THE THIEF – PART II and conclusion.
For the beginning of Tracy’s story go to my last blog
post (10 March). You remember that thieving Tracy has come down with the flu, or
The next day, I still
feel lousy, and an itchy mosquito bite, or whatever, is driving me crazy. Maybe
it’s infected. I decide to go to the walk-in clinic and have it checked out. I
reach for my wallet. It’s not where I left it. I look everywhere, but I can’t
find it. I mean it’s not exactly small, it’s the size of a clutch purse, but
it’s gone. This is too much. I collapse on the sofa. I’ll have to deal with
At noon, I hear Bev’s
car pull into the driveway. She comes into the house and clops downstairs.
“Tracy?” she calls. “Tracy?
Are you there, dear?”
“I’m here,” I say. My
voice has gone quavery, like an old woman’s.
She comes right into
my room and steps up to the sofa where I’m lying like a lump of dough. She
“Poor thing,” she
says, and puts her hand on my forehead. “You are not running a fever, are you?
--No, it feels okay,” she says and withdraws her hand. I notice it’s nice and
plump. The liver spots are gone. I close my eyes.
happened to me yesterday,” she says, and when I open my eyes again, she is
holding up my wallet.
“I took this by
mistake,” she says. “I don’t know how it happened. – I’m so sorry, Tracy,” she
says, but she doesn’t look it.
I study her face. I
haven’t noticed it before, but she looks a bit like me, like a crook. Wouldn’t
that be something if she was a thief, too?
Well, she won’t get much from me. I spend my money as fast as I can. I
have nothing else she’d want.
The flu, or whatever
it was, goes away overnight. I have a violent dream, a poltergeist kind of
dream with noise going on upstairs, people walking back and forth, arguing in
repressed tones, then silence. And in the morning I wake up feeling good.
Around ten, Bev goes
off to do her shopping, but a little later I hear steps overhead. No, I must be
mistaken, I think. Is the flu back? Do I have hallucinations? I hear someone
coming down the stairs and turning into the laundry area. I’ve tacked up a
blanket over my non-existing door, over the opening into the hallway – a
privacy curtain. That means I can’t see
who/what is coming downstairs, and I can’t tell: Am I dreaming? Or is Bev back
already? I can’t stand it. I have to check. I go out into the hall. The light
in the laundry area is on. There is someone in there loading the washing
machine. A man.
He stops what he is
doing and looks up. I feel his messianic presence. It’s Julian, tall, lanky,
giving me his magnetic blue-eyed stare, macho in spite of the domestic chore of
pushing dirty clothes into the washer. I notice his hair and beard are neatly
“Julian!” I say.
“What are you doing here?
locked me out. Had the place declared a safety hazard,” he says with his usual
mixture of hot charm and profanity. “The
inspector came in and found a couple of baggies. I’m up for possession next
That explains his
clean-cut looks. In prep for the court appearance the blonde mane and the
scraggly beard had to go. But it doesn’t explain why he is here, in Bev’s
“You and Bev know
“She’s my mother,” he
“Yes!” he says. “Well,
sort of.” He puts on his
believe-it-or-not voice and tells me a story.
He was born at St.
Mike’s Hospital, he says, when Bev was there for a hysterectomy. That’s
twenty-eight years ago. When it was time for her to go home, she took him
along. Kidnapped baby Julian and kept him in the attic for three months until
the police tracked him down. Not that Julian’s mother was desperate to find her
baby. She was a prostitute on crack, but the Children’s Aid Society kept the
case going, and so Julian was found. Bev got off lightly because a psychiatrist
testified on her behalf. He said she was clinically depressed, distraught after
the hysterectomy, which signified the end of her womanhood, and so she went
temporarily insane and took the baby. No harm had come to the child, he pointed
out. In fact Bev had doted on him. The doctor who conducted the medical
examination confirmed that the child was in excellent health, but noted two pin
pricks, as if someone had poked Julian’s arm with a needle. The marks were never explained. Bev got off
with a slap on the wrist: a hundred hours of community service and obligatory
attendance in a counselling programme.
Julian ended up in a
series of foster homes. When he was sixteen, he went to see Bev. He rang her
door bell. She came out, eyed him, and said: “There you are!” He lived with her
for the next two years.
“But life with Bev
comes at a price,” he says to me. “You pay for everything you get.”
“What do you mean?”
“She takes it out of
you. Those mysterious pinpricks they found on my arms when I was a baby? She
sucked my blood.”
I’ve never heard
Julian talk crap like that. He isn’t the superstitious kind.
“Come on, Julian,” I
say. “That’s crazy.”
“You think so? Then
how do you explain that she and I have the same DNA?” He had tests done, he
says. He can prove it. “But when I
confronted Bev with the results, she laughed and said: Well, that explains why
I took you home with me. That’s all I managed to get out of her.”
It’s too weird. I
change the topic. “So how long are you planning to stay?”
weeks. Bev put me up on the top floor.”
“In the studio with
“You’ve been scoping
out the place. Snagged a few of her things? ”
I shrug my
“Don’t. She’ll take
something from you in exchange.”
“But I don’t have anything
“That’s what you
think!” he says. “You do have something: youth.”
I laugh in his face.
“Yeah, right. And she’s going to take
that from me?”
Okay, so I promised
Julian not to take any more of Bev’s stuff, but that doesn’t include looking at
the files in her computer. I have so
many questions about her now. Maybe the
answers are in the files.
I go upstairs and
turn on Bev’s computer. But you know what? The C-drive has been wiped. There
isn’t a single file there. Julian must have worked on the machine and pitted
his tech magic against Bev’s Wicca spells. Maybe she had a recipe collection of
spells in her computer. Is there a tit-for-tat charm? You eat my food, baby,
and I take your pristine blood? You take my money, Tracy, and I take your
I go out into the
hall and look up to the third floor landing. I see that Julian has put a lock
on the studio door and taped up a piece of paper with an eye painted on it, one
of those King Tut eyes, almond-shaped, black-rimmed, and unflinching.
I guess I’m safe for the
time being, but maybe I’ll ask Julian to let me sleep with him in the studio,
behind the locked door, until I find a new place.