TUXEDo: Part II

July 6th, 2019 by P. Starks

Dad had always been so infatuated with suits. For as long as I could remember, he’d worn one every day but there I stood in a cold closet still trying to see the significance to them that he saw. He never explained it, however, in the palm of my hand held the key that would reveal it all, at least that’s what was told to me before he’d gotten arrested. But in that moment, I thought about the man who died on the floor of Mr. Buzby’s tailor shop, as well as the part where dad killed Mr. Buzby; it made my skin crawl. And the picture… how could I forget; it was like watching Back to the Future on repeat but, of course, through my dad’s eyes. Nevertheless, it would all be solved soon enough, one way or another I was about to find out the truth; I just hoped that whatever it was for the intentions were good. If not, then I honestly don’t know what I will think of dad, but I’ll just wait for when that time comes.

Just like dad instructed, I walked all the way into the closet until I saw the red suit mom had bought him long ago. The touch of it was smooth and silk, and the smell of it was well… clean or as mom liked to put it, Febrezed. Before I could move it to the side, to reveal what dad said would be a door, something would drop on the floor reminding of the way Mr. Buzby soulless body had once did, and my skin would crawl even more. And went THUMP, Thump, THumP… just like that. Quickly, I turned around to see what it was, but the only thing that was in sight were dozens, if not hundreds of tuxedos that I still wondered were clean or dirty, but I sure knew that the red suit was at least.

­“Mom… Is that you?”  I said, but all I could hear was the echo of my own innocence; it was embarrassing, but luckily no one was around to hear it.

I then turned back around to the red suit but now it was gone. However, what was now in front of me was the door; solid black with gold trimmings and a golden handle. Everything will be explained, again, echoed dads voice. Being haste for time, more so, terrified, I took the key in my hand and literally continued with the task at hand; I inserted the key and turned it.

CLICK, CLICk, CLIck, Click, click, it faded. But then a voice other than my own would appear.

“You shouldn’t do that,” it mumbled, rough and groggy.  

I squinted, still, could barely see a thing for how poorly lit the closet was. There had to be at least six out of the ten lightbulbs that were out. And whatever it was that hid obviously wasn’t around any of the four that were still on.

“Master Cruze won’t like you digging around in his things,” the voice repeated. “It’s best you turn back around and forget what you’ve seen here.”

“What are you talking about? Master Cruze? Are you talking about my dad?”

It was then the voice revealed itself. From behind the tuxes that hung in front of me, shooting out from the darkness like bat, out came a small man wearing an emerald coat, black pants, and black boots that of which were shiny enough where I could see my own reflection. The man’s eyes were orange, which I’d never seen the color of anyone’s eyes before, still, they were interesting enough to get lost in them; they were almost like gold come to think of it.

“If you must know, yes, I am a leprechaun,” the small man admitted, with frustration. “So, you can stop staring at me like you’ve just seen a ghost, although, never got the reference. Tell me, how can you see a ghost if its invisible or then again is just… what’s the word for it, transgenic?”

“You mean, translucent…”

“Yeah, that’s it,” the leprechaun smiled. “Smart for a child.”

As friendly as he was, I would be a lie to say I wasn’t terrified. He looked nothing like the guy on my cereal box, and I was sure that he didn’t have a pot of gold floating around anywhere either. And by the looks of him, mom would’ve probably A: passed out or B: yeah, you guessed it, pass out. But either way he was the only one that seemed to know more about my dad than what my mom or I knew; so, I had to play along.

“Let’s get this out the air shall we; first, I don’t collect gold or lucky charms, I collect tuxedos. And second, I am here guarding them for your father until… Wait what exactly happened to Mr. Cruze?”

“Dad got arrested… And from what mom mumble cried in her sleep, could be going away for a long time. The policeman said he’s being accounted for not only domestic abuse but murder.”

“Absurd! Mr. Cruze would never do… Well, unless… Oh dear, oh dear…” he panicked. “But not the domestic abuse, he’s far too much of a gentleman to ever hit a lady. But murder…”

Back and forward the small man paced around the closet until he became so dizzy, he’d fallen to the floor, wobbling like a turtle on its shell, hysterically. I grabbed his hand and pulled him back up. But when we clasped, they felt like claws of an eagle but slimy. For dad to hang around such a man, it really made me begin to wonder just how sick he might’ve been in the head. I started to have doubts. Dad had always been a good man, but all that I’d heard didn’t necessarily guide me to that result.  The secrets, the murder, the picture, the key and now the leprechaun, all of which led me to this point, and a confusing one at best.

“I’m sorry but what the heck does a tuxedo have to do with any of this? I mean, people are dying, getting killed!” I yelled.

The leprechaun then looked at me sarcastically, with tangerine eyes; there was a fire within them.

“He didn’t tell you, did he?” he whispered.

“Tell me what?”

Shaking his head, the Leprechaun then grabbed my hand and pulled me by the door that required the key.

“I knew I should’ve retired… That man will be the death of me I swear… Well, maybe not, I’m immortal,” he laughed. “But on a serious note… This key will explain everything…”

“Okay then, let’s go,” I said, putting the key into the door, eagerly.

The Leprechaun then slapped my hand.

“No, no, no… Patience!” he said. “Before we enter you need to know something, and that is there is no turning back. You will be a part of the legacy. You know… your dad didn’t want you knowing about me or this room until you were what do they call it, sixteen sweets?”

“You mean sweet sixteen…” I grinned.

“Bah, whatever girlfriend,” said the Leprechaun, with laughter screechy as nails to a chalkboard. “Sorry, I don’t get out much. But if you are ready, then let us proceed.”

I thought about all that had happened that day, especially, what mom had been through. It wasn’t right for me to leave her alone, but then again, I’d made a promise to dad, and that was something neither of us broke. But before I’d go in, still I had to make sure everything with mom was alright. Quickly, I hurried down the stairs like a dog hearing that it’s food bowl was being filled. As I had made my way down, I could hear that the TV was incredibly loud. I’d expected it from dad, but never from mom. When I’d turned to the right of the living room, it was completely black with the TV glowing on Channel 2 news. I ran over to the sofa, but mom wasn’t there; just the blanket that I’d left over her.

“Mom!” I yelled, but not a whimper of her was heard.

I then ran back towards the stairs to check her room but about time I’d placed my foot on the first step, in my peripheral I noticed that the door was open. And the smell of rain blew through it like burning incense.

“She’s gone…” said the leprechaun from behind me.

In his hand was a note written on cardboard, the same carboard from the box of Domino’s pizza we’d ate two days ago.

“Here take it…” he said. “Might explain e…”

“Nope, don’t say it, don’t say it, I don’t want to hear it. I’m tired of everyone telling me that…J-just hand it to me.”

“Jeez, no one’s ever any fun anymore. Here, take it then and go away,” said the Leprechaun, walking over to pout in the corner.

I then looked at the letter, reading between the grease that still soaked in it, trying to decode what it said. At first, I couldn’t really make anything out of it but then it clicked. It said: Bringu  sthet uxedo ory ouwill b3s orry. Meetu 45 Cherry. I turned to the leprechaun.

“I think it says that they want me to bring a tuxedo and meet them somewhere on 45th and Cherry. What tuxedo are they talking about? There’s dozens of them in the closet,” I said.

The Leprechaun said nothing after that. He took a long and hard gasp of annoyance. Slowly, he walked himself up the stairs and when he’d reach the top, with his small hand waved for me to follow. Before I could even wrap my mind of what happened to mom, there we stood at the door again; the same stupid door that everyone kept telling me that would quote on quote “explain everything.” At this point I just wanted to kick it down and throw in a grenade for whatever was in it, but I was just a kid, not Rambo.

“Go on then,” said the Leprechaun. “Oh, and just in case you’re wondering, the names Sheamus.”

We both shook hands and began. Again, I inserted the key into the door and twisted. There was a click and the sound bounced all around us. It was a little awkward but Sheamus hadn’t said a thing. He stood still and calm no different than what hung behind us. Before I would even have the chance to push it open, the door would open on its own; light expelled from it blindingly, like a driver who’d forgotten to turn their high beams off. But then the light would fade.

As we entered all I seemed to notice was a stair way dead center of the room. Where did it lead to?

“Alright let’s get started shall we,” said Sheamus. “To your right is Mr. Cruzes wall of designs. We will first need to find the book to the specific Tuxedo where looking for.”

I was amused. “Are you saying that the so-called Tux that everyone is looking for was something my dad made?”

“Indeed,” Sheamus smiled, with teeth beveled in areas that they shouldn’t have.

As told, I walked over to the wall of designs that sat on the wall. But they weren’t pictures, they were books; books of drawings, books of ideas that dad had hidden away all this time. There must’ve been thousands of them. I was a little impressed by how’d he gotten them all in such a small space, although, I had a pretty good idea that Sheamus was the mastermind behind it. He was much smarter than what he sounded.

“There, there it is,” he pointed, pulling out a latter, that looked as instead, it was carrying him.

“Up you go, we don’t have all day boy.”

“The names Roman,” I snarled. Still, Sheamus shooed me up to grab I guess what was the book of all books.

The book was gigantic, so much that it must’ve taken up at least three to four space’s within the shelf. It was completely black all over, and on its edges, it was black too. Was it book of spells? But for tuxedo’s… Yeah, now that would be the day… when pigs flied. On my tippy toes I reached up as high as I could to pull the book down; it was heavy. But by the end of it all, I’d still get it out, as well the sweat that dripped from my pores in effort.

When I’d gotten down, without hesitation, Sheamus snatched from my hands, with a grip stronger than what I thought he had. Kungfu grip, I silently joked, but come on a leprechaun, now that would be another story to tell, possibly even a good one.

“Follow me,” he said, rushing over to the center of the room, where the stairs carved into the floor.

“I-is it there?” I asked. “The special tuxedo.”

Sheamus said nothing. He walked over beside me, grabbed my hand, and then took one of his dirty nails, cutting into my skin well enough until I dripped of red, onto the pages of the book. I punched him dead in the face only he didn’t budge; not a wobble from his bobble head stature. It was obvious that it hurt me more than it hurt him.

“Are you done?” he said, yawning and rolling his eyes. “We don’t have all day.”

But then what happened next was really when I started to see what dad was involved with; I was out of my league. Once the Sheamus had closed the book, he flung it down the stairway like it was a piece of trash, arguably. Meanwhile, I still held my hand in pain, still pissed off. It was as if he didn’t care at all that he’d hurt me.

“What are you doing?” I shouted.

“Shush boy. Just watch,” he whispered. “And give me your hand, tired of hearing your whimpering.”

As Sheamus had held my hand before me the floor and the stair way spread apart like a broken puzzle; board after board, swarming around us like sharks in the pacific. During its magnificence Sheamus had let go long before I’d realized it and when I looked down there wasn’t a single mark on my hand.

“Oh, here it comes!” he shouted excitingly. “You know Mr. Cruze has only let me see this thing twice since I’ve known him, and I’ve known him ever since he was a little boy. The nerve right?”

Since he was a child? I pondered. That was the last thing that stuck for me. How long had all of this been going and if it had been going on that long, did grandpa know about it? It was then I remembered what Sheamus had told me before we entered.

Before we enter you need to know something, and that is there is no turning back. You will be a part of the legacy, his voice echoed. And then dads voice again. Everything will be explained, it repeated.

Nevertheless, things were coming to a closure. Where the stair once carved into the floor was now a hill, and up it something pulled with squeaking noises as high pitch as a rat. Where their rats? Hopefully not, but either way I was about to find out.

“Hope you’re ready for this little one? More so hope it fits. Well… then again it fits everyone, who’s worn it.”

I stood awe as what I was looking at was just an ordinary tuxedo. It was black all over, with a black bow tie and black shoes. This couldn’t have been what everyone was raving about it. Although, from what mom had told me, it was best not to judge a book by the cover unless looks is all you really cared for.  

Sheamus then walked up to it and opened the door. I didn’t notice it, but inside of it was sealed the same book that he’d thrown down just moments prior. He pulled it out and handed it to me.

“Hold this,” he said.

While he’d taken his time pulling the tuxedo out from the museum like vase that it hung in, I would flip through the pages of the book. At first, there was nothing but just blank pages, all in repeat, but about time I hit the middle of the book I saw pictures of the same men I saw from the picture that the man in Mr. Buzby tailor shop had left. Again, they all looked like dad. I pulled out the picture to compare and that’s exactly what it was. But the thing that I’d missed the whole time was what they all wore. I looked again at the tuxedo that Sheamus had finally brought down. Like in the picture, everyone one wore black coat, black bowtie, and a black button up, which was somewhat informal for what I was taught about tuxes but…

“Do you understand now?” asked Sheamus.

“Understand what… All of this is just some tuxedo party gone wrong.”

Sheamus rolled his eyes. “I didn’t know stupidity ran in Mr. Cruzes family…”

But he was wrong, it wasn’t that I was stupid, it was that I just didn’t want to admit what it was that I’d put together.

“Tell me… the man in the tailor shop. Did you notice anything particular about him?” asked Sheamus.

“Wait. How do you know about that?”

Sheamus smiled. “Oh, I know everything, at least all of that surrounds Mr. Cruze. You can say I’m like Fred and he’s like Catman.”

“Geez! Its Alfred and Batman.”

“Yeah, whatever,” Sheamus ignored. “But back to the man. Are you sure you didn’t notice anything about him?”

I paused and thought about it for a moment. The man looked like dad or was dad but from the future which was obvious. He had the picture… But then it came back to me, the moment where the man had fallen to his death. I must’ve been that much in shock to not remember but now it was all coming back to me.

When the man had fallen, his coat faded from tan to black, and then black to tan, as if he were in some kind of camo, the gecko kind.

“Do you see it now?” asked Sheamus. “What the man wore was no different than what’s in front of us. He only allowed you to see what he wanted you to, however, it seems that the tuxedo had gotten damaged for some reason. Ugh… still don’t get it do you?”

I shook my head in confusion.

“The tuxedo, this particular tuxedo is a time traveler. And it can do many other things. But there’s no more time to explain kid; its go time,” said Sheamus throwing the tuxedo on to me.

Like a snake it coiled around me, slipping my arms and legs inside of it.

“Damn… Looks way better on you,” said Sheamus wide eyed. “But don’t go telling your father what I said.”

“Wait… How did it?” I paused.

“Its simple you’re a Cruze, and the blood that I sent down to it was a way for it to recognize you. It is built for blood recognition. And besides, if it wasn’t then I’d probably worn it myself,” laughed Sheamus.

The tuxedo was originally tailored for dad, but from the looks of it, it had tailored itself to me. It felt nice. I thought about Mr. Buzby tailor shop again and how I never got a chance to put on my first tux, yet there I was standing in front of a leprechaun oddly, with one that presumably could time travel.

“Wait… So why would anyone want this tuxedo? I mean, who’s looking for it? I need to know! They have mom.

“Isn’t it obvious,” he chortled. “There are some nasty people out there that would love nothing more but to change the world how they see it. However, what they want isn’t necessarily what would be best for everyone else. Your father knew this… yet, he never quite got over Sasha…”

“Who’s Sasha?”

Sheamus looked as if were to pass out. “No, no, no, I shouldn’t be the one to tell you this… Oooo their such horrible parents those two.”

“Hey, calm down… what’s going on?” I stopped him.

Sheamus swallowed and followed with a deep breath. “Sasha was your sister…”

“Sister? No, I’m an only child. Sure I’ve always wanted a sibling but no, I’m just an only child,” I repeated.

“No,” Sheamus corrected. “You were… but not always. Sasha died in a car accident just months after your birth. Your dad was in the car; they were on their way to see a movie but out of nowhere a drunk driver, flew straight the a red light, crashing into the passenger side, the same side that your sister was on.”

Tears gradually rolled down the sides of my face, my heart rate sped up as if I’d been sprinting, and then my knees buckled; I fell to the floor.

“I had a sister…” I sobbed.

“Yes… I’m afraid so,” Sheamus admitted. “And that’s what all of this is about. Or at least it was, until whoever it was that found out about the Tuxedo came about.”

“With this suit… can I go back?”

Sheamus then took a few steps forward with caution towards me. He could obviously feel what I was thinking, but still hoped that it wasn’t what he assumed.

“Go back where?” he questioned. “If it’s the tailor shop yes but it will be tricky…”

“No… Not there. I mean, can I go back to where my sister was alive? The day she died.”

“No, no, no,” urged Sheamus. “Mr. Cruze has tried many times, and for every time, he’s come back heart broken and missing a part of himself.”

“What part?” I asked, concerned.

“His soul boy! His soul!”

Dad… Mom… It must’ve been so hard for them both to keep a secret from me for so long. It was at this point, either way Sheamus knew that I would go with or without him, although, I didn’t know how to work the tuxedo, so it looked like I was already in a disadvantage. I then stared at Sheamus innocently, hoping for some bit of instruction.

“Okay, okay,” he said. “Stop staring at me like that, didn’t I tell you already. Ill show you how to get there but just know there want be any turning back.”

Yeah, like I didn’t hear that before.

TO BE CONTINUED (PART III)

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