43. Just For Today

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Just for today
I could try to live through this day only
Not deal with all life's problems
Just for today

Minnie shovels peas into her mouth as she carries on talking, hardly pausing for breath. I lean on the kitchen counter, watching her, but not listening to her, as she complains about Vince, the leeches that live in his house, the other men she has encountered recently. I can't listen, because the things she tells me fill me with a fear and horror that I can't show. I have to be 'cool' with it. I have to hardly react. If I give her an indication of what I really think, then she'll stop telling me anything. 

'Anyway,' she continues, gesturing with her dinner knife. 'No one bothered paying the bill, so the phones cut off. I told Vince, I'm not paying for it, I hardly use it. Although it's making work a pain. I had to give them the phone box number. I'll write it down for you too before I go. I'm glad, in a way. There was this guy - Mick, no, Mike - well, whatever his name was, he wouldn't stop ringing. Driving me crazy, all hours of the night. The mistake I made there was I went out with him two nights running. Should never do that...'

'What about Brian? Did you ever see him again?' I ask, interrupting her flow. 

'Brian?' Minnie replies with her mouth full. 'Brian who?'

It's nice to see her eat. I insist she comes here so I can feed her. If I can't find her a place to live, if I can't give her enough money to make a difference, at least I can make sure she eats. It easier said than done. Sometimes she doesn't come when she's supposed to. Sometimes she picks at her food and hardly swallows a thing. Tonight though, she's scoffing it like she hasn't eaten in a week.  

'Brian Jones. The Rolling Stones?' 

'Oh, him.' She pauses to drink from her tea mug. 'Have you got anything else to drink?' 

'There's more tea in the pot.' 

'No, not tea. A proper drink.' 

I shake my head, even though we do. 'Don't you think you've had enough?' I ask, cautiously. She's drunk, or she's taken something. Or both. It's why she's eating like this, it's why she's talking so fast and so openly. It's not even eight o'clock yet.  

'What are you? My mother?' Minnie says, pulling her face, but pours more tea from the pot in front of her anyway. 'Yeah, I've seen Brian once or twice,' she continues, piercing a piece of potato with her fork. 'But he has a girlfriend.' She says that like it leaves a sour taste in her mouth. 'I'm not getting wrapped up in shit like that again. She belongs to him and he belongs to you. Fuck that. If everyone lived like me and Vince do, the world would be a better place. Everyone would be a lot happier. Even you, Han.' 

I smile thinly and Minnie laughs at me. 

'How are the rehearsals going?' she asks. 

'Oh. Uh, alright,' I say, hesitantly. 

'You don't sound too sure.' 

'We're just having some... disagreements over some things. And Ricky's not happy with what we're doing. It's different. It's not like when we were doing the TV show...'

Minnie smiles sympathetically. 'You've got a while yet, though, haven't you? Before the shows start?' 

I nod. 'A couple of weeks.'

'What's the problem then?'

'It's... um, well...' 

'Ricky?' she says, knowingly. 

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