He woke to pounding and stumbled from the couch, in his boxers, to pull the door open, “What?” he growled and Tina pushed through. He closed the door behind her and turned, she was already pacing, manic. She was talking to herself but it all seemed to be nonsense.
She was speaking gibberish, saying something that sounded like, “peas and carrots, the stars at 3:00 am, peas and carrots. Missing scientist, head in a bag.” She was pulling on the ends of her hair, twisting locks of it around her fingers, pulling a lot of it out. She stopped and looked at him, considering him as if he were a stranger.
Her eyes suddenly lit in recognition, “Ken, thank God you’re up. Do you have any weapons here?”
“Argh,” he said, “I’ve me cutlass. It’s below decks, in me cabin. And, I ‘ave me hook.” he held up his left hand with the index finger crooked.” He blinked his one eye at her and smiled.
“Go down and get the sword, Ken. We’re probably going to need it. The moon won’t leave me alone. It followed me all the way here.”
That was when he realized she wasn’t kidding.
“Tina, sit down, let me make some coffee.”
“Coffee, that’s a good idea. It’ll keep us from getting drowsy.” He put his arm around her waist and led her towards the back of the house. He sat her in one of the two straight backed wooden chairs at the small table where he took his meals. Her butt had scarcely hit the seat before she was up again, pacing in the small confines of the tiny kitchen. He sat her back down. She jumped back up, clearly agitated. They danced this way for awhile until she finally remained seated.
Ken filled the kettle with tap water and lit the burner with a match. Setting the kettle over the fire he said, “All I got is instant, Tina. That OK?”
“Yeah, yeah, Ken. You know they still come around sometimes. I still see them but they’ve been keeping their distance – till tonight. Somehow they enlisted the moon. That’s a huge game changer. I won’t be able to hide at night. Don’t know what I’m gonna do now.”
He sat down across the table, looked her in the eyes, and took both her hands in his. “Are you drunk, Tina?”
“No,” she snapped too quickly. He raised his eyebrow and kept his gaze steady. “OK,” she said, “I had a couple of drinks, but I’m not drunk.” She reached into her purse and pulled out a half empty pint bottle of Scotch. “You want some Ken?”
“No, no thanks. Maybe later,” he said.
“OK,” she set the bottle on the table. “I shouldn’t have come here Ken,” she said, “but I needed to talk to you. Wait!” She rummaged in her purse for awhile then she stood up and patted her pockets. Reaching into her right front trouser pocket she came out with a brown glass vial. “I have some cocaine,” she said, “want some of this?”
“I don’t think so, Tina. I need to sleep tonight. I have to work in the morning.”
The kettle started a low whistle that quickly increased in pitch and volume, demanding attention. Ken stood and poured hot water over the dark brown crystals he had spooned into the cups earlier. He traded a cup of coffee for the vial of coke that Tina still held in her fingers. He sat that next to the whiskey bottle.
Tina and Ken sat sipping coffee until the sun came up. She had calmed down pretty quickly but had still been too wired to sleep. They talked till Tina’s eyes couldn’t stay open any longer. He helped her to the couch and got her to lie down. She was asleep before she even got her head on the pillow. Ken spread his blanket over her and tucked her in before he made his way to the bathroom. He showered, shaved, and dressed. He wore his good patch and went back out to the living room.
Tina was still asleep. She looked so fragile, so beautiful. He grabbed a sheet of paper from the printer on the desk and scribbled a note:
I had to go to work but I’ll be back before noon. Let me take you to lunch.
He paused and studied the note, considering. Then he signed it:
He picked up his keys from the coffee table and put the note where they had been. He locked the door on his way out and made his way down the street to the bus stop. His bus, the number 13, should be along in less than five minutes.