Wednesday, May 11, 2011

The Honeysuckle Twins

"They are always in my head," Liza complained.

"You think about them a lot?" Dan asked helpfully.

"I don't want to think about them at all, but it's hard when they are poking my brain with their cold bony fingers."

"Ah, I see. Tell me more," he said in that warm, comforting tone common to the men and women of his profession.

Obviously it worked for Liza because she went on. "They come through the mirrors. Anything reflective, really."

"That's inconvenient," Dan commented.

"Tell me about it! There's glass everywhere! I'd be walking down the street, minding my own business, and there they'd come, out of some shop window to poke-poke-poke my brain." She said agitated.

"Why do you think they do it?" Dan asked, keeping his voice calm and professional.

"You'd have to ask them that. I think they are witches," she replied, less ruffled.

"What makes you think that?"

"I dunno, maybe the masks they wear," Liza said, and just stared off into nothing with unfocused eyes, looking lost.

"Masks?" Dan prodded her.

"Oh, yeah, black ones. And they linger."

"How do they linger?"

"Well... like a smell. You know, like honeysuckle. My late husband, Herbert was an engineer for the railway. When we were young we used live over at Andersonville, in a large brick house. We rented the upstairs apartment from Mrs. Ashe. The house had a big, overgrown back yard, with honeysuckle growing all over the fence. When it was in bloom the smell would follow you everywhere."

Dan hummed for a moment. "How long has your husband been gone?"

That dreamy, lost look came back into Liza's eyes. "It'll be twenty years in August. He was a good man, my Herbert, bless his soul. I go every Sunday to visit him in the cemetery. It's peaceful there - no mirrors, you see."

Dan nodded, and waited for Liza to continue.

She wrinkled her forehead in concentration. "Maybe it's not honeysuckle at all. Maybe it's onions."


"Yeah, you know when you cut onions that smell stays on your hands, no matter how hard you wash them? It smells like that when the twin witches are poking my brain."

Dan would've asked more about this new revelation about twins, but just then Roger poked his head in the door.

"Roger is here to take you home, Mrs. May. You take care now, you hear?"

Liza downed her drink and reached into the pocket of her red overcoat and pulled out a wad of dollar bills.

"See you next week," she said dropping the money on the counter.

She clambered off the bar stool just as Roger got to her, took hold of her elbow.

Roger just nodded to Dan, turning his attention to Liza. "C'mon Ma, it's time to go. It's Golden Girls night, remember?

Dan watched them walk out the door, then swept the money off the bar. Crazy Liza was crazier than a jar of peppermint pickles but she was a good tipper.