Dermot ran an absent-minded hand in a small circle around her bellybutton.
“The gypsy girl is a waste of your time, Rufus. You should come back to New York City with me.”
Rufus raised his leg and rested his foot between the bars of the jail cell. He pointed at a global positioning system anklet bound to his leg.
“The police,” Rufus said, “will release me from jail today, but I can’t leave town until after the murder investigation. This GPS anklet ensures I don’t, but I wouldn’t leave anyway because I have a new girlfriend and she needs me!”
“The girl is not your girlfriend. How could she be? There is no way you’ve had time to start up a meaningful relationship with anyone in the past week you’ve been in Portugal. Besides, she is a gypsy!”
“Maybe I like gypsies. Don’t artists often associate with all manner of strange persons?”
“Um olho no burro, outro no cigano,” Dermot said in Portuguese.
“I’ve only been here a week: I don’t speak the language.”
“It means: One eye on the donkey and one on the gypsy.”
Rufus’ face flushed red with anger and embarrassment.
“When I told you,” he said angrily, “about how I had a lazy eye when I was ten, I did so in confidence. I didn’t expect you to hold it over me and remind me everyday that my eye used to wander around the room. I had a surgery, okay? And the problem is solved! One-hundred percent solved!”
“Rufus, don’t get offended!”
“I am! It is just a small muscle that has to be tightened down, okay?”
“I just mean that when you deal with a gypsy, you have to watch out; you have to watch the gypsy and you have to watch the gypsy’s donkey.”
“The girl didn’t have a donkey!”
“But she gave you a bloody knife and how you are a murder suspect.”
“She is beautiful, and she needs my help; maybe she wants to be my boyfriend!”
Dermot rubber her face until her skin glowed red.
“Okay, let’s pretend that she is your boyfriend, Rufus.”
“But that still doesn’t change the fact that I want you back in New York with me, at school, where you belong.”