Rita and Henry

Rita leaned against the whitewashed brick wall and adjusted her boots. She bent her leg up slightly and pulled on the leather tongue and then ran her hand along the back from the heel. The black leather was smooth under her touch.

“Rita” Henry called. Henry and Rita had been friends for almost ten years. There was a time when they both thought there was something more than friendship between them, but they thought it at different times. In spite of the awkward moments of unrequited love, they remained friends. Rita ignored Henry.

“Rita!” he called again. He stood holding the door of the cab open, waiting for her.

“Oh hang on. My feet hurt. These new boots are killer.” Rita said, as she finally made her way to the curb. Henry laughed.

“Yes, yes they are. We are going to be late.” He said as he ducked his head and got into the taxi before her. Rita slipped in beside him and slammed the door shut. She turned on the leather seat to look at Henry.

“You look good. Like that black shirt. The graphic is awesome. Brave man to wear a chandelier.” Rita said, making no move to hide her smirk.

“Oh shut up, you know it’s not a chandelier. Scrolly bits and swirls. It’s cool. Fuck off” he said, with mock pain in his voice. Henry flashed a wide smile and patted the lapels of his jacket. He gave the address to the cab driver and leaned back on the seat.

“Where are we going again?” Rita asked. She fished in her purse for her lipstick.

“Didn’t you check your email before meeting me?”Henry asked, shaking his head. Rita looked at him over the black rim of her glasses. She raised her eyebrow and shrugged as she touched up her lips. She smeared the pink cream with the tip of her finger to blend it in with the red she was already wearing. With one fluid motion she closed the lipstick and tucked it way as she leaned into Henry. She looked up at him with wide crystal blue eyes.

“No, I didn’t of course. Tell me what fabulous place we are going to get lost in tonight” she asked sweetly, reaching out one hand to look at her perfectly manicured fingernails. They were hot pink to match her hair. Rita smiled up at Henry. The cab suddenly turned a corner sharply. Rita reached for the back of the front seat and held on. Henry braced himself against the door.

“Whoa man! What the hell are you doing?” Henry yelled. The cab came to an abrupt stop. The cab turned to them both.

“$35.50” the man said, holding his hand out. He tapped the meter with his fingers when Henry hesitated. Henry snorted. He took out his wallet and paid the fair. Henry muttered under his breath. Rita did not wait. She was already standing on the sidewalk. She looked up at the sign.

“Here?!” Rita exclaimed as Henry got out of the cab. Henry smiled slightly.

“Yes, here.” He said and led Rita up the steps of the Lotus restaurant.

whatever occurs – voices

L: Why do the tops of my feet itch? I scratch, but seconds later, the skin is crawling and begging to be scratched again. It’s distracting. I don’t want to be thinking about scratching. I don’t want to be thinking about anything right now. I just want to be writing. No. more than that, I just want to be heard. That’s why I started writing you know. To be heard. No one does though.

V: [snorts] You’re too quiet. No one listens because you are too quiet.

L: Shut up. I don’t want you to start talking.

V: Seriously, if you were a little louder, then maybe someone would at least be able to hear you. They might not choose to listen, but at least they would have a choice. Right now, they don’t.

L: Shut up. What do you know? You sit in that chair day in and day out doing what? Waiting for just the right moment to open your yap and start talking crap about me.

V: No need to get testy. I realize that you are having a pity party here, but…

L: Oh my god, why don’t you just shut up? You are interrupting. My feet are worse now. It’s your fault.

V: Complain much?

L: I am going to ignore you now.

V: Fine. I’m not going anywhere though.

L: Oh I know.

V: Carry on then.

L: Fine. I will. As I was saying… I want to be heard. I have something to say. Oh would you stop making faces at me. Turn your chair around in that corner. Stare out the window or something would you? You are like a 2 year old. Ok where was I…. yes, I want to say something but I don’t know how to do it. I mean, I can write it out but who will read it? Someone might read it, react and then say nothing. Maybe it doesn’t get read at all. I don’t read anything that I write usually. What does that say about me?

V: That you are a terrible listener.

L: No that’s not true. I am not a terrible listener. I listen.

V: No you don’t. You never listen. You are told so many things every single day and you don’t listen. You don’t even remember that you were told.

L: That’s not true.

V: Oh yes it is. You are a serial non-listener.

L: shut up.

V: No, I won’t shut up. You are sitting there, complaining about not knowing how to write to be heard, not knowing how to speak up, and yet you have all the tools in front of you to do exactly what you want. EXACTLY. So what do you do? You sit and complain some more. You’re a lazy cow.

L: Hey, that’s not nice.

V: I’m not a nice person.

L: No kidding.

V: Get used to it.

L: I don’t want to.

V: Tough

L: This is getting boring you know.

V: Yeah, I kind of figured that is what you would do.

L: What do you mean?

V: Well, as soon as you are faced with some truth about yourself, you turn tail and run away.

L: No I don’t.

V: Yes, yes you do. You are doing it right now.

L: It’s not nice to call someone a lazy cow.

V: Well picture it – a beautiful cow sitting in a huge meadow, wildflowers all over the place, wide open blue sky and the cow is just sitting there, chewing on its cud. You chew on the same thing over and over again.
L: OK well if you are so smart, what should I do??

V: I am not going to tell you what to do. That’s your job to figure it out.

L: Your job is just to insult me?

V: I’m not insulting you. Cows are sacred many places in the world. The cow itself isn’t a negative comment. Sitting there, surrounded by every possibility and continuously chewing on the same things over and over. That’s negative.You are even making me repeat things again. You really are a terrible listener.

L: I’m not. I don’t want to be stuck. I am stuck. I am feeling like I am up to my neck in being stuck. There used to be a idea of where to go. I used to have it. I don’t any more. I don’t know how to get it back. Don’t you think that things happen in cycles – wide circles that we end up coming back to, things we need to work on, work out because that thing that we have to work out is bigger than us. We come back to it again and again because we need to.

V: you aren’t wrong there.

L: gee thanks.

V: you aren’t completely right either.

L: of course not. So tell me your theory Guru.

V: You waste a lot of time going back again and again to something that really you should recognize what you’ve already learned and don’t have to repeat the experience. If every time it happened, it was like putting your bare hand on a hot stove element you’d learn faster, but having your heart break every time, and you keep coming back to it, well that’s just stupid.

L: so I’m stupid now???

V: [sighs] no. well yes and no. Keep pushing me and you will be full on stupid. I am only trying to help you see more clearly.

L: [blushes] sorry. Ok, I will try to be a better listener.

V: [shaking head] well don’t do it for me. Do it for yourself. Look, you are constantly connecting with everything around you – people, things, experiences, messages, all of it. Can you honestly say that you do this consciously? Can you say that you are aware – feel aware as you connect with someone or something? Isn’t it mostly done on auto pilot?

L: well yes, mostly on auto pilot. It’s all a lot to process.

V: yes it is. I will try to be more gentle with you ok? I didn’t mean to make you upset.

L: It’s ok. I was being argumentative. I am just frustrated.

V: I know. It’s ok.
~
V: Tell them.

L: Tell them what? Who?

V: You are too easily distracted.

L: Yes I am, but who am I telling what to now?

V: You said you had something to say. Say it.

L: [blushes] I don’t know how to say it. It isn’t even an ‘it’ it’s a something. Something that has been niggling at me, at the back of my head for while now.

V: maybe you aren’t trying to say it to anyone. Maybe you are trying to just tell yourself.

L: I hadn’t thought about it like that. You could be right. So what is it?

V: what is what?

L: what is it – what am I trying to tell myself?

V: oh no. You have to do it, not me. You have to do the work, otherwise, what’s the point?

L: C’mon. You just gave me a huge speech about how I waste time. Now I am asking you – I know you know, and this will save time don’t you think?

V: no. no it won’t save time, you have to do the work. God that pisses me off…

L: pisses you off? Why shouldn’t I ask for your help?? I mean you’re right here, right in front of me. Of course I am going to ask you for help.

V: you are missing the point.
L: so explain it to me would you? I am totally confused now.

V: don’t exaggerate.

L: don’t get huffy with me.

V: Look. It’s like saying to someone – you have a chance to learn something here. Valuable life experience, something that matters – here you go and handed it to them like it was a fresh baked cookie. They don’t get to measure the ingredients, pour the oil and water in, stir, wait the minutes for the cookies to bake and then cool before eating them. What is learned then? Nothing.

L: Isn’t part of learning asking questions?

V: yes, of course – but you have to ask the right questions, ones that help not ones that let you take shortcuts. I don’t care. I mean, I am not going anywhere. If you want to cheat and end up right back in the same place you’re in now that’s your business.

L: I don’t want to be right back at square one.

V: well it’s not rocket science. Do the work.

L: okay okay.

V: this is nothing new here. So many others have talked abou
t it, gone through it and tried to avoid facing it.

L: what?

V: the truth of course. The truth.

L: big truth or little truth.

V: huh?

L: you know big or little?

V: hey truth is truth. The rest is fear. Get over it.

L: ok, well don’t get impatient with me. I am trying to figure this all out.

V: I am impatient. This has got to be the hundredth time we’ve been in this very spot, and you asking the very same things. I want you to get it this time.
L: Get what?

V: Wait for it.

L: Jesus, you are confusing me tonight.

V: Don’t bring Jesus into this, he’s busy enough as it is.

L: Oh ha ha – ok, let’s set out some ground rules.

V: No way. You don’t get to set the ground rules. They are already set. You have to work within them. No cheating.

L: ok, fine. But …

V: what but? No buts

L: I might have to bring Jesus into this.

V: Not yet.
~

(*note. this is pure freefall, no editing or formatting… each block is the result of a 20 min writing session. As I have been going into the challenge of this exercise, I realize that I am becoming more and more “free” from blocking what comes up. No matter who uncomfortable it might be to write/ hear… that is my commitment to the process. These two voices have come up before while doing a deep dive/ free fall – they are a snarky couple. I suspect that I will be writing about them again soon.

xo
la

to be continued)

Evan

20 minutes ~ whatever comes up

‘Sometimes the hardest thing and the right thing are the same’. The song wove itself through the morning sunshine to his sleeping body. Evan groaned and rolled over. He shoved the pillow over his head to block his ears. He should have reached back and smashed the alarm clock but he didn’t. The song finished and the news came on.

“It’s 6:00 am. Looks like it is going to be a scorcher. Be sure to wear sunblock. The health unit recommends SPF 50 or higher. Sun exposure for longer than 10 minutes will result in burns. 12 noon curfew is still mandatory for all residents of Kinburn. Do not attempt to break curfew as the Hazard team will be patrolling with the army. All infractions will be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Cover up and stay alive.” The dj came on next and introduced the next song. Evan groaned again. Fuck, he thought. Another insider. What was the point of getting up? He knew he didn’t have a choice. The patrols from the firm would be coming by in an hour to ensure that everyone who was scheduled to show up for work got there. There was no chance of playing hookey. Not today anyway. Calley knocked on the door.

“You up yet?” she asked. Her voice was like syrup. Rancid and disgusting. Evan didn’t move. He pretended to still be sleeping despite the loud radio music.

“No” he mumbled. His voice was muffled under the pillow. She was walking towards him, he was sure of it. She did the same thing every day. Why they had to assign him such a stupid predictable robot, he’s never understand. With all the technology out there, he got stuck with an idiot. Figures.

“Go away Calley. Go make me some goddamn eggs. I gotta have a shower now. Buzz off.” Evan said throwing the blankets off before Calley got a hold of them and pulled them away. Last time he waited and let her do that, the sheet got stuck in her gears and she shorted out. $10,000 later she was back almost like new. Almost. The fuckers gave her a tic. Evan had them on his deficiency list.

“Your breakfast will be ready in 6.7 minutes Evan sweetheart.” Calley said, turning with an awkward spin.

“Whatever.” He mumbled. Evan headed to the toilet and stripped down to the skin. The water was perfect. At least something was working properly.

“Hey man? Put a fuckin’ towel on would you?” Evan’s best friend Burt said. Evan kept washing himself.

“Dude, you on the phone. You can’t see me unless you hit video.” Evan said. “What the hell do you want. You are going to make me late for work.”

“Oh relax. You have time. Listen, can you cut out early? We are heading to the frontier tonight. You have to get out before the sunset, right. There’s going to be a crew. Maybe make some extra cash. Then Kel has a place just of the bluff that we can crash in. You don’t have to work tomorrow right? You can ditch.” Burt said. His voice was distorting. Evan made a mental note to get Calley to re-configure the speakers.

“Yeah sure. I will meet you at Petey’s ok? Don’t leave without me ‘kay?” Evan said. He stepped out of the shower and let the air dry him.

“Yeah yeah don’t worry. Mai will be there. “ Burt said. Evan smiled as he started to get dressed.

“Of course she will be. She digs me.” Evan said.

“Dude, no one says digs any more. That’s so last millennia.” Said Burt. He was irritated. Evan knew that Burt was hot for Mai. Evan couldn’t care less about the girl. Waste of space.

“Ok whatever. Don’t sweat it. See you in 7 hours.” Evan said. “End call.” The speaker snapped off before Burt could say anything else.

“Calley my breakfast better be done. Don’t burn the goddamn toast again. I swear I will send you back that shop and have you decommissioned.” Evan snapped. He didn’t have the authority to do that, but it felt good to say it to the bag of bolts. The funny thing was, Evan knew that she was made of titanium and didn’t have a single bolt in her body. He didn’t give a rat’s ass. He was looking forward to destroying some shit tonight. Maybe they’d get a race in or two. Evan was feeling a little desperate for a buzz. The walls were starting to get to him. What pissed him off more was the gold shrill light that cut through the windows where the curtains didn’t fit properly.

“Yeah go fuck yourself sun. Fuckin’ waste of space.” He muttered under his breathe while he was looking for his shoe. Seconds later Calley appeared as she did every day carrying them.

“Here you go sweetie. Have a wonderful day!” she said brightly. Evan couldn’t look at her. Today he wanted to dismantle her himself. He couldn’t. They’d enforce third law before he’d even get to removing her head. Evan would be left to the straight rays at noon. Why the fuck they let AI become sacred was beyond him. He’d read about the days when they were the same as toasters, and those fucking things worked then. None of this other bullshit. Why couldn’t they have just given him a hot robot with brains. That would have been fuckin heaven.

“Yeah. You too. Going out tonight after work. Don’t wait up for me ok?” Evan said gritting his teeth.

“Ok, I will leave a light on for you.” Calley said.

“Thanks.” Evan said. Calley stood between him and the door, looking at him expectantly. Evan groaned and shuffled his feet. He didn’t want to have to say it. It was like chewing glass. Calley waited. He knew she would just keep waiting. He finally gave in. The transport would arrive in 30 seconds. He couldn’t afford to miss it.

“I love you.” he said. The words cut him on their way out of his mouth. His tongue felt like rust.

“I love you too sweetheart. See you later. Have a great day at work” she said, stepping out of the way.

“Yeah. I will.” Evan said. “I will.”
~