Friday morning I asked Oscar to call Pettibone and tell him to cancel my group session. I knew Pettibone would ask why and see through my lies. Whereas, Oscar, balancing at least three affairs not counting his free lance massage work with happy endings for Mother, developed lying and misdirection to the professional skill level. I asked Oscar to put the call to Pettibone on speaker so I could listen.
“Mister Pettibean?” said Oscar with a distinct Mexican accent.
“It’s Attorney Pettibone,” said Pettibone.
“Who is?” asked Oscar, is sounded more like a running series of e’s.
“Me. I’m Pettibone.”
“Can use get me Pettibean. I’m calling for his filthy rich client, the trust fund baby, Doctor Sanderstuff,” said Oscar gesturing with with left hand as if he were polishing a car with it.
I heard Pettibone take a deep breath. Then he said, “Well, what is it this time? I’m sure he gave you a fabricated excuse.”
“He didn’t say anything about fabric. Me, personally, I like linen. It’s got a nice feel. Are you Pettibean? I’m supposed to give this information to no one but him.”
“Okay. I’m Pettibean.”
“Sounds good, Prettything.”
“I’m not Prettything. I’m Pettibean.”
“I never said you was a pretty thing. I’m straight, man. I got not bias if you’re gay. Some of my best friends are gay. Don’t get upset with me. I’m only the messenger.”
Oscar was playing Pettibone the way John Coltrane played the saxophone. I could almost hear Pettibone reaching for his angina pills and Prozac.
“Please, please, just tell me what you are supposed to tell me,” begged Pettibone with a deep sense of weariness in his voice.
“You are to keep this private between attorney and client. It’s like I just killed somebody and told you about it. We understand each other?”
“Yes, yes. It’s in the vault. Did you kill someone?” asked Pettibone. I could hear Pettibone’s sense of caution. He never liked Oscar, but Mother refuses to take Pettibone’s advice and fire him.
“No, man. I didn’t kill anyone but I like to kill my girlfriend’s husband if I could get away with it. If you come up with a loophole about killing rich lawyer husbands who don’t know how to make love to their trophy wife, let me know. You know how it is once a trophy has a hot Latino it’s all over for the husband or boyfriend as the case may be. Back to business, Doctor Sanderstuff can’t make it to group today, he has to go to the free clinic to get checked for a sexually transmitted disease. He said it could very, very, very serious. He personally used the word very three times. I swear on my sister Rosie’s grave.”
Oscar mixed the perfect levels of concern, compassion, and a tone of voice a lie detector couldn’t detect.
“I don’t believe you,” demanded Pettibone.
Oscar didn’t miss a beat, “About what part, my sister Rosie, killing my girlfriend’s husband, the virility of the Latino lover, or Doctor Sanderstuff’s sexually transmitted disease?
“I … I…I don’t know,” Pettibone stuttered.
“Well, I’ll help you out. The only thing that was true was the virility of the Latino lover. The rest was a fake so I was testing you to see if you were the real Pettibean. I can’t be too careful. Doctor Sanderstuff can’t come in today because he had a personal breakthrough yesterday and realized how he has disrespected you. He is going to see a spiritual counselor and seek forgiveness.”
Where does Oscar come up with this stuff? He is a master. I wonder what he tells Mother when they’re getting it on.
“Wonderful news. Tell Doctor Sanderstuff his spiritual growth takes precedence over everything. It certainly is an excusable absence,” said Pettibone.
Oscar ended the call and gave me two thumbs up.
I was a school kid who just learned he got a snow day. I was like a guy who got to take the prettiest girl in the school to the junior prom. I was like …”
“Enough with the smilies,” said my conscience. “Do you realize you had Oscar lie for you? You used your power as employer to have him do something wrong,” said my conscience.
“Take it up with Oscar. I didn’t do anything. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t tell him what to say. All I told Oscar was the outcome I wanted and that if I got it, I’d tip him a hundred dollars.”
“You didn’t fall far from the tree, did you?” said my conscience.
“I never fell from a tree, what are you taking about?” I innocently asked knowing full well what he meant. So what if I was like Mother and Father. This gave me pause to think about my surrogate mother. It couldn’t have been someone poor. What if they adopted me? Maybe Father had an affair with a foreign princess. I might be royalty.
“You’re on your own. Having a conversation with you is like talking to a brick wall,” said my conscience. What did he mean by that?
I reached for my wallet and gave Oscar two one hundred dollar bills. His performance was worthy of an Oscar.
Oscar left thanking me and saying he had to freshen up to get ready to give Mother her daily massage. As he was walking out of my room, he half turned and winked at me. I can only assume, Mother will be in a good mood for the rest of the day.
I text J and told her Pettibone was gracious and gave us the day off. J gave me her mother’s address, 3718 West 98th Street, apartment 405. I never heard of the street. I’d have to plug the address into my GPS. She said she’d meet me at her mother’s apartment at 7 p.m. It was a bit of a disappointment. I wanted to pick up J at her apartment and after our date, take her home and be asked inside for coffee or wine and whatever comes next, if you know what I mean. Anyone who knows me has to admit I am the eternal optimist. They might also say immature, narcissistic, and insensitive. Don’t condemn me, no one is perfect. Although Mother thinks she is as close to perfection as a human being can get.