It's been a long time since I wrote a chapter of my continuing, shaggy dog/pulp fiction/detective novel Dial M.W. for Murder, but the disappearance of Avril Cadavril has been haunting me, so I decided to find out what happened to her. Those who want to start from the beginning can go to my Compost Heap (in the left hand column) and read the previous nine chapters of Dial M.W. that lead up to this. Some babes worth looking at! I made a silly attempt at a recap in the first paragraph, but, as regular readers know, plot isn't the strong point anyway.
A HOSEMASTER OF WINE™ PULP FICTION CLASSIC
Chapter 10 A Really Good Bladder Press
Here it is Chapter Ten and I hadn’t had sex with a woman yet. Oh, there were plenty of babes around, they kept showing up at my door like horny Jehovah’s Witnesses asking me if I’d found Jesus, which I had, he was outside Home Depot waiting to get a paying gig. Only the first bombshell, Crystal Geyser, was dead, plugged by an unknown M.W. candidate in drag. Not Jancis Robinson, though he was still on my suspect list. The love of my life, Avril Cadavril, was missing, and every clue I had to her disappearance led down a blind alley. I was getting really tired of blind alleys. Just once I wanted to be led down a Wine Spectator alley, you know, an alley that’s supposedly blind but isn’t really. Only I might run into James Laube in that alley digging through dumpsters looking for his reputation. I’d also been instantly attracted to Mallory O’Lactic, though that may have been because she was wearing Avril’s bracelet, the one I’d given Avril, the one that had been left on my desk after Mallory, and the guy who’d thrown her unconscious into my office and minutes later clubbed me into a coma, had also vanished. And now I had yet another damsel in distress, Biola Dynamic, in my office, her slight lisp somehow sexy, every syllable sibilantly escaping her lips like the slow leak of hot air from Harvey Steiman, or the warning hiss of an angry snake, if there’s a difference, with an interesting story of being asked by some unnamed M.W.’s to kill Mallory O’Lactic. I needed a vacation. Two weeks in Avril, wet bar included, the HoseMaster bedroom—sweet.
While I was summarizing this so-called plot in my head, Biola was killing the time looking at the photos on my desk. There aren’t that many. I’m not really a sentimental guy. There’s my autographed photo of Rudy Kurniawan, signed with his usual tagline, “Things go better with Koch.” And a very rare and collectible photograph of Nicolas Joly with his mouth shut. But Biola was staring at my photograph of Avril Cadavril.
“Who is this?” she wanted to know.
“That’s Savanna Samson, a former porn actress who makes Brunello. Spends three years with wood. So does the wine,” I lied. “I met her at a wine judging. Man, can she gargle.”
“No,” Biola said quietly, “who is she? I know her. I was just in a limo with her. She’s beautiful, and she smells like Chuck Roast. Chuck Roast, M.W. You know him?”
It seemed everyone who’d been in that limo had been in my office the last couple of days. Crystal, Avril,
|Avril Cadavril and Chuck Roast|
“No, not really. He’s kind of skinny. Chuck Roast! Surely, you’ve heard of him. The first American to earn both an M.W. and a Tony Award?”
Of course, I’d heard of Chuck Roast M.W. And, damn, was he good in “La Cage aux Folles.” He created the character of Blanche. Sort of dull, but that’s what you’d expect from “Folles” Blanche. But there was something about Biola Dynamic I didn’t trust. Maybe it was the lisp. It seemed fake, like the bubbles in Sofia sparkling wine, or like Obama giving Rush Limbaugh an award—two ways of introducing gas. But I needed Biola, I needed her to lead me to Avril, and I needed her to help me find out who was killing M.W. candidates, and why. And I sure as hell needed a woman to have sex with by Chapter Fifteen, and the pickin’s were getting slim.
“Is he the guy who wants you to kill Mallory O’Lactic?”
Biola went silent. She turned her back to me, still holding the photograph of Avril, staring down at it. It sounded like she was weeping. I took the opportunity to look her up and down. From behind, she reminded me of Napa Valley. The seams of her black nylons running parallel up her legs like Highway 29 and the Silverado Trail, smooth and straight most of the way, but then getting bumpy. Might be the ass fault. Her skirt covered the valley between her lush Spring Mountain and her slightly more exposed Howell Mountain, and I knew I’d happily dedicate a lifetime trying to grasp each of them, until I knew from the very first whiff their distinct terroir. But the further I went, the more I could feel the chill of Carneros, and I began to feel guilty for seeing Biola as just another sexual appellation for me to learn the boundaries, began to feel that, like the wines of Carneros, I was just another brut dying to be disgorged.
I walked over to Biola and put my hands on her shoulders. Her silky smooth hair had the texture of Dehlinger Pinot Noir, and I detected the slight aroma of her perfume, Savannah-Chanelle No. 5. Pretty cheap crap for a budding M.W. to wear, I thought.
“Don’t worry, Biola,” I told her, “I’ll help you. I’ll take care of you.” There he was, that stupid knight in shining armor who showed up whenever a babe with long legs and a nice set of lung balloons needed assistance. I snuggled up as close as I could behind Biola, my arms wrapped around her waist, my body pressed against hers as she continued to quietly sob. Sometimes the best thing for a gentle crush, I thought, is a bladder press.
And the next thing I knew, it was Chapter Fifteen.