From last time ...
And Sable Keenan stood in front of the open refrigerator, trying to remember what she was doing.
And now ...
Sarah usually ran first thing in the morning, though sometimes, just to change things up a bit, she'd do her run at night, after Jerry went to bed. There were, however, times like today, when the urge struck her early and she'd run in the afternoon. It had to be a special kind of afternoon though. It had to be cool and crisp. And the sun had to be low in the sky. Somehow, running the hills of San Francisco seemed to be less arduous on days like that. She seemed, at times, like she could fly.
When she ran in the afternoon, she'd always run along the waterfront. She'd come down from the hill behind Giradhelli's chocolate factory and then over to the Embarcadero. She'd run down the Embarcadero to Bay Street and then cut inland, going back to Van Ness and then from there, home. Today, however, she sat on a bench down at Fisherman's Wharf. From where she sat, she could see the Golden Gate. This was one of those days when the fog came in late. She loved it when the fog rolled in high, like it was doing, today, and the top of the bridge disappeared first. The water under the bridge would turn all dark and ominous, but then it would flatten out and go dead calm and the fog would just slide in over the water like blanket pulled up over your head at night, deadening all sound and wrapping itself all around you.
She sat there thinking about her Mom. It struck her that her Mom was like the bridge; she was disappearing from the head down. She didn't know what was wrong. She had no idea whether there was anything that could be done or not. She'd heard about senility, of course. Everyone had. Old people get senile. Isn't that the way it is? But Christ, she's not that old. What am I going to do?
She got up from the bench and started running toward the Embarcadero, and Bay Street. The fog would be in shortly, and she knew enough to know that it would be thick - it was always thick when it came in like this - and it would make running difficult. It's hard to run when you can't see your hand in front of your face - besides, running in the fog would get her soaked and she didn't want to chance catching a cold. The heavy boots she always wore when she ran made a comforting scuffing sound as she trotted along. Mackey had always made her wear boots when she ran. They made her legs hard and strong, made her breathing deep and easy, and after a while, they just seemed to carry her along as if she weighed nothing.
She was halfway along Bay Street to Van Ness when trouble stepped onto the sidewalk in front of her.
A young tough with slicked back black hair and a stiletto in his hand stood in front of her, cigarettes rolled up in his tee shirt sleeve, gum popping in his mouth.
"Hey, baby, where ya goin' in such a hurry?"
Sarah went to go around him but he stepped into her path so she had to stop running and jog in place.
"C'mon, baby, slow down. We just wanna talk. Have some fun."
Sarah was struck by the word "We". She realized, too late, there was someone behind her - someone who grabbed her arms and pinioned them close to his chest. She could barely move.
"See, baby? That's my buddy, Fredo. I think he likes you. Do you like her, Fredo?"
"Si, muchacho. Me gusta mucho. And she smells good, too."
"See? What did I tell ya? He likes ya."
The young man with the knife reached out a hand and cupped her breast and stepped in close, his face right in front of hers, knife held out to the side.
Sarah spit in his face.
He jumped back and wiped his eyes, then started to move toward her again, knife swinging at her neck in a wide arc. Her boot caught him square between the legs, with so much force it lifted his feet off the ground. His eyes popped, his face turned red, and all the breath left his body as he crumpled to his knees. The knife fell to the ground. Sarah leaned forward as much as she could, raised her right foot, and drove her heel into Fredo's knee. Her heel scraped it's way down Fredo's shin until Sarah stomped that heel into the arch of his foot. She heard a crack. Fredo lost his grip on Sarah - on anything really, except concern for the blinding pain in his foot.
Sarah bent over and picked up the knife, jammed it into a crack in the sidewalk, then smacked the handle over to the side and snapped the blade.
She bent over the young thug, took his hand and held it to her other breast.
"Feel that, slimeball? That's mine. MINE, motherfucker. You're lucky I don't cut off your hands."
She bent his thumb all the way back so it dislocated and he screamed in pain.
"Ah, that sounds good to me. I'm glad we had this time together. I'm always willing to teach a slimeball a lesson when he needs one. And Fredo? Say something Fredo, so I know you're paying attention."
"Good, Fredo. I have a new English phrase for you - orthopedic shoes. Can you say that, Fredo? Orthopedic shoes?"
"Si. Or-tho-pe-dic shoes."
"Good, Fredo. Now you know what to ask for next time you buy shoes, because that's never going to heal, Fredo. That's going to bother you for the rest of your life. And you're going to need - say it with me now - or-tho-pe-dic shoes. Good."
Sarah started to walk away. She turned and said, "Don't you boys come following me, now. You could get hurt."
She turned and started her run toward home, again, feeling very full of herself.
Nothing like knocking around a turd or two to ease one's mind.