Archive for the ‘Post 3.4’ Category

Sunday, March 25, 8:39 a.m.

We four pile into my Subaru. I am bereft of an awesome press car until the PR firms brings the next one to my office. Lucy grouses over the grubbiness of the back seat. Christopher protests mightily at being crammed between Lucy’s (seductive?) self and my daughter’s pointy-edged car seat.

I turn to Jack, seated next to me up front.

“Okay, seriously. What’s the plan, Jack?”

“Hurry up, mass starts at nine!” Lucy orders from the back.

“Hey!” Jack turns to glare in fierce father format at Lucy. “Do not speak to her like that.”

“Fine, look, we’ll drop you two off,” I call into the backseat, as I start the engine. “Just let’s all take a breath or something! You’re making me so nervous, the three of you—Jesus! Jeez, I mean. How the hel—heck do we get to this Belltown place?”

Christopher, The Expert Navigator, guides me. Jack and Lucy snap at each other. I think I am going to scream. Out loud. I’m already screaming in my head.

At last, an unendurable seventeen minutes later, I pull up in front of Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Parish. The bells are tolling. Junkies, hungover barhopping computer programmers, and a few non-Lutheran Scandinavians from Jack and Lucy’s Ballard environs are streaming inside. Lucy unbuckles urgently and throws the car door open as I pull to an illegal stop in the fire lane by the immense front doors.

“Hurry up! We’re so late!” she shrills, jumping out. Christopher, equally urgent, pops his incredibly tall self out of the backseat like some kind of devout jack-in-the-box. To my surprise, Jack follows suit.

“Whoa, wait—where are you going?” I say.

Jack leans back into the car, not unlike he did when I dropped him off at the Ballard bar Thursday night.

“Find a parking place. We’ll save you a spot in the pew,” he says.

I recoil. I haven’t been to mass in nineteen years! Do they really expect me to sit through their church service, kneeling, standing, kneeling again, only to be humiliatingly denied Holy Communion by the priest, like back in the old days?

No way!

“Jack! No way!” I say.

Suddenly, Jack’s cell phone chimes. Still leaning into my car, both hands braced on the passenger door frame, he freezes. His eyes go wide and wild.

“Dad! Come on!” Lucy hollers.

“I told you,” he says to me. “I’ve been getting these weird texts.”

From the pocket of his gray Members Only or Eisenhower jacket (depending on how old it and you are), his cell phone chimes again.

“Dad!” Lucy shouts.

“Go in,” he shouts back at her. “I’ve got to go with Katherine.”

“But I thought we were all supposed to be together today,” Lucy says. “Dad, I though she—”

“Go in. Take the bus home. Christopher, get her home afterward.”

Christopher, The Perpetually Smirking, smirks.

“Dad…” Lucy says.

Jack climbs back into the front seat. He turns hunted eyes on me.

“Drive. Please. Hurry,” he says.

“Are you sure? Your daughter—”

He slams the car door.

“She’s fine. Christopher will get her home safe. You’ve got to help me,” he says. “You owe me.”

Were anyone else to make such outrageous requests from my front seat, I’d formulate a cogent counterargument. But with Jack…damn, he must have been such a good investigative reporter. He’s compelling. And I do owe him.

Wait, did he say “owe” or “own?”

“Where do you want me to take you?” I say.

“My office.”

“Why?” I say, though I’m already driving.

Jack hesitates. His cell phone chimes again. He puts his hand over it to hide or muffle it.

“I think I did something terrible,” he says.