Medium Rare


Her real name was Nancy Towner, but she called herself, Duchess Soul, professionally.  She was slightly overweight, not especially pretty and possessing a sloppy brand of feminism only a moron would find attractive.  She was also lazy and had never finished anything in her life, except elementary school.  Now, at nearly thirty-two years of age Nancy Towner felt like shit.

The best thing she did was to not have kids.  Other than that, there wasn’t much else to say.  She was obnoxious, meddlesome, rude and irresponsible.  Her parents dreaded her company and she knew better than to visit any of her sibs.  She had just begged for money one too many times.

As a successful psychic, Duchess Soul made ample money, which is to say she got by with that and Public Assistance.  She drove an old Toyota, lived in a student ghetto apartment, and had a circle of friends known well to local law enforcement agencies.   And, up until last night her life had gone well by her own assessment.  She didn’t want much.

The fact that Duchess Soul believed she was getting better at her primary job first set in a few years before.  It didn’t work as well over the phone as it did in person, but when she was on she was really on.  She was talking to dead people and predicting future events more accurately than science could even dispute—not that they were paying any attention.  And then, she told this old lady not to take a schedule vacation to Mexico.  “You won’t make it back alive,” warned Duchess Soul.  And so it was the lady believed her and did not take that vacation and as it come to pass the bus that would have taken her to the airport hit a viaduct and killed thirteen people onboard.  “You saved my life!” explained the old lady that very next day.

It was things such as this that continued building Duchess Soul’s self-confidence over the weeks and months.  She told the Mayor’s wife he was going to lose the election and he was cheating on her—both came true the very next week.  She told a commodities broker the winter weather hadn’t harmed the orange crop as much as estimated—and that came true, too.  So, when Duchess saw a vision of her own death she was completely freaked out.

It wasn’t a real clear vision.  There was lots of smoke and noise and fire and even gun shots.  She saw herself naked and falling and lightning and such.

One thing was for sure.  She had to stop mixing pills and tequila.

So, Duchess Soul felt like shit on this morning.  She reached for the phone and called her mother, but it went right to message so she left a long, obnoxious message about her impending death and how she forgave them for all the poor parenting.  Goodbye.  And then she called her sister and left basically the same message.  And her brother, too.  And, her last living aunt and her high school drama teacher.  That’s when she took a hand full of pills and grabbed her car keys.

That Toyota would go eighty miles an hour.  Duchess proved this often.  It didn’t steer real well at that speed, or stop straight, but as long as you stayed straight it would do it.  By now two police cruisers were chasing her and she was heading toward the airport—but they didn’t know that.  A slow gate attendant at Hindenburg Airlines couldn’t stop Duchess from driving in behind that delivery truck, and dumb luck led her out onto the runway where the big jets land and takeoff.  That Toyota crashed into the front landing gear of a taking off 747 and stuck there like a booger as the jet left the ground.  Luckily, that landing gear struck the passenger’s side of the Duchess’ Toyota.

It was too late to stop so the pilot hit the thrusters and the big jet lurched into the sky like a fat girl coming off a diving board.  Just about everyone at the airport saw it happen.  Videos were going viral within minutes because numerous people thought to get cell phone footage.

It was loud in that Toyota.  Surprisingly enough, the car could probably still be driven and even the radio played.  Duchess was on her cell phone calling 911.  At first they didn’t believe her.  It sounded too crazy.  They told her to turn the radio down and asked her if she was on drugs.  She hung up and started crying again.  And then she saw the little airplane flying along-side her.  The pilot was waving at her.  She blinked the headlights on the Toyota.

Below her the expanse of Lake Huron opened up.  The pilot in the little airplane moved all around and seemed to be taking pictures or videos.  When he was back at her side her phone rang, and it was the pilot.  “Are you hurt?” he asked in kind of a southern drawl.

“No,” replied Duchess.  “I do have to go pee.”

“Roger that, Ms. Towner,” answered the pilot.  “You might be up here awhile.  I wouldn’t try to hold it.”

“Okay,” replied Duchess.

So, for the next two hours the 747 circled above Lake Huron while experts on the ground tried to figure out what to do.  One contingent wanted to just land the 747 in the water.  It was just a cargo plane they argued.  The crew should be just fine.  Another contingent wanted to try to raise the landing gear hoping the Toyota would just fall off.  Then they could attempt a normal landing and possibly save the plane.  The last group just wanted to land the 747 with the Toyota attached on hard ground.

And then Duchess Soul got a hold of a Detroit radio station on her well charged cell phone and the world seemed to stand still.  Within a few mere minutes that broadcast was going out around the world and Duchess Soul was the star of the show.  She was even taking calls from customers.  “Hope my cell don’t die, you all!  If it do tell my mama I’m gonna see the Baby Jesus!  This is Duchess Soul hollering at you from high atop the 313, peeps!”

Finally, the pilot from the neighboring fighter jet got through to Duchess.  He explained to her what they were going to attempt.  He did not know this conversation was going out over the air on Hip-Hop radio across the country.  The Duchess did not appreciate the lack of confidence the pilot expressed about the plan.  She kept demanding they do some of that Mission Impossible shit and then replace her Toyota with a Benz.  The pilot kept telling her to strap herself in tightly. When he actually started counting down the Duchess became acutely concerned.  She looked out her side window.  Lake fucking Huron was approaching fast and they were losing altitude faster.  “We’re just going to try to scrub your car lightly from the landing gear, Ms. Towner. We have a helicopter in route to pick you up,” explained the fighter pilot.

The Duchess was too petrified to talk, breath, hear, think or do.  All she could do is see, and she was seeing that shit all too well right about now. Suddenly a wave bashed into the side of the car and it went tumbling across the surface of the lake like a jelly jar lid on ceramic tile.  The car rolled sixteen times before coming up on its wheels, straddling a sand bar, in ankle deep water.

“Shit!” exclaimed the fighter pilot.

Shit indeed.

Now, remember how this all started?  Yeah, so you know some stainless steel asshole lawyer is going to litigate this fiasco.  The Duchess, who bravely wore her seatbelt, had survived the event quite well thank you very much except for a broken collar bone, broken arm, broken leg, broken pelvis and a concussion she was fine.  Stainless steel asshole lawyer came from a midnight TV ad because he showed stacks of mad cash, or mad stacks of cash, or something like that.  The Duchess was on his phone the next day and she wasn’t about to pay a retainer.  The lawyer finally agreed and had the Duchess sign something without reading it and the deal was done.  He was in court the next day with a one billion dollar law suit.  It took the Duchess six months to get out of the hospital but what did she care the airline was paying for it all.

Long story short, the lawyer, in addition to the Mercedes, got the Duchess another one point four million dollars which was some percentage of the ten million the case was actually awarded.  Everyone was happy.  The Duchess shut down her business and got out of Dodge to avoid all the people trying to borrow money from her.  She moved to Ann Arbor and hid out in the Burns Park neighborhood.  Things was cool.

About a month later the Duchess met her neighbor.  He was some stinky old man but he was a published author.  He thought her story was interesting and it only cost him three bottles of wine.  He told her she should write a book and he should help her.  She agreed.  The called it, “Life on a Landing Gear”, and publishers were knocking down their door for a deal.  So, they did.  Pendant Published won the actual bid and they had strong ideas about the marketing plan.  The Duchess almost had a heart attack filming the trailer for the ad that would sell the book.  It was all green screen stuff, but being back in the cabin of that Toyota flying over Lake fucking Huron, well let’s just say the Duchess peed her panties.  But, the book was a runaway success and once again everyone was happy.

So, of course, the book had to be made into a movie and for fuck’s sake the Duchess was not going to be denied the starring role!  She whipped herself into the best shape of her life and kabang, the studio caved. Maybe the studio president banged the Duchess and maybe he did not.  But, if couldn’t have hurt either way.  The Duchess plays the dog shit out of that role and Oscar nominations are eminent.  She’s on every talk show and game show, and was three times on Steve Harvey in one week.  Girlfriend was hot!

But, girlfriend was also a moron.  Her manager scrammed with all her loot, and everyone he knew wasn’t answering his phone.  The Duchess was pissed.  All she had left was a Versace necklace worth one hundred thousand, diamond earrings worth about fifty thousand and the braided gold bracelet with the diamond studs worth about seventy-five thousand.  She hid all that stuff in her panties and that was good because the IRS arrived a short time later and took everything else.  They told her she had to be out of her house by eight am.  She ambled out rebelliously at 9:35.

It was a mile walk to the bus stop and she missed her bus by about an hour.

You might think this story would end with some kind of cute or clever twist, but it don’t.  Nancy Towner aka Duchess Soul went to her mama’s house and lived a relatively quiet life after that.  Mama pieced apart that expensive jewelry and made it last a long, long time.