TAMARA FAITH BERGER
The Rusty Toque | Issue 4 | Fiction | February 15, 2014
We met when we were kids.
Thirteen didn’t used to be a kid.
I thought she was the most beautiful kid on the block.
My mother told me: he’s persistent.
Your mother used to bake givicles and give it to me on my way home from school.
Mel, they don’t know from givicles.
The goys know givicles!
Let me apologize for him.
Don’t apologize. I can say goy. They don’t mind the word goy.
I’ve never dyed my hair, not one day in my life. This is all natural.
It’s true. My girl is a real blonde.
Toronto had a lot of ugly Jewish girls downtown.
Oh, I remember, Mare. You were the belle of the ball.
My mother had the best man there was. My father was a good man, a salesman.
I second that, Ladies and Gents.
Oh, they were so ashamed. It was a real disgrace...
Excuse her. She’s excitable these days.
I am telling you the way he did it was unheard of.
I have apologized for this, how many times? She still will not forgive me.
This is not something you apologize for.
And so you disappear?
I was abducted.
She disappeared, the doctor says, because she was angry.
I disappeared because I was abducted.
I apologize. The wife hasn’t been feeling too well.
Those people came for me in an Infiniti. We lived in a big house, remember?
What? Who says the mayor cannot have a fancy house?
Did you people get that on film? Isn’t it a hoot when he does that?
So, Mare, you’re not mad at me anymore?
I was abducted by three people who came for me in an Infiniti.
The police confirmed it was false. They’ve got a term for that: figment.
It’s not a figment. Mavis came from St. Lucia. She was born in Soufrière.
Again with the Mavis and the suffering...
Soufrière is a volcano. It’s like a spa.
Only in the Caribbean!
And Kent had a scar under his eye, gouged out, yech.
This is false. You’ll have to just listen to her now.
They drove up in an Infiniti. When Kent knocked on the door I didn’t know if we were getting our fridges done. He looked like one of those plumbers that my father used to employ, you know that type? He had on a musician jacket, the zippers were in diagonals everywhere, so many pockets. I was in my dressing coat, the one from Paris, you remember? Kent had his hand on something in the zipper, the one near his shoulder. I didn’t used to get dressed until noon. I just saw the tip, something shiny. Our refrigerator in the basement was leaking. Okay, if someone wants to rape you, you don’t struggle.
He wanted to rape you? What are you saying, Marilyn? Turn the cameras off.
Keep the fekuckteh cameras on.
You don’t struggle? Rape, we’re talking about.
You think I don’t know from rape?
God, I apologize. Bernie said this new medication would make her confused.
I am not confused. It is not a false memory, either.
Bingo! The satanic daycares, you people remember that?
I am not having False Memory Syndrome! Kent came in the Infiniti for me.
We used to say Lucifer must’ve been suckling the babies down south.
Mavis was in the back seat, Kent was in the front, Sugar Ray was driving.
Sugar Ray? This is the first I hear of a Sugar Ray.
Sugar Ray was from Grenada.
Who the hell gets abducted by a Sugar Ray?
They knew what I looked like. They knew that I was a very fancy woman.
Bernie said to humour her sometimes.
They were all about twenty-five years old. They don’t ever get wrinkles like us.
Just listen, humour.
If someone wants to rape you, Mel, you don’t struggle.
Okay, okay, yes dear, okay.
The boy tied my hands behind my back. I never screamed. When he led me out of the house, my robe blew open and I couldn’t close it, but still I never screamed. Mavis put the blindfold on me. Mavis was a nice girl. She closed up my robe in the car. She laced it. She said that they didn’t want to hurt me. They wanted the diamonds in the safe from our garage.
They knew about the safe? You told them about the safe?
Mavis had a man who appraised diamonds.
What nonsense is this now?
Mavis was a nurse. She was struggling to get her kids over. She said they were putting a gag ball in so I wouldn’t scream. That car drove too fast but I never screamed. Mavis said that her mother was a nurse too. She already had three little boys back in St. Lucia, near the volcano, Soufrière. Maybe that’s why her skin was so nice. Sugar Ray was not nice. Mavis was arguing with Kent that he didn’t need to push the gun too hard in my side. She could see how it hurt me. I have delicate ribs. I’d thought it was a blade he’d showed me, a kitchen knife. He pushed the gun into my delicate ribs. Money never hurts, does it, Mel?
Did you know that she does charity work for children, my wife?
This was before cell phones. Today, I would have dialled 911 with my touchas.
She’s still got a sense of humour, my Marilyn.
They like to see us suffer because we were rich. That’s our fekuckteh legacy, Mel.
She needs her medication. What time is it?
You were with them when I was abducted, not our boys.
Sit down, Marilyn, sit down please. The cameras are still going.
Sugar Ray was right. In the bedroom, Sugar Ray said, “Marilyn, a cock is love.”
Oh my God. Sit down. She doesn’t know what she’s saying, my God.
Kent cooked Escovitch. A cock is love. Can you broadcast that?
Mare, please. Shut up, Mare.
Don’t touch me.
No, no, I wouldn’t touch.
My robe was laced up. Mavis helped me lace my robe. We had such a big house, and we got Marina for the boys. Back then, the nannies were the Black ladies, not like the Filipinas now. He told me I should get rid of the maid. Marina, she was overworked. She cleaned our toilets. She made the boys food. I ate Escovitch. That’s a kind of whole fish. It melts in the mouth. I yelled at Marina when dinner wasn’t right. My god, I yelled at her so many times.
We were responsible employers. We were giving these women jobs.
Our boys had everything they could dream of.
I didn’t do a thing to help Mavis get her kids over.
There is no Mavis. She’s conflating.
They let me take off my hood, and we ate together a delicious shabbos meal.
She calls it a hood now. Listen to her! I thought it was a blindfold.
It was a little spicy for me, but it was a delicious meal, the fish with the head on.
I think we’re almost finished here?
I yelled at Marina. I yelled at her when it was my fault that there was no food.
Shhh, just listen. She’ll be done soon.
Mavis was real. She was deported. My stomach was in knots. You have no idea. I gave Mavis the combination, and I told them they could come back when I was out. He was out all the time. He didn’t care. Why should I care if he doesn’t care? He was with that woman and her kids, yech. Take my diamonds, I told them. I let them do what they wanted. What do I need so many diamonds for? When Marina left us, she gave no notice, just like that – gone. The boys cried for days. I had to learn how to make their lunches like she did, the dishes... Mavis told me what that’s called. She had three babies and a full-time job. Three babies needed her, she said. Children should be with their mother and their father, she said.
Cut. We’re done. She needs her pills.
I should have listened to my mother who said that a man would not be deserving of a girl like me. I should have listened to Mavis who said that a woman cannot have too much proper education. Or else you get doom. Fekuckteh doom.
The grandkids are coming over, and I want her to be awake.
I have no more confidence, Mel. None at all.
Six million years I’ve been yoked and I’ve had it. Unforgiving. She’s unforgiving!
I would live on top of screaming floors, I would live on the twenty-fifth floor. I would live on top of other humans, in filth, with a toilet that does not flush. I would live like this because life is not to give away. It is not to give away and spread your seed.
Marilyn, I told you never to say that ever again! It’s disgusting!
Cock is love. This is true? A cock is love.
TAMARA FAITH BERGER lives in Toronto. Her books are Maidenhead (Coach House, 2012) and The Way of the Whore and Lie With Me, soon to be re-released together as Little Cat (Coach House, 2013).