A HOSEMASTER OF WINE™ PULP FICTION CLASSIC
Chapter 7 Love is Phylloxera
First of all, I need to start locking my office door. The body on the floor began to moan. So she wasn’t dead, I surmised. She didn’t even seem hurt. She seemed drunk. And not just a little drunk, she was bachelorette party drunk. If you’d searched for her with GPS it would show her location as Obliterated. I’ve been there. Nice town, but blurry. I have a second home there. I use it on weekends.
She was lying face down, her spectacular ass in the air sporting a perfect southern exposure. Nice spot for a picnic, I thought. She seemed to be trying to get up, but wasn’t having any luck. I decided to give her a hand. The applause seemed to get her attention. I have to say, a drunk babe on the floor is solid entertainment. Ask any Britney Spears fan. And then she vomited.
I lifted her pretty head off the carpet, got my arms underneath her, and wrestled her into a chair. She was only barely conscious and she reeked of wine, though it was expensive wine, probably aged in French oak and from a cool climate. I was pretty sure it was Syrah, though the smell of new bile could have been influencing me. She was pretty nubile herself. She looked young to me, mid-twenties, and was probably beautiful underneath all that alcoholic haze. What the hell was she doing in my office? She couldn’t have walked up the stairs without some help. Who had helped her up the stairs? And what did the HoseMaster have to do with any of this? Yeah, I like free drunk babe home delivery as much as the next guy, but next time bring me one that isn’t so well done.
It took a couple of hours, but I got enough coffee into her to sober her up enough to speak. To be careful, I’d patted her down. And she had plenty of down. I patted it several times. I wondered if she liked her wines natural too.
“Thanks, HoseMaster,” she managed to mumble, “thanks for cleaning me up.”
“So you know who I am. Now who are you, and who brought you here?”
“My name is Mallory. Mallory O’Lactic.” Irish. I should have known. She certainly had the classic red hair. Her hair was the color of Grignolino, which made sense. Seeing her sprawled on my office floor, it was obvious she’d descended from great Heitz.
“Nice to meet you, Mallory. You made quite an entrance. You messed up my carpet.”
“Feels like you messed up mine, too.” She was quick. I was starting to like Mallory.
“Do you live around here?” I asked her, trying to change the subject.
“No. Not at all. I’m from Chicago. I’m here studying for an M.W. test I’m going to be taking next month.”
I don’t believe in coincidences. I don’t believe in a lot of things. I don’t believe in Santa Claus, or the Easter Bunny, or Karen MacNeil—in reality, those are just three empty costumes. I don’t believe in aliens from outer space. If they existed, they’d be here taking jobs from Americans. I don’t believe in love either. Love is like phylloxera. Just another louse that attacks your roots. And then you die.
“You know, Mallory, it seems like you take this studying a little too seriously. You should learn to spit.”
“I wasn’t studying last night. I was out with a bunch of other M.W. candidates and, well, I guess we got carried away. The last thing I remember I was getting in a car with this beautiful blonde woman, Crystal something, I think, and a bunch of other people. And then I don’t remember anything until I wake up and you’re like lousy Chardonnay--going through Mallory O’Lactic. Which is the yeast of my problems.” Yeah, I liked Mallory a lot.
“So you know Crystal Geyser?” I didn’t want to be the one to break the news to her that Crystal was deader than a winery floorstacked at Trader Joe’s. That was some party they’d had last night.
“Sure, everybody studying for an M.W. knows Crystal. She hangs around all the guys. Strange woman, though.”
“Strange? How do you mean?”
“Just strange. She told me last night, I must have been sober still, that she was sure she was going to be murdered. That’s strange, don’t you think?”
“Maybe. But, Mallory,” I told her gently, “she was right.”
And it was only then, when she fainted and I caught her before she hit my floor again, that I noticed she was wearing Avril’s bracelet.