Archive for the ‘Post: 11.7’ Category

Wednesday, March 28, 2:49 p.m.

I call Jack O’Lies to set up an interview (multiple times, all sent to voicemail) and I email him (multiple times, all unanswered). Finally, I resort to that lowest of tactics: contacting his intern.

I’ve had interns before. I understand their menial minds. It takes me exactly two and a half minutes to gain the confidence of Leo Krakowski, a junior majoring in journalism at the University of Washington, an occasional contributor to the UW Daily, and a third year intern at the Washingtonian. I promise to take a look at his clips and resume. He promises to set up an interview with Jack.

“Hey, even better! Why don’t you come over to his place tonight?” Leo says eagerly. “You can tag along with me—I was planning to swing by after work.”

“He told you to come to his house after work?” I say skeptically. That’s a task I’ve certainly never asked my interns to undertake.

“No, but it’s cool. I’m dating his daughter. She’s real cute. He’s totally cool with it.”

Three hours later, I find myself seated uncomfortably on a grubby pink beanbag chair, clutching a glass of Hawaiian Punch liberally spiked with vodka.

“Dad’ll be home at six,” Lucy promises. She’s lying on her pink canopied bed, entwined in the arms of her gangly Boyfriend Number Two, while “cool with it” Leo flips through old CDs stacked on top of her stereo.

“I wish you’d warned me before you gave me this,” I say for the second (or sixth?) time, as I set the half-empty glass unsteadily on the carpet. “Now I can’t drive for at least an hour. Maybe two. I wish you’d warned me.”

The bartender in my travesty of unintentionally intoxication, Christopher, reaches out and grabs the glass before it can tip over. My God, his arms are eight miles long!

“Relax,” he says, taking a drink from my glass. “Where’ve you got to be?”

“Home,” I say. “It’s a work night, you know. And a school night for you kids.”

“Dad’ll be home by seven-thirty at the latest,” Lucy says.

Her voice is as flat as Kansas and her bare arms are gullied by old scars of varying depth. She looks a lot like Jack if he lost forty pounds. I’ve never seen a girl with so many bones poking at such odd angles through such Kleenex colored skin. Christopher strokes her hair and drinks my Hawaiian Punch, while Lucy stares unnervingly at me from between eyelids demarcated by fat lines of cheap gray eyeliner.

“Or maybe nine. Who the hell knows with him?” she says. “What do you want to see him for?”

“It would bore you,” I reply coolly, trying to make up for the “school night for you kids” thing. Why is it when I want to sound grown up, I sound fifteen, and when I want to sound “with it” I sound fifty? See—“with it”? Who says that nowadays?

When Lucy and Christopher start kissing, I rise unsteadily. Leo obliviously continues to flip through the CDs, their plastic cases ticking against each other steadily, like a clock.

“Tell you what,” I say. “How about I go wait for your dad downstairs?”

“Mom’s downstairs,” Lucy manages to mutter around Christopher’s lips.

“Hey, cool! I love these guys! Let’s dance,” Leo enthuses, brandishing a CD.

“Dance with her,” Lucy snots, with a look of scorn first for Leo, then me.

“Yeah, no, I think no,” I say, fumbling for words that don’t naturally slur. “I’ll just go chat with your mom for a while.”

Lucy sits up in alarm.

“She’s sleeping,” she says.

“It’s fine, don’t worry,” I say, as I pick my way with exceeding care across the challenging terrain of Lucy’s stained white shag carpet.

“Don’t wake her up,” Lucy orders.

“We’ll chat briefly. Woman to woman.”

“Leave her the hell alone!” Lucy shrills. Christopher grips her shoulders, which have started to shake as if in an epileptic fit.

I glance from Christopher to Leo. Leo shakes his head at me. His face is stricken.

“Gotcha,” I say.

I give a thumbs-up. I wobble away from their strange ménage a trois and close the door too hard behind me. I pause in the dim hall to regroup. Hard liquor is not my friend.

Downstairs there’s a lump on the couch, wrapped in a hand-crocheted afghan. I passed it when I arrived at this house of lies—O’Lies, I mean. I remember it was the size of a human body. Lucy hustled me past it with excessive alacrity.

I think I’ll go give it a poke and see what happens.

 

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