Nancy Sinatra came in. I was cutting up the left-overs from the Texas Bar-B-Que so I had a knife in my hand and I waved it menacingly at the slats in the pantry doors to remind Archie to keep quiet. “Good morning Nance,” said I. “I hope you slept well.” In fact she looked like hell. I had never seen a woman so aged in the wan light of the dawn, high up in the hills on Shitsville Ranch.
“I’d like a little pick-me-up,” said Nancy. As she drew on her restorative breakfast draught from the elegant Absolut bottle she said, “A cheerful lift to make me bright and lively again. Those awful films we watched all night beat hell out of me. It never ceases to amaze me, your father’s aptitude for bloodiness. Chances are the government and the actor’s guild and my father all conspired to have him drafted so he’d get shot or at least take a break from making movies.”
She meant well, of course; the people who love my father best are always the ones who ridicule him the most. Once he said to me, “Honey, you gotta try harder to be nicer to people you despise.” But I said, “If I were nicer, they wouldn’t know I despised them, then what incentive would they have to change?” A lot of my father’s women naturally worked along the same principle. But I could hear my father in the pantry, wheezing and straining to keep his stomach sucked in; there was nothing to stop him from bursting out in either rage or passion if she went on deriding him in that famous Sinatra way. And I didn’t want him to expose himself in any capacity, for fear my friendly Sinatra cheque would disappear. Yes, thought I, it is better to let her grope numbly on through a nymphomaniac’s grief and a vodka haze for a while longer; clearly she was suffering terribly over my father’s death, and to discover he was alive could be dangerous to her fragile Sinatra mind, like waking a sleepwalker.