This is a little bit slow, and we needed the view point shift to see Lucy, tired and scheming, from another view point. This also reminds us that Sam thinks Mortimer is Rusty, Lucy's non-existent fake boyfriend. Through a small failure in communication, Sam has leaped to an even more ridiculous conclusion. But, that's OK. Because, hey, he means well. And, it is apparently a real thing. In a Sitcom, he would've needed to have Kenny with him to share his misunderstanding, since voice overs are hammy and lame. But, in a narrative, he can just ask himself.
Anyway, fiction below the fold. Poor Sam; just as he's trying to be a respectable, honest individual, he comes to this horrendous misunderstanding. Anyway, table of contents here. Expect extremely interrupted blogging after this weekend, as I'll be moving and in Boston for PAX. By the way, if you live around D.C., there's a parade on Sunday; hopefully nothing will be too high this time.
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Friday morning I was forcing myself to get up an extra hour early. It was hellish, honestly, hellish. I didn’t have anywhere in particular to be. Kenny had told me I had done a good thing. “A crazy, stupid thing, but a good thing.” It was funny how the good thing often fell into that category.
My parents took the news of my losing my job with relative grace. They told me that I could stay there as long as I needed; my mom even reminded me I still had a good thing going at the bowling alley. If I hadn’t already had a wake-up call, that probably would have been it. “Just remember son, accentuate the positive,” my mother said to me as I went out the door. I stopped by the FexEx Kinkos and fed a few dollars onto their special little card and printed out some copies of my résumés.
Before 10:00, I had hit seven different buildings with fancy logos that looked like tech companies and dropped off a piece of paper that I knew they’d recycle as soon as I was back on the street. By 11:00 I was walking by the O.G.; I stopped to glance inside and saw Lucy at her usual spot. Her shoulders were sagging a little, and the bright spark in her eye seemed dulled.
When she saw me, she waved me in. She looked tired. No, exhausted. I’d learned a long time ago that you don’t tell a woman that, though. Then, I thought about why you don’t say that, and figured to hell with it. “You ok Lucy? You look beat.”
“How sweet of you to notice,” She said with an alien bite in her voice. “I need a favor.”
“You’ve been asking for a lot of favors lately,” I said. “Is everything alright?”
“Maybe I want to be indebted to a sensitive man.”
“So, the answer is, ‘no, and I don’t want to talk about it Sam,’” I said. “That’s fine. What do you need me to do?”
“There’s a trunk in my car. I need you to take it and give it to the man I’m with on Saturday,” she said. I had a sudden flash of her planting a time bomb or a pressure bomb or something in the trunk to kill her cheating lover. Then I cleared my head; she’d told me once she was no good at chemistry in school. “Or when cooking. Really, anything with fire? I’m just out.”
“Do I get to know what’s in the trunk?”
“So the answer is, ‘no.’”
“No, honest to God. Sam, it is filled with puppets. Maybe muppets. What’s the difference between a muppet and a puppet?”
“A trademark,” I said. “Give me about half an hour to go back home, grab my car, and bring it around.”
“Ok. Thanks Sam,” She said. “This is just between you and me. Don’t tell anyone. Especially Christine. We’re not sharing any secrets with her.”
Women and their tiffs. I just agreed with her and came back later. I collected the strange trunk, after making her open it to confirm that there were indeed puppets. I asked when I should give it to the man.
“I’ll introduce you after he gives his speech. All you have to do is bring it up, I’ll do the rest.”
“He’s giving a speech?” I asked. I didn’t think Rusty was that important. I mean, he’s just a mechanic. How the hell he ended up at a fancy dinner was beyond me; hell, how he ended up there with two babes was beyond me. I always thought old Mort was a one woman guy by virtue of utter repulsion.
“Yeah. For some reason, everyone loves him.”
“Not to pry, but I thought you were pretty keen on the guy too,” I said. I felt corny. No one had used keen like that since the 50s.
“Why would you say that?”
“You know, never mind. Forget I asked; I don’t want to pry.”
“You wait a minute Sam! I am not ‘keen’ on this guy; no matter what you may have heard! He’s just my boss; well, my second boss. I sort of got farmed out to him,” Lucy said. “It was really just supposed to be a one night thing, but you know, he asked me to come back. The money was good.”
It took a lot of effort to keep my jaw from dropping. “So, you don’t like this guy? You’re just doing it for the money?”
She nodded primly, handed me a puppet and went back to the O.G. I suddenly felt incredibly bad for Lucy; I knew she had gone to film school. But, you know, now it all was starting to make sense. The avoiding the night shifts. Not having a real, steady boyfriend till now. One thing just didn’t make sense to me.
Where was Mortimer getting all the money to date a sugar baby?