The Private Jet

by Clyde on 7, January 2011

When Edwin met Limoncella in a bar in Buenos Aires he asked her if that was her real name.

‘It’s something my mother came-up with when she was drunk and pregnant with me, ‘ she replied. ‘She missed Italy.’

‘And how about those, are they real?’ he inquired, pointing at her breasts with his beaker of scotch.

‘One hundred percent natural, with but a baby’s breath-full of inspiration from the hands of Dr. Calderón. I’m sure you know his reputation.’ She paused and added, ‘one day he will be Saint Calderón.’

Edwin proposed marriage and Limoncella accepted coquettishly.  It had been weeks since she last had married.

The next day they hired Edema from a little slum outside of town, bought her a maid’s uniform and a fake passport, and the three of them boarded Edwin’s jet for New York.

In their new Tribeca residence, Edwin explained the terms of employment to Edema as she unpacked Limoncella’s 102-piece set of Louis Vuitton luggage.

‘You’ll receive every third Wednesday off without pay, however you must not leave the house, should there be something that we require of you unexpectedly. All other times you are to remain in the house, ever at the ready, listening intently. The faintest coo from Madame may indicate the embryonic phase of some nascent desire. At that you must snap into action. Anticipation! That is the essence of your duty.’

‘Yes sirs,’ she replied.

They soon settled into a comfortable routine. Edwin left the house at 8:30am. Limoncella and Edema believed he went to some place they referred to as the ‘office,’ although Edwin never actually mentioned any such place. He spoke few words to Edema and fewer still to Limoncella. He had taken to calling her ‘Citronella’ after several weeks, but since she never listened to him, it mattered little.

Limoncella rose daily at ten, calling sharply for Edema to bring her breakfast. Edema would roll-in a cart with all of the items Madame had requested. Of these she would eat only a thumbnail-sized bite of poached egg white, and after she would violently shove the cart aside, snarling, ‘Do you want me to get fat?’

Then, Edema would lift two chilled cucumber slices from a doily that sat on a silver saucer, using mother-of-pearl tongs to place them, ever-so deftly, over Madame’s eyelids. After, she would scurry backwards a few steps.

Should the temperature of the cucumber not be to her liking, Limoncella would demand that Edema disclose her location with a syllable or two, and then hurl whatever item she could grope the bed to find, invariably missing since she could not see.

Edema would thoughtfully cry out as if she had been struck, and Limoncella would grin with satisfaction.

After dressing, Limoncella would depart for her morning spa treatments and then spend the afternoon shopping.

Edema had only a scant hour to unpack the shopping bags the porter brought up before cocktail hour would be upon her. She struggled to find places for the necklaces, bracelets, dresses, cashmere sweaters, Swarovski-studded track suits and handbags that came through the door each day.

Edwin had provided a standing order for her to dispose of items after one week and this she obeyed with organized efficiency, creating charts of items noting their acquisition and disposal dates.

It wasn’t much different than what she expected the United States would be like, so she could not have imagined the feeding frenzy which would ensue every Thursday, when the porter brought sacks of jewelry and clothes down to the package room.

Precisely at 4:30, as detailed in a note Edwin had pinned to Edema’s uniform, ice crystals were to be visible to the naked eye in the swirling liquor of his martini when he came through the elevator door.

Once, when Edema saw the liquid had settled to a ripple-less state, still, untouched, its meniscus hugging the very top of the rim, she began to tremble with fear and cried to the blesséd Virgin, fearing that Edwin had met with some horrible end.

Presently however, he breezed into the foyer, epithets tumbling before him in the direction of Edema, who was by now down upon one knee.

‘I paid that miserable porter the better part of a month’s wages to dispatch those wretched yapping puffball lap-dogs unto the joyful bliss of doggie heaven. And look here- white frisé hairs on my trousers.’

‘Yes sirs, but these are the new dogs. The insurance pay.’

‘Well when you see him, I want you to tell him to stop being so clever. A properly gruesome crime-scene might induce her to forego acquiring the next litter. Has he no sense, that man?’

‘Yes sirs. I will tell.’


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