/Whois - Chapter 14 - A Good Person and A Bad Situation
The munchkin's name was Darla and she was only too eager to assist me in my attempt to navigate her parents' computer while they were sleeping. I sat there glumly in the empty imaginarium waiting for Kali or Kimbrr to show up...
"Pssst," came a loud whisper from the other room, "Pssst...Laurie."
I pushed the chair back and stuck my head out to see around the corner. Jerry was hiding behind the bathroom door, barely visible.
"I can't find any towels...what do I use?"
"Do what I did...use the shirt you wore yesterday."
He gave me a look that conveyed total disgust, as if I'd just suggested he wipe his wet body with the stinky sheltie. I was tired of being responsible for his well-being. Jerry was a grown-up...if I'd managed to deal with the issue then he should be able to do so as well. I turned my attention back to Darla and the computer.
"What time do your parents get up anyway, Darla?"
"Ohhhhh...I dunno...maybe soon, I think."
With a wink and a smile, I suggested perhaps it was time to take matters into our own hands. She took my hand and we nudged her parents' bedroom door ajar. The soft sound of snoring and sleepy movements indicated that neither occupant was prepared for our attack.
"Wake up! Wake up!" Darla and I chortled in maniacal glee as we started to bounce on the bed. I have to admit, Darla was a lot of fun...and GG had promised me some fun. I suppose I should have been a bit disturbed that I seemed to be having more fun with an eight year old than people my own age, but I wasn't. Sometimes grown-ups are so dull.
With a little bit of coaxing...okay...with a lot of irritation, we managed to roust GG and Minuteman into action. Before Jerry had even exited the bathroom, breakfast was made and ready to be eaten. Having missed out on the previous day's breakfast, Jerry was eager not to miss this one and promptly took a seat at the kitchen table...next to the back door.
I perched on the couch and said that I really wasn't "into" breakfast. Besides...I had seen the kitchen, remember?
To my amusement, Jerry started to sniff the air...and when he could find no source, he lifted his sausage laden fork and sniffed the food. Upon noticing me, noticing him, with subtle facial movement I indicated that perhaps he may want to look down...near his feet. He did...
I didn't have to see my own reaction to the previous day's vegemite episode...since I imagine Jerry's came pretty darn close. His fork hit the plate with a clatter and he stood up to put some distance between him, the breakfast and the cafeteria tray of dog doo-doo.
"If you don't get us out of here soon...I will!" he whispered angrily into my ear while I tried to muffle the snorts of laughter with my fist.
"What time do you have to be at PG's house, Sno?" GG called from the kitchen, totally unaware of Jerry's current state of disgust.
With a meaningful glance at Jerry, meaning..."I will handle this"...I answered.
"Aren't you two going?"
GG appeared in the doorway still wielding a spatula with a mournful look on her face.
"We weren't invited."
"Ahhh...I'm sorry. Well, truth be told...and as much as I hate to eat and run and all that...we have to leave shortly. I promised to help with the set up."
"Oh. I was kinda hoping we could spend some more time together...but I understand."
"Yeah," I replied, "I'm bummed too...but what can you do? I'm going to go down to the car...I left Kimbrr's number in it and I need to call her just to find out if there's anything I need to pick up on the way."
"I'll go with you!" GG replied brightly, as she put down the spatula and walked to the door with me.
There was a bum in the elevator. Looking at his disheveled and stained clothes, his bloodshot eyes and taciturn expression...I realized the source of last night's smell. "Don't mind him," GG said, "he just likes to ride the elevator up and down all day."
We exited the front door of the building to a rather gray day and walked toward the Barneymobile. There was just one problem.
"GG...did we come out a different door or something?"
"No... why? Hey Sno...where's your car?"
The Barneymobile was missing.
"What do you mean the car is missing?!!!" thundered Jerry.
I winced while GG stared at her hands and Minuteman tried to offer possible solutions.
"Perhaps we should call the police?" I suggested.
"No...wait a minute, Sno...there has to be another explanation. It can't have been towed, my husband made sure the office knew..."
I caught Minuteman's expression and stopped GG right there.
"Minuteman?" I prodded.
"I thought my wife had done it."
I folded my arms and waited patiently as they spent the next few minutes pointing fingers at each other and trying to assign blame. Finally, Jerry gave a sharp whistle that got their undivided attention.
"Let's assume it's been towed, okay? Any idea what towing company it might be?"
The two of them scrambled into the action...one heading for the computer, the other for the phone. Within a half hour, GG held up her hand in triumph, "Ha! I got it!"
Two hundred and fifty dollars later, we had the Barneymobile back. While Minuteman was falling over himself, apologizing, offering to pay for this fine and Jerry seeming all too eager to take their money...I simply patted GG's hand and looked into her tear-filled eyes. I couldn't take their money. It wasn't like we could afford to dole out cash either, but we weren't living in the same conditions as they were...not by a long stretch. And yet somehow...they were happy and considered themselves blessed. I had to admire that. "It was an innocent mistake," I said softly to her, "it could have happened to anyone."
GG took a deep breath and her massive frame shuddered in relief. "Will you come back?" she asked in a tiny voice. "You know...after the barbecue?"
Despite all the mishaps, the annoyances, the dog poop...I did not want to hurt this woman. So I lied.
"We'll see GG...but I don't think so. Seagrams and I will probably be heading home right after the barbecue, I think."
"I really wish we'd been invited..."
Some things just break your heart, don't they? Part of me wanted to invite them to the barbecue...to hell with anyone else's opinion. But it wasn't my home and I was just as much a guest as everyone else. And besides, I really didn't want her to be around when I told everyone the story of the dog poop tray, the stinky sheltie, the man-eating sofa bed and the missing Barneymobile. That would have been cruel.
It was a good story. Everyone at the barbecue was holding their sides and begging me to please stop as they laughed until they cried. Even Jerry managed a smile as he realized in the telling it had actually been an adventure...of sorts. Then, as now, despite it being a humorous tale...a part of me realizes it comes at the expense of a really good human being. Some stories are just like that...
Before leaving Toronto, we accompanied Kimbrr to the airport to say farewell to Kali and Iva. There were tears.
"Will I ever see you again?" I asked Kali trying to swallow past the constriction in my throat.
"Awww Sno," Kali said hugging me, "Don't ask me how I know...it's just a feeling, but I think so...I really do."
Later that night, as Jerry and I gratefully enjoyed Kimbrr's hospitality and the teddy bear bedroom, sensing that he had not fallen to sleep yet, I asked, "Did you have a good time?"
"You know...I didn't think I would. But I really did. Isn't that something?"
I smiled happily in the darkness.
"I guess this means we're going to have to get another computer," Jerry murmured as he fell asleep.
"I guess so," I agreed softly, "I guess so..."
Perhaps the meet had managed to bring a solution to my problems. As long as Jerry was included, he couldn't vilify my hobby. Having met them...my friends could no longer be called imaginary. I drifted off to sleep content.
Getting that second computer turned out to be one of the worst decisions that we ever made...