The Adventures of Chartan: Back in the Saddle


(Last Week: Elisa is in the hospital after shooting herself—Chartan is unsure how he might help her.)

            Two men faced each other in oversized leather chairs in a dimly lit office with walls of books reaching the ceiling.

            “I am surprised you returned for another session,” said Dr. Kodor as he adjusted his eyeglasses. Chartan was convinced the esteemed psychiatrist would fiddle with his glasses whenever he wanted to mask his nervousness.

            Chartan kept rigid. “I’ve met a woman I am unable to help even though I want to.”

            “A girlfriend?”

            “You remember… Elisa the nurse and also Elisa from my dream. We were intimate once. But she has a deep, ever-present anger that can be violent and she may turn that violence on herself.”

            “Why is she angry?”

            “She says her husband is evil, so evil she wants to kill him—she pulled a gun on him in public. Next, she shot herself. “

            “Busy woman.”

            “That I am unable to help.”

            “Define ‘help’ for me.”

            Chartan searched for words but found none. He lowered his head.

            “Chartan?”

            He looked up. “You want a response.”

            “Only if you want to give one.”

            The master of Life Restoration had been checkmated. At that moment Chartan realized he was using this session to confess to himself that he was lost in purpose. Helping others had always been about creating a will to live and eliminating negative energy. But he could not control or understand Elisa.

            “Maybe I’m simply a chauffeur at heart.”

            “You may be that, or you may be much more…”

                                                                        ***

            Chartan, eyes closed, rubbed the sides of a grimy leather chair in the waiting room of Sloan’s Limousine Service until he heard his name.

            “Ready to drive?” shouted Sloan, standing in the doorway of his office.

            The sight of the man who had hired him during a time in his life when there was a purpose to his actions, from teaching to chauffeuring. But Chartan had a decision to make. His next class was in two days—he was out of ideas, motivation and that natural flowing spirit that empowered him. He longed for the comfort of holding the steering wheel at ten o’clock and two o’clock on I-80.

            Sloan spoke quickly.“Ms. Minerva Woods is scheduled to take her weekly trip tomorrow to San Francisco. Edwards is slated to drive her. I could sub you in, if you want.”

            His dream had started after he was shot waiting for Minerva to finish her session with Dr. Kodor. What better way to pick up the pieces than to drive her to her appointment.

            “Please do.”

            The next day he rang the mansion doorbell, shifting nervously as he waited to see who would open the door.

            A young woman with dark hair and olive skin stared at him.

            “Chartan?”

            “How did you know?”

            “Mr. Sloan called.”

            “What a pleasant surprise!” boomed a voice behind the woman.

            As he hugged Minerva, Chartan caught a glimpse of the woman who had opened the door. She had the look of a temptress just like Elisa the servant, or was it Elisa the nurse?

            He stepped back. “What happened to Elisa” he asked.

            Minerva coughed. “ She simply left without explanation. “

                                                ***

            Chartan held the steering wheel firmly as he eased the black limousine onto I-80 with Minerva Woods in the back seat reading the Atlantic Monthly—the sliding glass window that separated them was open.

            The moan of the tires at 65 mph was a meditative chant that helped Chartan process his conversation of the past 30 minutes with Minerva. She said she had fired Elisa for inappropriate behavior, but didn’t define it. Her whereabouts were unknown, it was as if she had never existed and it would be up to Chartan to determine if she should have any more meaning in his life. Her replacement, Sandina from Uruguay, had been recommended for employment by Dr. Kodor who knew Sandina’s father. As beautiful as Elisa had been, Sandina was more enticing—he wanted to know more about her, but stopped himself. Two Elisa’s were enough. He had to regain his power of control before pursuing the opposite sex again. Besides, he had a class to teach tomorrow and as of yet, had not idea of what he would say. He was a mile away from the Starbucks exit. He eyed the rear view mirror and caught Minerva looking at him.

            “Yes, Chartan, as usual”

            He smiled at their ease of communication. He put on the turn signal.

            “I know someone high up in Starbucks,” she said, “I’m going to suggest they create a 72-bean coffee drink in your honor.”

            “Isn’t necessary,” he replied.

            “No, I own Starbucks  stock—I want them do well.”

                                                            ***

(To be continued next Sunday)

Published by 67steffen

My labels: grandfather, father, veteran, writer, poet, photographer and dreamer in pursuit of the meaning of life. Getting close, although I'm running out of time--probably why I'm so close.

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