the inspirational quotes spoken of in this post
have produced some fruit;
(warnings= anger managment issues and co-dependant colleagues, on-going editing)
And there will be a quiz at the end.
(Stella is alone in the hotel room while the bands are in a meeting)
The door opened, and slammed shut with an explosive bang. “Tracy, what happened?” Stella blurted, as he strode into the room.
His face was ashy with rage, his eyes slitted and glittering, lips pressed into a pale line of fury. The soft African nostrils flared and narrowed with the bellows heave of his chest. He hardly seemed to hear her question; “Tracy? Baby, are you okay?”
“Sweetheart, get out of here.” His voice sounded strained and thin.
“No, honey, it’s okay…” With her heart thudding she stood up, and started towards him, only to stop hurriedly at his convulsive little jump of rage. It seemed to her that he was about to attack her, but instead he whirled, leapt and strode over the bed to tear the art print off the wall behind it, whirled again and slammed it down on the corner of the table, shattering the frame and spraying glass throughout the room. Stella bit back her whimper of fear. “Tracy…”
A growl was her only answer. Balanced precariously on the swaying mattress, her lover threw his head back, fists balled, and roared to the ceiling. Then he looked around for the next thing he could smash. He focused on her; “Please baby, go away.”
“No.” Stella heard her voice quiver, but made herself speak out. “No, honey, it’s going to be okay.”
“Okay?” he shouted. “Fuck!” a single bounce sent him back onto the floor. He swiped a fist across the table; a glass shot across the room, to explode against the bathroom doorframe. The books followed, pages fluttering like wounded wings. He grabbed the phone and cocked his arm back, the reciever tumbling to the floor on its corkscrew tether.
“Tracy!” Stella made her voice as deep as she could, the dog trainer’s voice. “Sit down!’ As he turned, startled, towards her, the door flew open. Tony burst in, and tackled his cousin, pinioning his arms against his sides in a great bear hug.
“Fuckin’ asshole, don’t you even think about it!” he rumbled. There was an edge in his voice; whatever had infuriated Tracy had affected Tony too.
Tracy grunted and stiffened. His head went back- Tony dodged a blow that might have broken his nose, with a practiced ease. Overborne, the two men went down onto the carpet in a tangle.
“Nuh-uh-“ Tony writhed and put himself on top, imprisoning Tracy with arms and legs. Stella, transfixed and still bewildered, found the tableau magnificent, and tried to take mental notes- the bigger man huddled protectively and menacingly over his smaller friend.
Tracy dropped his head into the carpeting. Let his legs go limp. “God damn, Tone…” he murmured. “you didn’t have to…”
“Fuck that,” Tony said. “We can pay for the damages- but they put you in jail, we have to call off the show tonight. Cocksucker.”
“I wanna kill ‘em.” Tracy’s voice was muffled.
“We got lawyers for that, man.” Tony looked up. “He didn’t hurt you, baby?”
“No, of course not!” Stella said past her thudding heart.
“Never,” Tracy averred. “Tone… She told me to stop.”
“Well, shit, ‘course she did.” but Tony seemed to take in a separate meaning from the words, and a faintly puzzled, faintly relieved expression crossed his face. “Fucker, I ought ta put you out my misery.” His voice began to sound more like his normal silky bass. He tightened his arms; Tracy’s breath whooshed out in a great gasp. “Can I let you up, now?”
“Sure,” Tracy wheezed, pulling the air back into his lungs.
“You gonna be okay?” Tony eased his arms out from underneath and pushed himself up onto his knees, warily- as if Tracy might suddenly transform himself once again into a raging beast.
“Ain’t gonna break nothing?”
“No, Tony, I ain’t gonna break nothing, I swear.” Released, he rolled onto his back. “Ouch.” He rubbed his arm; “Ouch, fuck.” Bemused, he looked at the droplet of blood welling up on his finger; “I cut myself…”
“Come on, baby, “ Stella said. “There’s glass all over the floor, you’re in it.”
Tony reached down, and picked Tracy up like a rag doll, one hand on each forearm.
“Let go of me, I’m good.” But he staggered, when he was released. Stella darted forward and guided him to sit on the sofa. “Oh, baby…” He was shaking, his teeth chattering, and he clutched her hand tightly. “Oh, baby, you told me to stop…”
“And he did,” Tony stated. “That’s a good trick, girl.” He picked up the phone. “Calling Jerry, okay, we gotta get this-all cleaned up.”
“Let go, sweetheart, I want to get you a cover.” Stella disentangled her hands from his. She looked ruefully at the glass-covered bedspread, lifted it aside, and pulled a blanket off of the bed. “There you go, lay down if you need to.”
“Good idea,” Tony said sardonically. “So when security show up he see a sick man in bed.”
“Security is on his way.” Jerry entered the room. “I think he will be more understanding than New Orleans.” He surveyed the room, t’sking. “I must say, this is better than I was expecting.”
“Stella told him to stop.”
“And he did?” Jerry gave her much the same look that Tony had.
“Go away.” Tracy sighed, and curled up into a ball, dragging the blankets into a tight nest.
“Soon enough, soon enough.” Jerry opened the door to admit the security officer and a maid with vacuum. “Thank you, thank you,” he told the officer. “We truly appreciate your understanding.”
“Oh, I do understand, sir.” The officer looked around, then focused on the huddled figure, the woman sitting protectively near him. “Having a bad day, Mr. Bell?”
Tracy sat up and smiled. “Yessir, I’m sorry.” He extended his hand and the man stepped forward to shake it eagerly- Stella bit her cheek.
“Well, son, I want to tell you, I had the pleasure of meeting your father. And he was a real gentleman. I hope you can behave good like him, you understand me?”
“Yessir, I do,” Tracy stated emphatically. “I aspire to, sir.”
“That’s a good aspiration, son.”
Behind the officer, Tony clapped his hand over his mouth. He stepped into the bathroom, his shoulders shaking.
“I gonna overlook an accident like this one time. But not no second times, or I won’t be doing my job.”
“I just want to give the best show I can for the people, you know?” Tracy said. “That’s my job, and I want to do it well, that’s all…”
“Best of luck tonight,” The man said jovially, and the maid switched off the motor. Jerry accompanied them out.
“Damn that’s lucky,” Tony hissed. “He a fan of Poppa!”
“Go figure,” Tracy murmured. “Pop said the Belltones played here.”
“My mom is a Belltones fan, too,” Stella put in.
“Sweet!” Tony grinned. “See, my auntie is his momma. And Verden Bell is my unca- but everybody call him ‘Poppa’. You call him that too, the minute you meet him, you see.”
“Tone, lemme sleep a little, okay?” Tracy interrupted. “Did Jerry say he’ll call the lawyers?”
“Course he gonna do that, what do you think?” Tony sounded flat. “You ain’t gotta fight every battle no more, dig.”
Jerry came back in. “I’ve brought you a cuppa, dear boy, drink up now.”
“Thanks, man.” Tracy took the cup in still trembling hands, and drank thirstily. “You called the lawyers?”
“Yes, of course. May I have Stella for a moment?” He beckoned her outside, and they walked several doors down before he stopped. “He has such good ears,” Jerry gestured back. “Can you tell me what happened, I’d be grateful.”
“Well, he came in and he was really pissed off, I’d say. He asked me to leave.”
“Yeah, like ‘Sweetheart, please leave.’ And I said no. And, um, I thought- for a minute I thought he was going to hit me- but he didn’t, he jumped on the bed.”
“Stella,” Jerry said. “This is very important, as you can understand. And you must tell me the truth, even though we both know you want to protect him- Can you swear to me that he never touched you?”
“I swear, Jerry. He kept- jumping, you know- away from me. Away. He broke the picture, and he aimed it…” she considered her memory. “He actually aimed it away from me. And the things that he threw, too.”
“And you told him… what?”
“I said ‘Tracy, sit down!’ and it seemed like it… surprised him?” Stella essayed a smile. “I mean, it was like you’d tell a dog, or something, I couldn’t think what to say… Anyway, Tony came in right then. And then, you know…”
Jerry looked away, then back at her. “I could kiss you,” he said, and did so, touching his lips to her forehead. “We’ll talk later, I hope. You must make him explain this behavior to you, I’m sure it seems bizarre.”
“Is this what everyone talks about- I mean everyone is saying I should be careful…”
“Well, I won’t lie to you. Yes, Tracy has been convicted of assault, but only in civil court- he’s never done jail time. And the fights he’s been in were only- every time- with men. To my certain knowledge he has never, will never, hit a woman in anger. Yes, a woman brought charges against him but it was a blackmail attempt, and she admitted it. But- the rumors fly, my darling, how they do fly.”
“And property damage.”
“Well, it’s better than damaging people, isn’t it?”
“It’s so damaging to his reputation, isn’t it? And there are hotels that won’t let us book rooms. And there are security officers who carry chips on their shoulders, that would rather throw him in jail than let it go as this gentleman did. We were very lucky this time. But perhaps your presence… Oh, I don’t think it’s fair to you, but I do hope you’ll stay on, I really do.”
So, that took me till three in the morning to force out, line by pitiful line.
What I want to know- is this episode long enough, to show a volatile personality that is widely supposed to be dangerous? Should he attempt a little more mayhem before getting pulled down?
Is there too much exposition? I can imagine Tony talking about family- he’d be babbling just a little, trying to lighten the situation- and I do want that info to get swallowed up in the details of everyday life, till it comes back with a bang.31