Old and New
He says that to a gorgeous Technicolor woman hovering over his bed? Okay, Ole Lindendahl is a
big fat meatloaf not worthy of my trying to associate with. He quit writing songs for the band
immediately after Heads Up, the first collaboration, and just hit the skins, getting fatter and
balder. I don’t think he has any hobbies besides drumming and mowing the lawn and drinking
beer. When he’s not staying in his room at the Steel Virgins Ltd, I can barely locate him unless
he’s thinking about the music. Let his wife and kids in Encino have him to themselves.
Steen dying just meant the end to Lindendahl. He feels retired, and only showed up here for the
probate stuff. I am not even going to bother with Tiger-fingers. Murray Lin seemed a little too
eager to kick Rufus out of the property and start his damn music school here, all tax deductible.
Right after the funeral Rufus caught him breezing through the downstairs studio, making entries
into his Blackberry and talking as if it was a done deal into his little headset.
“Lin, who are you selling the farm to?”
The pianist in the pinstriped suit let out a long-suffering sigh. “Nobody, Rudy. It’s just in case--”
Dixon roundhouse kicked him through the picture window. Admittedly he was already a bit
buzzed; there was Jack Daniels in the glass he set carefully down first. Alarms went off, the
bodyguards came running, and he ran out to pick Murray up out of the hedge and tell him how
that it was too soon to decide the future of the Ltd.
While the window was awaiting repair, Rufy and I moved back into the bus. Everything still
works. Being Rufus, there was a party, and plenty of hangers-on, some of whom were willing to
fiddle while he played mandolin. The ferrets are long gone so nobody got nipped. But we all got
very drunk, even me, because I shared my man’s intoxication. Tia and the boys were there, and
even the Moffs. Moffs aren’t allowed in the house, though.
Cammie even felt Rufus up, which amused us both quite a bit. Lily pulled her off him at last,
saying it was practically incest. ‘Don’t gross me out; go for Germaine,’ is how she phrased it.
What can I say? She’s a Moff.
Rufus’ eldest grandchild by Junie, Germaine, has gradually moved in with him. Junie doesn’t
want him to be alone. Whatever Patty might think, to her he’s dad. Biology isn’t everything.
Since he’s too mature for a lot of the stereotypical grandson behaviors, he’s just sort of a
brotherly companion. And he goes to community college too; it’s all very beneficial to his
Sometimes I think he might notice I’m there. When he catches Rufus mumbling to me aloud,
which he will do sometimes for emphasis, I think he wonders. Silver hair and wrinkles excuse a
lot, to the young. I wonder if he gets his pipes cleaned as often as his grandpa does? He doesn’t
always come home at night.
a glow about her. I mentioned it to Rufus and he just smiled and let it slide.
He plans on going to a jam session down in the valley this evening—all acoustic. It’s so lovely
when I can attend. They play for pleasure and not money. Rufus has grown his beard out
especially, and wears spectacles he doesn’t really need, in order to be anonymous. Believe it or
not, Cammie and Tia play there too. He says Cammie is going to go bald like Ole if she doesn’t
give up drumming.
But I am not in the mood for music. I am remembering Steen, away from his music. It was such
a shock to find him all alone in this very bus one day, while Rufus was off getting ‘she dumped
me’ sympathy from his many ladies. He was making quite a cross country trip out of it, actually.
Manny and let himself in here.
I’d been missing Internet access because it wasn’t on Rufy’s mind at all just then, so when the
bus PC went online, it drew me. And there was Steen, even without his ferrets; they’d all been
left with the kids as if nothing had changed.
He spoke aloud, bitter as that horrible coffee boiled through aluminum and wire that he cooked
himself sometimes. “Anna doesn’t want me there. I have to wait for visitation days.” He met my
five eyes, even the ones on my chest, then let me flow down from around the monitor where I’d
been hovering and curl around him like a big fluffy blanket of twinkles. I pressed my tiara to his
creased brow, trying to smooth it.
He was almost a stone again, but not from rage; it was leaden sadness, and it cost him much
effort to heave a sigh against it. Then he blinked exactly once and wrote in my mind’s eye, our
easiest form of speaking. It’s happening. No way to stop it. His eyes were wide open and staring,
and tears simply dripped out of them and rolled into his beard. They were not focused on
anything, but I looked over at the monitor to see what he’d pulled up anyway.
It was the middle daughter Lise’s page on Zango. She was calling herself Pizzagrrrl90. There
was a photo of Bjarne and a caption—Cutest stink-butt. Rufus had been right. The kids had
took a few breaths. ‘Visitation’ or not, this was the time of day when he made seven calls to
seven phone numbers, even Lily’s. Anna would answer for the baby and hold it to his ear,
because she wouldn’t dream of interfering. And every conversation this night contained the
words, Jeg elsker deg, which means I love you, more than once.
When he got to little Nina, she just cried into the phone, and so did he. She was six. Eventually
he simply told her to take very good care of Ronya, who is a ferret, and ended the call. In
retrospect I think that was the hardest one for him.
When all the calls were made, he opened his shirt and began to claw at his own chest. It looked
like he wanted to tear his own nipples off. He only stopped when I plastered myself all over him
front to front and blanketed him with whiteness, and even then darkness was leaking out of his
Heidi; it hurts.”
I don’t want to tell any more. Steen or Steena might not want me to tell, and I know the Steen I
am remembering wouldn’t. I can’t always fix it when they hurt.
But as I sat here leaking remembered sadness, Germaine walked in. He looked right at me, and
then rubbed his eyes. Rufus had already left for his acoustical date. He knew nobody should be
using the PC, especially not some naked chick wearing a crown.
He’s getting his nerve up to say something….
“I didn’t believe it…”
Now this really cheers me up.