Any other day Susan would have accepted Smitty’s apology and moved on. Today, however, the answer was no.
“Sorry, Smitty,” she said, “but as you can see, I’m wearing my Fuck Off sandals. When I wear my Fuck Off sandals, I do what they tell me, and they’re telling me to tell you to, you know.”
“Fuck off?” Smitty guessed. He didn’t dare look her in the face. Not that he really could, being a foot shorter by nature, and more when she was wearing ‘those shoes’. He was always looking up at her, if not up to her. She was the boss, but she was not a good one, except on those days when she accepted his apologies and moved on.
“It’s no fair,” Smitty said to himself, “just because she’s wearing ‘those shoes’ doesn’t give her the right to be mean to me especially when, like, you know, it wasn’t really my fault that the hamster escaped and crapped all over her desk. It’s a hamster! It wants to get out. It wants to crap on desks. It’s what they do!”
“Now go and sit down, and remember what I told you.”
“Go fuck myself?”
“That’s a good boy.”
“I know you slept with Jerry,” Ronald said with a sense of detached irony. “You’ve been drawing pictures of his penis all over the kitchen walls.”
“It’s a very nice penis,” Harvey replied in self-defense. “It begs to be immortalized.”
“What did Christina have to say about it? After all, it’s her kitchen.”
“She wanted something more decorative this season. Last year’s pelicans were okay, she said, but she was hoping for something a tad more virile.”
“Like a six-foot penis?”
“Like several six-foot penises,” Harvey said. “Or is it penii? I’m never quite sure.”
“As in the plural of houses being hice?”
“Precisely. I’ll never understand the subtleties of this language. Turkish makes much more sense. Everything is as it should be.”
“So, what is the plural of penis in Turkish?”
“I haven’t the slightest idea.”
There could be no looking back. There could be no retreat. He had asked Thelma for assistance and here she was, assisting. He’d known that once she started talking, there would be no end to it. One topic would lead to another and in the end he would stop listening entirely and think only of how to escape. It was true she had answered his question, answered it promptly and correctly, but for Thelma that was just the beginning. It was not enough to click the button, one had to consider the buttons one did not click, one had to follow every link in order to fully comprehend which links were not to be followed under any circumstance. Thelma was thorough. She had explained the entire history of the website to him. She had taught him the difference between Apply and Save. She had informed him of both the left and the right click options. He sighed. She continued. There was no escape. The website had so many buttons.
It was uncanny the way her thoughts seemed to mirror his, the way she moved her body as if in response to his own movements, and yet, he considered, what do we really know about cats? Why was it following him? Did it want to be petted, to be fed? Was it seeking a new home or merely curious about this stranger padding down her own suburban street in the middle of the night? The real question, he decided, is not what does the cat want, but what do I want? Do I really believe that Sylvia will notice me ‘casually’ happening to be in her neighborhood at two in the morning, and if she does, will she be charmed by the coincidence, or call the cops yet again?
“There are seven layers,” the professor was saying, but Aimee was not paying attention. She was engrossed in the comic book she had hidden inside the heavy text.Quantum mechanics was not so difficult in any case, and she could always ask her friend Maura to fill her in on the notes later. In the meantime, there was a titanic struggle taking place between the god-child Meep and the tyrant O’Lau’beh. On the one hand, Meep never lost, but at the moment the situation did not look promising.
“Well, Aimee?” the professor repeated. “We await your response with great anticipation.”
He was mocking her. Well, Aimee, indeed. She’d get her revenge someday, but right now all she could think of was, “here goes nothing“, so she said,
“Entanglements at a distance are the fundamental cause of those apparent rifts in space-time which can not be explained by any other formulation.”
Jean held the whip above his head with both hands while Jacqueline lay on the floor beneath him, wrapped in a thin white blanket and nervously counting on her toes. When she reached all ten she deftly rolled away just as Jean collapsed and fell head first onto the couch, a ten inch blade protruding from his back. The bulky white officer on the balcony above shouted for her to keep still, but Jacqueline was already on her feet and racing naked toward the time capsule. With a leap she fell through the quantum continuum and vanished into a trillion shiny blue-green pieces. The knife-throwing bandit on the street jumped back onto his motorbike and sped away while the bulky white officer wiped his brow and worried about how he was going to report all these shenanigans. They were all going to laugh at him again, he knew. His ridiculous case files were the never ending joy of precinct twenty six.
Goran found peace of mind while waiting in line to make an appointment at his local energy company’s headquarters. He had ditched his cellphone along with his laptop, and even disabled his wifi connection. He was now officially off the information grid. The next thing to go would be the power. Goran calculated that he could live quite well without refrigeration and without lights, and the fireplace was good enough for the heating requirements in his moderate climate region. His only regret would be the electric toothbrush, of which he’d grown quite fond, but he was intending to invent a new one based on kinetic energy – a wind-up toothbrush if you will. It would be based on the same principle as his radio and flashlight. What else? He could think of nothing. I will be happy at last, he decided, whether I like it or not.