Tuesday, February 19, 2013

That Doesn't Mean What She Thinks It Means

The Unspoken Plan Guarantee. For all of Lucy's complaining about Christine for the past few days, you can tell that they're friends. They're playful and fun with each other. The beauty of this is that Lucy's plan to screw with Jon involves inviting Christine along, unaware to both of them that Peter is going to be there. Which is how things will start to go crazy. There's still a few more complications to write through, but we should get there very quickly.

Fiction below the fold, the table of contents is here. I am also, by the way, amazed how little I have to add today.

* * *

I have never been Zen before. I’ve never even pretended to be Zen before. I’m not even sure if it is blasphemous to pretend to be Zen. But, in that moment, where Jon’s smile turned my stomach ever just so, I became Zen. Or, at least, what I think Zen means. Actually, I think this might be the opposite of Zen. I get the most of my understanding of Oriental philosophy from Seven Samurai, and come to think of it, I don’t think they even mention it there. Maybe I should stop on the way home and get The Zen of Revenge. Or maybe Zen is a lot like Christianity and revenge is actually a no-no?

I don’t know, or care. I told Jon that I would see him at the station after we got back to his place. He asked me about the speech, and I told him we still had a few days to work it out. Then he asked if I wanted a kiss goodnight, and I told him no. Well, actually I just walked away with my arms angrily folded, but the point is he got the message.

“Hey, before you go,” Jon called after me. “If Rusty has a bone to pick with me, let him know there’s no hard feelings.”

But inside my little beat up car all was Zen. I had suffered each indignity in polite silence. When I breezed into the apartment with hours to go before I needed to be at the station, I shouted a hello. Christine shouted one back. I made my way to my room and changed. I dressed angry; a sharp red dress, hair up. I was buttoning up my blouse when Christine knocked on the door.

“While you were out cavorting with your strange benefactor, some guy called for you about your car.”

“Did he leave a message?”

“He wanted to know if you two were square,” Christine said. “I told him you were the squarest.”

“You’re a dear. Did he leave a number?”

“It’s on the fridge. You doing anything this weekend? Peter’s leaving me to my own devices, so I think we should get into trouble.”

My ears perked up, and I swung open the door. Christine, in her tiny little frame, was leaning against the wall and wiping her hands on her apron. She always wore one when she baked or cooked. She explained that cooking and baking were different activities. They both involved an oven, so they were pretty much the same to me.

“Well, how would you like to join me for a fancy evening Saturday?”

“I thought you had to work,” Christine said. “Not that I care if you play hookie. Club clothes fancy or little black dress fancy?”

“It is for work.”

“So, not club clothes.”

“It’s for charity,” I said. Christine’s neutral face turned into a frown. “But we can still have fun!”

“So, club clothes?”

“It’s a black tie event,” I said as we walked to the kitchen. “My jerk of a boss is going to be there. I need moral support.”

“I don’t want to watch you suffer in silence all night,” Christine said. I think she said that because, in her mind, only she should be able to do that to me. I picked up a still warm and gooey cookie and ate it. Then I wiped my hands on her apron. She hated when I did that. I had only done it once before, and we were both drunk.

She gasped. “Now my apron is a mess.”

“That’s what they’re for. I’m at peace with my jerk of a boss,” I said. “Just like Japan was at peace with America in the 1940s. You know? Pearl Harbor?”

“That’s a whole decade Lucy,” Christine said eating a cookie. “You could’ve meant after the bombs were dropped.”

Then she wiped her hands on my dress. See what I mean? Christine is just mean. Which is why I was glad she was on my side. I think.

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