Caring Mom helps her bedridden son become a man.
I took him to bed.
"To me it was no big deal. Tommy was a friend who needed help, so I helped.
"To Tommy it was a big deal. He fell in love-or in lust. It's kinda hard to tell the difference sometimes. He wanted to take me away," Trish rolled her eyes. "I don't know where he thought we would go or what he would do-he just wanted to take me away.
"I told Tommy that I'd never leave Oscar and he went off his rocker. He disappeared for a week, and then one night he came in here while we were closing. He was furious, and he had his service revolver with him. He shot me twice," Trish said. She pointed to her chest and to her throat, "Here and here."
Nick glanced at Emily and found her with her elbows on the table and her hands over her mouth. Her eyes were huge and wet, and fixed on Trish.
"It's alright, dear," Trish said. She reached across the table and squeezed Emily's wrist, "That's all past now."
Emily composed herself; she folded her hands in her lap and leaned against Nick's shoulder.
Trish went on, "Oscar had a big shotgun behind the bar. It was always loaded and always ready. He was too late with it to save me, but he splattered bits of Tommy all over the back of the room. Then he sat down next to me and cried.
"The hotel was closed and empty right then, so there was no-one around to bother Oscar. It took him hours to figure out what he wanted to do. He closed the bar and cleaned up all the blood and the bits. He put 'Gone Fishin' signs on the doors. He mailed cash to our handyman with a note. The note said there was a loose floorboard in front of the bar that needed to be nailed down before we got back."
Trish turned her head and pointed to a spot in front of the bar. "Oscar lifted that floorboard," she said, "and dug three graves in the crawlspace down there. He buried me in the middle grave and Tommy on my left, then he pulled the floorboard over us and laid down in the last grave with Tommy's revolver. He buried himself-all but his head and one arm-and then he shot himself."
Nick downed the last of his beer. Emily wrapped her hands around her glass. She turned it around then asked the obvious. "So you're all dead? You're ghosts or something?"
Trish laughed and smiled, "I suppose we are," she said. She held her hands up and gave an exaggerated shrug. "But honey, do I look dead to you? I don't feel dead-I feel very alive. We're all part of this old hotel now, like the stairways, and the building stones, and the arched windows that you thought were cool."
Trish went on with her story, "After all that it took years for people to figure out that we were gone and to work out all those legal things. The smell in here faded before Tony opened his place, and just like always, life-or whatever this is-went on.
"Time is different for us now than it used to be. It doesn't really pass-it's more like we're walking through it. We can see where we came from and in a way we can see where we're going-until tonight. Now there's a wall that we can't see past."
Trish flipped her hand toward the lobby door and said. "Your friend that showed you around? He forgot to shut off the juice when he left. Tonight there's gonna be a gas leak and something will make a spark-it won't take much, maybe just a rat running across one of those frayed old wires."
She held her hands up with her fingers pinched together, then opened them suddenly to mimic an explosion; her eyebrows went up and she mouthed a silent boom. "The building won't be here anymore, and maybe we won't be here either. We just don't know."
"If you know all about it, isn't there something you can do to stop it?" Nick asked
"Stop it? Oh no, dear. It is what it is," Trish said. She looked over her shoulder to Oscar then went on, "I'm not sure we'd stop it if we could.
"All this time we've worked and we've watched, but we've never forgiven each other; we've never gotten along." Trish motioned to her cleavage and said, "You'd think that a girl with my goods could get a little action now and then-hell, my husband and my boyfriend are both right here-but nope.