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"Put Mom on the phone."

Julia rolled her eyes, tapped her right heel three times and exhaled. "I'm not even home, Cin. I'm at the store and you are really killing my shopping jive with your whole no hello and expecting me to just hand over the phone gig."

"It's Sunday. I know you're, what, two-thirds through a game of Yhatzee and ready to shoot yourself in the face so pass mom the phone, fill up your drink with vodka instead of water and let me talk to mom for a sec."

"How 'bout I take you with me instead. Work, Mom. It's work."

"She's not gonna buy that, Julia."

"Whatever. You aren't fucking Sherlock Holmes."

"And there isn't really a mystery to solve here. Anyway, I guess you'll do as well as Mom. Drumroll?"

Julia, tucking the phone between her ear and shoulder, amenably trilled her tongue as she reached into the back corner of the freezer for the good vodka.

"That interview called me back. I have a job."

"What interview, Cin."

"You know, the non-profit down on 8th? Queer homeless?"

"But they're..." Julia wrinkled her nose. God, Mom would eat this up. Fucking delightful. "You're getting paid."

Cindy paused; certainly, Julia decided, choosing her words carefully. "Not as much as you are, Julia."

"Still fucking that blonde with the eating disorder?"

"Still playing Yhatzee so that Mom will love you more?"

The vodka went down with a bite.

"I'll give her the phone."

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gutsyGumshoe [GG] began pestering monocledMaxim [MM]
GG: Oh goodness am I glad do see you.
GG: Though you are probably busy with the baby.
GG: (I am sorry, I forget his name, I am in such a tizzy at the moment, you'll have to forgive me, Cindy)
GG: I really shouldn't
GG: Go on like this but
gutsyGumshoe [GG] ceased pestering monocledMaxim [MM]

gutsyGumshoe [GG] began pestering monocledMaxim [MM]
GG: Oh
GG: I'm afraid a bit of a distraction wouldn't be remiss
MM: sorry hon
MM: i have this set to login when i turn the damn thing on and of course the second i sit down (with about a million miles of paperwork) jack starts crying and nat's napping so the litte guy gets formula which despite all the books i swear he doesn't like nearly as much
MM: what's ms. crocker got her nose into today?
GG: miles
GG: ...
GG: I'm afraid I'd rather not talk about that.
MM: oh that's totally okay man
MM: is today a mustache day?
GG: Jack. Jack Thurgood, if I recall.
GG: Funny, I should have remembered that.
GG: I'm certain I've mentioned my friend Jake to you.
GG: Goodness. I hope he is all right.
GG: I hope
MM: you okay, crocker?
MM: you really don't sound like yourself
GG: To answer your earlier question, no, Sir Cleary, today is not a mustache day, though I rather wish it were. One generally wishes that the ending might come in previously appointed habidashery.
MM: okay jane i have no idea what the fuck you are talking about
MM: fill me in?
MM: please?
MM: i'm starting to worry
MM: jane?

monocledMaxim [MM] began pestering tipsyGnostalgic [TG]
MM: hey rox you there
TG: technly
MM: is jane okay?
MM: i mean
MM: you've talked to her recently? you two talk all the fucking time. like. all the fucking time.
TG: dpsnd want you mean by
TG: ok
TG: *fk it no 1 cars about spellng
TG: fk evrtng
TG: fk
tipsyGnostalgic [TG] ceased pestering monocledMaxim [MM]

JuliaJ [JJ] began pestering monocledMaxim [MM]
JJ: I still cant believe you got me signed up on this thing. I mean what is it texting for teenagers?
JJ: Are you coming to mom's this week?
JJ: She won't shut up about your kid you know.
JJ: You couldn't have waited for the hetero one to get that shit done first?
JJ: I'm kidding.
JJ: Cin?
JuliaJ [JJ] ceased pestering monocledMaxim [MM]

GG: I do apologize, Cindy. This dying thing is really getting in the way of a decent conversation.
GG: I'm afraid I'm losing an awful lot of blood at this point.
MM: jane where are you? i can call someone!
GG: oh no, I'm
GG: I don't think I'm where anyone can reach me.
GG: I don't.
GG: I'm sorry.
gustyGumshoe [GG] ceased pestering monocledMaxim [MM]

MM: jane?


You reserve only the finest of memories for Los Angeles. Dad, you recall, rested his comfy fedora upon your head (doing nothing to tame your cowlicks) and hefted your baggage into the carry-on space. You fell asleep on the flight, and although news of the bomb discovered on your family vehicle awaited Dad upon the plane's landing, you felt as safe as ever in his arms. He took you to the boardwalk and tugged you close when you wanted to follow clues down the seashore. He smiled and said "Sure, Janey," when you grabbed the flyer outside the comedy club and the woman shifted her feet before pulling a monocle out of her vest pocket and crouching down.

"Mighty fine mustache you've got there," she said, winking down on the circle of glass.

And you touched your face in surprise, feeling the heat rise up from the pavement, the sunlight cut by Dad's shadow. You identify the feeling now as something akin to the one you knew, arms around Roxy's waist, death left in the dust. You smiled and tipped your hat. "I'll see you at nine, sir."