Ch 4 ~ Chaosversation
That always freaks me out. Freakin creeping up on me when I least expect it but never — no, never — when I want to know what’s ahead. That’s when the door is slammed tight, but yeah sure, just wait, Em, just wait. When the future is the last thing on my mind, yeah, then I’m thrown right into the fucking center of the mess. Of some mess. Excuse the language (as if I really need to) but, fuck!, it never gets any easier. Stupid rude jolt to the system. Excuse me. Do I really need to see the same thing over and over again? Pat laying in bed, dying how many times now? Do I really need that, Oh Great All-Seeing Future?! What exactly is the universe trying to say to me with this scenario. Covered completely in darkness. Makes my hair stand on end. Not to mention breaks my heart every time. And now this…this…Strange is all I can say, definitely Strange-with-a-capital-S man…whoever he is. Looking straight at me in there. I could swear he saw me. Plain as day right in the center of my own mind’s eye. Acting like I’m the intruder. Yeah right! In my own freakin head! Staring me down and watching the news. In his own freakin head!
She heard sounds, the most discordant sounds around her. Saw a blurry fuzzy waving of what she knew to be the arms of a very loud man who bullied the air with his voice and who happend to be sitting on the opposite side of the booth from her. Forget (pronounced “Fore jay”)…Forget Myers, her other friend in this small town of Glenwood. Forget was more than a bit of an eccentric (as his first name might indicate…and in fact, most people referred to him as “Forge”) and more than a bit odd to the people who lived in Glenwood. Because, although a huge question mark in most people’s minds, Forge remained nobody’s fool. And yet he chose to stay in Glenwood when he clearly possessed a mind that was vastly much more global in view…and a heckuvalot larger than life. He was the local entrepreneur…not budding, not failing, not faltering. Wildly successful, in fact, several times over. As much as the locals thought he was loud and obnoxious and were probably secretly (and not so secretly) jealous of him, all of them to a one respected the man’s bank accounts. Emily was the only person in Glenwood who didn’t give his massive personal wealth the time of day. He knew because she had worked for him in one of his ventures. He had come to know her personality pretty well. His mind was agile enough, afterall, to size up situations and people fairly quickly and to modify his thought processes when necessary…the secret to the longevity of his successes. But when Emily turned down a substantial salary and chose instead to part ways with his businesses rather than be promoted into a rather generous slot on his Hummer size wheel of commerce, well, then his hunch about Emily not giving a rat’s ass about the rat race was confirmed. Forge chuckled silently. He was not accustomed to being told “no” yet somehow her “no” was palatble and they had become even better friends as a result. Oh, they still worked together on projects from time to time, always initiated by him. Forge knew Em “had the goods.” Forge had a sneaking suspicion of her particular talent, too, and he made no secret about it around her. She didn’t seem to mind. If she had minded, he would know.
Em never pulls any punches, he whistled behind his eyes, and as nobody’s fool, Forge knew he needed someone like that around him, no matter how much he might not like it at the time. This latest venture was definitely one of those times, he told himself as he studied her expression closely.
She busied herself with tuning him out.
So he spoke even more loudly, god bless his healthy lungs.
“Top of the morning!” he bellowed, even though he sat on the other side of the same table as Emily.
Her eyes glazed over. She knew it to be so but really couldn’t do much to stop it. Coming out of that void — basically stepping into and out of the future — wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, she chortled inside. People had no idea…for the most part, because they denied the possibility. Even if they did believe that she could see the future, people still had no clue. It simply was never as easy as one might think, but this time it had been acutely alarming.
“Huh?!” His hands clobbered the formica tabletop. Silverware jostled with some annoyance. Coffee hiccupped out of their mugs and slapped its umber color onto the napkins.
“What’s the MATTER!”
That always did it. That exaggerated inflection he put into his voice. Made her groan and roll her eyes. As much as she hated it, somehow it always worked and brought her focus to him.
“Why. Must. You. Yell? — ” she asked with a voice that sounded like it was behind a velvet curtain that was roped around the back of her mind.
Exasperated and not quite out of what looked for all appearances to be a trance, her head lulled itself in a backward motion onto the weathered, lumpy stuffing of the settee in the less-than-shiny booth of the less-than-sparkly diner that had been around the block more than once or twice. In fact, over the years, the Glenwood Cafe had been literally on the other side of the block and down the adjacent streets of the same block, here and there. But, really, that was neither here nor there just now, Emily chided herself.
“Top of the morning!” he bellowed even more loudly, determined to get her full attention and in the process creating quite a commotion…enough, in fact, to cause all the wait staff to scowl. Who needs to listen to customers? He could read the complaint as plain as day on their expressions.
Pat rolled her eyes, being the most clearly invested in the complaining. But there was something else to that eye-roll. In her high annoyance, she just about hurdled her thoughts deeper into the far reaches of her mind. The place where it was darkest and by contrast could provide the greatest illumination if a light were turned on. That place — way back there — was where she retreated to alot these days. Because it was a place where she could still have an idea of what was happening in the world around her even while fully concealed. Like a cave…dark and enclosed in the recesses, but open to the outside at its opening. Still. For a person to be able to physically take her mind by the hand and go there — disappear into darkness but still reveal the world around her within each passing moment and through her senses…well…even Pat couldn’t help but marvel. This was not something she took for granted. Not until she turned the channel and was immersed in her favorite cable station.
She sighed, hearing Forge’s bellowing. You’d almost think he was a one-man orchestra for all the sounds coming out of his mouth, she thought. Poor Em…better her than me, she thought and continued searching in the back of her mind. There was some kind of electrical impulse. They need to make that more obvious, she thought with some frustration. She still struggled to find the “on” switch even after having this — what is it, she thought to herself, “contraption”? — inside of her head for a couple of months now. There was some kind of switch somewhere in the back of her head to change the channel basically, and in this case at this moment, blot the bellowing Forge from her senses. Remote access to a remote control to blip out of conversations or media that she wasn’t remotely interested in. Thank god, she breathed, as her concentration brought forth images of South Parked, the Whether Channel, Project Frock, and the Real Suburban Trashmen of whatever city they were in now. Trading spaces in a whole new way, Pat smirked in a very contented way because now the visual of Forge was quite literally out of her head, and she was walking around obliviously taking customer orders while she caught up on the boob tube.
“Forget For-Jay,” she muttered with glee under her breath and quickly oogled the buttcrack of the Suburban Trashman as he dumped a load of garbage into the compressor…and as Pat scribbled out “two eggs over easy, bacon, rye bread, coffee.”
But not everyone had that luxury. In fact, few really knew too much about this new technology. Those who didn’t know reacted quite differently to Forge’s dramatics. Of course, everyone’s heads (patrons, employees, cafe owners…all except the guy with the laptop) spun around, which had the effect of showering the carpet with more bits of food crumbs as they whirled off of utensils because everyone (well, patrons really and idling owners who hunched over the countertop noshing…all of them except for Pat and the guy with the laptop) somehow felt compelled to spin their hands with their heads.
As if they were driving while eating, Emily thought, as she looked around dimly. As if *that* ever happens in a day and age consumed with driving while texting, with driving most definitely being the secondary activity. What do they all talk about all day anyway, her mind wandered off for a nanosecond, until she pushed past her embarassment.
“WELL???!!!!” he boomed.
“Do. You. NOT. Speak. Lightly. Or. Even. Conversationally,” she rattled off in staccato, “Must absolutely everything — everything — be an announcement?”
“M’dear,” he said quite calmly for once, which was rather irksome to her…the moments when he chose to be calm. They were usually the moments when she chose to feel quite justified in not being calm with him. “No, not everything. But definitely the important things. Most definitely, those. That is, assuming you don’t want what you say to be completely forgotten.”
NaNoWriMos total word count this chapter: 1,700; total word count todate (not including this notation) this chapter: 4,100.