Time (part 11)

clock

 

 

“Kelly,” I said.

The other me turned around and looked at me dropping her popcorn when she saw me.

“I…..I’m ….”she gasped.

“It’s okay. Let’s just go somewhere and talk,” I said.

We exited the theater silently and began walking down the street. I noticed that she was shaking life a leaf.

“Is there a coffee shop around here, “I asked.

“We should just go to the park” she said. “We shouldn’t be anywhere where there might be cameras.”

We walked a few blocks to a small park and sat down on what I’m pretty sure was not real grass.

“What year are you from,” She asked me.

“October, 13th 2013 sort of…” I began.

“That’s where I came from,” she said.

“I know I originally came from 2014…it’s….I. I was in 2014 when I discovered the time machine. My …our life was a mess so I went back to 2008 to change a big mistake we made.”

“What mistake,” she asked.

I proceeded to tell the story of how we had the successful psychic business and the secret blog. About how we met a boy who was an auto mechanic, who was mean to us and eventually dumped us and how he outed us as being a fraud on the internet and we ended up losing the business and ended up as Tom’s roommate rather than his girlfriend. I told her that I went back to the past and simply sat in our apartment and did nothing on the day I had bought the car that would lead to meeting the mean boyfriend, figuring that if I never bought the car I (we) never would have met him.

“When I got back to 2014 I went to check my Facebook to see if what I did had changed things. I saw that I still had my ..our business but I noticed that the last post was on October 13th 2013 and so was my last email and my last tweet.”

“That’s weird” she said.

Tom and I went back to October 13th 2013. We found out we were boyfriend and girlfriend and we found your note saying what year you were traveling to and the name of the shop you were going to. I followed you.”

We sat in silence for a moment as she tried to comprehend everything.

“I guess I should thank you,” she began. I’ve always traveled to the future in the time machine. At first Tom was against my selling things, but I thought it made for a good retirement plan. I mean, we’re going to need it being in business for ourselves.”

“Wouldn’t it have been easier to just go forward a day, buy a paper, get the lottery numbers and win the lottery? That’s what I ….I mean or we…” I began.

“I know, exactly. I always wanted to do that but Tom wouldn’t let me. He was very paranoid about that kind of thing.”

“How did you …did we get together with Tom?”

“He came to a party where I was doing readings. He said he wasn’t doing well at work and needed to make a sale or he would get fired. I told him that I sensed a company in the valley needed a new camera equipment provider. Actually, I knew they needed one because I did a reading for a man from that company. He called them and made the sale. I saved his job.”

“I see. “ I said. “Well, if you’re selling things, isn’t he afraid that you will accidently pass money from the future,” I asked.

“I haven’t been saving money. Just buyer points.” She said.

“I noticed something about that on my Subway receipt. What are those?”

“It’s a long story, but from what I have learned since I’ve been here it’s part of a new world order. In 2014 Sony was hacked by North Korea because of the movie The Interview…” she began.

“That was on the news the day I found the time machine,” I interjected.

“Well once the movie was actually released it was a huge hit. It broke all the records. North Korea got even angrier and began hacking into all kinds of American businesses. At around the same time there was a terrorist attack on a French satirical magazine by radical Muslims. Pretty soon there were more attacks on satirist and writers all over the free world by both Muslim and North Korea and it went on for ten years. They would hack attack us and we would bomb them. They eventually formed an alliance. ‘The War Against Humor’ the media called it. For a couple of years it looked like we might go to actual war. President Clinton attempted to impose more sanctions.”

“Hillary?” I asked.

Yes, well, congress blocked the sanctions and she lost popularity because of her inability to stop what was happening. Sarah Palin got into office and we send troops into Korea as well as several Middle Eastern countries and this brought about worldwide economic devastation. That was when the UN had a summit and decided that countries should work with each other rather than against each other. It was decided that each country would do what it did best. Japan and Israel invent things, things are manufactured in developing nations and most of the Middle East is a prison. It is the job of Americans to consume things and buy things. We now have one world leader that was elected by the UN. They appointed Apple Paltrow in part to appease the Koreans as she is genetically incapable of humor.

“Wow, people didn’t protest?”

“A few did, but the media didn’t really cover it. There’s nothing about it at the library now,” she told me.

“So basically it’s everyone’s job in America to buy things and you get points when you do?

“Yes, you used to be paid for the point in money, but they are phasing that out. Everyone will have their points loaded on to their arm GPS and everyone has to get one by January You can just take your receipts and they put the point on. So I won’t be going any farther into the future than that. I’m saving the points in a drawer at home.”

“Were you planning on quitting social media as of today or something?” I asked. “I mean today in 2013?”

“No” she said.

“Well then, I think for some reason you came to this day and didn’t get back. Is there anything that could have stopped you?”

“I don’t think so, “she said.

“I think we need to find out,” I said getting up.

Time (part 6)

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The first thing I saw when I came to was Tom concerned face bent over me, he handed me a glass of water and sat me up.

“Where am I, “I asked.”

“You’re in the other room watching TV.”

“Oh, did I say anything about what year I was from?

“She…I mean you said she came from 2012, Then 2015 and now she’s here. Do you want to go in and talk to her?”

We walked into the spare room where I was quietly sitting on the bed and drinking a glass of water.

“Hi I said to myself.”

My other self got up and started to come towards me with her hand extended.

I cautiously took it, wondering if something bad could happen if we touched.

“I don’t even know what I should ask first,” I began. “How did you first discover the time machine?”

“I went to bed one night, in my….our apartment on June fourteenth of 2012.”

“The one in Beverly Hills,” I asked wondering just how much my little trip had screwed everything up.

“Yes. I went to bed and when I woke up I was here in this apartment and the year was 2015.”

“Did you freak out, I mean I think I would have.” Tom said.

“At first I just thought I was having a strange dream. Then I realized I had to go to the bathroom and that struck me as odd because I’ve never had to do that in a dream before. Then I crept back to bed and took a good look at you expecting to find someone I had a crush on. But, well even though I thought you were cute and everything. I realized I had never seen you before. I thought that was weird because it was unlike me to dream about being with a stranger.”

“”You mean we were…I mean you were…I mean um.” I said pointing at Tom, than to me than to her.

“Oh. My God are you guys ..I mean, you’re not together yet?”
“We’re roommates, sort of. I mean we were roommates, Tom let me use the time machine I went back five years and screwed everything up.

“So anyway, go one with your story,” Tom said clearly wanting to ignore what he just heard.

“So I nudged you and you woke up. You kissed me and you asked me if I was going to work. I slowly began to realize I wasn’t dreaming. I asked you who you were and you told me you were Tom, my boyfriend…”

Tom and I gave each other and embarrassed sidelong glance.

“You didn’t seem the least bit shocked that I didn’t know you and seemed disoriented. You told me about the time machine and I didn’t believe you. You showed me where it was I got in it and before you could stop me I got in it and set the dials. The next thing I knew I was here.”

Tom and I both just stared at my other self for a moment, uncertain of what to do.

“You said you came from 2012,” I said.

“Yes, that’s right. That’s where I started anyway.

“How was the business doing?”

“Okay, a little slow, but not bad.”

I fought a smile.

“Did you, I mean did I have a boyfriend?”

“Np, not a recent one.”

“Do you remember a boyfriend named Steve? He was a mechanic.”

“No, I never dated a Steve.”

My smile broadened and then I remembered that I still didn’t know how I had ceased to exist.

Time (part 3)

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I arrived at the posh apartment building at 8:30 PM. I was greeted by Mr. Peterman who led upstairs to the penthouse. I began setting up my table. My hands shook a little as I pulled out my old purple velvet table cloth. My eyes welled up a bit, I didn’t realized how much I’d missed this. It seemed so silly, I mean it was all a bunch of lies anyway, but as I set out my candles and my tip jar I realized what I missed the most was the respect I got when I did a reading.

I’d never gotten much respect back in the Midwest, they’d taken one look at my pale skin and noticed the tremors in my hands and thought that I was someone to kick. It was the same way in Los Angeles at first, in fact it was worse for the first year, and then I’d started doing readings. After I started getting well know, a rumor had started that my skin was so pale because of the light inside me and my hands shook when the spirits were speaking to me.

Although I always sniggered at the delusional minds of Angelinos, I secretly understood. I had always found reality to be horribly depressing. I wished that I could believe in magic, but I just couldn’t. The people who came up to my table always went away happy, knowing that something good was coming their way, that whatever happened, happened for a reason and that the universe was fundamentally a just place.

I knew what a bunch of hogwash I was selling. I knew that everything happened for a reason and that reason was that people were greedy shits. I knew how dangerous it was to think that everything that happened, just couldn’t be helped. I knew how lazy and complacent that way of thinking could make people. At the same time I wanted the money and I liked the power. Every time I thought of quitting I remembered what it was like to be poor. Every time I felt guilty about lying, I remembered how people treated me when I was honest.

I sat down at the table and the party began. As people came up to me I started to remember details of this particular evening.

There was the guest of honor, a short man who reminded me a little of Dustin Hoffman. He wanted to know if he should start his own business. I had Googled him and I knew that he was a manger of music for a big company. I had remembered that five years ago I told him he should wait another five years before starting his own company and if he did wonderful things would happen. I wanted to give him something to look forward to. This time I told him that he should start the company in one year.

A lady with auburn hair came up to the table and sat down. I greeted her as if we were old friends. I remembered that she had started off by asking if she should buy a beach house and then confessed that she thought her husband was having an affair. I told her that no matter what the universe would provide for her. I also told her to get the beach house and put it in her name.  A year later she’d found a receipt for the Beverly Hilton in her husband’s wallet for December 2nd when he said he had to work late. She confronted him and he left her and she was living in that beach house. This time I was more specific.

Before she could even ask about the beach house I said, “I see a woman with blond hair and green eyes, she and your husband are at a play. I’m getting 12’s and twos after that.”

She turned white when I said it. She grabbed a drink off a passing tray and began to cry. I told her that amazing things were going to happen to her as a result of this tragedy.

The next man I talked to was a producer of reality television shows. I told him that I was picking up on a vibe that his next big star was a soon to be divorced trophy wife who was somewhere in the room with us.

I headed home in the cab with $600 in my purse. The next day I sat in my old apartment all day. As far as I knew all I had to do was simply not buy the car.

While I waited I watched TV and surfed the net remember all the various celebrity scandals that had happened five years ago. I checked e mail and was glad to see that I didn’t have anything that need attention that day. I hesitantly went to my old blog. There it was, Confessions of a Fake Psychic. The only picture was that of a pink hat that I found at the bus stop the first night I did readings. I kept my identity and the identity of my clients well hidden, it was the only place I could really say what I thought and it was my way of reminding myself who I really was. I read a couple of the entries. I hadn’t even written THAT entry yet. I looked at the blog hits, it was pretty ironic how I hadn’t even gotten twenty hits a day. I thought about erasing everything, but I thought better of it. If I didn’t buy the car it wouldn’t break down. If the car didn’t break down there would have no reason to go to a mechanic, if I hadn’t gone to the mechanics, I wouldn’t have met Steve.

I lay in bed that night waiting for the 6:00 AM alarm to go off. I wondered how I checked to make sure I had the key to my future apartment at least 30 times. I hoped the key would work, I tried to make a plan if it didn’t.

Time (part one)

 

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I felt hopeful when we saw the ad for a roommate in North Hollywood. My unemployment check did not begin to cover the rent on my Beverly Hills studio and what little I made from audience work and blogging just barely made ends meet.

I’d only met Tom, my new roommate briefly. Tom’s last roommate had run off without paying the rent and he was desperate to find someone new. I noticed that he was kind of nice looking, tall with dark hair and around thirty five. I’d felt a bit inferior being short, a little plump and pimply with hair that refused to do what I told it to. He told me he was in the business of selling travel packages and I told him I was unemployed . I decided not to mention my former career until I got to know him better.

I drove the rental car that was loaded with all my worldly possessions to the small two bedroom on Van Nuys Blvd. A few days after I moved in Tom went to Arizona on business   and I had some time to set up my room, unpack my things and snoop though Tom’s room.

At first, I was a bit disappointed. There was a plain storage bed with a non-descript blue bedspread flanked by two night stands. I snooped through the draws and found tee-shirts and blue jeans, a few Playboy’s, condoms and a copy of On the Road.  There were pictures of family and a movie poster or two on the walls. In the drawer there was a picture of Tom shaking hands with a young Andy Kaufman and a poster from a Dali exhibit in San Francisco.

I entered the closet only to find, a couple of nice suits and many button up shirts and Dockers.  I moved an empty suitcase out of my way and that’s when I saw a door with a golden nob. I opened it and found myself in a small booth. On the wall of the booth were three dials one said day month and year, another said time of day and another still said location.

I quickly shut the door and replaced the suitcase. I went back to my room and thought about what I just saw. It couldn’t be. It had to be some sort of joke. Maybe the apartment had been used in a movie.

The next day I went to a French fry tasting focus group. I got back, with $75.00 in my pocket, feeling very full and wanting a nap. I realized Tom would be home in the morning, so I snuck into the room for one more look.

I opened the closet door and went towards the booth. I heard the apartment door open and shut outside.  I started for the door of Tom’s room, but it was too late. He opened the closet door and saw me.

“Tracy,” he said confused.

“Hi, I just…I um …I … I mean um…I want you.” I said.

“What?”

“I want you…I was just I was going to you know sleep in here be here when you came back.”

“It’s one o’clock in the afternoon and I wasn’t coming home til tomorrow morning; you were going to stay in here the whole time?” He eyed me suspiciously as he came towards me.

“What were you really doing in here, looking for money,”

“No, I swear,” I said.

“You want me? Okay, fine…Let’s go.”

“Well, I . I mean um. Okay um…let me just jump in the shower I guess.”

“Oh relax, he said. You obviously know about it.”

“What is it? I mean it looks like a replica of a movie time machine.”

“It is a time machine…a real one.”

“Oh come on.”

“No, really. I found It here when I moved in.”

“How does it work? I mean if you have to be in the booth to use it, how do you get back?”

“That’s the frustrating part. You see it has limited abilities. I can travel back in time but the place lever is stuck in Los Angeles and not only Los Angeles, but this particular apartment which was built in 1976 .

“You can’t go back further than 76,” I said disappointed that I would never meet my uncle Marty.

I can’t travel anywhere on a plane or rent a car because my driver’s license was issued in 2014. I’m afraid to spend too much money for fear of calling attention to myself.”

“Cant you just go back a couple of days. I mean you could win the lottery. In fact today is Friday, the lottery is on tonight. I said hopefully.

“Look, Tracy I know it probably sounds a little silly, but I don’t want to mess with fate.”

“What makes you believe in fate?”

“The same thing that makes me believe in time machines.”

“oh.”

“You can try it if you’d like. I would just ask that you tell no one and that you don’t do anything that could affect history too much.”

I went into the kitchen and made myself a cup of tea. I could go back to any time in my life after the age of one. The possibilities seemed endless. I decided to go back five years when I had made a terrible decision to buy a used car that was a total lemon and that I had totaled in an accident.

Tom set the dials while I watched. He exited the tiny room and closed the door. I pushed the start button and the room started to vibrate. There was a loud screeching noise and then, nothing.

“Tom, I think it stopped,” I said.

There was no response. I stepped out of the tiny room into the closet. This time it was packed full of women’s clothing. I crept to the door and opened it to find a very pink bedroom decorated with elaborate pillows and a Johnny Depp poster.

I walked out the door and started towards the living room. I was stopped when I felt a pair of eyes on me. I turned to see a red-headed woman wrapped in a towel staring at me in horror.

“ I….I said I’m sorry.”

I ran out the door and into the street toward the train station.

Casual Encounters?

 

 

 

craig

Melody took a deep breath and pushed the elevator button. Her heart raced as the elevator rose to the tenth floor. She’d made sure to take a picture of the hotel and post it on her Facebook page with no comment, she wanted to let people know where she was without telling them, just in case anything went wrong.

She was fairly new to Craigslist. She’d looked for jobs there before, but she’d never looked at the personal ads. It had been almost a year since her horrific break up with Sam and she still could not stomach the idea of having an actual boyfriend again. For several weeks all she could think about was sex or her lack of it. She spent her evening reading Erica Jong and Anais Nin and trolling the internet for subtle but thought provoking videos. She’d started reading Craigslist casual encounters the week before. At first she’d just looked at them never intending to do anything. At night he would fantasize about doing everything in the ads. She imagined the men as being ruggedly handsome, not wanting to think about what the men looked like in real life.  She realized that it was just a fantasy and she was sure a murder, rape or mugging awaited anyone who would answer such a thing.

Then on Saturday she saw an ad that she couldn’t get out of her head. “Let’s just make out I’m in town for a week, come to my hotel room! I’m staying at the Plaza.”

Something about the ad sounded safe and sincere. They had exchange e mails. He had sent her a picture of himself, but it was very shadowy and distant and in it he was wearing a “No Fear” T-shirt. She’d asked how recent it was and he admitted it was ten years old. He told her he was forty and she’d confessed to being thirty five. They arranged to meet the next afternoon at one. She’d told him she was too paranoid but described herself, a petite brunette, considered fairly attractive.

She got off the elevator and walked towards his door. She stood there for a full five minutes before getting up the courage to knock on the door.

“Come in, “a voice said.

She walked into the room leaving the door wide open as she went. There, in bed, wearing a vintage Spud’s Mackenzie tee shirt and acid washed jeans was Ryan Bisc a partner in the law firm where she worked.

For a moment they did not speak. He looked as though he was trying to place her.

“Do you work for me?”

“Yes,” she said. “I’m Melody, I work in research”

“So you saw my picture and you decided to come and maybe work some kind of deal or something?”

“No, the picture wasn’t very clear and it was old. I work in a different part of the building and I only see you like one a month. I thought you said you were from out of town?”

“I guess I just…I’m sorry. Could you close the door.”

Melody closed the door and sat down.

“Are you married,” she asked.

“Why do you ask?”

“Because, I don’t know I just thought that…”

“Are you married,” he asked.

No, I’m not even…no.

“Well, I should go..”

She got up to leave and he walked her to the door. On impulse, she grab him and kissed him. He resisted and first and then pulled her towards the bed. Suddenly his cell phone went off.

He jumped up and answered it.

“Uh, huh…..Okay…okay. Did we ever get the witness statement? Well, it’s a lot different if she actually broke something. Before we were told she just had a black eye….uh huh….uh huh.”

Melody sat up. She tried to signal to him she realized they were talking about the Robinson file which was sitting open on her desk. She tapped Ryan.”

“Ryan, I…” she began she slapped a hand across her mouth.

“Well get it to me as soon as research finishes it.”

He hung up the phone.

“Were you working on that file.”

“Yes, I have the witness statement on my desk.”

“Oh well the defendants attorney needs to see what we have,” he said.

“Um, I said I would be back from my dentist appointment at 3:00.”
“Oh, yeah I guess it would look kind of suspicious if you went back now.”

They sat there in silence for a moment.

‘Dentist” he said with a chuckle, “did you ever see the movie M.A.S.H?”

“I didn’t.”

Oh, Well you should.”

She looked at him confused.

“Wanna watch a movie,” he asked her.

They sat on the bed and watched Rain Man until it was time for Melody to go to work.

When she got home she went on Craigslist again, this time looking in the legal assistance section.

Luck

pills

 

 

Jennifer Pallyworth sat in the passenger seat of her agents care texting her boyfriend. She glanced up at the rear view mirror to see the camera crew following several cars behind her.

‘On way to tard’s see you tonight,’ the text said.

‘XOXO weer the red pantees,’ her boyfriend wrote back.

“I talked to her mother this morning, she said the whole family is really looking forward to meeting you,” her agent said.

“That’s cool,” Jennifer said looking back down at her phone.

“We got a call from Time they want to do a feature story on your work with CP kids.”

“Oh, I mean …they want to talk about the CP thing….what about the show?”

“Well, oh course you’ll talk about the show. You’ll talk about your work with CP kids and then the tie in to the show.”

“What tie in,” she looked up from the phone.

“When Trisha comes on the show, there’s gonna be an episode about CP. You guys are gonna go visit a farm and the daughter is gonna have CP.”

“Whatever,” Jennifer said.

They rode for a moment in silence.

“It’s just that it seems like it would really, I don’t know that it would make people uncomfortable, ya know. I mean they come home and they just want to relax or something and then …they turn on the show because they wanna look at hot people and then there’s this I don’t know like handicap person and so they get get depressed and watch something else.”

“Well for your information, there have been several shows that have featured people with CP . Facts of Life, that Life Goes On.”

“I thought he had Downs Syndrome,” Jennifer said.”

“Oh, well sorry they’re basically the same thing.”

“Well, did they have one on Friends, no Will and Grace, no How I Met Your Mother, no. People hate reality,” Jennifer said. “I’m just sayin. It’s not the 80’s anymore no one wants to think about that shit.”

“Honey, It’s probably only gonna be for one episode.”

“Why can’t I just do the Ice bucket thing? I paid a lotta money for my tits, ya know? Plus it takes like two minutes and it doesn’t cost anything.”

“That ALF.”

“What the fuck is ALF?”

“I have no idea, but it is not CP and our contract is with the CP association.”

 

“Do you have any Ambien,” Jennifer smiled.

“That’s my girl,” her agent said reaching into her purse.

……………………………………………………………………………………………

Trisha looked out the window of her bedroom. She wondered what was keeping them. She just wanted to get this over with. The SAT’s were in a week and this was cutting into her study schedule. She had watched Day Job’s last night and she had been horrified at its moronic humor. She wished she’d never agreed to meet Jennifer Pallyworth, but realized it was the only way to put her branch of Students with Physical Challenges on the map. She needed this for her extra-curriculars. If she could be the first high school SPC president to get on national television she was certain to distinguish herself from the other applicants. She headed downstairs carefully griping the railing tightly as she went.

“She’s late, “she said to her mother.

“Five minutes,” her mother retorted.

“Did you see the show last night, did you watch it? It makes Saved by the Bell look like a cinematic masterpiece.”

“Honey, it’s a great way to raise awareness…”

“She must be a true intellectual to participate in something like that.”

“You’re participating in something like that.”

“Well, it’s not like I can go out for track.” Maybe she’s not dumb maybe she’s just a sell out.”

“Maybe she’s just an actor trying to get her foot in the door,” her mother said.

“I’m going to the bathroom,” Trisha said.

Trisha was washing her hands when she looked out the window and saw them. Jennifer was standing outside the car texting and her handler was talking on a cell phone. Her stomach knotted. She could feel the stares and the looks of pity already. Worst of all she could just hear them talking to her very slowly, widening their eyes as they talked. She always wanted to use a lot of big words when people did that, but her speech impediment made it impossible for such things to have the proper effect.

She opened the medicine chest and reached for the Ambien spilling them as she went.

“Shit,” she exclaimed stuffing them back in the bottle and swallowing one on the way.

She walked back out into the living room where the camera crew was setting up.  Phil, the director greeted her as she entered the living room.

“Hi, Trisha” he said sounding slow and surprised and overjoyed to see her.

“Hi,” she said.

“So in just few minutes the doorbell is going to ring and your going to open it and let Jennifer Pallyworth in. Okay?”

‘What’s the doorbell,’ Trisha wanted to say, but though  better of it.

“Okay,” she said. She looked out the window and saw Jennifer put her cell phone in her purse. A makeup artist touched up her lipstick. She pasted on a fake smile and walked towards the door. She seemed to be staggering a bit.

Trisha thought she was probably on something; she smiled to herself realizing this was the one advantage of her condition.

Phil yelled action and she walked to the door.

Aesthetic Inequity

heart

 

 

Claire sat in her apartment waiting for the doorbell to ring. She had spent most of the day cleaning her apartment and the last two hours trying to make herself presentable. Her stomach knotted when the clock struck 7:00. She’d told the service to send him over an hour before the party, so they could get their stories straight. She’d seen the Rent a Buddy ad in LA Weekly and called out of desperation. She hoped he wasn’t too good looking, she’d instructed them to be realistic.

She got up and looked at herself in the mirror again. There she was, plain and pale with thin blond hair and bad skin and ten pounds overweight to boot. She wasn’t sure what was more ridiculous, the problem she was having or the solution to the problem.

The bell rang and she opened the door to find a tall dark haired man with perfectly chiseled features standing in the door way.

“Claire?” the young man asked.

“Are you Tim,” she asked without a smile.

“Yes,”

She stepped aside and he entered. He sat down on the sofa and she offered him a root beer. She studied him suspiciously as he drank it.

“How old are you.”

“Twenty Seven,” how old are you?

“Thirty three, If anyone asks I’d like you to be thirty.”

He shrugged.

“How much do you pay for this place,” he asked.

“$1000 a month.”

“Am I supposed to live with you?

“No, we’ve only been dating for a month.”

“Are you trying to make someone jealous,” he said with a note of judgment in his voice.

“No, I’m trying to discourage someone. My boss wouldn’t leave me alone. I’m not used to that sort of thing and I didn’t know how to handle it. I told him I had a boyfriend.”

“Why didn’t you just sue the company?”

“Well, It’s only a temp job and, I don’t know It didn’t seem worth it I mean sometimes those things make the news and they make the woman sound nuts “She said looking at the floor,afraid to meet his glance.

“Look, I could use something stronger. Do you want some whiskey,” she asked.

“Sure,” he brightened. “So tell, me about myself. What’s my name what do I do?”

“You’re a paralegal.”

“Not just one,” he chuckled and she looked confused.

 

“I told them you worked in the legal department of  BOA. I didn’t want them asking too many questions. Your name is Greg and you just moved here from Denver and you moved here to be closer to your family.”

He took a moment to absorb this.

“What is it you do,” he asked emptying his glass.

“Telephone customer service for a video production company. Their normal girl is on maternity leave she’ll be back at the beginning of February, “she said refiling both of their glasses.

“How did we meet,” he said draining his glass and pouring another.

“We met at a party of a guy in your building. We bounded over a love of Robin Williams movies.” She paused to refill her own glass.

”That was how I ended up mentioning you, actually. My supervisor, is this really creepy guy and we were talking in the break room and the subject was 80’s movies. He said he loved Mrs. Doubtfire and that it was playing at the Beverly, I panicked and said something like you know who love’s Robin Williams, my boyfriend! Were gonna have to go see that movie! Thanks for telling me about it. I said something like that. So then he started asking me about you. I just got deeper and deeper into the lie.”

She began to feel a bit more confident and everything in the room seemed softer, even their aesthetic inequity,

“I did like that movie.” He smiled.

She smiled to herself feeling a bit superior in knowing that the film was a trite piece of shit.

”Do you have any smoke?”

 

They both sat in silence for a moment smoking from Clair’s cheap glass pipe. More alcohol was consumed.

“So, how did you get this job,” she asked with a laugh.

“I just came here and I was looking for a day job while I pursued acting. My roommate told me about the company, he said fighting of a slur.

They both began to giggle.

“We should go,” she said. She staggered to her feet.

Realizing they were too drunk to drive they got into a cab a rode to the restaurant where the office Christmas party was being held. By this time they were both quite jovial and a bit speech impaired.

Tim laughed at the sight of palm trees with lights on them.

“I miss snow,” he said.

There was a light rain that pounded the cab and made the filth on the street shine and rise and run into the gutter. The lights from the cars seemed bright and magnetic to Clair she wanted to follow the light itself as it sank back into the world of the car.

They arrived at the party fifteen minutes after it had started. They made a bee line for the bar to get their two allotted free drinks, they ordered Jamison’s and went over their details as they drank.. After a moment, Randy the supervisor that Tim had been hired to fool walked. In the door. He took off his hat to reveal that a bare pate sat above the chubby exterior which was clad in a cheap, powder blue suit.

“He’s here,” Claire jumped up and almost fell to the ground in the process. Tim giggled hysterically and caught her. Claire felt a warm rush go through her body as he pulled her to her feet and put his arm around her, leading her towards Randy.

“Hi, Randy” Clair said.

“Hey…” Randy began.

“I’m Ti…..Greg! How ya doin’ man!”

“I’m doin’ well. So you….

“I’m a paraplegic in a firm.”

Claire looked horrified.

“You’re a what.” Randy said confused.

“I’m from Denver” Time screamed.

Clair began to laugh. Tim slapped her butt and kissed her with an open mouth.

Randy looked confused but a little aroused.

Clair and Tim stagger out into the street. Tim began to run along Melrose Ave as fast as he could. Weaving in and out the passers by who regarded him with curiosity. Clair chased after him trailing a block behind. He stopped at a vintage store and waited for her to catch up.

“This store sells Fruit Loops T-shirts for fifty dollars apiece” he said. “Throw a rock!”

“I don’t think so,” she said.

“Do it and I’m free”.

“I already paid,” She said.

He kissed her, this time more seriously. She picked up a rock and aimed at the window.

.