sounded bright and cheerful on the phone. Many callers sound like
they have a hard time getting out of bed themselves, so perkiness
counts. When I told her my weight, she wasn't fazed, and mentioned
three years' experience. So I set a time and gave her directions.
calls at one from the southwest corner of the BART station. Decidedly
the wrong corner, and she seems unclear as to which way the bay
lies. I redirect her and flick my gaze out into the courtyard
glare for the next half-hour.
arrives with her sister from Arizona. I didn't know she had a
sister. Sister doesn't look like Isobelshorter, much older,
with tight curly black hair to Isobel's straight black bowl, an
angular face to Isobel's slack round one. Sister glares at me
and reproaches, "We got lost on the way here," despite precise
directions given twice.
mousily asks for a drink of water while her sister growls, "Where's
the bathroom?" I decide to have Isobel lift me from wheelchair
to bed, hoping she'll screw up and I won't have to interview her.
As we enter the bedroom she asks how much I weigh. The answer
makes her groan. "But I told you that on the phone!" "Yes, and
you're six-foot three inches, right?" Why does she remember that?
Now she stands before me and lunges, trying to lift me. I restrain
her, asking her to let me tell her how to lift me, and to take
off her belt pack. She reaches for the snap.
has a rightward swastika tattooed on her right hand, between thumb
and forefinger. Strike four, although I'm hardly counting as fear
replaces annoyance. She doesn't get me off the landing strip,
in fact she barely lifts me at all, but winces from the back pain
anyway. "This business is really for strong people," she notes
as she scuttles out of the bedroom. I'm wondering about the three
years experience as well as what sister is up to.
is huddling with her sister by the front door as I round the corner.
At least Isobel is huddling; her sister blurts, "So you going
to be the boss around here?" "No, no, he's too heavy," and then
smiles upon seeing me. "I'm sorry it didn't work out. You seem
like a nice man."
hustles her sister out the door and they fade into the courtyard
glare. I glance at the empty bowl to my right and return to the
dark heads bobbing out of sight and think of the heavy coins bobbing
heads tails heads tails in sister's pocket as she walks. Two against
one avoidedI'm just out some time and my laundry quarters.
That makes me a lucky guy, and keeps me the boss around here.