Copyright Notice: The characters and story are copyrighted to the authors. However, readers may notice vague similarities to any number of other uber characterizations. This is not coincidental.
Disclaimers: No violence; although a beanbag chair gives its life in a good cause. The story depicts a loving relationship between two persons of the same sex. Being the discreet, non-peeping-tom's that we are, we have a fade out before the good stuff starts. We leave that up to the imagination of the reader, which is very likely more vivid than ours anyway.
NOTE: This is the fifth short story in our slow-moving, yet slightly jerky, saga. The first was Incident at the Antiq**s and Eats Truck Stop (for those of you who want historical background).
The Beanbag Chair Incident
by Cassandra and Bik
Zeena was sitting on the couch, staring at the blank television screen. The fact that she had not noticed that she hadn't turned it on, plus the rapturous look on the face beneath the Harley-Davidson hat - motto: poundin' the pavement, were the first things Bri saw as she staggered in the door carrying several plastic bags of groceries.
Usually the blonde clerk got home first from her part-time job at the SuperColossalMart, but she had stopped by the supermarket to stock up on her way home. Even though Zeena had managed to survive for years quite well, thank you, on fast food and beer, Bri still felt that they should eat real food at least once a week. Even with this delay she was surprised to see her girlfriend's desert gold Mustang with the lightning bolt Z on the side in the driveway as she parked her car.
'Zee must have left work early,' she thought. 'I hope she didn't have another discussion with one of the other mechanics and quit again. I keep telling her that one of these times the owner won't take her back.' She sighed as she hefted the bags up the steps and opened the door with the one finger she had free. She had many skills.
"Hi, honey, you're home!" Bri sang out as she hurried to the kitchen before she dropped any of the food. But she hadn't been in too much of a hurry not to wonder why the dark-haired mechanic was holding an unopened beer bottle.
When she heard the merry noise of groceries being unpacked and put away, Zeena blinked several times, wondered why the tv wasn't on, and put the beer bottle to her mouth. When no liquid came out, she blinked again. She heaved herself up and ambled to the kitchen where there were bottle openers; Bri wouldn't let her keep one in every room like she had before the cute blonde moved in with her. Although she had managed to keep one hidden in the bedroom.
Bri was bustling around, putting everything away according to some system of her own that Zeena had never been able to figure out. The tall woman had finally given up trying to make sense of it and just kept opening cabinets until she found whatever she was looking for. She took the bottle opener off the refrigerator door and opened the no-longer-cold beer; she was going to drink it anyway, not wanting to be guilty of alcohol abuse by pouring it out.
Wanting to find out why her partner was home early, Bri decided to be subtle. "Boy, were we busy at the Mart today. It seemed like everybody in the county decided to come in and buy just one thing. So how was your day, Zee?"
The rapturous look was back on the tall mechanic's face. Bri was beginning to wonder if she had won the lottery, or maybe discovered a source of free beer.
"This was one of the best days ever," Zeena said in as close to a religious tone as she was likely to get. Despite her abstraction she had managed to get her beer open and was sipping it, barely aware that it wasn't cold.
After several seconds when nothing more was heard, Bri paused in her activity and looked up at tall, dark, and totally spaced-out. She seemed to have lapsed back into a coma. The only sign of life was the almost mechanical movement of beer bottle to mouth. Wondering what could have transformed her usually hyperactive, attention-challenged partner, the curious clerk cleared her throat noisily. No reaction. She walked over, stood on tiptoes, and whispered seductively into the zombie's ear, "Do you want pizza for dinner?"
The beer bottle stopped halfway to her mouth. A shiver went through her body. She blinked several times, as if waking from one beautiful vision only to see another - but this one was topped with pepperoni and extra cheese.
Zee turned quickly and grinned at Bri, who had barely managed not to fall when the statue came to life so suddenly. "That'd be great! This day just gets better and better." Her smile got bigger.
Bri was getting a little impatient with all this cryptic talk about what a great day Zee was having. Her day had been the usual boring routine, only the thought of spending some quality time with her mechanic had kept her going. "Well, are you gonna tell me what happened today, or are you just gonna stand there with an idiot grin on your face trying to get beer out of an empty bottle?" She turned her back and went to get the phone number of the pizza delivery place.
Zeena was still smiling as she threw the bottle in the trash; Bri sure did look pretty when she was mad.
"Okay," she said when Bri got off the phone. "Let's see ... okay ... uh, well, ya know we were like standing around, talking and checking out the cars that people had left before we opened, ya know."
"Yes, I know," Bri said, hoping to speed up what seemed to be turning into a Russian novel. "Hurry up or the pizza will be here."
"Okay," Zee said again, trying to condense her story. Although she didn't know why the little blonde was in a hurry; her stories always seemed to go on forever and Zee usually stopped listening halfway through.
"Where was I? Oh, yeah, we were checking out the cars when all the guys got quiet and stared at the door. I looked over and there in the doorway was the ... the ... the most ... the beautifulest ... I can't describe her!" She paused and got her reverent - or zombie as Bri described it - look again. She felt a sharp jab in her ribs. "Ouch! What was that for," she whined, breaking the mood.
"Just get on with it," Bri demanded; she kept her jabbing finger ready just in case.
"Okay, okay." Zee was still rubbing the tender spot. She finally continued, "As soon as I set eyes on her, I knew she had to be mine. No way was I gonna let any of those greasy-fingered, low-life men touch her! Her body was so perfect ... so long and ... and ... sleek." She had seen the word in a magazine and was glad she could finally use it.
Bri's eyebrows went up. She didn't know Zee knew words like that - even though it was only one syllable. She looked down at her own body and realized that nobody would ever describe it as sleek. Her jealousy was in full control now. It was bad enough that she came second to the Mustang in Zeena's affection, a close second but still second. She was about to ask why Zee had come home when there was this beautiful, sleek creature waiting for her when the mechanic started talking in a hushed voice.
"She purred into the garage, and that's when I knew something was wrong. I popped the hood on that Jaguar before the driver had his door open. When I saw the abuse that engine had taken, I felt like punching him." She was breathing heavily now, remembering her anger at how such a magnificent machine had been treated.
Her listener was breathing a little heavily herself. She didn't know if she should be mad or laugh. "It was a car?! You were talking about a car!?" she exclaimed.
"Well, yeah; what else is there in a garage?" Zeena was confused. She said to herself, 'Bri's acting kinda funny. Must be hungry. The pizza better get here before she has a fit or something.'
Bri grabbed all the plastic grocery bags and wadded them up into a tight ball. For just a moment she pretended it was her friend's throat she was squeezing. "God, Zee, I thought you were talking about another woman." She was half-smiling in relief, glad she didn't have to compete with a long, sleek, perfect body. "I guess I shoulda known it was a car. That's the only thing that gets you talking so mushy. I gotta stop being jealous of every car you drool over."
"You were jealous?" Zee was smiling happily. "Hey, that Jag was a cool car ..." a short pause ... "a really cool car." Another short pause. "But I prefer short, blonde two-legged models."
Bri grinned back. "Prove it," and she threw the bunched up plastic bags at her leering companion. Then she ran out of the kitchen.
The dark-haired woman was startled when the bags came flying at her. She swatted them away and ran after Bri. "The perfect end to the perfect day," she said out loud.
With her longer legs, Zeena was able to catch the blonde before she was halfway across the living room. She grabbed her around the waist, "Gotcha!" she yelled triumphantly.
Their momentum twirled them around in each other's arms; and Bri's feet, with a mind of their own, twined themselves around her lover's legs like ivy around a tree. Disaster loomed; actually disaster was hiding in a corner, chuckling, knowing that something bad was about to happen. The only question was where it would dump the happy couple. The two dancers stumbled awkwardly for a step or two. (Ginger Rogers would have cringed if she didn't have better things to do than read stories like this.)
Zee realized at the last second that they were falling; out of the corner of her eye she saw the nearest soft object - other than the one she was holding - and aimed for it. They landed with Bri on top. There was just time for them to get a breath when there was a loud pop and they were thumped onto the floor, with the air full of flying plastic pellets. The beanbag chair that Bri had insisted on getting at a garage sale had exploded, unable to stand up to (or sit on the floor to) the everyday kind of activities of two playful adults.
Bri looked down at her dark-haired lover, lying in a pool of beanbag pellets. She started laughing. Zee grinned, grabbed a handful of pellets and stuffed them down Bri's shirt. The blonde clerk rolled off her human cushion. She pulled out a few pellets and threw them at Zee. This started a pellet fight; of course they were both laughing so hard their aim was a little off. After several minutes of tossing pellets around the room and sometimes at each other, Zeena pinned Bri to the remnants of the beanbag chair. She looked into her pellet-tossing partner's sparkling green eyes and was leaning closer, when there was a knock at the door.
"Pizza delivery," a young, male voice called out.
Bri started giggling again. "Honey, the pizza's here," she managed to whisper.
The tall, dark, and more-than-slightly-annoyed-at-being-interrupted-at-this-precise-moment woman turned her head and yelled, "Put it inside the door and go away!"
"Who's gonna pay for it," an uncertain, young, male voice asked.
"Put it on my tab," Zee said between gritted teeth in her most intimidating voice.
The delivery driver opened the screen door and was going to protest this unorthodox form of payment when he saw the scene he had unwittingly interrupted. He turned redder than the filling in a jelly donut, tried to swallow his adam's apple, dropped the pizza box on the floor, and stumbled backwards out the door.
Zee cocked her head and listened for a second; she smiled when she heard the satisfactory sound of a pizza delivery driver falling down the porch steps. She returned her attention to the task at hand, aka Bri, who was smiling at her take-charge companion.
"I always thought pizza tastes better cold, anyway," Bri said. She snatched Zee's black Harley hat and tossed it across the room.
"Good," was her only reply.