34. Halloween
from Sugaring Off II
Margaret Gilbert


A few weeks later, Sir Rudolf brought his new girlfriend, Angel, to my basement apartment. We
were still friends because we occasionally slept together, although I knew he was not in love
with me, and I was jealous that I was not included in the excitement of his life. Angel was tall
and blond and told us she had studied literature at Oxford University. She wore a cotton skirt and
sandals with pink nail polish on her toes. She was fifty years younger than Sir Rudolf, just
released from a mental hospital, and living on the streets of New York out of a paper bag. She
said she had been taking flying lessons in order to become the Pope’s pilot. She had met Sir
Rudolf in the lobby of Mayfair House, where she had been sleeping in the stairwell on the 26th
floor. Now, she was sleeping with Sir Rudolf, and they were dating, and he brought her to tea
that evening. “She travels about the world on a credit card,” said Sir Rudolf proudly. I was
envious. Sir Rudolf and Angel had tried to elope to Barbados at the airport earlier that day and
had been intercepted by Mr. Tooth, Sir Rudolf’s lawyer, who, I had read, was stealing all his
money. There had been a piece in The New Yorker about it with a picture. In the picture, Mr.
Tooth was wearing a greenstriped, white shirt with a white collar and a green tie and black shoes,
and he looked gigantic, over six feet tall. That night a bodyguard accompanied Angel and Sir
Rudolf because his movements were now heavily guarded. The bodyguard came in to tea, and
we all sat around in rickety old chairs in my tiny basement drinking tea from dainty china cups.