I decided about two weeks into the thing that my original plans were not the best choice. I wanted to do it right, and that meant asking for a few days off to fly up to New York, gathering together all my papers, and returning in a way that I could hold my head up and not walk around preparing for a hand to come down on my shoulder by someone telling me I would have to take a hike. The flight up was non-eventful, but imagine my surprise on finding someone living in my house in my absence! My ex-brother-in-law Calvin was drinking the last of my private stock, sitting in his boxers and watching television in my favorite chair, and after I squelched the desire to rap him on the head, mostly because I quickly recalled the devious reactions he was capable of, I asked him why he wasn't working. He simply replied that his last good job had ended six weeks earlier, he had coming looking for me to hang out with, and on finding the house empty of me but not my stuff, decided to await my return. He declined to say how he had entered, but I figured that part out when I discovered I had to clean up the bits of glass from one of the panels on the back door, bits he hadn't bothered about after discovering the full larder.
Cal told me all about how Jay-Jay was doing with her schooling; he knew I would be interested in that, and that he had seen Diana in concert—never so bored in his life. "I mean she is my sister, fer crissake, but all that opera twaddle leaves me cold." Why'd he go, I wanted to know, and he said, who wouldn't on free tickets, but mostly he went to get bombed at the after party, which didn't turn out quite the way he'd foreseen. "The kid and the nanny were there to help mom celebrate. You know she's always been a bigger hit over in Europe, and I guess she considered it a form of victory to be performing here in New York even in a secondary role." He did not mention whether or not he had hit her up for "something to tide him over" as was his usual m.o., but he said she headed back to the continent shortly thereafter, and since he was in the city, he hopped on a ferry and came over to the Island looking for me.
"Hey, Caligula," I said, "are you thinking of going out to look for a job?"
"Are you looking to get rid of me," Cal asked, "as if friendship and relative proximity count for nothing?"
"I was wondering if you might consider coming down to Mexico with me for a little while, and it'll be my treat." Yeah, and I can keep my eye on you until such time as I find a way to dispose of your annoying presence. I knew if I offered him a couple of hundred bucks to make him go away, he would just return after I had gone, so I only saw one solution. Besides, I was fairly certain I could pack him off to Acapulco and he would get distracted enough, in some get-rich-quick scheme not to want to come back to where I'd be staying.
When I woke from a nap on the plane, I found Cal ostensibly reading the Fernando Pessoa biography I had carried on with me. Apparently he had finished with all the comic books he had picked up in the airport bookstore, and the graphic novels I was bringing down with me to use in my teaching. I knew, not having the proper training except for what I would be able to grasp along the way, that I would have to be innovative. I had even thought while Cal was paying for the comics, with my money, that I might be able to find some use for them, but in his considered review they were garbage. "And this guy," he said, pointing to the cover sketch on the bio, "he was just weird; I mean, I couldn't tell the difference between any of the voices." "Among," I said, "between is for two people; among for more," and he just looked at me with that "fuck me" glare he possesses before calling the flight attendant to bring another drink.
My visitor's card was stamped for a six month stay. I had previously been advised by the Human Resources people at the school that I would need working papers that would put me into immigration status, and started that process before my little northward jaunt, in fact, that was why I went—to retrieve the necessary documents. I did not mention any of this to Cal, who is under the impression that I'm feeling out the place for the duration, and he appears to be willing to "stay as long as we are able before having to leave." It's all the same to me so long as I know he is not up in my house using my stuff; six months should provide enough time for me to come up with a plan. I have already discussed with him the merits of sunny days on the beach in Acapulco, and all the wealthy women there looking for companions, all of which makes me feel like a bastard for being as devious as I have known him to be, but in the end, it's six of one… I'm wondering what he'll do with himself all day while I'm at work, which as far as he knows is the edgy little private school I first worked at before meeting Samantha again.
Something very weird is going on, and nobody will tell me what I'm supposed to know, if I am the cause of their distress. First thing in the morning, Matt was acting very cool as if I had offended him in some way, and later, between classes, in the teachers' salon, Ari the philosopher started an argument over a hypothetical ethics question. Then, I said hello to Antonio and he snubbed me. I didn't see Sam until the afternoon when she was on her way out, and she had some sort of fading bruise on her cheek, and would not comment on it. Strangest of all, Cal was not in the apartment when I arrived in this confused state, and he never came back last night. Everything is running together as if it had only one meaning which I cannot fathom, and I am wondering what I have come back to.