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Tales From The Oddside(4)

By:Al Bruno III


He tripped oversomething on his way to the refrigerator, something tangled aroundthe heel of his shoe. It was Great Aunt Jill’s forgotten funeralunderwear, Brett laughed to himself he tossed the handful of clothinto the trash and got to work on that sandwich and beer.And he didn’t use asingle coaster or napkin; it made the meal taste even better.*From the ages 12 to 24learned a great many things beyond the basic necessities of survival,like keeping the house neat, his manners perfect and how to sneakdown into the basement laundry room at 1 AM so he could masturbate.Brett also learned that his parents weren’t coming back for him,that he’d been written off.No, not written off…sold off.</ol>


Brett had found outthat for all her frugal living and unwillingness to upgrade to cableTV Great Aunt Jill was rich, not super rich but rich enough to neverneed anything- rich enough to have family members coming to her withtheir hands out morning, noon and night. However since she was stingyGreat Aunt Jill stayed rich and got richer.And as far as Brettcould figure it that was why he was stranded in Elmira because hisparents were trying to win Great Aunt Jill’s heart and cash bygiving here the one thing she never had.A son of her own totake care of, and dote on and emasculateIt didn’t matter howmany times he begged to come home. It didn’t matter that at everyfamily gathering he felt himself drifting further and further fromthe emotional orbit of his parents and siblings until they started totreat him with the same kind of cool affection they’d reserve for athird cousin.Or a Great Aunt.*</ol>


Now that she was gonerelatives were less reluctant to visit Great Aunt Jill’s house andthey were all amazed and alarmed at how much the place had changed inthe three months since her death. 1940’s era wallpaper andlinoleum? Gone. Religious iconography? Gone. Threadbare non-leatherfurniture? Gone. Cool bachelor lifestyle?Well he was working onthat.Of course when hisrelatives did come to call, the conversations always ended upreaching the subject of Great Aunt Jill’s fortune. How much did sheleave? What was he going to do with it? Could they borrow fivehundred dollars to get their car out of the impound lot?Brett quicklydiscovered that the only thing better than having relatives beg youfor money was saying no- especially his parents. He wonderedsometimes what left them more stunned, that Great Aunt Jill hadmanaged to live for as long as she had or that boy they had given toher had somehow managed to wheedle his way into the entireinheritance.*</ol>


“Doyou want to come up for a while?” she asked.The question sentBrett’s pulse rate soaring, her name was Melanie and she was anassistant librarian. Which Brett assumed meant that she hadn’tquite mastered the Dewey Decimal system yet. Although personally hedidn’t care if she had a job gelding horses because she was cute,easy to talk to and interested in him.It was only their firstdate but somewhere between dinner and the show they’d gone fromhand holding to kissing. He hadn’t planned to take things tooquickly but Melanie had plans of her own. Once they were alone in herapartment they wasted no time in finding their way to her bedroom.Shoes off, their bodies rubbed together, they panted nonsense wordsto each other between the kisses.Melanie wasn’t hisfirst, but this was the first time when he had been alone with awoman and it hadn’t felt furtive or clumsy. Brett peeled herclothes away, slowly, savoring every moment of it. Her blouse and bralanded on the floor, he nuzzled the nape of her neck his handsexploring.</ol>


This girl wassomething, really something but he couldn’t quite imagine himselfspending the rest of his life with her. But what as that old saying?That every girl was practice until the right girl came along?Well as far as Brettwas concerned he was going to practice the shit out of this girl.Once he had exhaustedhimself with the possibilities of her exposed breasts Brett reacheddown and undid the zipper of Bernadette’s skirt. By the time he hadit off her she was cooing his name. Brett felt his body begin totremble with anticipation, this was it. He hooked his fingers in thewaistband of her panties; they were exactly the kind of panties hewould have expected to see an assistant librarian wearing- shapeless,white, trimmed with lace.That thought was like asplash of cold water in all the wrong places. He looked back up thelength of her hoping it was a trick of the light but no.She was wearing pantiesjust like Great Aunt Jill’s, a thick asexual square of fabric thatcovered her from crotch to navel.</ol>


“What’swrong?” Melanie asked.“Idon’t feel so…” He dressed clumsily, jamming his feet back intohis shoes and throwing on his jacket, “…I’ll call you.”“What’swrong?” she called after him but he was already halfway down thestairs.<I>What’sthe matter with me? </I>Brettthought as he sped home, <I>Youblew it, and over what? Some underwear that she was going to let youtake off her anyway? </I>But it was more thanthat, seeing that underwear had made him suddenly conscious of thewoman again, of all the restrictions, stress and head games. He hadspent the last six years of his life taking care of her and waitingfor her to die. There was no way he was going to let Great Aunt Jillgo to a nursing home so her estate could be nickel and dimned away tonothing so he had played nursemaid- but playing nursemaid had lefthim with images of the woman’s anatomy floating in hissubconscious.</ol>


The sight of thosepanties had brought one too many clumsy bedpan cleanups to mind.AllBrett wanted now was to get home and get blind stinking drunk- hewould have gone to a strip club but the closest one he knew of was inUtica. Police lights flared to life behind him. <I>Ohwhat the Hell is this? Just because I have a red sports car and I’mgoing… </I>Hechecked the speedometer <I>…40miles an hour above the speed limit. </I>“Shit.”Brett pulled over to the side of the road and tried to remind himselfthat he had a clean record. This was nothing. He would look back atall this someday and laugh.The officer asked, “Sirdo you know how fast you were going back there?”</ol>


Brett shrugged, “Prettyfast? Sorry?”“CouldI get your license and registration please?”The license was in hiswallet, the registration was in his glove compartment buried underthe old Burger Clown paper napkins, owners manual and CDs. He pawedthrough them, tossing Night Ranger and Limp Bizkit’s greatest hitsonto the seat beside him.The napkins were allstuck together somehow and they all came out at once when he pulledat them. They were so old that they had become smooth to the touchand shapeless……andwhite.…andtrimmed with lace.</ol>


Brett screamed.*It took one ticket,field sobriety test and car search before the police let him go home.He wasn’t sure how the panties had gotten there but Brett figuredhe must have pulled them off Melanie when he ran from her place.The gentlemanly thingwould have been to keep them to return to her but Brett couldn’tbear to have the things near him. He tossed them out the window ofhis car as he made his way home at a safe and reasonable speed.*</ol>


A month later Brett wasa jittery and teary eyed every moment of the day. His newly swingingbachelor pad was had become a slovenly ruin… even by the lowstandards set by bachelor pads.Wherever he went hefound them. He found them when he was folding laundry, when he wasreaching for something to towel off with and even that one time whenhe was in the psychiatrist’s office they had fallen out of amagazine along with all those subscription cards!Great Aunt Jill’spanties hounded him at every turn.<I>No.</I>Hethought, <I>Nojust her panties… it’s her, she’s haunting me. </I>And Brett thought heknew why.</ol>


“<I>Pleasebe sure they bury me in my blue church dress and my own underwear.Sometimes the undertakers don't bother and leave you nude under yourclothes.” </I>So she wanted her damngranny panties did she? Well he would see to it she got the damnthings. Brett was sure he had everything he needed; flashlight,shovel and a crowbar.He would have preferrednot to go on such a dark and stormy night but he’d caught thepanties lounging insolently on the dish rack and knew it was now ornever.It was a little after 1AM when he reached the cemetery, a half an hour later he found an outof the way spot that he could use to sneak in. The cold rain soakedhim to the skin, the thunder and lightning disoriented but he foundGreat Aunt Jill tombstone soon enough.The storm had left theground soft for digging but it was still a long backbreaking process.Every time he thought he was making progress one side of the gravewould fall in and he would have to start again.When the coffin wasuncovered he took a moment to rest, the parts of his body thatweren’t clammy and cold were sore and aching. He wondered tohimself if it would be enough to just leave the granny panties in thecoffin with her or if Great Aunt Jill really expected him to slipthem on her.</ol>


<I>WellI’m here. I may as well go all the way. </I>Hegrabbed the crowbar and started to pry open the coffin lid. He cursedhimself for getting such an expensive casket but eventually hispersistence was rewarded with the sound of wood cracking. Brettopened the coffin.The stench was worsethan he could ever imagine both rancid and stale, bile filled hismouth, his eyes water. He forced himself to finish the job, there wasno turning back now.He reached into hisjacket pocket but the panties weren’t there.He tried the other.Still nothing.“No.”Brett said as he checked each pocket a second and third time, “Ohno no no no…”They were gone.</ol>