Slaps the Tail - Chapter Six
Jordan determined quickly that the wounds in R.P.'s neck were
mostly superficial due to the protective scruff and found most of
them scabbed over sufficiently so as not to be too worrisome.
Assorted deeper gashes on the puppy's back and forepaws were still
oozing and pussing however and Jordan cut away fur to let in some
air and swabbed at them with hydrogen peroxide and iodine. A more
serious consideration was that roughly half of the puppy's left ear
had been torn away and the remaining flap had swollen up to give him
a lopsided dog-earred look that, Jordan knew would later reverse
itself to the other side when the severed vessel returned to scale.
While she clipped, cleaned, anesthetized, and salved, Debra
Finkelstein held R.P. steady and chattered to shame the jays.
"I guess we haven't been getting along all that well lately but
Ira's never just jetted like this for the whole night. I totally
can't, I mean I can NOT fathom what he might have been thinking. I
mean shitdamnit it's not like we're back in New York, you know in
the city. I mean back in the City, in the Village I mean, he'd be
with his boys and have a place to crash but he hardly knows anybody
here to hang with 'cept for me. He just hasn't gelled with the local
people; you know, gotten down with the folks here like I have. With
me, it was like from the first time I flew in here, it was just
like, I belonged, you know? But when I showed up with Ira he just
couldn't seem to fit in like you and I do."
Jordan accepted this without comment.
"With me, it was like from the minute I got off the plane
people were nodding and saying hey hey like they'd known me my whole
life but it didn't happen that way with Ira. People around here are
in tune you know and can sense that he has some sort of big assed
chip on his shoulder, that's what I think it is. Just the way he
walks is so, I don't know, forced or burly or something that makes
people look at him funny and his hair isn't doing anything at all
and he just... he's just not, I don't know, down or something, like
I am. You know, its just like I'm coming into my own I guess you'd
say. Maybe Ira just loves New York too much you know and I guess I
do too, I mean I do love that city but I guess I love it here more
right now. I mean I need to be here at this time in my life, like I
just need a break from the east coast bullshit for awhile. Can you
understand? To mellow out a bit and let life just happen to me for
Deb was showing no signs of coming up for air and as Jordan snipped
away at R.P.'s clotted scruff searching to expose more hidden
abrasions she suddenly was reminded of a bumper sticker she'd seen
the weekend before during a drive up to Boulder.
She'd headed North hoping to surprise her boyfriend Seth and catch a
show featuring the latest rendition of his band. The gig at the Flat
Iron Club was supposed to be his last show for awhile and Jordan had
assumed (hoped) he'd want to come down to the mesa for some R and R
and spend some quality time with her for a change. She'd noticed the
sticker, which adorned the bumper of a ratty-topped jeep as she was
waiting at a stop light in Golden near the Coors Brewery. It said
"If you love New York, Take I-70 East." And, it occurred
to Jordan suddenly, that Seth had ended up doing exactly that,
although not because of any love that she knew of for the Big Apple.
He'd told her after the show that the band had landed gigs in
Manhattan (Kansas not New York) as well as Columbia and Lawrence.
So, instead of returning to Telluride with Jordan as she had
planned, Seth was getting back in his bus and heading down the
freeway in the opposite direction. And Jordan, instead of accepting
invitations to stay with friends, had followed the bus along
Baseline Road to the edge of town before turning up Boulder Canyon
and making the winding six-hour trek back to Telluride alone.
Jordan wondered now, as Deb continued her diatribe, if Seth, like
Ira, felt for some reason that he didn't fit in to the Telluride
scene or if he was deciding it was Jordan that he didn't fit with.
Suddenly she looked down and noticed that she had been snipping away
far too much fur and R.P. was beginning to resemble a little black
"Hold his head still," she snapped unreasonably at Deb who
stopped talking just long enough to whisper soothingly to R.P. and
itch his groggy snout before resuming a monologue regarding how
awesome she found the local Reggae music scene to be and how she
really felt natural and comfortable hanging out with the dread crowd
that lived in the busses parked above town.
Apparently Deb, who was too young in Jordan's estimation to have her
musical prognostications taken all that seriously, was sure that
Reggae represented the next wave and was convinced that some of the
crowd who hung out up in the busses would be caught up right in the
middle of the movement. Even though the bus dwellers were too cool
to care about such things. Or maybe couldn't care for religious
reasons, Deb didn't really understand all of that part of it yet but
she was going to get to the bottom of it soon. Deb didn't explain
why she was so confident about all this but said she definitely had
a hunch about it. They just looked the part for what would be the
next "in" thing.
Jordan, who'd been listening to many of them play in various
combinations for years, couldn't really say she disagreed.
Jordan certainly didn't picture Seth's band representing the next
wave of anything despite his confidence that he was destined for
fame and success. Especially since, if the most recent show was any
indication, they seemed to be performing nothing but 70's covers.
Jordan, too young during most of the seventies to do anything but
listen to the radio and absorb the canned musical tastes of others
before graduating to her first Go Gos album in junior high and
eventually following the Grateful Dead into the nineties, couldn't
fathom the phenomena. Apparently, the 70's sound was seeing
resurgence with the college crowd. Seth had explained this to her
backstage while she was helping tote and load the band's gear.
"Gotta make the rounds in the college towns," he had said.
"Gotta be seen. It's where the minds are fresh and the future
is now. And it's where Seth Death and his Jet Set simply must lay it
Jordan fought the suspicion that fresh minds wasn't all Seth liked
about college towns which wasn't easy as she recalled the hoards of
coeds in ridiculous shoes crowding the Flat Iron stage and then,
later, lurking around the tour bus. She grimaced as she suddenly
heard Deb saying "Of course he can just pull that stupid bus
over and sleep anywhere he wants to."
Startled, Jordan thought Deb had infiltrated her musings and spoke
of the refurbished diaper delivery van that served as the Jet Set
tour vehicle. But of course Deb had resumed talking about Ira.
"Maybe he drove into town, drank too much, and just passed out
on a side street either inside of his bus or outside of it in a
ditch or something. That would be a best case. I need him to come
home. For one thing I don't have any goddamned transportation. What
the Hell am I supposed to do out here in the boonies without any
wheels, that's what I'm wanting to know. I suppose I might end up
having to cruise into town and beg Rasta Jones to let me move into
one of those busses. In fact, come to think of it, maybe you could
give R.P. and me a ride up there later on if Ira doesn't show his
guilty ass soon. I'm not going to sit here and wait for him all day
that's for damn sure."
"Do you guys have a phone." Jordan asked absently. She
knew that telephone cables had only recently been run out to the
mesa and many homes hadn't gotten the chance to get hooked up.
Others didn't want to.
"Sure, we both have cellulars but I guess they don't always
work. They're always trying to roam around the stupid mountains or
"And you said he never came back from the walk?"
"No I said he did come back. He must have because the bus is
gone. After I ran down the hill I waited for him but he never came
and I was afraid to go back up because of those goddamned wolves.
Only thing I can think is that Ira went around the other way and
just got in the bus and left before I got there. At first I was glad
because I'm getting worried about his temper. I mean it's not like
back in the city. Back in the City, everyone is so uptight that
someone is always shouting shit in your face for no reason and you
know, Ira just sort of blended in, but you can see that it's so
peaceful here and the only person I've heard shout anything lately
has been Ira. Anyway, when I finally got down to the house nobody
was there. He didn't take anything with him as far as I could tell
and I thought he might have just gone to Shorty's on a beer run or
something. He's been drinking an awful lot lately also and sometimes
I wish he would just..."
"Wait a minute," Jordan cut in, "He didn't take extra
clothes with him or anything? How about money or his wallet?"
Deb's answer was surrounded and drowned by Jordan's ringing phone.
Answering it, she raised an eyebrow at Deb. It was Sherman Proud on
the other end asking if Jordan could come over and look at one of
his dogs. It seemed that one of them had been badly mauled in some
kind of fight and wouldn't stop bleeding.
"I'd like to see the animal that pulled this off," Sherman
was blurting into the phone. "It must be a deep wound because
the blood won't stop dripping out of his neck. That damn cougar of
yours wasn't off her leash again last night was she?"
Assuming Sherman had talked to his wife about the encounter with R.P.
Jordan inquired what had come over his dogs that they were out
attacking everything in sight, not to mention being off their
leashes. She reminded him that if he wasn't even going to bother
following his own ridiculous laws than nobody else was very likely
to start. When Sherman admitted in a reluctant, abashed voice that
he hadn't seen his wife since the night before and his dogs must
have gotten out somehow, Jordan was all attention. He'd assumed the
whole time that they were with Rosemary somewhere until one of them
suddenly showed up whimpering and bleeding. He didn't say if he'd
seen the other one or speculate where he thought his wife might be.
So both Ira Gold and Rosemary Rosewater had gone missing? Jordan
briefly considered the possibility that they may have run off
somewhere together but if the tale Deb Finkelstein had spun were
true that didn't make a whole lot of sense. Then again pairings in
Telluride rarely did. Something strange was going on, of that Jordan
was now sure. That Ira and Rosemary had run off together and R.P.,
while trying to keep his ears on his head, had ripped into a major
artery in the neck of one of Sherman's wolves, made up the least
surprising set of explanations that Jordan could think of and both
were scenarios that seemed highly unlikely. Not that, in Jordan's
opinion, both Sherman and Deb weren't worth fleeing into the night
to get away from. Looking at R.P., however, as he lay on her kitchen
table licking himself and one of Jordan's homemade doggie treats
alternately, he certainly didn't look capable of doing much harm.
She assured Sherman she'd be over as soon as she could, right after
she ran Deb and R.P. down to their cabin and then clicked off the
connection before sliding the phone in the pocket of her hiking
shorts. She had the feeling she wasn't done using it that day.