Guilty, Guilty Pleasures —>>> Major Crimes with Mary McDonnell and company

The last time I posted about a television show was in regard to the American remake of the Swedish crime drama The Bridge.  Today it’s to do a little promotional hype for Major Crimes starring the incredible Mary McDonnell. Season 3 of Major Crimes starts Monday, June 9 on TNT and I am so looking forward to it. This spin-off from The Closer featuring Kyra Sedgwick would be well worth watching simply because of Mary McDonnell’s great portrayal of Captain Sharon Raydor as a very strong, independent, and very, very smart woman who has the rules down pat–and a lot more. McDonnell’s interview with Travis Smiley explains a great deal for anyone who has not yet discovered Major Crimes. Even if you don’t enjoy crime drama I think it’s worth listening to McDonnell discuss the Raydor character, power, acting and the needs of human beings–and selling brushes.

Another plus for Major Crimes in its first two seasons was the story line involving Captain Sharon Raydor and material witness Rusty Beck. Watching their relationship with each other and the rest of the characters grow and evolve brought unexpected considerable depth and substance to this drama. The concept of family is redefined by example in a much-needed manner for the discussions it has the potential to provoke. Unlike The Closer which had a certain formulaic feeling to the episodes featuring Brenda Johnson’s considerable talent for lying and manipulating people into confessions even when raising all sorts of issues including ethical issues about the ends justifying the means, Major Crimes is making its own way into the future. If you want predictable resolutions of plot-lines there’s always Law and Order to fall back into the comfort zone of neat little black and white packages. This isn’t to say that the criminal cases aren’t closed and resolved in Major Crimes–they are–but there’s a lot more going on than stereotypical criminal behavior.

There’s a great deal more attention paid to serious issues like sexually abused children. “These boys aren’t runaways. They’re throw-aways.” So says a man running a shelter for teenage boys living on the streets of LA.  Now for a society in which the mainstream jabbers constantly about family values and loving children so much this is a brutally honest statement of factual reality.  Its consequences for boys like the Rusty Beck–and other characters–holds up a mirror that reflects our society as all truly great dramas of the stage and screen do.  Clearly there are not enough Sharon Raydors willing to step up and care in our real world.  In most drama storylines children are summarily deposited with the Department of Family Services  and conveniently disappear from the script. In the first two seasons of Major Crimes, Rusty Beck didn’t disappear–and the writers used his character to full advantage.  I can’t tell from the promos or website if the very talented Graham Patrick Martin will continue in this role–but for the sake of abandoned children trying to survive in a hostile world I hope so. Being saved  is not the end of anyone’s story.

Oh and by the way, Rusty Beck loves playing chess.

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Personally I think the fans on YouTube have made better promos for Major Crimes than TNT has dreamed up so far. Here’s a fun meet and greet video to get acquainted.

scorey5001

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A short and to the point promo. ) I get it, this is probably for short promo time slots.

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Mary McDonnell interview on The Travis Smiley Show. Yeah you want to watch. I think Smiley was very smitten. Oh yeah, he likes her shoes. Ah ha.

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This particular choice of song and images conveys a great deal about the relationship between Rusty and Sharon.  Clearly this matters to viewers as there are many music videos on the tubes regarding this relationship.

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Major Crimes Cookbook for the Sunshine Kids

Major CrimesTV

For more information or to order the Major Crimes Cookbook, click here: http://majorcrimestv.net/support-the-…

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For cast profiles and more information visit  Major Crimes online: http://majorcrimestv.net/

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I think I’m going to post more fan videos for Major Crimes on the sidebar. Yeah, I think I will. It’ll be fun–for me anyway.  I’ll make sure to find one with the scene where Sharon Raydor shoots a guy between the eyes with a red bean bag. Hey, he asks for it–literally.

UPDATE–the Beanbag scene is the headliner on the sidebar. Several of my favorite scenes follow along with some fan made videos featuring music. Charlie’s Angels is a hoot.

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As for The Bridge–it’s all dark and dreadful in America and Mexico.  In Sweden there’s darkness and light–plus resolution. I recommend watching both versions.

Breakfast Special, fifth helping, “Pussy No More” , #5

Pussy No More

When morning made a feeble attempt at sending a few dull rays of sunlight across Nora’s glossy cherry top dining table, Dylan was stirring a single spoonful of honey into his cup of fresh black coffee. Setting the spoon aside he pulled the cup close so he could inhale the steam rising from the rich dark roast. He watched his wife glance towards the empty stairs then back at the window where her array of snake plants resided on the wide inner sill. “He slept in the back bedroom last night. Didn’t go out after the rest left, judging from his shoes.”

Nora turned in her chair a little and pointed with her cup towards the closet near the front door. “Coat dry? It snowed a little just before I got up”

“Very dry. Checked when I first saw his shoes still on the mat where he set them after helping Francis load up his brood.”

Nora made a face. “Dyl, do you think he’s, I dunno, maybe he’s like coming out of the closet?”

A ripple of quiet laughter flowed from the big man as he shook his head. “You mean like a gay fella? No, Nora, I certainly think not!”

“I could handle it if that’s what’s going on with him. Be a bit of an adjustment certainly. . . But I’d cope. I know could. There are worse things than having a gay son. Never mind what Father Joseph says. Don’t care much for half of what that sad excuse for a priest yaps about anyways. I think he hates anyone who enjoys sex judging from what comes out of his mouth.”

“No argument from me on that score, love.” Dylan sipped his coffee then rubbed his chin. “I’d have placed good money on Sarge stepping out with Blondie last night though. You see the legs on that girl? Sweet Mother of God. Can’t say Irene didn’t pull out all the stops with her.”

“No blaming Irene at all indeed. Nor the rest of them. Sure there’s been a few poor picks over the years, but that’s got to be expected considering human nature. You never know for sure what some people will turn into after a few glasses of wine.”

“Or bottles of beer.”

“Indeed.” Nora folded her hands around her cup. “Did I go too far with the razor yesterday, Dyl?”

“Naw. Don’t think so at all. It was a good move having you lead the charge. He’d have fought me tooth and nail soon as he figured the score. But not you. No way he’d ever lift even a finger against his Ma. You didn’t bleed him a bit. Even if you had, hell, the result is worth it. He’s a fine-looking man. Cleans up right well. He ought not to go round looking like same damned overgrown stray dog.” Dylan reached out and put a huge hand around Nora’s. “Might be that our Sarge is just one of those fellas who play the field their whole life, love. It’s not like we’re wanting for grandchildren either.”

Nora nodded then frowned. “Could be, Dyl, could be. But then shouldn’t he have gone off with Blondie?”

“Well, you got me there for sure. I Can’t figure that score at all, Nora.” At sound of the doorbell, Dylan went to the front door. “Well, well, if it ain’t Benj come bearing gifts.”

Dylan held the front door open wide for their youngest son, Benj, who entered holding a large bakery box. “Morning, Ma. Hey Dad. Went to Pearl’s first thing to get sweet rolls for Sharon and they had a fresh load of chocolate éclairs.”

“Oh they’ve not had those in months. You’re a dear, Benj. Thanks so much. Can you stay for one and some brew or are you on the move?” said Nora as she opened the box holding a baker’s dozen of her favorite pastry.

“I’ve got time for a hot cup and a taste. Sharon’s not even awake yet.” Benj hung his coat on the back of his chair then sat down as Dylan poured him a cup of coffee. Benj was as tall as his father and eldest brother but with his mother’s lean slender frame. “He up yet?” said Benj with a nod towards Sarge’s shoes on the mat by the front door.

“If so, he’s being deadly quiet about it,” said Nora.

Benj licked a smear of dark chocolate icing from his éclair. “Who did the dirty deed?”

“Your Ma can lay claim to the fine work.”

Benj held up a hand for a high-five with Nora. “Good job. Why did you stop? His mop needs major clipping.”

Nora swallowed before answering. “Wasn’t sure I could keep from just taking it all off.”

Benj snorted. “It wouldn’t have mattered if you had. Rogaine would make a fortune if they could figure out how his mop grows so fast and market it to baldies. You should have gone whole hog on him. You remember when we were kids and we would chop it off just to see how long it would take it to grow back.”

“Oh do I ever.” Nora laughed a little at the memory. “Speak of the devil. Here he comes now.”

The trio enjoying coffee and éclairs watched Sarge come down the stairs and warily approach the table. Benj turned sideways in his chair to make eye contact with his oldest brother who had come to the room’s arched entrance but no further. “So big bro, what’s the score? Hmm? You blow a major man fuse or what?”

“What the hell are you talking about, Benj?”

“You leaving that scorching hot dish to freeze last night is what I’m talking about, Sarge. What else did you think?”

“Is this some kind of intervention or what?” demanded Sarge as he looked at his parents and youngest brother in turn.

“Hey, good word, Sarge. Yeah, this is an in-ter-vent-ion. Humor me just a tad will you, Sarge. Considering how invisible you’ve been for the last month or so, can you at least satisfy my very healthy male curiosity as to why you left Debbie high and dry last night? Hmm?”

“Your healthy male curiosity can mind its own business, Benj. I’ll mind my mine.” Sarge eyed the empty cup, Dylan held up to see if he wanted coffee. “No thanks, Dad.”

“Frankly, all things considered, my curiosity would like a little satisfaction too, Sargent.” Nora pushed a chair towards Sarge with her foot indicating that he ought to take a seat. She stared at her son and waited for him to sit until he took a few steps backward instead. “What’s going on with you? Hmm? Tell me or you’re gonna get a visit when you least expect one. If you didn’t hit it off with Debbie, that’s fine. No problem. Just say so if that’s the case. Shed a little light on the subject is all we’re asking.”

Sensing that his son was suddenly planning a fast exit rather than answer Nora or Benj, Dylan quietly rose and made his way to the front door mat and picked up Sarge’s black loafers. Holding the shoes behind his back, he stood silently but effectively blocking access to the front door. This did not go unnoticed by Sarge who was also aware that Benj was already sitting directly in the path to the kitchen door rear entrance.

Wondering what sort of attack the trio was plotting, Sarge backed up against the nearest wall. “What do you want from me? Huh? What?”

“Jesus, Sarge, we just want to know what the hell is going on with you. And I don’t mean the last few weeks. Even before the lousy weather set in, you have been more AWOL than present. Right, Ma? I figure you been weirding out for at least the last eight months.”

Nora nodded. “Oh yeah, eight at the very least, Benj. Maybe eleven if I really start thinking about it.”

Sarge considered his options. “Nothing is going on with me. Just been working my ass off is all. Between regular shifts, overtime and helping Kozy with the wiring and plumbing I’ve just been busy.”

“Busy? Aha.” Benj’s disbelief was obvious. “You’ve been too overworked and busy for a single pussy run? Seriously, man for over eight f’n months? We’re not morons.”

“Benj, don’t be vulgar.” Nora glanced at Dylan who shrugged and remained silent. “Sargent, are you sick? You catch something along the way with all your flying about from girl to girl? Forget to use a condom in the heat of the moment?”

Stunned by his mother’s candidness, Sarge couldn’t do more than shake his head in denial.

“So? What then, Sarge? Hmm?” demanded Benj.

Feeling cornered and unsure of how to get out of the situation Sarge looked around the dining room in frustration. The Sunday morning paper caught his eye and he recalled the start of his conversation with the delectable, but never to be tasted, delight named Debbie. Grasping for any straw with even half a chance of ending the current standoff, Sarge said, “Okay, okay. No big mystery. I’m seeing someone.”

“What?! Who?!” demanded Benj. Rising out of his chair he faced off with his brother.

An exchange of incredulous surprised looks passed quickly between Nora and Dylan. Forcing herself to remain seated, Nora took a deep breath and held it for a count of twenty while waiting for Sarge to answer the questions Benj had spoken on everyone’s behalf.

“Just someone. A woman. Satisfied? Okay? Everyone happy now that Sarge’s big secret is out of the bag?”

Benj shook his head. “Bullshit. No way.”

“You calling me a liar, Benj?”

“Oh yeah. Big time. If you’ve been seeing someone steady why not bring her home for a meet? Hmm? Why not?”

“Bugger off, Benj.”

“Hey, just because I’m your only brother here at the moment doesn’t mean we all haven’t been wondering, Sarge. We all have been.”

Nora looked from son to son and wondered what her eldest was really lying about. “This someone have a name?”

Thinking that no one would ever be the wiser, Sarge decided to give them whatever it would take in order to make an escape from the brownstone as soon as possible. “Lily. Her name is Lily. Don’t believe me, Benj? Hm? Make a curtsey run to Big Bob’s on Fifth. Ask Stanley who I had breakfast with Friday morning. Go ahead. Remind him that Lily ordering poached eggs pissed him off.”

Without a single squeak from the hardwood floor, Dylan came up and dropped Sarge’s shoes next to his stocking feet. When Sarge looked him in the eye, Dylan arched his brows and returned to his seat at the table. Without another word, Sarge slipped on the loafers, grabbed his coat from the closet, walked to his mother, took her birthday present out of the inner pocket and laid it on the table next to her coffee cup. Seeing the dark look in her eyes, he decided against kissing her cheek. “Dad. Benj. Later.” Pulling his coat on, Sarge nearly ran out the front door in spite of his effort to maintain some semblance of calm.

As Sarge made haste down the street putting distance between himself and the family home as quickly as the slick soled loafers allowed, Nora, Benj and Dylan waited for someone else to speak first. Dylan filled everyone’s cups then sat down slowly. “Do it Benj. Have a word with Stan. See if he has any clue.”

“About this fake Lily? What for? We all know he’s lying through his teeth.”

Dylan shrugged, “Lily or no Lily makes no difference at this point, Benj. We need to find out what’s up and clearly Sarge ain’t talking. He’s been catching breakfast at Big Bob’s for a while now. Stan’s got good eyes and ears. So maybe he knows something we don’t.” Dylan and Benj turned their attention to Nora as she opened the small envelope like package Sarge had given her. “What’s it this time? How much did he blow?”

Nora shook her head as she laid out a pair of plane tickets and other travel information on the table for them to see. “Some resort in Jamaica for a full week. Plane, room, tour guide, meals, everything paid for. Maybe three grand?” She picked up a gift card with a note tapped to it and waved it. “For new swimsuits it says.”

“He’s nuts. If he was really seeing someone steady he’d be stashing whatever cash he wasn’t spending on snaring her. That’s more proof he just bullshit his way out of here,” declared Benj. “Furthermore, what guy in their right mind takes their steady squeeze to Big Bob’s for breakfast?”

Nora ran her hands through her hair then held her head in her hands. “Okay. Benj do like Dyl said. As soon as you can, make a delivery run out to Bob’s or nearby. Hit Stan up for anything he might have noticed. Dylan, get Irene on the phone. Tell her to get a hold of that Debbie and haul her back over here. We want to know everything she and Sargent talked about last night. Make sure she knows we’ll pay for a taxi if she needs one.”

“On it,” said Dylan as he went for the phone.

“I’ll call Sharon and get her started on finding baby sitters so we can have a decent family meet tonight,” said Benj.”Then I’ll call James and Patrick.”

Nora nodded. “That’s good, Benj. Do you think that Kozy will talk to me if I make a call or should I just show up in person?”

Benj listened to Dylan talking to Irene on the phone before answering. Tapping his fingers on the table top he thought hard. “Kozy’s kinda in his own world, Ma. I don’t think he’ll pay attention unless you’re right in front of him. Even then it’s dicey. Let’s face it; Kozy’s idea of normal is pretty far off from anyone else’s normal.”

“Well, that’s a given, Benj. I’d have to talk to him about Sargent without directly talking about Sargent. Maybe we can come up with something tonight. Need to out think Kozy or he might get the wrong idea.”

Benj laughed. “That’s rich, Ma. Really rich. Wrap our heads around Kozy’s? Better break out the hard liquor for that.” He looked up when Dylan returned to the table and immediately went to call Sharon.

“Irene is pretty sure she can get Debbie here with them. Seems she and Irene already had quite a little chat last night. So no problem there. And she’s gonna get Francis to call Mark so that’s all covered.” Dylan stared at the coffee pot. “What’s the name of that girl Patrick and Denise brought round? The last one we know Sarge stepped out with for a while.”

“The one with the gold streaks in her hair? That one?”

“Yeah her. You remember her name? Maybe we should have a chat with her too.”

“Mellie or maybe Millie. Denise will know for sure. I like that, Dyl,” said Nora.

“We’re gonna need some food for tonight. How about I go see if Pearl’s has a fresh turkey?”

“Yeah, that would do the trick, Dyl. If not, then just pick whatever’s not frozen that they got enough of on hand.” Nora helped her husband into his coat and kissed him hard before he set off for Pearl’s Market. Back at the table she stood looking over the plane tickets for herself and Dylan to the flashy resort in Jamaica. “Sargent, whatever is going on in your head? Jamaica? Me and Dyl? Swimsuits? Snorkeling? What the hell?”

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Breakfast Special, sixth helping, ‘book-ends’ ~ In Pursuit of The Fox aka Volpone and Toe-ing Behind the Lines  —>>https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/?s=Breakfast+special+sixth+helping++book+ends

Breakfast Special, third helping, “Close Shave”, #3

It’s Sensual Saturday and as promised:

Close Shave

The alarm sounded at 3 pm and Sarge’s fist would have promptly demolished the little clock radio, as it had several predecessors, except for the fact that a heavy plastic red milk crate prevented said fist from direct contact with the screaming radio. Impact, indirect and muted as it was, still elicited the desired opening of annoyed eyes and the resumption of rational thought required for silencing the radio. Mission accomplished, Sarge lay on his back staring at the cold cement ceiling contemplating this weekend’s obligations which included catching the 4 pm bus for the forty-five minute ride to M–, the first part of the journey to his parents’ home. He’d managed to dodge the bullet of attending Sunday family dinners for the previous five weeks, in part thanks to the severe winter weather conditions which had resulted in road closings and cancelled bus service and partly from claiming exhaustion from overtime loading freight whenever the truckers eventually arrived. But today the roads were clear, buses were running, the skies were crowded with clouds but no snow and there was no way to evade the fact that it was his mother’s birthday. Like it or not, spending quality time with family demanded high priority status or there’d be the wrath of his father, Dylan, to face for disappointing Nora if he didn’t show up. Knowing exactly what was forthcoming, Sarge inhaled and exhaled deeply and slowly several times. “And this too shall pass,” he reassured himself.

Having deliberately left little time to spare, Sarge hauled himself up for a quick shower, chugging down the remaining half of a quart of orange juice in between latherings of soap and shampoo. Knowing he had to keep moving at a steady pace in order to catch the bus on time kept his mind from setting up a rebellion to the entire family scenario. It wasn’t until he returned to the half tiled bathroom to pull a comb through his still wet hair before departing the warehouse partly converted to a mere shadow of a loft like residence that he paused. Catching sight of his reflection in the mirror over the sink, he held the comb still in mid stroke. “Oh hell, Nora is going to have a field day. Best birthday present ever, yeah, right. Well, nothing for it now, boyo. No time for shearing.” Throwing the comb down, he shook his head hard from side to side thus sending a fair amount of water in all directions, felt for the small package nestled in the inside chest pocket of his coat and forced himself out the door, down the stairs and in the direction of the bus stop.

Twenty-three minutes into the ride the bus encountered a patch of black ice and skidded briefly. Sarge looked up from following Dirk Gentley’s holistic adventures until the driver resumed forward motions then suddenly caught his reflection in the window. His still drying hair had worked its way into a fairly decent imitation of wild berry brambles. Setting down his book, he tugged and pulled it away from his face then tied the upper half back with a rubber band from a newspaper that he’d shoved into his pocket a few days back. The only thing that recommended this meager effort was that now at least Nora wouldn’t be able to tell him to get it out of his face.

He grinned pleased with knowing he’d thwarted one verbal motherly missile. Then he noted that he couldn’t really make out his own smile between his overgrown mustache and beard. More than a little disconcerted by this observation of himself, Sarge leaned back in his seat to study his rather hairy face further. Just before the bus reached his stop, he decided that the upside of the current state of his unruly head of hair was that it ought to keep at bay any of the usual sort of women one of his brothers, or their wives, had somehow managed to con into attending this family affair with the promise of meeting a highly eligible working class bachelor with a steady well-paying job and, so far, no known nasty vices beyond a strange but harmless reading habit. This notion was so agreeable that Sarge reached up and considered yanking the rubber band out of his hair in order to enhance the messy effect.

What Sarge had tried and failed to work out, was how his well intentioned family managed to keep up the steady stream of what they considered appropriate potential baby breeders. Didn’t any of these women ever talk to each other? Surely they must have connections since they invariably came from some part of either his brothers’ or their wives’ work, social or church circles. By this point in time, Sarge figured that any single woman who even remotely had contact with his family members ought to have been seriously warned off him by at least one, if not several in the long line of her predecessors.

Rubber band between his fingers he suddenly realized the downside of his current appearance: yesterday morning he’d actually approached a young woman, one who’d unwittingly caught his interest, on a city street looking much as he did now. It was a small wonder that Lily hadn’t promptly smacked him upside his head with her backpack before hightailing it away from him as fast as possible. Taking a different view of his appearance, Sarge decided that a very thorough trimming was in order before next Friday evening. “Boyo, you got some serious ground to make up if you’re going to get any traction whatsoever with Poached Eggs.”

When the bus finally reached his stop, Sarge nearly bolted from the doors due to the need to release the nervous tension that been on the rise ever since he’d started thinking about his brief conversation with Lily on the deserted one way street. Luckily the recently shoveled sidewalks had earlier been served a considerable meal of rock salt that kept the slick soles of his only pair of semi-dress shoes from landing him on his ass. Not for the first time, he wished he’d worn his heavy work boots and brought along the still new smelling sleek black loafers in a bag for exchange just before crossing the threshold to his parents’ home.

He arrived on the doorstop of the three-story brownstone without any close encounters between the seat of his black wool slacks and the thigh high piles of snow bordering the sidewalks and streets. As he bent down to brush the rock salt and ice from the hem of his slacks and shoes, the front door opened and his father stood staring down at him. “Yeah, you better come in clean as a whistle, you inconsiderate bugger. About time you found your way home to your mother’s table.” Dylan shook a long hooked finger in Sarge’s face when he stood up. “I been busy imagining all sorts of hellishly painful ways to deal with your ass if you didn’t show today of all days.”

“Nice to see you too, Dad. How about a hug?” Sarge opened his arms and stepped towards his tall, hard framed father who growled and nimbly moved out of reach into the house in response.

“Nora! Your eldest has finally decided to grace our humble abode with his presence! Come quick before he clears out through the back door!” Smirking, Dylan stood with his thick arms folded across his massive chest while the sound of his wife’s footsteps on the hardwood floor announced her approach from the large square dining room. “Better catch the slippery bugger while the catching is good.”

Taking off the long army coat from which he and Kozy, his so-called landlord and friend, had spent the better part of Friday night removing the paint splatter, Sarge watched his mother come towards him at full tilt then halt and stand still while looking him slowly up and down once then several more times. Thinking her behavior was a ploy to get him wailing in grief over his guilt for not coming to dinner for five weeks straight, Sarge started towards her until he saw that Nora retreated equally with each step he took. Coat tossed over his shoulder, Sarge stood and hung his head for a moment. “Okay, I’m sorry I haven’t made it home until today. I know I should have called Benj or hitched a ride in with a semi. My bad. Can we get this part over and done with already? I really am sorry.”

Nora, no shrimp herself when it came to height at just an eighth of an inch shy of a full six feet, dug her right fist into her lean hip and stared silently at her eldest son. The clock struck five pm and caught Nora’s glare for a few seconds. Without warning, she moved fast towards Sarge. Reaching out with her left hand she dug her strong fingers deep into his beard and yanked his face down towards hers. “Good thing you’re here before anyone else.” Still clutching a handful of her startled son’s facial hair, Nora set off intent on hauling Sarge out to the chilly back porch.

“Okay! Okay, I’m coming. Just let go, Ma. You don’t need to drag me.” Knowing better than to try to extract himself by exerting his own strength. Sarge tentatively tapped on Nora’s wrist signaling his willingness to comply.

Nora replied by tightening her grip on his beard and walking faster. “Dylan, straight razor, right quick now. If you don’t mind!”

“Oh, you’re in for it now, Boyo! Oh yes you are indeed.” Dylan set off to get the requested razor with more than a dash of devilish glee in his step.

“Razor?! Ma, what—ouch!” From the corner of his eye Sarge saw Dylan digging in a kitchen drawer just before Nora pulled him through the back door and out onto the narrow back porch with iced snow decorating the insides of the glass panes. Releasing Sarge’s beard, she grabbed his shoulders and pushed him down onto an old kitchen chair.

“Sit! Don’t even think about moving, Sargent.” Nora shouted as if at a dog who’d deliberately forgotten what house-training was all about.

“Okay! Okay! I’m not moving. Chill out already, Ma.” Sarge sat motionless, on the chair with his palms up and open in an effort to convey that he was indeed willing to do whatever it took to appease the Fury who’d suddenly stepped in for his usually very mellow, very understanding, very good-humored mother.

Alas for Sarge, Nora the Good Witch Mother had not even the slightest whit of interest in putting in an appearance at her own birthday party this year. Leaning in until there was barely an inch between the tip of her nose and Sarge’s, Nora seethed. “Not a word more out of you until I’m done. Understood?”

“Done with what, Ma?”
Nora smiled her wide sideways smile and tapped the bridge of her son’s nose with the black painted nail of her right index finger. “Shhhhhhh.”

Taking notice of her uncharacteristic choice of nail polish color, Sarge leaned back as far as the old straight-back chair allowed in order to get a better look at his mother. Vanity had kept her hair pitch black well beyond any normal expectation of it being free of any hint of grey. But today Nora’s formerly matte finished black hair shone with a glittering brassiness that would have quickly alerted Sarge that something was up with his mother even if she hadn’t suddenly launched into her assault on his beard. Her usual simple, comfortable black dress for family dinners had been replaced with one featuring a square-cut neckline low enough to reveal the faint upper crests of her breasts and a skirt with an elegant side slit that offered views of her long legs above her knees. Her shoes had the barest of heels, but heels nonetheless, for a woman who had never before worn anything but straight flats. Realizing with a start that even her lipstick was black, Sarge whispered, “Who the hell are you and what have you done with my mother?”

Nora replied by taking the thick round brush from the bowl of hot soapy water Dylan had set on another chair and squashing it deftly into his beard. Working with a threatening vigor she quickly lathered her son’s face without any regard for his clean grey dress shirt. Feeling Dylan grip his hair with one hand to steady his head and bear down on his shoulder with another, Sarge simply stared wide-eyed at his mother as she attacked his face with a gleaming straight razor. Inside of five minutes his entire mustache was a memory of slightly curling brown hairs scattered over the cold wooden porch floorboards quickly being joined by the beard he adored for all the protection from the winter cold its untidy thickness had provided. Upon finishing her barbering, Nora flung the razor down on the chair beside the bowl of water and strode back into the kitchen and beyond without saying a word but with her heels pounding down hard with every step.

With a single unsympathetic look at their shocked son over his shoulder, Dylan followed in Nora’s wake. Sarge gasped for air as he looked at the mass of hair Nora had deposited on the floor. His shirt was thoroughly soaked and stray clumps of his hair stuck to the wetness. For no other reason than to buy time to catch his breath, he took hold of the broom in the corner near the kitchen entrance and swept the hair into a pile over which he placed the chair as no dustpan or alternative was in sight.
Knowing there was an array of old but clean and dry shirts of his and his brothers kept in one of the bedrooms on the second floor, Sarge made his way into the kitchen and through the dining room where his parents sat silently drinking dark red wine from large wine glasses he’d never seen used before. Without a word, he walked past them and went upstairs to change his shirt.

Picking out a dull dark blue shirt, Sarge made the switch while wondering about what his mother had just done to him, her behavior and appearance. As he turned to exit the bedroom, he saw his reflection for the third time that day. This time he didn’t even recognize his own face. Staring at the clean-shaven chin, cheeks and upper lip Sarge blinked in shock at the unexpected transformation of his appearance. Backing up to the nearest twin size bed, he sat down keeping his eyes on the mirror. While he was still struggling to come to terms with the stranger staring back at him from the round glass on the wall, the door bell broke the house’s silence. From downstairs came sounds indicating the arrivals of his five younger brothers and their families. Sarge wasn’t sure he could descend the stairs until he heard the mob of tiny nieces and nephews running amok and laughing. Only then did he take his leave of the strange young man in the mirror without a single nick on face or neck from the forced shaving.

~~~~~~~~

Breakfast Special, fourth helping, “People?! Really now….”   https://47whitebuffalo.wordpress.com/2013/06/26/breakfast-special-fourth-helping-people-really-now/

Grist

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