20 July 2008

Sunday Fiction - Part VII

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It had been a rough month for Bill.

The fight with Teresa that led to him agreeing to go to Vegas with Jerry, the disastrous experiment with peyote in the desert, getting kicked out of the casino at the Bellagio for card counting, the escape from the Luxor, and finally being snatched by the two goons and staked out naked in the desert.

But, just in the nick of time, Teresa had shown up and saved him - and Jerry - from boiling and/or desiccating to death in the hot desert sun. They put Jerry on a bus headed back home, and Teresa set out to make it up to Bill, spending lavishly from the earnings of her book tour.

She seemed willing to do whatever he asked of her, and even offered things he'd never felt comfortable asking for. Their days were full of travel from city to city and book signings - as her novel had made it to the top ten on the New York Times bestseller list - and their nights were filled with an animal passion unlike anything either had experienced before. They simply couldn't get enough of each other... and neither one was complaining in the least.

Another benefit of their new situation was that Teresa's creative juices were flowing at above flood stage, sweeping Bill along as well. They began collaborating on a new book and the pages flew by. Even with her 100+ words per minute typing she could hardly keep up with the story they were weaving together.

As the hectic pace of the book tour began to slow, Teresa decided that they should be seeing more of the country than what passed by outside the airliner windows as they flew from city to city, so she suggested they lease an RV and spend some time traveling. Bill had fond memories of camping as a child, so he had no objections.

They planned their itinerary around Teresa's speaking engagements, visiting national parks and historic sites in and around the cities where Teresa's agent sent them. From the Great Smokies to Denali, they drove and wrote and ... played ... across the continent until, one evening at a campground in the Grant Tetons, punch drunk on fumes and horny as all get out, Bill looked at Teresa playfully and said, "Where did I put that spatula?" as they returned to the camper from a presentation on animal wildlife in the park at the small amphitheater.

"Spatula?" Teresa giggled as she climbed the steps into the RV. "Is that what's protruding from your elephant's poopchute?" She pointed at the giant stuffed GOP icon that they had stolen from the Republican Convention a week earlier - and had since been using as the butt of a series of visual jokes that they would email to all their friends - that was strapped to the ceiling above the foldout couch.

"No, that's a ... personal item, as you well know," Bill growled at her as he reached out to tickle her, but she sidestepped him and ran for the bedroom at the back of the RV, dropping articles of clothing as she went.

Arianne paused in her writing and thought of Guy, who was probably sitting in his office... and most likely, if the information she had gotten was correct, thinking about her. She sighed and, not for the first time, regretted her hasty decision to sell the bakery and leave the city in the mountains. But what was done was done, and couldn't be undone.

"Ellen, honey, you've got a package down here," Geneva called up the stairs. Arianne had given the false name back when she didn't want to be found, and now couldn't bear the thought of confessing her deception to the sweet lady who had become more like a mother than a landlady to her.

"I'll be right down," she called out as she clicked on save and then reached for her silk robe. The favored gift from Guy was the only concession to decency that she could muster, as the heat of the non air-conditioned apartment was nearly unbearable - but she couldn't very well go downstairs in only her skivvies.

"Here, sweetie, have a glass of iced tea," Geneva said as Arianne walked into the kitchen. "The package is on the table."

Arianne took the offered glass gratefully and sat at the table. She sipped at the refreshing drink for a moment and then set it down and picked up the medium sized box. It was forwarded from her sister (who knew about the false name - and why she was using it), but the original return address was still visible:

G. Noir
1242-A Acme Building

A thrill passed through her body as she set the box back down. She forced herself to engage in some small talk with Geneva, who was always interested in her writing.

"Are you having any luck getting the story back on track?" Geneva finally asked, after talking about the flower garden they had been working on the evening before.

"No, not really. My organizational skills are such right now that I can't seem to find my ass with both hands!" Arianne replied as she finished her glass of tea.

Geneva smiled and said, "Well, maybe whatever's in that box will help you out."

"I hope so," Arianne said, then excused herself and took the box back upstairs which, no doubt, disappointed Geneva, but not knowing what was in the box, Arianne didn't dare open it in front of the older woman.

As soon as she shut the door to her room, she ripped the wrapping off the box and opened it. Her excitement mounting, she flung scraps of newspaper out of the box as if her very life depended on it.

Finally, she got through all the packing material and saw what lay in bottom of the box. And then the emotional damn burst. First it was a spork. Then the knife ran off with the spoon. When would the abandonment end? What did she do to deserve this kind of cutlery treatment?

As she sat there on the bed, crying and cradling the calfskin wrapped, long handled spatula, she couldn't quite put her finger on it, but she knew he was trying to tell her something. She did know, without a doubt, that she had to get in touch with Guy. Some things were just too incredible for coincidence.

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