Kenny and Sam come up with wacky plans more frequently than Lucy. Hence, they do a lot more thinking about theirs, which is why their questions for Lucy are important. Table of contents here.
* * *
Kenny and I are a lot alike. It is part of what makes our friendship work. That and the fact I’m immensely patient, and his parents are willing to give me a crappy job at their bowling alley. It’s a symbiotic relationship — I learned that word in biology class to impress this girl. She looked great in a lab coat, which I imagine is pretty hard to do.
We had taken a seat away from the girls, and Kenny was recounting how he had swept Christine off her feet. “She’s so tiny, it is really easy to do. I don’t think she likes being picked up though.”
“Most people do not like being picked up.”
“What is it with you and babies tonight?” Kenny just shrugged in response. It was such a noncommittal gesture that I made a show of waiting for an answer. When none was coming, I sighed.
“Alright, well, either way, let’s just make it through tonight without any incident,” I said. “Peter’s a bit annoyed with us, but I think the old guy took a shine, so, your dad might get that expansion he’s been dreaming about.”
“I love your outdated expressions,” Came chipper voice from behind us. “They’re really keen.”
“Are you mocking me Lucy?”
“No, I really do like it,” She said, inviting herself to our little gathering. “So, I wanted to ask a favor.”
“Sure thing,” I said. Kenny pretended to mull it over before also agreeing.
“So, Christine won’t pull the fire alarm for me.”
“Is there a fire?”
“Metaphorical or actual?”
“Actual,” I said. Kenny did add in that he felt if the metaphorical fire were hot enough, it should count.
“I may have done a bad thing.”
“I find that hard to believe,” I said. Then she told me about her special guests, and then she told me about Jon. Then, she mentioned off-handedly:
“And then we’re going to present him with the puppets he hates as a token of the foundation’s ever-lasting gratitude for his hosting the event,” She said.
“And this is after his drunk angry speech?”
“So, you see, you need to pull the fire alarm to save the day.”
“Some would say inciting mass panic is the opposite of saving the day,” I said. “Let’s consider some other options. Kenny, you’re a man of ideas. Shoot away.”
“I think we could call the place Bowlagranok — you know, like, bowling for the end of the world.”
“That’s even worse than Bowltopia,” Lucy said. Which I had to agree it was. Unless we played death metal all day. And I would skin a man alive before I locked myself in a dark, smoke-filled bowling alley listening to death metal all day.
“Let’s file that in the ‘possible names’ folder,” I said, mentally noting that we needed to divide that folder into two subfolders: ‘Ideas Written Down to Appease Kenny’ and ‘Other Ideas.’
“Well, the problem is that you need to keep him from giving the speech or change his mind, right?”
“He seems really committed now,” Lucy said. “Someone gave him the idea he was speaking truth to power.”
Kenny and I tried to give each other a sidelong glance, but I think it looked more like a gaze of longing than a sudden conspiratorial view askance. “Hence, the fire alarm,” I said.
“The fire alarm is my way of demonstrating the lengths to which I’ll go.”
“I have a couple of options, only one of which involves murder,” Kenny said. “Which, I’ll have you know, is a step up.”
“In the future, when I say I’m open to every option, assume anything that ends up with dead bodies is not on the table, even facetiously,” I said.
“Does this include the dead bodies of small animals?”
“Fine! I’ll do it myself,” Lucy said, standing up and marching out.
“See, I understand that to be a reasonable question,” I said. “But, she’s not aware of how we work.”
“I’m still waiting on an answer.”
“Provided the body came pre-dead, and it isn’t of an animal we know or in a state of gross decomposition, yes.”
“Then I’ve got nothing,” Kenny said. I was about to ask what his idea was, then I stopped myself. Knowing when not to ask for clarification is even more important than knowing when to ask for it.