The business class lounge of O'Hare Airport was nearly empty except for the four of them. It was unsurprising, really, it was only about 6am, but that didn't stop Marty from ordering a round of drinks.
At that hour the only thing they really could do was drink. Clyde and Marty were still drunk from whatever misdeeds they had gotten up to the night before, and Doug was not a morning person. Jeannie was her usual chipper self, having offered eighteen "fuck yous" to the TSA agent who had picked her out of a line-up for a good AM-groping.
She knocked back half of her martini while scrolling through her emails, bouncing her crossed leg irritated. It wasn't that it was behavior a-typical of her travel experience (or her life experience, really) but for some reason it set her off.
Marty had The Wall Street Journal flicked open in full broadsheet, but still behind the newsprint he could read her energy. "You have to get over it, Jeannie. It's the only time in your life that someone will claim you're more suspicious than a brother in a fine suit. Be flattered."
"Oh here we go," Clyde murmured excitedly, sitting up in his chair at the battle of wits about to come to a head in front of him.
"Flattered that a three-hundred pound sweat ball GED-holding ass-wipe who spends more time soliciting Russian women over the internet than grooming himself just arbitrarily pulled me out of a line for no reason other than my looks so he could put his blue-latex-gloved meat hooves all over my Stella McCartney-covered ass and my La Perla-encased breasts to check for weaponry I'd have to hide internally to not be seen in this silhouette, all because he's never seen a woman of my caliber except behind closed eyelids? You're telling me to be flattered? To just take it? I can take it from you bozos, and any other man I come across who I want something from but that fuckwad has nothing to offer me so I have every right to be fucking offended. All three of you would be jabbering all the way to Phoenix about your balls being cupped for one brief moment by some pervy heifer who smelled like shit and onions so don't even try to placate me."
"Patriot Act, bitches, it's a new world," Clyde offered.
"Actually it wasn't the Patriot Act that..." Doug immediately rebutted.
"Actually why don't you go get fucked Doug," Jeannie offered, standing up, killing the rest of her martini, and picking up her handbag. "I'm going for a walk. I'll be back before boarding."
Marty folded his paper back to peer over it once she had gone. "Jesus. She's in rare form today," he murmured, neatly folding the paper shut altogether, tucking it into his carry-on.
Doug opened the zipper of his bag, pulling out a small brightly-colored object, running it over the palm of his hand, then running his fingers through it. The look on Clyde's face was something akin to pure glee, and his grin broke out as he shared a glance with Marty.
"Is that a fucking Koosh ball?"
Doug went slightly red but opened his palm to reveal it was. An obnoxious shade of orange and yellow, the unmistakable object was in full view. "It's a stress ball."
"It's a Koosh ball," Clyde insisted.
"My therapist says—"
"It's a fucking Koosh ball, Doug. What are you a five year old girl? Or are you Rosie O'Donnell and it's still 1996?"
"My therapist says," Doug began again, louder, swirling the ball in his hands, his fingers sliding through the rubber strings, "that I should occupy my hands when my mind is feeling overwhelmed. I have difficulty being yelled at."
"We yell at you all day every fucking day, Doug," Marty murmured.
"I'm fine with getting yelled at by you two, but Jeannie..."
"Because she's got a grade-A ass and twenty IQ points on you?" Marty raised an eyebrow.
"Because she reminds me of my mother."
Crickets could have been heard in the lounge if you strained hard enough to hear them.
The silence was disrupted when Clyde shouted: "She reminds you of your mother? What the fuck, man."
"Look," Doug pushed his glasses up further on his nose, "I didn't choose to be reminded and it's not a physical thing at all, but her tone of voice just..."
"That's some fucked up Freudian shit right there," Marty laughed gently, knocking back the last of his drink.
"Hey man, now that we, you know... know it's that deep-seated keep up with the Koosh ball. Honestly, whatever makes you feel better. Jeannie's being a total cunt today and I have a feeling you're going to get the brunt of it," Clyde tried to level with his team mate.
"Really?" Doug sounded hopeful, rolling the ball between his palms idly. "Thanks, it does help."
"No, not really," Clyde reached over and snatched the ball, walking over and throwing it into the trash can. "I'd rather you grind your teeth down to stumps than have to stand next to you in a boarding line while you roll that stupid fucking thing in your fingers."
Jeannie returned to the lounge, a copy of Bloomberg Businessweek tucked under her arm. "Ready, ladies? We're boarding." She grabbed the handle of her carry-on and waited for the team to ready themselves before they headed to the gate together.
"Hey Jeannie, what would you think of a grown man who plays with a Koosh ball for stress relief?" Clyde asked, dodging the elbow to the stomach Doug attempted to throw.
Jeannie slid a pair of sunglasses onto her face as her heels clicked along the tile floor. "I'd think he's got a shit ton of mommy issues."