Teresa was on her way to Las Vegas, having gotten a tip that Bill and Jerry had been spotted at the Luxor, when her cell phone rang.
"Hi, Teresa, it's Lynne," came the response. "I've got good news for you. We've decided to push up the release date of your book to next week."
Teresa had been waiting months to hear this news, but was, for the moment, confused - her mind was so focused on getting to Vegas before Bill left town.
"I'm sorry?" she asked. "Book? ... Oh! Why, that's great!"
"I thought you'd be happy," Lynne replied. "But I need you to be in New York this afternoon. We've booked you on Regis & Kelly to talk about it. There's a ticket waiting at the airport for you. Oh, and make sure you pack a green outfit."
Why was green so very important? She had no idea. But that really wasn't a concern right now. "Ummm, I'm not at home. I'm on I-40 between Flagstaff and Kingman, on my way to Vegas." She hesitated, not wanting to say why she was on her way to Vegas. Somehow, she didn't think that telling her editor that she was on her way to kill her ex would be a career plus.
"Vegas? Okay,... we can get you a ticket on the red-eye into New York, and I'll get someone to pick up an outfit for you." Lynne said. "Postpone your gambling and head to the airport. I'll have a driver waiting at Newark, to take you to your hotel. See you in the morning!" ... and she hung up.
Shit. Shit, shit, shit... Teresa thought as she dropped the cell phone on the seat beside her....
Meanwhile, in Vegas............
Bill awoke from a deep sleep and looked around the room. Luckily, Jerry was not there. Breathing a sigh of relief, Bill let go of the closed umbrella he had been clutching when he finally drifted off to sleep, got up from the bed, and headed for the bathroom.
Bill wasn't sure what had been going on with Jerry the night before. He'd been perfectly content to let the laundry pile up in the corner. That is, until the pile started talking to him. Bill suspected it had something to do with the 300 pound Samoan he had seen talking to Jerry in the casino earlier. Something wasn't quite right about the guy - flailing his arms about like he was swatting at giant flies and all that.
As he stepped under the stream of hot water in the shower, he thought again about trying to call Teresa and seeing if he could explain. By the time he finished showering, he knew exactly what he would say to her ... if she answered the phone.
He reached for the towel and his hand closed on something unexpected. What was this? A second umbrella?...
Later that morning, in the Green Room of the Regis & Kelly show.......
Teresa finished off her fourth cup of coffee since awakening, confused, in her hotel room. She really needed to pee, but had been cornered by Regis, who was telling stories of his childhood, and Kelly - who was being very ... Kelly.
As Regis finished a story about how his mom did his nail polish the first time he cross-dressed, Teresa looked around desperately, hoping to catch Lynne's attention. Unfortunately, Lynne had left the room with one of the other guests, to do what Teresa didn't know. As Regis paused in his torrent of tales of his youth, Kelly piped up with a series of questions. When the host asked how A Wizard of Earthsea was different than Harry Potter, she sat stunned for a moment and then realized, she was in the presence of stupid people with no knowledge of classical fantasy.
Teresa stood up abruptly and she cried, "No more, no more" and ran out of the room. She ran down the hall and out to the street, where she stood stunned. It was raining, but it wasn't water falling from the sky. She started shaking her head in denial as she stared at the scene in front of her. It had been years since she had seen that many frogs in one place....
Back in Vegas............
Bill hurried down the hall of the luxury hotel, buttoning his shirt with one hand, and trying not to drop his shoes as he rushed for the elevator. Something was very wrong. He jabbed at the "G" repeatedly, hoping - as people in a hurry always do - that it would somehow speed up the process of the elevator doors closing and the car getting to its destination.
The elevator performed its duties in at its own pace, however, but eventually (to Bill's frantic thinking) opened the doors and let him out in the lobby. He ran past the slot machines and out the door, planning on grabbing the first taxi in line to get him the hell away from whatever was happening back in the room that he and Jerry had been sharing.
As the heat of a Las Vegas day hit him, he skidded to a halt, confused. There were no taxis or shuttle buses under the canopy. There was no valet, waiting for the next guest to arrive. There were no people visible anywhere. It was just too damn quiet outside....
He looked up from the unfinished manuscript and around the nearly empty room. This was just one of many partial stories that Arianne had left behind when she abruptly closed her bakery and left town, and he had finally gotten around to putting them into storage. He couldn't bring himself to throw them away, hoping that she would someday return. Guy sighed again as he looked around the large apartment that Arianne and he had called home for the short time they were together.
The bells in the cathedral tolled 8, but it was only 3:45 as he reached over to get another box into which to put the stories and the other remainders of their relationship, and noticed that the boxes, once seemingly an endless pile, had suddenly run out. There was no container for the most precious of their belongings.
Then he noticed the TCU umbrella in the corner.
As always, the suggested bits are in bold. Links for the previous two editions can be found in the sidebar. Look for the next request post on Monday!!