[DRYH] Turvy (20)

edited July 2014 in DRYH
Morning comes, you're still up, of course. Dad gets up, does his elliptical work. Mom's cooking sausages and eggs. Heather's in the bathroom. Normal morning routine. Nobody comes up to check on you, but surely they know you're here. Heather saw you. She knows you're home. Did she not bother to tell your parents?


  • Teeth on edge, I follow my normal morning routine. Shower, dress. I'll deal with school when I get there, but first it's my Stepford family. I head down for breakfast, walk into the kitchen. Mom's there for sure, finishing up. "hi?"
  • Your mother turns to look at you, offers you a polite smile, "Hi yourself, Benny. Come on in, have a seat. Sausage and eggs, your favorite."

    Your dad is already seated. He looks up from the paper, regarding you, "Hey son." And that's it. Their whole reaction.
  • I keep coming back to, Do I just accept this, or try and figure it out? Eileen said it wasn't just that they seemed unconcerned, they were sort of... covering for me at school and all. I decide to test the waters. "So... anything interesting happen during the week I was gone?"
  • Your dad turns the pages with an audible snap, like he always does. "Your mother's trying some southern comfort food this week. Hence the sausage and eggs."

    "That was for Benny, silly," your mom corrects gently as she scoops out some scrambled eggs and puts two sausage links on a plate that she places in front of you.
  • "Silly?" She called Dad "Silly?" It's a good thing I've gotten used to weirdness in the Mad City. What is this, Leave it to Beaver? I continue the experiment. "So, I was thinking about getting a sex change. Y'know, just for fun. I'm not trans or anything, just bored."
  • Your dad lowers his paper slowly, looks over it at you for a long moment. In a surprisingly neutral tone, he replies, "I'm sure you can find better things to occupy your time, son."

    "Honey, he's a bright boy... I mean, Benny is a bright kid," your mother corrects herself as she refills your dad's OJ. "I'm sure he's considered all the options. Just keep in mind, it's rather painful."
  • I pull out my shiny new phone, hold it up. "Hey, we don't all sit together for breakfast a lot. I'd like to get a shot of this fun family moment..." I turn on the video, pan around the table for thirty seconds or so. Then, still scarfing my eggs and sausage (how do they taste?) with my right hand, I hold my phone in my left and review the footage.
  • Your mom giggles with the sudden interest, and has a seat by your dad. He folds up his paper and puts it down beside his plate, sits up straight, even puts a hand over your mom's.

    They sit still, which is sort of dumb for a video shot, but well, you know, parents. As you dig into the eggs and sausage, which are pretty delicious, you check the feed. There they both are, your mom, your dad. Moving, and not moving just like you saw.

    Except their eyes are closed.
  • I do not like that the Mad City is interfering with my fam. I do not like it, Sam I Am. (Where did that come from? I am so tired.) I just don't know what to do about it. Do not know. Something I did? Bianca's "ghost"? The Wax King being "helpful"? I'll play along through breakfast, and go to meet Eileen, concern clear on my face.

    After a quick peck, "Eileen, this is messed up! I have no idea what's going on with my family. They've turned into the Cleavers." I tell her about the sex change crack, everyone's response.
  • Eileen gives you a wtf look about the sex change. "Fucked up, Benny." She's driving slow. You notice her hair looks nice, she must've spent extra time on it this morning, the braids are looser, swept to frame her face so that her eyes pop. She's dressed up a little, in an actual dress, no less.

    "Do you think they did something to your parents? Your sister? Why?"
  • "Someone must have. Me? Them? Someone trying to help? Someone trying to mess with me? It's the sort of thing someone in the Mad City would think was helpful. I'm just afraid it was me, somehow, without knowing." I sigh, sink back into the seat. "Enough about me for now. You look really pretty today. Hot date?"
  • "Hope so." Eileen quips about the hot date question, giving you a dramatically sly wink. The brick and concrete building of the high school looms in the horizon. She stops for a couple bikers (not motorcycles) to cross.

    "I don't think it's you, Benny. You'd never do something like that to your parents." She fiddles with the shuffle until Killing Me Softly by the Fugees comes on.
  • After she puts down the shuffle, I stab the pause button with my finger. "Killing Me Softly? Eileen, I'm not a flame. You're not a moth. We've always been partners, equal. Even before. What the hell?" Wondering if something's happened to Eileen, too. "You used to hate this! Said it was anti-feminist or whatever."
  • She glances over at you. frowns a little. "Sorry. I just... I'm in a moody mood. Find us something peppy and gimmie a do over. Cool?" She shrugs. Then, she turns to give you a pouty lip.
  • "It's cool. Sorry, I'm pretty off myself. Hey, did I say I love you yet today?" I'll play with the shuffle until I find something that makes me grin. Just silly enough to work.
    It might seem crazy what I'm about to say
    Sunshine she's here, you can take a break
    I'm a hot air balloon that could go to space
    With the air, like I don't care baby by the way
    I start singing along at the chorus, knowing Eileen won't be able to resist, despite the fact that we both scoff at this song normally. "Because I'm happy, Clap along if you feel like a room without a roof, Because I'm happy, Clap along if you feel like happiness is the truth..." I reach out and take Eileen's right hand in my left, give it a squeeze.
  • Eileen shakes her head no, "Not till now. And back at ya."

    You switch to Happy, and her eyes bug out with surprise, "Hey! Did I even have that on there? Did you sneak that song on my shuffle?" Then she's singing along with you, letting you hold her hand as she pulls into a space with her free hand on the wheel. She laughs after putting the hooptie in park, and leans over to make out with you for a minute or so.

    But it's over too soon as she piles out of the car and waits for you to come up with her, holding out her hand for you. She evidently wants to be very open about you two being together again. She's quite proud.

    The football players don't glare at you this time, Benny. They're in their own world, chatting about the big game coming up. Who are they about to play? Why do you even know that?

    Hey, are there any soccer games coming up, too?
  • Yeah, I happened to glance at the sports calendar on my desk before I left, trying to orient myself to the week I lost. Tonight we're playing Central, and those are big boys. We're fast and skilled, but there's a point where quantity becomes a quality of its own, and like I said, those are big boys. Having missed a week of soccer practice, I'm pretty sure I've been cut by now, but I'll stop in and see coach as soon as I can. States are in a few weeks - probably best if they're not counting on me.

    I grab Eileen's hand. Not ostentatious, but I've got no problems being open about it. She's gorgeous, smart, funny, athletic, and has a slamming bod. (Also some rather fine skills, but I'm fine keeping that to myself.) "Think I should stop by the office or something? Or just pretend everything's normal..." I've been getting pretty good at that.
  • Eileen rolls her eyes, "Yeah, dumbass, we should stop by the office." She pulls the front door open for you both, walks in with you. You head to the front office, sign-in and the secretary, Mrs. Stinson, says, "Mr. Marks. Are you feeling better now?" She seems politely concerned, "Your mom said you were pretty sick. We weren't sure when you were coming back."

    She checks over a computer screen, "Hmn, looks like all your sent-home work is complete, so you're good to return to class." She looks up over her horn-rimmed glasses, "Please try to watch the absences for the rest of the year."
  • "Yes, Mrs. Stinson, I'm feeling much better, thank you." My homework is done? Wha? "Yes, ma'am, I will. Thank you." As we leave the office, I blow out a breath. "Well, that was okay. At least Mrs. Stinson is still herself. Whatever's happening, though, it did my homework for me. That's something."
  • Elieen's brows crease, "So it isn't just your parents then? You have a, like, a ghost writer or some shit?"
  • "Well, unless Heather or Mom and Dad did the work they sent home?" I'm still struggling with the idea of Dad just covering for me. All of this is too much.

    No time to catch Coach before homeroom. "I'll be a few minutes late for lunch - need to catch Coach and take my lumps." I give Eileen a kiss and head to class.
  • Eileen snickers at the thought of your mom doing your homework. She pushes her cheek into the kiss, then heads on to class. "Don't be too late. Today is PLS!"

    Morning classes are same as always. Nothing's changed, it seems. Nothing much. Feels like a couple girls are watching you, like Janey, the JV cheerleader. Also, Anne, the girl with a cherry red Mustang, she's totally checking you out. How are you handling that?

    Are you going to Coach's office? He teaches history here at the school. Trying to catch him on a free period?
  • I head to class myself, chuckling. Like I'd miss PLS day. What would I have to complain about then?

    Janey and Anne? I've seen this before, even with my limited experienced. As soon as a guy or girl is attached, it's like they're wearing a Ring of Charisma +3 or something. I enjoy noticing that they're noticing me, but I'm not tempted at all. The grass is not greener.

    I know Coach teaches right before my lunch, so I scoot over to his classroom as soon as the period bell rings. I'm there to catch him as he comes out. "Coach? Got a minute?"
  • "Hey Benny," Coach says when you catch him walking out. "Sure. Walk with me?" He starts walking out towards the field, briskly, like he'd forgotten something. "What's up?" His tone is casual, not at all annoyed for your disappearance.
  • edited July 2014
    "Well, I've been sick, y'know? And I know you've been gearing up for States in a few weeks. I'm still not a hundred percent, and it doesn't seem fair... well, I think I'd better drop out for the rest of the season. I'll be back next season, though, if you'll have me." I look for his reaction, dreading something like, "Sure, no problem." that might mean he's also been touched by whatever worked on my family.

    Wow, it hurts to do this, but I can't have the team counting on me when I might be who-knows-where fighting monsters.
  • Coach doesn't answer you right away. He shoves open the door to the outside with that regular bravado he has, holds it open for you. It's sunny out, a few rain clouds on the horizon. The air is crisp.

    "Bravo sierra, Marks," he says in that clipped tone he takes when he's about to lecture. "This team needs you. You rest up for a week, then we'll work you back in with drills and running." He opens up the field house, flips on some lights.

    He stalks over towards his office, continuing, "I'm sure we can skip drills and running if you come back sooner."
  • He's got me trumped. Shit. "Sure, Coach. I'll rest over the weekend, maybe catch up for light duty Tuesday or so. I'll do my best." Best laid plans, etcetera, etcetera... I let him head on to his office and rush back to the cafeteria to catch up with Eileen and this week's PLS special.
  • You enter the cafeteria and spot Eileen. She's already gotten your tray, set it beside her. "There was a run on the PLS, I had to pick up some before they shut it down, Benny." She explains it with an impish grin.

    Trish, the swimmer who won state last year, she's watching the pair of you. Who's she watching more, you or Eileen?

    "Are you a good quitter, Benny?" Eileen asks.
  • Noticing Trish, I decide that maybe she's got her eye on Eileen. That fits with what I'd expect, as well, even though I've never seen her with a girl. I guess this +3 thing works both ways... all ways, whatever. I give Eileen a kiss on the cheek and sit.

    Today's PLS special is "Supreme," apparently, which means that there are indistinguishable little bits of "vegetables" along with the "pepperoni", "sausage" and "cheese." Still, c'mon, it may not be pizza, but it's pizza-approximate. I scarf a bite while it's still reasonably, non-litigation-bait hot. (There's a rumor that some kid from Central sued the school system for burning the roof of his mouth on a slice of PLS a few years ago, and they've turned down the heat lamps ever since.)

    "I'm a bad quitter, Eileen. Coach totally kicked my ass with the 'I don't care, we need you.' thing. He even Bravo Sierraed me."
  • Eileen jerks her head around and widens her eyes like some character from a Martin Lawrence sketch, "Oh no, he DIDN'T!" Then she can't hold it and cracks up. She takes a sip of her juice box, apple cherry, and slips a hand under the table to put on your thigh. Just resting it there.

    She takes a bite of the PLS, "Trish is totally checking me out, Benny." It's casual, her tone, but she sounds a little bashful. Suddenly, she turns to look right at you, "Listen. Don't ever ask me for a three-way, okay? That would totally break my heart... even if the other guy was really hot." She holds the serious look for a beat, then cracks a grin.
  • edited July 2014
    I return the grin. "Like I'm gonna hook you up with a hot guy? Seriously, though, as far as I'm concerned that three-way stuff is reserved for the Internet and the inside of guys' heads that are taking care of a one-way. You, you, only you." I wait a beat. "Unless she's really hot." I reach my hand under the table, match her gesture, but under her dress.
  • edited July 2014
    Eileen gives you a sidelong glance, but doesn't stop your hand. "Okay. Well, if she's really hot."

    Mr. Armstrong walks by your table, rather obviously. He glares at Eileen, and you, for an uncomfortable length. Eileen removes her hand from your thigh. She shifts a little, signalling that you should probably remove your hand, too. She doesn't say anything, though. Do you?

    "Hey, you have any plans this weekend?" Eileen asks brightly, changing the subject. "I want to go to the lake. You can come, too." She gives you one of her smirks, "I should be, ah, good to go then. Okay?"
  • "I'm guessing my folks won't object. I really need to figure that out, but I just don't want to go back to the other side to ask around. Really, really don't want to." I return the smirk. "Should be fun!"
  • "Benny," Eileen says, suddenly serious. "Do you ever think this Mad City stuff will end? I mean, is there like a final boss or something? Anything not involving you dying? Or me, since the hero's hot girlfriend always fucking dies before he'll go fulfill his destiny or whatever?"
  • "I wish I knew for sure... The City keeps trying to keep me out, maybe it'll stick one of these days. I don't have any agenda left... Amanda's with the Wax King, as safe as I think she can be. The powers that be there have gone to war, it'll be a shambles. If the Mad City cares about itself, and I think it does, it should probably not WANT me back. I don't know what that means about sleep, though. Or my family." I started off wanting to make a movie, now I just want to make it out.

    "Eileen, I just want to be here, with you. Screwing up like a normal teenager. Messing around with my hot not-dead girlfriend. Not being a hero." I click my heels together, silent in my cross-trainers. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas. Glinda, you bitch.
  • "You like the Wax King, don't you?" Eileen asks. "You think he'll take care of Amanda?" She stuffs some PLS in her mouth, waiting for the answer.
  • "I want to like, maybe trust the Wax King. He's the closest thing to a non-psychopath I've met there, freaky-wax-melty-thing, well you've seen it, aside. But I just don't know..." I take a bite, as well. "I think he's the best bet to take care of Amanda, yeah."
  • "Okay. Well, I hope it works out for her. Maybe she'll stop being such a bee-yotch." Eileen says as she takes another bite of the supreme PLS. "How's your PLS?"

    You two fall into your normal patter, she doesn't press for more info. Take up trays, head off to classes as the bell rings. Anything you need to do for the rest of the school day?
  • "My PLS is deLIGHTful! Strange... it must be the company." The rest of lunch is comfortable, and the day goes by pretty quickly. It's Friday, so there wouldn't be soccer practice even if I wasn't pretending to be coming off an illness. So, final bell, and I'm out to the parking lot in a flash, waiting for Eileen when she comes strolling out. Man, I love watching her move. And that dress is fine. Not to mention the legs under the dress. Damn.
  • As you're waiting for Eileen to come out by her hooptie, Trish comes by.

    This is Trish by the way:

    She's got her books held in both arms, pressed against her chest. She comes up to lean against the car beside Eileen's, "Hey Benny." she calls in a sing-songy voice. "You look nice today. How are you?"
  • Trish? Really? She picks today to start paying attention to me for the first time since I told her I loved her at a Seventh Grade dance? ::sigh:: "I'm good, Trish. How are you?" Hmmm. Is Eileen the jealous type, I wonder? I suspect she's going to give me shit.
  • "I'm great." Trush says with that brilliant smile of hers. She's wearing a pair of capris today, cut high enough to show the tone of her calf. Being a swimmer, she's remarkably toned, a very different body type than Eileen.

    Trish pauses, looks at you for a moment, then asks, "So, uhm, I know you're doing really great in lit. HEather told me you're acing it! Which is awesome."

    Her tone shifts a little, more downcast, "I'm.... not. Like awful. I need some, you know... help."
  • Oh, Trish. Despite everything, I'm still a teenaged boy. Raging hormones, all that. I can imagine Trish's body naked, actually I have imagined it for years now. So it is with some regret that I say, "Trish, I wish I could help. Heather's overselling me, I think, and I've been out for a week, sick. I'm sure Heather can give you a hand, or maybe that kid Doug? He's really into it." And I'm with Eileen now. That's not what she asked, so that's not what I'm saying.
  • Trish nods, accepting your answer. You see the slight disappointment in her lovely blue eyes. She pushes a stray lock of hair behind one ear and says, "Oh. Well, yeah, I'm sorry, Benny. You've got tons of work to catch up on and stuff. I'll, uhm... work on it with Heather. So like, maybe I'll see you later then?" She offers a little smile, something you've probably wanted for years, then leaves, winding her way through the lot for her nice little green hybrid.

    "Well hey, what do you know?" Eileen calls as she gets closer. "Looks like Trish the swimmer girl decided to give you the time of day, Benny. Wow, man. How long have you been crushing on her?" Eileen's smiling at you, like this is a really funny joke.
  • Oh, she's smiling alright. But why do I have this sense that I need to be very careful about how I answer this question?

    "Ah? Seventh grade sometime? Not anymore, though. I have seen the error of my ways and repented. I didn't even look at her ass when she walked away."

    Keep it light, that's good.

    Hey, did I see my sister at school today? How's she acting, away from the house?
  • Eileen keeps smiling, as she pulls out her keys while have a tattered pink rabbit's foot on the ring. She chuckles and shakes her head at you as she opens the lock, then piles in the hooptie and leans over to unlock your side.

    "Too bad, man," she says when you get in the car. She's still leaning over a bit, but you've got enough room to slide in. "She has a really nice ass." Eileen chuckles again, then sits up straight and starts the car.

    "Play us some tunes, Benny." Eileen orders as she pulls out of the lot nice and slow. "I wanna buy us some slushies and drive up to make-out point." She looks over at you, grinning, "To reward you for repentance."
  • "I will accept my reward graciously. I'm living on the edge today, so for the slushie portion of my reward, I will be accepting the new Sour Apple flavor. I believe it is green, but doubt that it's actually sour. And as to make-out point, I like all the flavors." I find the playlist we made last summer. Light and breezy, nothing serious or history-laden, just fun. We were also apparently having a fit of hipster irony when we did this, because the first song is "Sailing," by Christopher Cross. Oh, my.
  • Eileen looks over at you when the soft sounds come in from "Sailing", but halfway through the first verse, she's singing, trying to get you to sing along. She sings the next couple songs, all the way to the convenience store. She parks right near the front, turns off the engine, and says, "You know, Benny. I'm really glad you said you like all the flavors, not some bullshit line about preferring "chocolate"." She's pretty serious when she tells you this, though she's keeping it light.
  • I hadn't even thought about that. This stuff is hard. Since I don't know what to say, I say nothing. I lean in for a kiss, make it serious, hand on Eileen's cheek. When we're done, I say in a petulant tone, "I was promised a slushie, woman! And I will have one!"
  • "Oh, I'll get you your damn slushie." Eileen says as she leaves the keys in the ignition as if you're staying in the car. "You better hope you don't end up wearing it." She's totally kidding.

    "Sour Apple surprise, coming up." She heads into the store, leaving you in the hooptie. The convenience store is one of those newer ones, with glass windows throughout, so you have plenty of opportunity to watch Eileen. She heads up to the slushie machine, grabs the biggest, 64 oz. cups, then pours hers first, a custom mix of grape and cherry, then your green Sour Apple. She picks out the super long straws, an rips the paper off near the top of each one, tears along the side, leaving just a small amount of straw paper on the top, then drops the straws into the slushies. Grabs a handful of napkins, which takes a bit since the dispenser only wants to give out one at a time, but she works ten out of the thing before she takes everything up to pay for it. All the while, she's oblivious to you watching her, just going through the routine of buying slushies. Really big ones.

    She hauls them both out to the car with a big smile on her face, like "lookie what I have here!".
  • Have I always loved watching Eileen move, just doing day-to-day stuff? It seems like it has to be true. I've got the same eyes I did a month ago, and she's the same person. I mean, this thing, the way I feel about Eileen, it can't be just because she's real, and I've been in this crazy surreal spiral? Then I watch her with the napkins, pulling them one by once with that crazy determination she has, and I realize that, yeah, I've always loved watching Eileen. I just didn't know why until now.

    I bat my eyelashes. "Is that for lil' ol me? It's sooo biiig!"

  • "Heh. That's what she said." Eileen says as she hands you the green slushie through your open window. She walks around to hop back in and starts up the car, putting her big slush-monster cup between her legs as she drives. She puts an arm up by your neck-rest to look over her should as she backs up, but you know she's just looking for an excuse to casually touch you, even a brush. She's been doing it for years, but the two of you were so casual it was never a thing. Even when one or both of you were dating other people.

    After a few minutes of driving, Eileen says while still watching the road, "My mom's pretty excited about us dating. She even made sure I had a three month supply of the pill. So... I guess we have her blessing."
  • Ummm. "Your mom... the pill... you... she knows? Not that we're dating, that we..." I mean, I guess she's right, that must mean that we have her blessing, but damn! I have a thought. "You said the lake? Earlier? She cool with us going up on our own? How long have you been on the pill? Do I need to get more condoms?" Slow down, Benny, slow down.
  • Eileen chuckles as she's driving, looks over, even puts her right hand over yours, "Yeah, for a bit more. I just started them this week. It was kind of a surprise." She flashes a grin, "Supriiiiise!"

    "I know. It's fucked up. I don't even know how to deal with it, either."
  • "Wait, is your Mom acting strange other than that? Has she gone all Stepford as well?" Shit, is that maybe what's going on with the girls at school? But... wasn't Trish checking Eileen out at lunch? That's what we both thought, right? "Eileen, I'm so tired of being confused. And of being, well, tired. Looking over my shoulder, waiting for the Mad City to creep up on me. Just... shit. When can we leave for the lake?" Nothing bad ever happens at lake cabins, right? Never.
  • Eileen makes a face, like this whole line of questioning is freak-a-doodle. "Other than being cool with you and me, no, not really. I mean... no, it's just this." At the end, she sounds pretty sure of herself. Confident.

    You ask about the lake, and she slows down. You're currently on a wide road, so she pulls over. Looks at you directly, ignoring the traffic going by. You're in a stretch of road with no houses around. "You wanna head back and pack now? It's Friday. We could just go for the whole weekend, stay at the cabin."
  • edited July 2014
    If it weren't for the constant goosebumpy threat of the Mad City in my mental rear-view mirror, I would be giddy, thinking about getting straight out to the lake. As it is, I'm just thrilled. I take a sip of my Sour Apple slushie. Not bad, but like I said, not really sour. "What the hell, let's do it! I'll collect the rest of my reward at the lake..." I waggle my eyebrows with exaggerated lasciviousness.
  • Eileen rolls her eyes, then pulls out again to turn around and drive you home. It's mostly music and a bit of nerves on the way home. You two are spending the weekend together. Sure, you've been to the cabin before, but then it was with family, or friends, or both. Never alone as a couple.

    Who's cabin is it anyway?

    You pull up to the driveway and Eileen says, "I'll need an hour to pack up all my stuff and some food. I figure we spend the night Friday and Saturday, come back Sunday? I've got cell coverage, so we're cool."
  • "We've got some charcoal in the shed. I'll grab that, in case we want to grill. I think my cell should work up there, too." I grin. It's a nervous grin, sure, but why wouldn't it be? This is a big deal. "I don't want to bring my bidness up there with us, but I am going to have to spend some time thinking about this situation with my folks and Heather. I mean, it's convenient, but... I can't just let it continue. Can I?"

    The cabin was originally Eileen's grandfather's, and her Mom holds the deed, but four families have spent a lot of time over the years and put sweat equity into keeping it in good shape, even improving it. Eileen and her Mom, of course; my family (I remember the first time Heather picked up a hammer like it was a snake, and how she eventually really got into the carpentry side of things); the Kidds, whose children are grown now and rarely go up to the cabin now that they're retired and travelling in their motor home; and the Jacksons, who moved away last year. This summer it was mostly me, Eileen, and her Mom, with the occasional cameo from Heather and my own mother.

    Trying not to tense up like I'm entering a foreign country alone, I walk into the house. "Mom?"
  • Your mother is at the kitchen table, she hasn't been home long. She's grading papers and working on her lesson plan. She looks up, smiles, "Hey honey. What's up?"

    Your dad and sister aren't home yet.
  • Here goes. "I was wondering... Eileen and I were thinking about going up to the lake this weekend? Taking off this afternoon, be back Sunday before dark. Is that cool?"

    I know what she should say, I know what questions she should ask. Wondering what's going to come out of her mouth, worried she'll say no, worried she'll say yes.
  • Your mother looks at you for a long moment. You hear the hum of the fridge, filling the silence. Finally, she closes the planner, smiles wide, "You bet! You want me to make some sandwiches?" She stands up, heads for the fridge to start working on aforementioned sandwiches.
  • edited July 2014
    "Sure, Mom, sandwiches would be great." It doesn't do any good to keep muttering This isn't right. under my breath, and I have no idea how to figure out what's happening without going back into the Mad City, which I am not going to do on purpose with a weekend at the lake with Eileen in the offing. I'm tempted to push the envelope, maybe, to say something like, "I'm going to screw her brains out," and see what happens. But no, my sex-change experiment at breakfast already did that work.

    I head upstairs to pack. Jeans, sweats, a jacket (getting cold), a few flannel shirts because Eileen once teased about them making me look "manly." All the usuals, plus the rest of the condoms (eleven? is that enough?). My new phone and the flippie, just in case. I look at the GoPro and make a conscious decision not to bring it along. I bring my bag downstairs and head out the back door to get the charcoal from the shed, put it on the porch. My bag follows it, and the ridiculous number of sandwiches Mom made. Ready. Forty minutes. Twenty minutes to go.
  • --END SCENE--
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