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Saturday, January 22, 2005

 

Health Care, Chapter Two, Part 2

Joan rinsed her coffee mug in the sink and jumped in the shower. Steam always helped her think better. They’d be here in about half an hour, and they’d probably be hungry, so food would be a good idea. Maybe some pancakes. She didn’t have any sausage, though. Could she pull off pancakes sans sausage? Would a side of eggs suffice?

Why the hell was she worrying about side-dishes? Ben would be eating pure misery for breakfast, which just doesn’t leave room for hash-browns. There wasn’t going to be any time for beating around the bush, was there? Fuck. Knowing Ben like Joan knew Ben, she could be pretty sure that, as soon as Claire’s stuff was out of the car, he’d want to beat feet for Simone’s place. Which meant that her sentence was going to have to be something along the lines of “Hi! Welcome to Seattle! Your whore girlfriend skipped town last week with my asshole brother! Want some coffee?” This promised to be more awkward than the time Joan had inadvertently sneezed a loogie on the communion plate in seventh grade.

One thing was certain in all of this. Her brother would be getting no Christmas card this year. What the hell was he thinking? He’d been Ben’s friend since they ran around in Batman Underoos. Well, she was pretty sure they probably still did that, but the point was that Clive had been one of those who’d told Ben what a force of evil Simone was. One hummer and that goes out the window, along with eighteen years of friendship? Joan had never given her brother credit for much, but she hadn’t thought he’d be capable of being such an enormous cocksmoker.

Joan grabbed her towel and dried off before stepping out of the shower. As her feet hit the cold but dry tile, she looked around her tidy bathroom, taking in the well-ordered lotions, the neatly folded towels and the crust-free sink for probably the last time. Claire wasn’t quite as clean as Joan was, but she could be browbeaten into maintaining a room at a level above slovenly and certainly well out of the range of disastrous. But Clive’s disappearing act meant, it suddenly dawned on Joan, that Ben would probably be staying here for the foreseeable future. He didn’t have a job and, with both his best friend’s couch and his quasi-girlfriend’s bed now hundreds of miles to the south, he had no place to sleep except in this apartment. And Joan had lived with Ben before.

In the Big House, he’d been the one who habitually left his plate to form a nigh-impenetrable dried marinara crust in the sink. His idea of vacuuming was to turn the sweeper on, wait five seconds and turn it off. And he left the bathroom looking like it had been hit by four or five natural disasters at once. Oh, sweet Christ. Now he was going to do the same thing here. So, the question became, did Joan’s fondness for Ben and her sense of responsibility for what her shithead brother had done outweigh her utter revulsion at the thought of losing her hard-fought-for tidiness?

She sighed and put on her robe, heading down to make breakfast and supposing that she’d have to resign herself. In that case, she thought, probably the best way to break this news to Ben was to get everyone nice and high first.

“Better ice up the bong,” she said to the cat.


Comments:
I like the story. You sound british -- are you?
 
Nope. Not British. I just occasionally have good grammar.
 
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