Disclaimer:Any similarity between the fictional version of the person portrayed here and the actual persons is purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction. This is not an attempt to defame the character of said person on the basis of libel, as the work is FICTIONAL (and NOT an intently false statement created with the express purpose of misleading others about the actual character of said person).
"Now how did you get me to do this, again?"
"The promise of making sure to find a really good bar, with someone behind the counter that can mix a decent drink, plus letting Richard Wolffe on your show?"
"He can talk me down about Obama's latest stint in Washington, right?"
"Yes, my queen of cable."
"Hey, only Stephen can call me that, and only on Fridays when we all have lunch, mister."
Keith just rolled his eyes, and turned back to the flickering black and white movie on the screen digging around for some popcorn at the bottom of his bag. He had finagled Rachel into joining him for a movie marathon shown at one of the more run-down theaters of New York City. She had balked at first, until Keith had shown her clips of an old TV show where a guy and a bunch of robots are forced to sit through and watch cheesy movies, but have fun making obscure pop culture references while doing so, getting laughs from each other. She was intrigued by this 'lemonade from lemons' approach to a show, and so agreed to cheesy flick-a-thon with him on a lazy Sunday.
"Zombies in the snow? Are you fucking kidding me?" Rachel raised one of her eyebrows, tossing a kernel of popcorn into her mouth, bouncing another off Keith's spectacles.
"It was made in the 70s, and it's exceptionally cheesy, that means you have to give it a chance." He threw one into her mouth too.
"Your logic amazes me Olbermann."
"Shut up and watch the damn movie."
And so Rachel found herself laughing her ass off at Keith's making up metaphors and references, much in the same style as the robots and host of Mystery Science theater 3000. She threw popcorn at the screen, then at him for making exceptionally cheesy jokes, thankful for the darkness of the theater that hid them from curious gazes, and concealing them from fans. She liked seeing his face light up with laughter, even more when he was caught off guard by her own references.
"Was the director even thinking when he picked this script? I mean.. how much more low-tech can you get?"
"Maybe his life-long ambition was to have his movie mocked by Mike Nelson and his robot friends..."
"Some ambition. It was so cheesy, even they wouldn't be pick and showcase it, even for a good laugh."
Of course they got the occasional dirty look from the lone usher and a few movie fanatics, but neither of them cared. They were too wrapped up in the cheesy climatic-yet-not speech of the hero, as he prepared to vanquish the snow zombies with his laser gun.
As the credits rolled down the screen the same music as the opening credits tinning in the background, Rachel snatched Keith's soda, slurping the rest of it. He retaliated by throwing the last popcorn kernels at her, but couldn't hide a bright grin from spreading across his face. They left the theater in boisterous spirits, miming the fight scene with their fingers for guns, with Keith doing a surprisingly good zombie impression ('It's in your size, Keith, all the sound comes from here" here Rachel patted Keith's barrel-size chest, flouncing off in front, not seeing the slight pink tinge to Keith's cheeks).
She then tried to jump on his back, demanding a piggyback ride. Keith just grunted and picked her up properly, much to the bemused looks of the passerby. There weren't many funny looks, this was New York City after all. But that didn't stop a few older ladies from shooting dark looks of disapproval after them. Rachel just made faces at their retreating backs, mimicking them in shrill voices in Keith's ear for his personal amusement,
'Well I never saw a grown woman act that like that! In my day, it was simply not proper to hang over a gentleman the way you do... ' and
'Simply scandalous, if only your parents could see how you two behave...'
Keith found himself giggling at these impressions even as Rachel disembarked at the door to the bar.
"God that popcorn was greasy, I need some real food... and booze."
"Your logic certainly trumps mine, my dear Maddow."
Keith watched her with a fond smile as she patiently instructed the staff just how she wanted their drinks mixed and steaks cooked, sending the waiter off with a loud "And make sure the potatoes aren't dry!"
"I thought you were trying to cut down on your red meat?"
"Suck it Keith, I said real food and I'm going to have dead cow! You can have your Greenpeace-approved dinner if you want, but I'm hungry." She watched the bartender closely, and Keith could almost see beads of sweat start to roll down the poor girl's forehead. "And in need of alcohol, but I have a feeling I'll be lucky to get ice in my drink."
"Well you're always saying how they put too much ice in your drink..."
"Its quite possible to have a happy medium of ice and booze in one's drink, Olbermann.."
"Sort of like the balance of your show between playful banter with guests and civil disagreement?" Keith grinned.
"Don't be too smartass-ery with me."
"That's not even a word."
"Is now, I say so."
Rachel quieted down briefly when she saw their drinks plunked in front of them by a bartender with an expression of both amusement and slight fear for the reaction to the drinks. But Rachel gave a satisfied nod and tipped her generously, smacking her lips at the fist sip of her cocktail, while Keith drank his gin and tonic, giving a satisfied grunt.
"I wish Anderson were here.. I can't make fun of your drink choice, but he's easy to pick on."
"You also tease his preference for cock over pussy by hanging over him, pretending to be drunk and clingy."
"Mmm.. that too. But he always orders diet cokes, why does the man not drink booze?"
"He watches his alcohol intake, family history of heart problems and just... he's just careful I guess."
"I can understand that, I suppose." Rachel sipped her drink slower now, thoughtful expression in place.
Keith grunted in agreement, starting to tear into his steak, telling himself that he's thankful that Anderson isn't there to nag him about eating red meat, when his heart really shouldn't be put through this kind of treatment (ignoring that inner voice that reminds him how much he likes to have someone worry and concern themselves with him, especially someone as pretty as Anderson). Rachel does worry about him, but its something that stays behind her lips and in her eyes.. She's the kind of friend that asks for the take-out box when they declare themselves full to bursting at the seams, but only packs it in one box for Poppy, not letting him take any to his empty apartment, and sparse fridge.
And even if its the most random day of the week, she's the friend who will take him grocery shopping at the Whole Foods at twelve or one in the morning when they get off work, once she becomes aware that he's been ordering pizza or chinese like the bachelor he is. Of course she'll try and cook something for him, but as he tries to help they usually make a huge mess and end up calling Dan Abrams for help. Dan is always amused to receive these late night calls and pleas for his help, and usually makes them beg for a few minutes before he'll show up, wearing an apron and a smile.
Other times, Keith will delay going back to his apartment and he'll join Rachel at hers, happy to enjoy a game of tug-of-war with Poppy, and then laugh his ass at Rachel's playing the same game but latching onto the toy rope with her mouth and not her hands.
"It's a bond, Keith. You wouldn't understand."
He'll keep his mouth shut, knowing full well what it's like to have that bond with a pet. He remembers long summer days with a dog like Poppy, except she was a larger breed, making him feel less gangly and awkward whenever they wandered around the park near his house. It's one of the first lessons he learned about how animals just knew how to better get through the world, compared to people. Rachel knew this without them having to say anything out loud. Dogs didn't build weapons that could incinerate hundreds of people in the blink of an eye. Dogs didn't bribe or steal from people who trusted them.
Thank goodness there were people and dogs who didn't do things like this, it made the world a little brighter and more bearable.