Sip and See at Chifferobe! February 7, 5-7
Let’s Talk About Love, with Marshall Arts’ Jimbo and Alicia
Unlike the scene upstairs in Ellie’s apartment where Frederick spent the night but was totally innocent, downstairs in Neetu’s apartment sparks flew when Elrod slipped and fell in the lobby of 44 Cherry Street and was helped into Neetu’s bedroom. If you recall, Neetu was celebrating Diwali and created a beautiful mandala of colored rice on the terrazzo lobby floor, and Elrod returning from The Town Pump spun around and landed on the floor. Neetu heard the crash and rushed out to help him up. She felt so responsible for the accident. She led him into her apartment, and once inside, Elrod felt as if he were in a dreamworld.
Neetu had turned her small apartment into an Indian confection. Statues of Ganesh, Indra, Parvati, and Annapurna Devi stood on tables and stands around the living room, and each had been draped in heavy garlands of fresh flowers. She had hung silk embroidered and painted hangings on the walls, and had replaced the couch and chairs with colorful silk cushions. Stacks of Kantha throws were piled in the corner to wrap up in if one got cold. Sticks of sandalwood incense burned so the air was heavy with sweet scents. For the holidays, she had draped the walls with colorful paper bunting.
Elrod had never seen anything like it! On top of that he had hit his head and was a bit dizzy. Added to all that was the buzz he had tied on at the Pump. His head swiveled from side to side when Neetu led him into the apartment. He lifted his nicked and scabbed carpenter’s hand to his head and scratched with a grimy finger. A shower of flakes drifted down before his eyes and added to the impression that he was in a fairy land. Was that fairy dust? Or was it dandruff? It looked so durn pretty, though!
“Dang!” he pronounced eloquently.
Neetu had prepared an assortment of sweet snacks she had learned to create when she was with the Hari Krishnas in New York. She had been on the kitchen staff there, and she was grateful for that. The others had to go out in the cold streets of New York City dressed only in thin saffron colored wraps, chanting and attempting to sell Hare Krishna books all day. The kitchen staff worked all day before the street staff returned to the residence to prepare a meal consisting of small balls of dough of flour, sugar and cinnamon, and others made of milk and sugar with alum that gave a quick burst of energy and a feeling of well-being. Neetu had also prepared some steaming homemade chai made with half and half.
She settled Elrod on a pile of pillows on the floor and prepared him a sweet snack of pastries and chai. He wolfed down the food and slurped the chai, rubbed his exposed belly, and belched long and low.
Neetu had never before met anyone like Elrod. On one hand, he was nasty-looking. He had that greasy red hair going every which way on his balding head with its receding hairline. His face was generally scarlet, but when he got excited, it turned almost purple. It was purple now. He was missing most of his teeth and always had a wad of chew in his cheek. His clothes were unkempt and smelled of yesterday’s workday. And he was always complaining of some ache or pain. He also imagined that people were plotting against him and talked about what he planned to do to get even. (One example was a clerk in a convenience store who allegedly had snapped his picture and posted it on her Facebook page. That made Elrod furious!)
Yet, there was some undefined magic about the man. There was nothing fussy or precious about him. He had his ideas and was supremely confident in them, even if they were crazy. He had the look of love in his eyes, red as valentines. He did everything Large. If he had the sniffles, it became a Man Cold with loud coughing and nose blowing. In short, he was all man. He exuded some kind of magnetic appeal.
Neetu had always known men who were dandified. They were devotees in the ashram in India. They were academics at home in a library but not in the wilderness. They were caregivers in hospitals and veterinary clinics. And they were Hari Krishna men wearing saffron robes and unquestioningly obeying the strict rules of that group. They were men who showered every day and had clean fingernails. Elrod was different. He had sex appeal! She felt drawn to him in a way she couldn’t control.
She led him into the bedroom, brushed the crumbs off his face and clothing, and pushed him onto the bed. As he fell, he grabbed the end of her sari and pulled, spinning her around and around until she was naked. Then she dove on top of him.
Happy Diwali, y’all!