Slaughtering Marie.

4 Oct

I’m very non-partisan on my tours. I tell people where to find the Bible that George W. Bush used for his first inauguration. I mention that Barack Obama is the first President to graduate from Columbia University. And that Eisenhower was President of Columbia when he ran for POTUS. I mention that our Mayor was a Republican but is now an Independent. I point out Fox News which is oddly on the left going up Sixth Avenue, while MSNBC is oddly on the right. 
 
Today, some bitch of a woman who volunteered without me ever asking that she is an ‘office-holder’ for the Women Republicans in St. Louis, whatever the fuck that means, a woman who has been riding my ass for two days now because she somehow assumed and correctly so that I am a Liberal Democrat, asked as we passed his three-story movie poster in Times Square, “How did you like Clint Eastwood at the Convention?” It pissed me off that she made that assumption when I really try to report and not comment.
 
So I replied enthusiastically, “Oh, Marie, I thought everything about him was hilarious.” She misunderstood as was my intention.
 
Marie is rather tall, made taller by a tuft of blondish loose curls that float above her head like the marabou feathers on a muppet. She makes the mistake of lining her lips with a darker shade of the pinkish red she uses as a lipstick. This makes her ever-moving mouth even more animated. I imagine she was a very lovely woman in her youth, but decided to claw on to that memory with her painted fingernails rather than slide into ‘handsome,’ as is certainly her prerogative. But she doesn’t quite pull it off. Her smeary foundation and spackled eyeshadow give her the desperate look of the unwilling.
 
Marie wears bold jewelry. She had on pretty and large silver square button earrings today. She also made the mistake of losing one on the floor of the motorcoach in front of my seat as she re-boarded at the Chelsea Market. I found it. It was a clip-on. It was plastic. The silver was wearing away to white. She grabbed it out of my hand like a broken promise.
 
I cannot remember what outfit Marie was wearing yesterday because what she was wearing today was so preposterous it obliterated any past cognition. Some kind of safari-wear that some salesgirl talked her into when Marie explained she was going some place exotic, I expect. Khaki cargo pants with four thousand pockets. And a khaki, what, cargo vest? With five thousand pockets. 
 
At the World Financial Center, in the middle of my rather detailed and lengthy and if I do say so, compelling speech about the rebuilding of the new World Trade Center, she interrupted me like an idiot child and said, mostly to herself, “Look at the elevator going up the side of the building.” So I paused. I paused long long moments and just let her stupidity hang in the heavy air. Everyone around me knew what I was doing. The sound of eyes rolling was the loudest thing down there in eleven years.
 
Passing Barrow Street, I mentioned that Vice-President Aaron Burr once owned the land there, a man who shot Alexander Hamilton in a duel, making him the first seated Vice-President to shoot someone. I then asked, “And who was the second seated Vice-President to shoot somebody?”
 
Nobody got it. 
 
So I told them, of course. Dick Cheney. 
 
Everybody laughed. Except for Marie who piped in, “Oh, come on. That was a mistake.”
 
I talked right over her, “Yes, Marie. See? We agree. That was indeed one of our biggest mistakes.”
 
   *****************************************
 
The people of St. Louis left today and took with them an unexpectedly large sum of my affection. They were kind, and dropped a small fortune my way as a tip to boot. Even Marie hugged me as we parted. I had finished her off, you see, but to her great credit, she was gracious in defeat.
 
On our way down to Battery Park, at the top of the morning, I took the half hour before me to painstakingly go over the procedure involved in boarding the ferry boats:
 
We have airport style security ahead of us. Everything must come out of your pockets. To be safe, just take everything out of your pockets. Wallets, cash, keys, cell phones, tissues, cameras, everything. Ladies, you can put all of those items in your handbag, place that in the bin which will go through the scanner. Gentlemen, you can put all those items in the pocket of your jacket, remove that, and place that in the bin which will go through the scanners. The idea is to consolidate now to expedite later. Three other items have to come off, your watches, your belts, and your hats. All other jewelry beyond watches can remain on. If you happen to have anything on your keychain, like a pocket knife, scissors, a clipper, or mace, leave that behind on the bus, as the authorities will confiscate that item and not return it to you. Once through security, wait for me in the holding tent. We will all gather there before boarding the ferry.
 
I go through all of that. Twice. I kid you not.
 
Having said all of that and twice, Marie launched into a series of questions that, had I not secretly hoped she would have behaved this way, I might have belted her across the face.
 
“Can I bring my camera?”
 
“Yes, Marie, you can bring your camera. Take it out of your pocket though.”
 
“What about my jewelry?”
 
While resisting the urge to point out that I knew firsthand her jewelry was plastic, I said, “As I mentioned a few times, jewelry is fine and need not be removed.”
 
“But my watch is jewelry.”
 
“I told you, Marie, watches have to come off.”
 
“But why?”
 
I lost my mind a bit here and said, frankly and honestly, in her face, plainly, pointedly, with the candor I reserve for the insane, “Watches have to come off because terrorists use them as detonators and belts have to come off because terrorists pack them with Semtex.”
 
While I hoped the fear of the Taliban might shut her up, she merely prattled on. On our walk through Battery Park, she was on me like a fly on shit. And I’ll take the metaphor for what I did to her a little later. Marie was rather full of the things that needed to be dealt with, pockets full of change and a smart phone, a money clip with a thick wad of cash, a fanny pack, a hat, a hat that Spencer Tracy might have worn fishing, but a hat that she bought recently when I imagine she told the girl, “I want a hat that looks like the hat Spencer Tracy might have worn fishing because I’m going on a boat one of the days I’ll be in New York City, did I mention I’m going to be in New York City?” kind of hat, and, most noticeably, the biggest, brightest, longest red coat I have ever laid eyes on. It was the only thing she could have worn to draw attention away from those red-lined lips. 
 
I tore away from her and left her in my dust at the security tent.
 
In the holding tent, I waited for every one else. Marie came through first. She walked up to me with her arms outstretched, freer, it seemed, from all the detritus with which she had begun her day. I knew exactly what she had done, but I kept it to myself, and waited for the entire group to gather. 
 
Once we were all assembled, I said, feigning spontaneity, “Marie, didn’t you have a coat and a hat and a fanny pack full of things?”
 
“Yes. I put it all in the bin like you told me.”
 
“Yes, but Marie, you have to pick it up again, you know, if you ever want to see it again.”
 
And she went careening back, marabou all aflutter. “Ladies and gentlemen,” I said, loud enough for her to hear, gesturing towards her fleeing back, “I give you the Recording Secretary of the St. Louis Women Republicans Club.”
 
Applause.

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4 Responses to “Slaughtering Marie.”

  1. pouringmyartout October 5, 2012 at 12:33 am #

    Long time no hear. Too bad she wasn’t smart enough to get what you were really saying.

  2. Dugutigui November 7, 2012 at 1:37 pm #

    It’s clear that New York exudes a strength that totally trash other US states, and if you can not face it, you better stay bloody away. New York is a character-builder: No bullshit tolerated Marie!!
    Excellent post, as usual…

    • NC Coot November 16, 2012 at 10:58 pm #

      Thanks, D!

      I’ve been away from my blog for a bit and it was very heartwarming to return to your compliment. I’m very grateful.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Day 18: Blog Love | Between Roots and Wings - June 18, 2014

    […] His writing is colorful, surprising, and full of unabashed snark. You know his characters, and you can laugh along, secure in the knowledge that you would never be that tourist! For instance, from one of my favorites,”Slaughtering Marie“: […]

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