Letter From Milo: Lovely Vivian

June 12th, 2019

As promised, here are the next few pages of a work in progress called “The Aristocrat House,” in which Uncle Rudy begins taking advantage of an unfortunate one-legged woman named Vivian.

The Aristocrat House (next couple of pages)

“What the fuck do you care where I got the money,” he replied, still admiring his reflection in the mirror. “Swear to God, sometimes I think all that artsy-fartsy scribbling you do is turning you into a faggot.” Turning and pointing at my backpack, he added, “Why don’t you quit wasting your time with that shit and do something useful for a change, like learn how to shoot pool or play cards, something that’ll bring in some money.”

Ignoring him, I said, “Doesn’t matter to me where you got the money, but all those cop cars pulling up downstairs seem real interested.”

Uncle Rudy’s swarthy face turned as pale as a doily. He yelped “shit!” and rushed to the window. He had a terrible fear of incarceration. He had been in jail a few times and the experiences didn’t agree with him.

When Uncle Rudy peeked out of the window and saw nothing but the bleak landscape of factory refuse, his ashen face returned to its normal ruddy color. When he heard me laughing, he muttered an unintelligible curse and half-heartedly swung a backhand in my direction. But I knew it was coming and ducked away. He was generous with his backhands, though none too accurate.

Still staring out of the window, Uncle Rudy reached into his pocket and pulled out his bottle. “I still can’t believe that whore threw me out,” he muttered, morosely, then had a drink, smacked his lips and put the bottle away. “You’d think a bitch with only one fucking leg would have more sense.”

Sighing deeply, he walked to the edge of the bed, sat down and rested his head in his hands. “Stupid fucking cunts,” he muttered again, “don’t even know when they’ve got it good.”

For the past month or so we had been living with a Mexican woman named Vivian, in her small apartment near the lake. Vivian had lost her right leg, above the knee, in an industrial accident. She was a heavy drinker and I suppose that’s why she and Uncle Rudy got along so well at first. They stayed up late every night, drinking themselves senseless. When Vivian got good and drunk she would start crying about her missing leg.

“You don’t know what it’s like for a girl not to have two good legs,” she said, sobbing. “I can’t even wear a decent dress or high heels. Can’t go dancing. Can’t even go for a God damn walk in the park.”

Uncle Rudy did his best to soothe her. “Oh, baby, you’re my sweet little angel,” he told her, drunkenly, his eyes welling with sympathetic tears. “You mean everything to me. I’d love you if you didn’t have any legs at all, or arms, either.”

“You mean that, Rudy? You’re not just saying that?”

As I mentioned, Vivian had a small apartment. She fixed me up with a roll-away bed in the pantry, just off the tiny kitchen. But I was just a few feet away from the living room and could hear everything they were saying and doing.

“I would never lie to you, baby,” Uncle Rudy assured her. “You want another drink?”

“Please, honey, and drop another cube in it.”

There was silence for a while, then drunken giggling and laughter, followed by a lengthier silence. Then I heard Uncle Rudy’s voice again, thick and slurred.

“That’s it, Viv, don’t stop.”

“Do you like it, Rudy? Do I make you happy?”

“You’re the best, Viv. Swear to fucking Christ, nobody does it better.”

I couldn’t help myself. I had to look. I snuck out of the pantry and carefully peeked into the living room. The lights were low and all I could see was Vivian’s prosthetic leg, with its elaborate system of buckles and leather straps, leaning against the coffee table.

I poked my head farther into the darkened room and saw that both of them were still on the couch. Uncle Rudy’s eyes were closed and his trousers and underwear were bunched around his ankles. Vivian’s head was in his lap and she was greedily tending to his erection, her head bobbing up and down like a plump strutting pigeon. When Uncle Rudy opened his eyes and looked down at Vivian, an odd expression came over his face. It wasn’t a look that I recognized or had ever seen before. It wasn’t passion or excitement or even drunken lust. The only way I can describe the expression was to call it a look of perfect serenity, the same idiot’s smile that I’d seen in pictures of the Dalai Lama, the Pope and some of the more inbred members of the British royal family. It was as if he had come through a terrible storm and had finally reached quiet waters. The hard edges of his face seemed as if they had been buffed away. The crafty gleam in his eyes had softened to a dull glaze of contentment. He had eaten well that day, was drinking to his heart’s content, and was now having a woman cater to his sexual needs. All was right in Uncle Rudy’s world. He was at peace.

We stayed at Vivian’s for a little more than a month. Vivian didn’t pay much attention to me. She was indifferent to my presence, rarely speaking to me or acknowledging my existence. I figured she tolerated me, the way a dog lover tolerates fleas, as the price she had to pay for Uncle Rudy’s company.

Still, living there wasn’t too bad. I had plenty to eat, a warm place to sleep and clean clothes to wear. Vivian was grouchy in the mornings, which was understandable, considering the amount of alcohol she drank in the evenings. But I learned to avoid her until early afternoon, when she and Uncle Rudy started their drinking and carousing.

I would have been content to stay there a while longer, but, of course, Uncle Rudy ruined it for both of us. He began stealing from Vivian. I knew we were in trouble when, one morning, I heard her ask, “Rudy, honey, have you seen my pearl ear rings anywhere? I thought I left them on the coffee table last night.”

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