, only to end up deader than a Matt Kramer opinion. But I wasn’t sure what kind of babe Crystal Geyser was, except the kind that men want. And not just men, M.W.’s too.
“So your friend was murdered. And other friends of yours have been murdered too. You’ve got more dead friends than Lou Foppiano’s FaceBook page. Care to tell me how that happened?”
Crystal just stared out my window onto the Healdsburg Square, small tears developing in her dead eyes. Hell, I thought, the Square isn’t that ugly. Unless it’s Barrel Tasting Weekend. Then it’s filled with the saddest of self-deceiving humans. The ones who think that if you go to a bar from 11 to 4 you’re a drunk, but if you go wine tasting you’re a connoisseur. The lifeblood of our little town. The whole town blows. It blows a .15.
Crystal slowly sat on my luxuriously appointed office couch. I could hear the bedsprings creak. I couldn’t help but notice her tight skirt sliding up to her as yet unapproved appellation—the Petaluma Gap. The nights are cold there, I thought, but there’s a warm patch if you know where to look. I knew where to look. Just above the dark wind tunnel.
“Look, HoseMaster, I confess, I’ve got a thing for guys who know a lot about wine. Yeah, they’re the worst lovers, always drunk, and softer than a five dollar Moscato.” She stared at me, but I knew what she meant. But it’s nature’s way of making sure M.W.’s don’t reproduce. The male M.W.’s anyway. The women? Yeah, well. They're for blind tasting.
“But since I was a teenager I’ve fantasized about them,” Crystal continued, her voice rising like the price of 2009 Bordeaux--that is, fueled by stupidity. “I didn’t know then what I know now. I just lusted for a man with a silver cup around his neck, like Sammy Davis, Jr, only always white. When I found out that M.W.’s existed I was smitten. These were the men I wanted, in the worst way, these Gods among us. Yet I knew that many, many bimbos threw themselves at these men. Hugh Johnson groupies, Michael Broadbent groupies, Tim Hanni groupies…OK, not so much Tim Hanni, but you get my drift, don’t you, HoseMaster?”
“Sure, you got the hots for wine boors. Guys who can explain terroir with a straight face and a forked tongue. What’s that got to do with your friends you claim were murdered?”
“Don’t you see, HoseMaster? I couldn’t have any of them, not a single real M.W., they weren’t interested in women, not unless you owned a Burgundy domaine or dressed like Angelo Gaja, as if they make women’s clothes that small. So I went after boys sitting for the M.W. exams, hoping to fall in love with one who ultimately passed, who maybe even passed because I inspired him.”
“So your friend who just had his throat cut, he was studying for his M.W.?”
“Yes.” She was whispering now. She had a stunned expression on her face, the kind of dead stare you see on people listening to Alice Feiring speak. But something didn’t seem right. “He was about to sit for his exams. Everyone knew he’d most likely pass on the first try. I thought he was my ticket out of this miserable, lonely life.”
“And, instead, you were his ticket out.” OK, sure, it was a cheap shot, but I wanted to wipe that dead smile off her face, see if there was something underneath that cold exterior. Like how you warm up a cold glass of Vinho Verde with your hands, only you find out what it had going for it was that coldness. So you end up with a glass of warm, fresh from the bladder.
“Yeah,” she said, “I guess I was.”
“Miss Geyser,” I said, “I don’t believe you for a minute. I don’t know what your game is, Girly-girl, maybe it’s some weird wine game, Shoots and Lattices, maybe Monopole. Whatever it is, I don’t want anything to do with it. Now get out of my office.”
Babes. Always trouble. All I could think about was heading down to the Square, cruise for drunk tourist cooze. I wanted nothing to do with anything M.W.
But Crystal had pulled a piece, and it was pointed at my spacious forehead.