unnamed story (Part 13)
The awkwardness of dinner was now transitioning to the awkwardness of attempting to watch TV together. Clay made a mental note to pay more attention to Patti than Tina. Tina tried her best to interact with Patti more than Clay and Patti did her best not to take a fork and drive it into Tina’s skull.
Most of the stations were still on the air and they each took turns questioning how long that would last. The movie channels did their best to present awkward content, seemingly every film was dealing with old lovers or new lovers or ways to ditch your current wife or ways to get revenge on your cheating husband.
“So this is the rest of my life. Super” Clay thought to himself.
When it seemed that the awkwardness has reached its zenith there was a knock at the door.
“What fresh hell is this?” Patti thought to herself.
“I’ll get it” Tina said, springing up and out of the room, hoping that perhaps she would luck out and behind the door would be a runaway cement truck eager to run someone over.
No such luck. Instead Donna stood in the doorway.
“Hello. Come in.”
Hopefully you can figure out who said which hello. I added the “Come in” to make it easier. If you’re still having trouble, remember that Tina was the one in the house and rarely do the people outside invite the people on the inside to “Come in.”
“I’m Donna.” If I have to explain who said that might I suggest easier reading material?
“What could possibly be easier than this?” you might ask yourself.
Good point. Moving on.
“I thought the whole street would be dark … I guess a lot of houses have timers” Donna offered up by way of a conversation starter. The truth was that after a day all alone she was just thrilled to see another living human. When she turned the corner and saw Clay her heart skipped a beat.
Then she saw Patti seeing her see Clay and it skipped a few more.
Not in a good way.
Clay was all smiles and scooped her right up into a hug.
“I’ve been worried about you. Took you long enough” he said.
“Sorry, a lot of the roads out of the city were blocked. Once I got into Jersey I actually did a little exploring off the highways to see if I could see any other signs of life.”
“Did you?” asked a hopeful Tina.
“Nope. Nothing. Have you guys heard anything else about what’s going on.”
Everyone looked at Patti. It was clearly her turn to speak.
“I was on the internet” she began “And there were no posts of any kind of social media.”
“So the internet is still up?” inquired Donna.
“So far. So far everything is still up. Power. Water. Although I doubt that the trash will be picked up tomorrow.”
And there it was. An attempt at humor. You would have thought that Gilbert Gottfried had just walked in and done a set given the change in mood. Donna sat down and Patti asked if she would like a drink, she said yes, and suddenly the awkwardness evaporated and was replaced by a nice tolerable discomfort.
For the next hour they exchanged opinions and advice. Donna had watched a TV show that explained that Las Vegas would be the last city in America to lose power because of the Hoover dam. Patti wondered why it was that whores were naturally drawn to Las Vegas, even in a bizarre situation like this, but kept this question to herself for fear of ruining the tolerable discomfort.
Eventually Clay let Donna know about the four additional women who were on their way.
The number four seemed to surprise Patti and Tina. Apparently he’d forgotten to tell them about Samantha and Jennifer.
“I was calling everyone I knew this afternoon” he began to explain “and an old friend picked up … and she was actually with someone else.” He shot a nervous look at his wife, expecting the worst and getting it in spades.
“Who? Who picked up?”
“And, can I inquire who the other person was? Was it, just a wild guess here, someone else that you’ve had sex with?” Patti asked in a way that made Tina long for the awkwardness of only a few hours ago.
“I know this looks bad dear. Yes, it was another girl who I dated. I don’t know why this is happening.”
“And you called her? No doubt summoning her to your harem.” Patti’s mood swung quickly from anger to sadness. This caught the room off guard. Everyone had just silently agreed to have no pity for the shrill woman having a breakdown in front of them but now empathy was back on the table. As if to cement the emotional momentum she turned to look at the other two women and said “He’s my husband. Why is this happening?”
Life likes to pile on at moments like this.
There was a knock at the door.