Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Season 2 – Episode 13 – Act V

            Cerise had suggested she come to the bakery every day for lunch but Terry discouraged the idea because he didn’t want to hang out with anyone while Brown was around.  So when Brown went out for some unknown reason that morning Terry quickly texted Cerise to let her know the coast was clear.  She came in for a muffin and juice and chatted with him while he stood behind the cash. There were a couple people sitting outside but only one customer inside so Terry could have sat at a table with Cerise but he preferred to keep things semi-professional during business hours.
            “So you don’t have to visit your dad this year?”
            “Nope, just Julie this year.  Both Simone and I have jobs so we can’t really leave for like a whole month.”
            “How’s Jules taking it?” asked Terry with a chuckle.
            “She’s losing her shit obviously.  She’s desperately trying to find a job now so she won’t have to go ‘cause they said they weren’t gonna keep paying for her phone if she didn’t.  It’s hilarious.”
            “Poor Jules.  You know I think she and Evan are seeing each other again.”
            “I think they’re fuck friends.  I think she has a lot of fuck friends actually.”
            “Good for her I guess,” Terry shrugged, trying not to judge her promiscuity, recognizing that he had been just as bad at that age.
Vani, Lee and Myles’ voices rang out from the back, singing a song from the ‘50s.  It was one of their regular ditties and Terry sang along while making goofy faces and doing Elvis hip thrusts even though it wasn’t an Elvis song.  Cerise giggled appreciatively as the guys shuffled out from the kitchen in synchronicity, bopping out to the front counter.
            They all stopped suddenly when Brown came back.  Terry’s hands balled up into fists as Brown walked by Cerise, overtly checking out her ass as he went.
            “Hey virgins,” he barked to Vani and Myles.  “Still can’t get any pussy?”
            Myles blushed and scampered back to the kitchen but Vani merrily confirmed that he was indeed still as unsuccessful as ever with the ladies.  Terry couldn’t believe that Brown would say such things so loudly while there were customers around.  It was no wonder this place barely made a profit.  Brown was seriously an idiot. 
            Cerise smiled at Terry sympathetically and walked out without a word.  He was glad he didn’t have to tell her to leave. 
            “Who was that fine piece of ass?” asked Brown, sidling up next to Terry at the counter.
            Terry concentrated on keeping his cool and refused to look at Brown.
            “Eh? Teddy?  Who was that bitch?”
            “That woman is my girlfriend,” Terry replied with gritted teeth, knowing full well it wasn’t a good idea to admit to such a thing.
            “Ooooh, your girlfriend!” Brown snickered.  “She got a tight pussy?”
            Terry slowly turned to face Brown and squared his shoulders, looking down at the scrawny little shithead.  He wasn’t a short man but Terry was taller and could see the bald spot at the top of the asshole’s head.  “What the fuck did you just say?”
            “Her cunt.  Is it tight?” Brown spoke as though talking to a moron.
            Terry tried to stay calm.  He dug his fingers into the palms of his hands and forced himself to stay rigid.  He wanted to hit Brown so badly but he thought about the stuff Cerise had said about his violent behaviour.  If he hit Brown he might get a criminal record and then never get another job again.  “Do not ever talk about her like that,” Terry said slowly, calmly.
            “Whoa there, big fella!” Brown laughed.  “Looks like I hit a nerve!  Ok, go get a bag of oatmeal from the basement.”
            Terry stayed put, staring down at Brown, knowing he was intimidating him.  Brown was starting to sweat and his lip twitched a bit.  He laughed again and reiterated his command about the oatmeal.  Terry turned around and walked to the kitchen, then stomped down the stairs.  He picked up a bag of oatmeal but stayed downstairs for a while, trying to calm down.
            “She looked like the type to be tight, don’t ya think?”
            He could hear Brown’s voice clear as day.  The floor boards were not thick in this building.  It was just a decrepit house from the olden days that desperately needed renovating.  Brown kept saying dirty things about Cerise, presumably trying to get Myles’ goat. 
            “Wouldn’t you just love to stick your tongue up a little pink pussy like that?”
            No response.  Terry’s heart was beating faster and he took deep breaths to steady himself. 
            “No!” Myles finally said in irritation.
            “You wouldn’t want to fuck a pussy like that?  What are you, a fag?”
            “I just don’t look at girls that way,” Myles whimpered.
            Brown burst into laughter and Terry could hear Lee’s snickers and Vani’s giggles as well. 
            “You don’t look at girls that way?” Lee laughed.
            “So you admit you’re a fag?” Brown cackled.  “Watch out boys, don’t bend over around Myles!”
            Terry waited for the laughter to dissipate before he came back upstairs.  Brown was presumably in his office but Terry didn’t check. He just dumped the oatmeal in the kitchen and went back to the front counter.  How long would he be able to tolerate working here?    

            The bookstore was open from 10am to 5pm on weekends and most weekdays except Thursdays and Fridays when they were open ‘till 9.  Angela was there almost all the time and Cerise worked full-time from Monday to Friday.  Trista covered the weekends and evenings.  She also came in at other random times whenever Angela had to go do something.  Cerise was glad she never had to be at the store alone but still, it might be preferable over Trista’s constant chatter. 
            Whenever that hippy was around, Cerise let her take the cash and she busied herself with re-shelving books and creating new displays.  She was sitting in the window, touching up the display for 50 Shades of Grey when a shadow appeared.  She looked up to see Tom making funny faces at her and waved for him to come in.
            “What’s with all the crystals?” he asked as he walked in the door.
            Cerise shrugged as Trista impatiently explained that the crystals harmonized the space.  Tom raised his eyebrows quizzically and Cerise nodded, wide-eyed and tight-lipped. 
            “Ok, so anyway, just wanted to let you know that rehearsals are going great.”
            “That’s awesome,” smiled Cerise. 
            “Yeah.  I played Fire at Will for the guys and they were blown away.  Jeff said it’s the best song I ever wrote and I was like, I didn’t write it and he was like, figures.”
            Cerise laughed and said she was glad things were going so well.
            “So you have to come watch us rehearse some time.  We could really use your input on how to make your songs work.”
            “Maybe we should hang out tonight and go over anything else new you’ve got.”
            “Yeah I guess I’m free tonight,” she shrugged.  “We close up at five and then I just have to like, clean a bit and stuff.”
            “Cool.  I can wait for you at the bakery and like, get myself a sodie-pop,” he said with a goofy smile.  “See ya later ‘pardner.”
            Cerise laughed and watched him walk off with his legs splayed, as though he were a cowboy.
            “Is that your boyfriend?” asked Trista.
            “No, just a friend.”
            “Are you in a band?”
            “He’s in a band.  I just write songs with him sometimes.”
            “You write songs?”
            “Just the lyrics.”
            “I write poetry too.  I wrote an essay on As You Like It in iambic pentameter once.  My professor said it was transcendent.”
            “That’s great.”
            “Do you know what iambic pentameter is?” Trista asked with pity in her voice.
            “I’m sure either way you’ll take the opportunity to tell me.”
            “I can teach you how to write it.  It’s not hard.  You could probably do it if you tried.”
            “Are you sure you have the time?  I would have assumed you were constantly busy practicing your unwarranted condescension.”
            That shut her up.
            Cerise’s ex, Tom came in to the bakery and sat at a table, unfolding the menu that was stuck in the condiment tray.
            Terry gave him a moment to read the menu and then walked up to the table.  “Hey, what’s up?”
            “Not much.  I’m meeting Cerise here in a bit.  We’re gonna work on songs and stuff.”
            “That’s cool.  You ready to order?”
            “I’ll have the Lucky Luke sub.”
            “Can I be honest with you?” asked Terry, lowering his voice and looking around.  “The meatballs today, not so fresh.  I’d go with the Meat Lovers sub, ‘cause it’s just cold cuts so they’re still good.”
            “Ok, thanks for the tip.  Meat Lovers it is.  With a coke.”
            Terry nodded and went to put in the order.  He was impressed that Tom was being so cool with him.  Even though they’d always been at the same social events all year this was probably the first time they’d ever spoken.
            Brown was leaving for the day just as Terry brought Tom his sandwich and at the same moment, a little girl walked in.  Brown totally checked her out as he went, which was completely gross.  She couldn’t have been more than twelve.  Fourteen at the most.  She was tall for her age, about Cerise’s height but if it wasn’t for the shit-ton of makeup on her face Terry might have taken her for a boy because she had way short hair and absolutely no boobs at all.
            “Hi!” she said brightly, staring at Terry with a huge smile.
            He smiled back and returned the greeting.  She kept looking at him, biting her lip and grinning stupidly.
            “Can I get you something to eat?” he asked kindly.
            “How ‘bout you take a seat here by the window.  Unless you prefer to sit outside?”
            “Here’s good!” she giggled, sitting down.
            Terry pulled out the menu for her and placed it in front of her. 
“Oooh, you have like, real food,” she squealed.  “I thought you were just a bakery.”
            “We’ve got soups and salads but our specialty is bread so I recommend one of the gourmet sandwiches.”
            “Which one is best?”
            “The most popular is the veggy on pumpernickel but something tells me you’d prefer the chicken-salad on honey oatmeal.”
            “Ok!  I’ll have that!”
            “Good choice,” Terry winked and the girl giggled brightly.
            Terry put in the order and Vani made the sandwich because both Myles’ and Lee’s shifts had ended.  They remained in the bakery though, taking a table to discuss comic books or something.  Vani brought out the sandwich, wiggling to the music as he went, and Terry took up the cue, continuing the dance as he carried the sandwich to the girl.  Both Myles and Lee moved their heads in time and Tom drummed his fork and spoon on his table.  The girl clapped her hands and laughed with delight. 
            “This place is awesome!” she enthused.  “It’s totally gonna be my new hang-out place!”
            “As it should be,” said Vani, sitting at Lee and Myles’ table and putting his feet up on a nearby chair.  “I’m Vani, this is Lee, this is Myles and the big guy is Terry.”
            “I’m Jennifer!”
            “That’s a boring name,” snorted Lee.
            “We’ll call you Jenny-Jenny-fer-fer,” suggested Vani.  “Or Furry Jenn.”
            “Ok,” she shrugged uncertainly.
            “Don’t be silly, Jennifer is a beautiful name,” Terry assured her and she giggled and maybe blushed, though it was hard to tell behind the pound of makeup.
            Cerise came in soon after and kissed Terry.  Was it his imagination or did the little girl make a sad face as she watched them?  Cerise joined Tom and soon after his band mates came along and sat with them, one of them carrying an acoustic guitar.  It was closing time so Terry turned over the sign on the door but he let Jennifer know that she could stick around if she wanted to.  She seemed delighted by the prospect. 
            Tom reintroduced Cerise to his band mates, Jeff, Bernie and Lloyd, who each took a beer offered by Vani.  There was an amusingly awkward moment when Vani put out his fist for Bernie to bump, calling him ‘my brotha’ presumably because he appeared to be of east-asian heritage.  Bernie went with it and assured Vani he’d see him at the next Bengal tiger meeting. 
Cerise handed her phone over to Tom, showing him a Vulcan love song she’d penned.  “I think of it as like a parody of pop love songs basically.”
            “This is hilarious,” said Tom, passing the phone around to the guys.  “Didn’t I tell you she was hilarious?”
            “Yep,” smirked Jeff.  “High-larious!”
            All of Tom’s band mates seemed a bit older than Tom but Jeff especially.  Cerise wasn’t sure but figured he was maybe in his mid-twenties.  Either that or he’d been aged prematurely by drugs or something.  He was a bit of a poseur, with tight, ripped jeans, an ironic t-shirt and hair dyed blond.  She wasn’t exactly sure what look he was going for.  And while Tom was always in black, both Lloyd and Bernie had a simple, nondescript style.  As a band they had no cohesion.
            “Can you believe this guy?” Bernie said, leaning in to Lloyd.  “He think he’s gonna get back with her by complimenting this shit?”
            “I know,” nodded Lloyd.  “Like she’d leave that football player she’s engaged to.  Keep on dreaming, Tommy-boy.”
            “For realises.  Her shit stinks almost as bad as his,” sneered Jeff with a wicked grin.
            “Would you guys shut up?” growled Tom.  “You’re not funny.”
            “Nah, I’m pretty sure we’re funny,” Jeff grinned and even winked at Cerise. 
She wasn’t sure how to respond.  She knew they were joking but still, they were being kind of harsh and she felt rather uncomfortable.
            “Gimme that, you fucking loser,” Tom said, grabbing Lloyd’s guitar and strumming it. “So what’s a good tune for this?”  He sang the first line in various ways until he hit on something he liked. 
            Lloyd took out a sheet of blank music paper and began scrawling musical notes on it.  How cool.  Cerise couldn’t help but feel special, sitting in on a song-writing session like this.
            “Help me out here, Cerise,” Tom asked.
            She sang along with him, reading the words on her phone.  “It was about seven years ago.  You came to me with a problem.  You said I’m sorry but I really need your help. And I can’t find another Vulcan.”
            She was acutely aware that everyone in the bakery was watching them and she felt nervous but kept singing all the same.  “We were too far from your home planet.  You’d never get there in time.  I said slow down, what are you talking about?  If you can’t speak, meld with my mind.”
            Tom’s voice grew louder.  “You said I’m going through the Pon farr.  And I need somebody to love me.  I’ve given up on reaching Kolinahr.  So won’t you be my Pon farr baby.”  Tom stopped strumming the guitar and spoke quietly.  “And then we can put in a chorus with like a million babies.  All Justin Bieber like.”
            “Pon farr baby, Pon farr baby,” Cerise sang.
            “I think that’s the best song I’ve ever heard in my life.”
            Cerise looked up to see Myles smiling, clutching a rag.  She laughed and thanked him and everyone else agreed it was hilarious. 
            “I can sing too!” announced some random girl.  “Wanna see my Lady Gaga impression?”
            “Desperately,” said Bernie with a straight face.
            “Go ahead, sweetheart,” smiled Jeff. 
            The girl started singing Born This Way, gyrating and touching herself inappropriately.  It was highly uncomfortable to watch and everyone stared, mouths agape.  When she was done they all clapped, Bernie, Jeff and Lloyd calling for an encore.
            She was about to sing another song but Myles surprised them all by jumping in and suggesting they hear the Vulcan song again.  Tom and Lloyd went over the music they’d written and asked Cerise to sing it again, which she did.
            The rest of the gang arrived, including Janice and Karine’s new boyfriend Mike.  As the night wore on Cerise and the band got the preliminary work done on two other songs and everyone was enthusiastic about their progress except Lee who kept declaring their work to be lame, repeatedly prompting Myles to tell him to shut up.  He was obviously nay-saying just to bug Myles, who didn’t seem to catch on.
            “You got anything else?” Jeff asked.  “Anything that’s not about Star Trek or Stargate?”
            “Yeah, what about Star Wars?” asked Bernie.
            “No, you’ve exhausted my sci-fi repertoire.  Everything else is just teen angst bullshit.”
            “Teen angst bullshit is good too,” said Lloyd.
            She couldn’t tell if he was being serious and gave him a quizzical look.
            “Seriously.  Not all our songs are about nerd shit.  I mean that stuff’s good for the con circuit but we also play in bars.  We need more general stuff too.”
            “But we don’t want teen girl stuff,” sneered Jeff.  “We’re not fucking Avril Lavigne or some shit.”
            “Well maybe we should be,” said Lloyd.  “It’s not like we’re getting anywhere being the poor man’s Simple Plan.”
            “Ugh, bite your tongue,” said Jeff in horror.  “Simple Plan is the poor man’s Sum 41.”
            “They wish!” said Bernie.  “But I’d actually be pretty happy to be the poor man’s Simple Plan.  At this point we’re more like the poor man’s… um… I can’t think of a worse band but the point is we suck.”
            “Yeah, we seriously do,” whined Lloyd.
            “No we don’t!” insisted Jeff.
            “Let’s become Cerise and the Cherries,” said Bernie with a smile.
            Again Cerise couldn’t tell if she was being mocked so she simply rolled her eyes.
            “We actually should,” said Tom.  “I mean, not change our name.  But it would be cool if Cerise sang with us.”
            “Here we go,” grumbled Jeff.
            “She’s not gonna sleep with you just ‘cause you put her in the band,” snarked Lloyd.  “Unless she is.  You do me if I let you in?” he asked with a sly grin.
            “No!” Cerise said with a forced laugh.  “Like I’d even wanna join your stupid band.”
            “See?  She doesn’t want in, it’s settled,” said Jeff with finality.
            “Can I join?” asked the random little girl.
            “Nobody’s joining!” barked Jeff.
            “Except Cerise,” smiled Bernie.
            “Yeah,” agreed Tom.
            “I don’t even wanna join!”
            How long was this insanity going to go on?  Karine could barely take it anymore.  If she were to sing they’d all stop fawning over Cerise and her pathetic little voice.  Cerise had like, no range whatsoever.  Hugh had totally said so right in front of everybody and he’d said that Karine had tons of range.  She could elevate their little band to something special, if she were so inclined, which she totally wasn’t.
            She was trying to think of a way to start singing without being obvious about it when Mike pulled out a deck of cards.  He suggested they play a round of poker with Janice and Terry.
“How ‘bout strip poker?” suggested the little boy in drag.
“Hey, that’s my line,” said Janice in irritation.
“It could be totally fun,” the boy said, pulling up a chair.
“I’m sorry, who are you?” Karine asked sweetly.
“I’m Jennifer.  But Vani wants to call me Jenny-Jenny-fer-fer.”
“Furry Jenn is still on the table,” said Vani from the next table.
“Hey Van, what’s tetracel white?” Terry asked randomly.
“I think you mean Ketracel White,” Vani mused.  “It’s the drug the Jem-Hadar have to take to stay alive.”
“Oh ok,” Terry nodded.
“Why do you ask?”
“No reason.”  Terry smiled as he gazed at his Cherry angel who was still haggling with those stupid band guys. 
“It makes no sense, Tom!”  the hipster one was practically screaming.  “We go on tour in like, a month!  We can’t just add another member at the last minute.”
“She’d only be a half member,” said Tom.  “We’d do all our old material same as ever but for the new stuff Cerise would sing too.”
“Yeah, come on,” said the Indian guy.  “Didn’t you ever see that episode of My So Called Life where Rayanne Graff joins the Frozen Embryos and she like, rocks their world?”
The hipster guy screwed up his face.  “Rayanne Graff proceeded to suck up the joint and Jordan Catalano had to step in.”
“Yeah but it was still a good episode.  I have the whole series on DVD!”
“Yes, Bernie.  We all remember the fucking So Called Life marathon you subjected us to.”
“Bernie makes a good point though, Tom,” said the other guy.  “It is a bit of a cliché to have a chick join a band just like, randomly because the lead guitarist is trying to get in her pants.”
“Shut the fuck up!” Tom said, turning red.
“He’s not trying to get in my pants.  He’s been there, done that,” said Cerise.  “You’re just scared because you know if I join I’ll get all the attention ‘cause you guys like totally suck without me.”
“Yeah, you’re a regular Gwen Stefani,” said the hipster in irritation.  “Let’s not forget how badly she sucked when she went solo.”
They went on and on like that forever until Karine decided she couldn’t take it anymore.  She suggested to Mike that they hit the road and he was more than happy to oblige.

When it was finally decided that Cerise would join the band on a tentative basis, everyone went their separate ways and Terry locked up.  He drove Cerise home as she chattered excitedly about the prospect of being in Parisses Squares. 
“I’m totally nervous, but it could be totally fun, right?”
“Yeah.  But are you gonna go on tour with them?”
“I dunno.  We didn’t get that far. I guess I’ll have to rehearse with them first.  See if it’s a good fit.”
“You don’t sound very excited about it,” she pouted.
“Well I dunno.  They’re kind of dicks,” said Terry as he pulled up to her house.
“Yeah well I’m used to dealing with assholes. I go out with you don’t I?”  She giggled and nudged him.
“But seriously.  Take it slow.  Especially with that Jeff guy.  I think he’s into you.”
“Jeff?  Eww.  What are you talking about?”
“I have to figure that’s why he was so against you joining.  ‘Cause everyone else was like, whatever but he was being a major prick.  And he kept making jokes at your expense.”
“So that means he hates me, not likes me.”
“Tons of guys are like that.  He acts like an ass just to get your attention.”
“Well whatever, I don’t care about Jeff.”
“I know, I’m just saying, keep an eye out for him.”
“Do you think I should like, not join?”
He said she should do whatever she wanted and tried to sound encouraging but secretly he wasn’t so into the idea, though he wasn’t entirely sure why.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Season 2 – Episode 13 – Act IV

            Brown always got to the bakery at the crack of dawn and made their lives hell all morning but tended to take off by mid-afternoon, early evening at the latest.  It was always such a relief when he left.  Terry could relax and be normal again.
            Vani didn’t seem to mind Brown and even found his antics amusing, verbally sparring with him on any topic from virginity to politics.  Terry really had to hand it to Vani sometimes; nothing seemed to embarrass him.  Lee also handled Brown well: laughing at his jokes and letting the insults bounce off of him like they were nothing.  Myles on the other hand was constantly a wreck.  Even when Brown was gone he’d be jumpy, as though he was always waiting for the other shoe to drop.  And he kind of sucked at his job.  He was a decent baker – not that Terry was a baking connoisseur – but he always made a mess in the kitchen and couldn’t clean up for shit.  And forget the cash.  Terry never thought of himself as particularly good at math but compared to Myles he was an arithmetic genius.  The few times Myles had been forced to take someone’s order he’d always screwed it up and charged either too much or too little.  Fortunately the old lady customers were cool about it, gently helping him out and even tipping the idiot for his troubles.
            So Myles was mostly relegated to the back and aside from the back room duty of carrying things up and down the stairs, Terry was always kept up front.  Brown had been right about one thing: the ladies loved him.  It seemed every female geriatric and soccer mom in Beaconsfield was making the Brown’s Homemade Bread her go to place for bread and croissant.  And those ladies tipped well.  It was pretty sweet. 
            “Good job today, Teddy,” said Brown as he was leaving for the day.  “All those old broads were creaming their jeans for you.  But if we really want the lunch rush to get serious you might consider wearing tighter t-shirts.  Maybe a V-neck.  And you should wear the apron at your waist, don’t cover up your chest.”
            By now Terry realized that Brown was completely serious.  He nodded his ascent and waited for Brown to leave, then texted the gang that it was safe to come over.
            “I need a hug,” said Cerise as she walked in the door. 
            Terry went to her and wrapped her up in his arms.  They stood there for so long that finally Vani advised them to get a room. 
            “Tough day?” asked Terry.
            “Just Trista’s usual hippy bullshit.  You?”
            “Yeah, usual.”
            “How ‘bout you, Vani?” she asked.
            “Super mega fantastitron!” Vani hollered.  “Turn up the beat yo, turn up the beat!”
            Myles had apparently taken the cue because the music got louder and was changed from the usual soft rock to something Terry didn’t recognize.  Myles came out from the back, grooving to the music and he actually wasn’t a bad dancer but as soon as he noticed Cerise he froze.
            “Hi!” she said brightly.  “I’m Cerise, Terry’s girlfriend.”
            “I collect used napkins,” he replied and then retreated back to his cave.
            “That was Myles.  He’s a bit weird,” Terry explained.
            “I’ll be sure to take my napkin with me when I leave.”
            “Good idea.”

            Karine stood outside the Bonne Glace, and across the street she could see Terry, Cerise and Vani hanging out inside the bakery.  Would it be totally lame to suggest to Mike that they have their date there? 
            He pulled up a second later and sat in the car, presumably waiting for her to get in but she motioned for him to join her.
            “What’s up?” he asked after parking his car.
            “I was thinking we could hang out here tonight.”
            “Here where?”
            “The bakery,” she jutted her chin in its direction.  “Everyone’s gonna be there.”
            “Oh.  You don’t wanna be alone?”
            “Don’t be in such a fucking hurry, Mike.  It’s only our second date,” she sneered.
            “Sorry,” he replied.
            He actually looked really ashamed so Karine went up to him and kissed him.  He held her close and returned her kisses, stroking her back and sending shivers up her spine. 
            Just then Janice came out of the ice cream parlour and whistled at Mike.  “Looking good,” she said and then pinched his ass as she walked by.
            “Jesus!” he exclaimed.
            “It’s pronounced Janice,” she said with a wink and Karine couldn’t help but laugh.
            “Dealio-yo-yo, dealio-yo-yo,” sang Vani as he bopped up and down.  “The crew is on their way.”
            “So what’s our plan for tonight?” asked Cerise with a giggle. 
            “I dunno, but it’ll be mega, I can tell you that much,” he replied, wiggling his head back and forth.
            The door opened and Janice bounded in, announcing herself as Jesus and then complimenting Terry on his baseball cap.  She even went so far as to sidle up to him and pinch his butt, to which he responded by pushing her away with an awkward laugh.  Cerise simply rolled her eyes, refusing to let Janice’s antics get to her. 
            “So check it out, y’all,” said Janice, turning to the window.
            They all looked outside and saw Karine making out with Terry’s hockey friend, Mike Townie or whatever.  Vani pressed himself against the window and made faces, and they all followed suit.  Eventually Karine noticed them and burst into laughter so loud they could actually hear it from inside the bakery.  She ran across the street with Mike in tow and they came inside laughing.
            “You guys are such losers!”
            “It’s part of our charm,” said Terry and Cerise in unison.
            Mike and Terry exchanged “Hey man’s” and then shook hands, which Vani observed with fascination.
            “Even outside of their natural habitat, the homo-erectus-hockey-playectus greets a tribe-mate with familiarity,” he narrated.
            “Really?” Mike said, clearly asking Terry if this was truly the type of people he hung out with.
            “He grows on you,” Terry grinned.
            “Like a fungus!” Vani exclaimed, latching on to Mike’s arm.
            Mike looked about ready to freak out and tried to shake Vani free.
            “Van, chill,” advised Terry and Vani retreated, bowing to Terry in deference.
            “Ok…” Mike’s eyes grew wide and he looked at Karine for support, but she was laughing along with the rest of them.
            Shauna perused the want ads on Jobboom, knowing that she wouldn’t be able to get any of these positions.  Even the lowest paying jobs required typing skills and she’d never been that good with computers.  Cerise had always been an amazing typist.  She could do it without even looking at the keys and she could have a conversation while simultaneously writing.
            Shauna figured her best bet was to get a job in a store.  One of those places that advertised by putting a sign in the window.  Maybe a coffee shop or something.  She’d figured out how to use her parents’ complicated espresso machine so she’d probably be able to handle a Starbucks or Tim Horton’s.  Then again, those places would require her to work a cash register and those things looked so intimidating.  She just knew she’d mess up.  And she’d never be able to learn how to make a billion exotic drinks.  Plus she’d have to talk to people.  And she hated people and they hated her.  She’d never get a job.  She’d never get a friend.  She’d never get out of this house.  Maybe she should burn it down.

            Jay and Karl arrived wearing their green BYC uniforms but Willy had changed into street clothes.  Sarah came in with Cassie, both wearing pretty sundresses.  Cassie immediately went up to Jay and they kissed.  It was a very discreet embrace but everyone acted like it was a horrifyingly overt PDA and made noises of disgust and threw wadded up napkins at them.  Cerise wondered if Myles would collect those discarded napkins and sure enough he swept them all up after everyone laughed at the joke.  He could have just been cleaning though, as he busied himself with wiping down tables and locking the front door once he was done sweeping.
            Cassie introduced herself to him and he stammered and rushed off and Vani declared that clearly Myles was in love with Cassie and followed him to wherever he’d run off to. 
            “So have you started working yet?” Cerise asked Sarah.
            “I start next week but I’ve already been by for like an orientation of sorts.”
            Karl interrupted to announce that this so-called orientation had been voluntary and self-guided and none of the other instructors had been present.  “You’re such a keener,” he laughed.
            “Like you should talk,” Sarah scoffed.  “I heard the Commodore saying how the new blond bosun is one to watch ‘cause of how you take initiative and stuff.”
            “A job worth doing is worth doing right,” he shrugged in response.
            “Why are you guys mocking each other for having a strong work ethic?” asked Cerise.  “It’s a good thing to do a good job.”
            “Yeah, we rock,” smiled Karl.
            “It’s true, we’re pretty awesome,” agreed Sarah with a giggle.
            “Way more awesome than Jay, that’s for sure,” said Karl, lowering his voice.  “I mean no offense but he’s gonna have to step up his game if he wants to keep up.  I mean we’re fucking handy-men, it’s not that complicated.  I don’t know what that guy’s problem is.”
            “Sometimes I think he might be depressed.  He was never this sullen back in high school,” nodded Sarah.
            “So have you heard the news?” asked Vani as he joined them with Willy in tow.
            “What news?” they all asked in unison.
            “Mylo is totally in love with Cavity.”
            “Aww, the little weird boy?” asked Sarah.  “That’s so cute.”
            “Who gives a shit?” asked Karl.
            “We should try to get them together,” said Vani as though it were self-evident.
            “But Cassie’s with Jay,” Cerise helpfully pointed out.
            “Not if we can help it,” snorted Willy.
            “Oh my god, seriously?” asked Cerise.  “Why are you guys always trying to screw each other over?  Why can’t you just let Jay be happy?”
            “Seriously,” agreed Sarah.  “No wonder he’s depressed if even his friends don’t have his back.”
            “You can’t stand in the way of true love,” said Vani.
            “Then why…”
            “Mylo and Cavity are meant to be,” Vani went on.
            Sarah sighed heavily.  “You know Vani, your zany antics aren’t always cute.  Sometimes you’re seriously just an asshole.  I feel like I’ve sworn off you guys a million times over and yet I keep finding myself hanging out with you.  It’s totally insane.”
            “Fight it if you must,” grinned Vani.  “But you’re like a moth to a flame.  Hey, speaking of true love, I’m single, you’re single, let’s get jiggy!”
            Sarah snorted in derision.  “God, the sad thing is I could totally do worse.”
            “Don’t get desperate!” Cerise laughed.
            “I know, right?  I bet you I can find a cute guy at the yacht club.”
            “Totally,” agreed Cerise.  “I’ll come by this weekend and we can scope out the prospects together.  We’ll bring Cassie and Karine, it’ll be a whole thing.”

            Terry ran to the nearby dep for beer but he and Myles agreed to serve everyone the day’s leftovers for free.  Brown would never notice them missing.  After one day of having resolved never to eat the bakery food, Terry gave in, realizing that the shenanigans in this kitchen were probably mild compared to most restaurants.  At least here he knew which batches had floor flour and which were relatively clean. 
            As he handed out drinks and stale pastries, he reflected on the scene before him.  Mike Townsend wasn’t his favourite teammate but if Karine was into him that was fine, he supposed.  It was kind of cool to be able to hang out with his school friends and his hockey friends at the same time.  He’d prefer Karine dating Nick but he’d heard that Nick was into Sarah and that was cool too. 
            In the end he mostly just cared about his own love life.  Cerise was so perfect.  She was pretty and hot and cute and fun and funny and smart and awesome.  And he was finally ready to admit, maybe even out loud that her group of friends was cooler than his.  He had more fun just chilling with these nerds than he’d ever had cruising with Andrew. 
            “She’s such a fucking fruit, it’s not even funny,” Cerise was saying to Sarah and the boys as Terry joined them.
            “Who’s a fruit, Trista?” Terry asked, standing behind Cerise and putting his hand on her shoulder.
            She stroked his hand and stood up.  “Yeah.  I mean sometimes it is funny ‘cause it’s so stupid.  I’ve actually started transcribing some of the things she says, with the idea of like starting a tumblr or something on the stupid shit hipsters say.”
            Terry took her seat and she sat on his lap, wrapping her arm around his neck and softly kissing his ear before turning back to the table.
            “We could have a whole page on the shit Janice says,” giggled Sarah.
            “I’m sure that already exists,” said Karl, taking out his phone.  “I mean a page for the shit hipsters say.”
            “But anyway, yeah.  Even though it’s funny sometimes, mostly it just annoys me and it makes the days go by really slowly.”
            “Tell me about it,” nodded Willy.  “Bagging groceries is so dull sometimes I stack them in a weird way just to amuse myself.”
            “I guess that’s normal, for summer jobs to suck,” shrugged Terry.  “I mean it could be worse I guess.”
            “Yeah,” nodded Cerise.  “It’s not that bad I guess.  It’s not like being in a factory in India or whatever.  It’s just tiring to have to work with someone you don’t like.”
            “At least she’s not your boss,” Terry went on.  “I mean your mom will always take your side over hers.  For me the person who makes my life hell is the boss so there’s nothing I can do.”
            “Yeah, that sucks, but working for my mom is awkward in its own way.  I feel like Trista can get away with shit that I can’t.  And my mom loves her.  It’s like she walks on water.  They’re both hippies.  Trista seriously suggested we hang crystals everywhere, to like harmonize the space or whatever and my mom loved the idea.  If I were to suggest something my mom would just poo-poo it.”  Cerise sighed and leaned back on Terry.
            “Would she?” he asked, rubbing her arms.  “Have you actually made any suggestions?”
            “No.  I guess I don’t care enough about the place to want to change it.”
            “Maybe you should care more.  Take more of an interest.”
            “Yeah, that’d be good I guess.  I was just telling Sarah and Karl how it’s awesome that they’re so into their jobs.  They do really good work ‘cause they actually care.  I wish I did have more emotional investment but deep down I think little bookstores are stupid.  I mean we have e-books now, what’s the point of paper books?  And even if you’re into paper books, there’s Chapters.  We don’t need some dinky little shit-hole.”
            “But some people like that dinky shit.  Like the hippies and hipsters and the old people.  There’s still a market for it.”
            Karl nodded and said that Terry had made a good point, which filled him with pride.  He was almost embarrassed to find himself so pleased by a compliment from robo-Karl.
“I mean for my personal taste I agree with you, Cerise,” Karl went on.  “Paper books are stupid.  But there’s still a lot of geriatrics and poseurs who want to buy that old crap so if your mom wants to sell it then good for her for taking advantage of a niche market.”
            “Yeah, but I can’t make myself care about something I think is stupid.”
            “I bet you could,” said Sarah.  “If you really wanted to.”
            “Doublethink is a powerful thing,” nodded Karl.
            “I’d rather have a job doing something I already care about,” sighed Cerise. “Except I don’t think the ‘Analyze Sci-Fi Shows Emporium’ exists.”
            “Sure it does,” said Karl.  “It’s called Innerspace and it’s on the Space Channel but you’re not gonna get there by whining about your current situation.”
            “Yeah,” agreed Sarah.  “That’s why I work so hard at everything I do. ‘Cause I know it’s leading to something.  I’m only a fair sailor and I don’t particularly like kids but I work this job for a year and I put it on my CV and then next year I get something better.  That’s how it works.”
            “So I guess my problem is I lack motivation,” said Cerise with the tinge of an edge to her voice.
            She sat up straight and Terry felt her butt bones digging in to his legs but he didn’t protest.  He could tell she was getting pretty pissed off by this conversation but he was enjoying it.  It was cool to discuss interesting topics with smart people and have his opinions validated
            “Yeah, I think actually, yeah,” said Sarah gently.  “You’re like way smart but you’re kind of like, I dunno, I don’t wanna use as strong a word as lazy but like, yeah, you lack motivation.  It’s like everything has always come easily to you, so you don’t bother putting any effort into anything, but if you did put effort you could really excel.  You could have been at the top with Karl and me at convocation last year, if you’d wanted to.”
            “Things don’t come easily to me,” Cerise argued, the edge in her voice getting stronger.
            “It’s not a bad thing,” said Sarah defensively.  “They come easily to me too but then I put in that last bit of effort and I fucking ace everything.  I’m sorry if I’m being arrogant, but it’s true.”
            “But you sometimes take it too far,” said Karl.  “The secret is striking a balance.  The following is a truism: twenty percent effort yields eighty percent result.  But putting in a hundred percent effort only yields like another two percent result.  So don’t fucking kill yourself trying to get to a hundred.  Just do as much as you need to to be on top.”
            “It’s not about being on top, it’s about doing your best,” snapped Sarah.
            “No,” said Terry with authority.  “People don’t care if you tried hard.  That shit doesn’t get noticed.   You don’t win medals for doing your best, you have to be the best.  But I’m totally digging that twenty percent thing,” he nodded to Karl.  “Just do as much as you have to, no more.”
            “So you don’t believe in doing your best if good enough is better than the rest,” said Cerise wistfully, her anger apparently diffused.
            “Yeah, that’s a good line.  It rhymes,” chuckled Terry.
            “I know, eh?  I should write it down,” agreed Cerise, taking out her new phone and beginning to type.  “I don’t believe in doing my best if good enough is better than the rest,” she sang to herself, still typing.  “I’ll only work as hard as I must to leave the competition in the dust.”
            “So you’re totally writing songs with Tom now, eh?” asked Sarah.
            “Yeah, it’s pretty fun,” smiled Cerise, relaxing again.
            As she kept talking to Sarah, Terry gently nudged her off his lap, getting up to join Townsend, Karine and Janice.  He brought up the topic of summer jobs and said the thing about twenty perfect effort yielding eighty percent result, totally impressing them all with his genius.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Season 2 – Episode 13 – Act III

            Terry walked into the bakery in Beaurepaire village with Vani.  Lee was taking a woman’s order and when she’d gone he nodded to Terry and Vani, waving them over.  They all walked to a back room where a tall, thin man sat at a desk typing on a MacBook. 
            “Hey Brown, this is Terry, that guy I was telling you about.”
            Brown’s eyes darted up and he looked Terry up and down.  “You’re hired.”
            “Oh, well, thanks.  That was easy.”  Terry smiled uneasily.
            “Seriously,” said Vani, stunned.
            “We need someone good-looking to bring back the female clientele.  Myles has scared them all away.”
            “Who’s Myles?” asked Vani.
            “Fuck!” came a frustrated scream from out of nowhere.
            “You’re about to find out,” said Lee with a roll of his eyes.
            They all walked into the kitchen where a short, scrawny, awkward looking boy was covered in flour.  A bag of flour lay on the floor, and it had spilled all over the place.
            “Dammit Myles, you fucking retard!” raged Brown.  “I told you not to move the heavy bags by yourself!”
            “But I was the only one here!” Myles whimpered, almost on the verge of tears.
            “This is why I just hired a big guy.  Teddy, how much you bench-press?”
            “Um, it’s Terry and about two twenty-five.”
            “I don’t really know what that means but it sounds impressive.”
            “Well, it’s two plates,” said Terry with unmasked pride.
            “I don’t know what that means either,” said Brown.  “But I’ll assume it’s a lot.  From now on Teddy does all the heavy lifting!  And you’re not allowed to touch fucking anything, shit-for-brains!  Now clean that up and salvage as much as you can.”
            Myles nodded and started scooping the flour from the floor back into the bag.  Terry made a mental note not to eat the bread from this bakery.  Brown announced that training would begin immediately and he led Terry and Vani into the basement store-room, which reminded Terry of the cellar from Cabin in the Woods because it contained not just the expected baking products but also a bunch of random shit like old dolls and furniture.  He thought it best not to ask why.

            “Wow, he’s already working,” said Cerise as she read her latest text message.
            “Huh?” asked Tom.
            “Terry, he’s working here now.  I guess he’s in the back,” Cerise explained as she finished off the chausson au pomme Lee had served her.  He’d been polite but curt as he took their order and Cerise couldn’t help but feel that Terry would bring a much needed boost of charm to this place.
            She and Tom went over a few songs and made some good progress.  It was actually a lot of fun to write with him.  He hadn’t brought his guitar and suggested they go to his house so they could get some work done with his instrument.  She laughed at that, pointing out that it sounded like a sexual euphemism.  He laughed along and she was glad that they were friends again and so comfortable with each other.  It wasn’t weird to be with him.  Cerise felt very proud of herself for being able to stay friends with her exes.  Even at her most tense moments with Terry they’d always had each other’s backs.  
            Cerise had to decline the invitation to Tom’s place because she’d promised her mom she’d go to the bookstore that afternoon to train the new girl, who was none other than Trista, her mom’s boyfriend’s stupid hippy daughter.  God, this summer would be so painful now that she had to work with that annoying hipster.  Oh well, at least her breaks would be fun.  She’d probably be able to snag free pastries and ice-cream whenever she wanted.

            “It’s fucking freezing in here,” remarked Karine as she put on her hideous pink and orange uniform at her new job at Bonne Glace, the ice-cream parlour.
            “I know, but come July we’ll love it I bet,” replied Janice.
            They stepped out of the bathroom in their uniforms and joined Jeremy, the creepy little man who managed the place.  He looked like the exact stereotype of a pedo, with a thin mustache and a pathetic comb-over and a little pot belly on a wiry frame.  He was so gross that Karine felt instantly dirty in his presence but he turned out to be a nice guy and then she felt bad. 
            With her experience working a cash the only things she had to learn were how to scoop ice-cream and keep the place clean.  They only had about thirty flavours and she’d memorized most of their stupid names by the end of the day so no doubt this would be a pretty easy summer gig.

            Jay didn’t envy Sarah ‘cause she only got to start working in June and she’d have to deal with a bunch of little kids, who would be hanging on to her every word, and laughing at her lame jokes and she’d be spending her days out on the water in a sailboat, with the sun on her face and the wind to her back.  Fuck!  It hadn’t even occurred to Jay to be a sailing instructor!  Sarah would have a totally awesome summer and his would totally suck! 
            He and Karl stared into the hood of a big tractor type deal, which had broken down.  It was their job to fix it. 
            “So do you know anything about engines?” asked Jay.
            “Not yet,” said Karl, whipping out his phone and apparently googling the issue. 
            He identified all the parts and even started teaching himself engine repair so by the time their boss came along and started walking them through it, Karl was completely on it, handling tools like an expert.  Seriously?  Jay thought for sure that Karl would be terrible at this manly stuff, but nope, it was something else that apparently came to him intuitively.  Jay nodded along, trying to keep up, but this stuff was insanely complicated.  FUCK!  Why did life always have to suck so bad?!
            Shauna’s life just kept getting worse.  Now her mother was dragging her to her gym, and forcing her to take a pilates class, which was utter agony.  She was completely incapable of keeping up with the other people in the class, who were all old ladies like her mom.  So embarrassing.  As she lay on the floor sweating her ass off, the instructor yelled at her to kick those legs and shit.  Shauna silently dreamed up various ways to end this sadistic woman’s life, most of them involving the entire building collapsing, which would take her out too, which was fine.
            Her mother had also indicated that she wanted Shauna to get a summer job.  She had no idea what she would do.  Maybe run away again.  But where would she go?  What could she do?  She’d never be able to get a job.  She had no skills and she was too stupid to learn any and everyone hated her anyway so no one would ever hire her. 
            She couldn’t even muster up the courage to go out much less get a job.  She wanted to go to bars and make friends but she knew that the more likely scenario was meeting a bunch of people who’d stick her in another porta-potty.  Not that her mom would let her go out anyway.  The other day she’d tried to go out just to take a walk and her parents freaked out.  She was pretty much a prisoner in this house. 
She might as well just kill herself and get all this bullshit over with.  Except the second season of Teen Wolf was supposed to start pretty soon so maybe she’d kill herself at the end of summer. 

            Mike certainly didn’t waste any time.  Karine met him at Clyde’s for drinks and about an hour in he was already hinting that they should go to her place to get to know each other better.  He was a nice enough guy and a decent conversationalist and had the sense to bring up her play and compliment her performance as Alice.  But when she pressed him for details it turned out he hadn’t even seen the play and was probably just repeating stuff he’d heard Terry say. 
            So he was kind of dumb, but he was definitely cute.  She put off his advances and they played a couple rounds of pool and then he walked her home.  She let him kiss her but didn’t allow him into the house.  One step at a time.

            Terry came upstairs carrying a large sack of flour only to have Brown berate him and demand he bring the sack back down.
            “But you said you needed it!”
            “And now I don’t.  Get with the program, Teddy.”
            Terry had the distinct impression that Brown was fucking with him and had been for the past week and probably would forever.  He was just that kind of guy.  No wonder it had been so easy to get a job here; no one in their right mind would want to work for this asshole. 
            He brought the flour back to the basement and then heard yelling, telling him he was needed in the front.  As he trudged back upstairs Brown informed him that when he was done with the customer he should bring a sack of flour up to the kitchen.  Terry nodded wordlessly, refusing to let Brown see that he was getting to him.
            “Hey sexy,” she purred, leaning against the counter.  “I dig the look,” she said, indicating his long white apron and bakery baseball cap. 
            “Like you should talk.”  Terry had once believed that Karine was so hot she’d make anything look good but her neon uniform straight out of the ‘80s was putting that assumption to the test. 
            “I know, right?” she laughed. 
            Lee walked by and ignored Karine as he carried a sandwich to another customer.  As Brown emerged from the back Terry straightened and asked Karine for her order.  He didn’t want Brown to know she was a friend as he’d likely find some way to use it against Terry.  Karine picked up on the body language and took a fruit juice out of the nearby fridge and placed it on the counter.
            “Just this,” she smiled curtly.
            Terry began ringing up the order when Brown sidled up next to him and told Karine the drink was on the house.
            “Seriously?” she asked suspiciously.
            “Beautiful women always drink for free at Brown’s Homemade Bread.” 
His smile was so creepy that Terry almost throttled him right there.  Fortunately Karine didn’t fall for his act and tossed a tooney on the counter, taking her drink to a nearby table and whipping out her phone.
Brown muttered “bitch” under his breath and walked back to his dank little office so Terry went to join Karine at her table.
“So how do you like it here?” she asked.  “Your boss seems like a piece of work.”
“Total shit-head,” Terry nodded.  “He comes on to all the female clients in like the grossest way possible and he’s always making fun of Myles, the guy who does the baking, all saying he’s a virgin and shit.  And he makes me move shit around for no reason, just to like abuse his power or whatever.  It’s fucking retarded.”
“Sucks,” Karine frowned.
“How ‘bout you?”
“The Bonne Glace is actually pretty decent.  I think the manager has a crush on me.  He’s nicer to me than he is to Janice and the other girls.”
“Is he gross?”
“Yeah, but he’s harmless.  He’s got a creepy pedo ‘stache and he sweats a lot, which is weird ‘cause it’s like minus twenty in there but still, he’s ok.”
“Still, if he tries anything, you let me know.”
            Karine snorted in amusement.  “What, so you can hit him?  Get over yourself, Terry, you’re not my protector.  I can take care of myself…” she paused and sighed.  “And it’s not like you can be with me twenty-four seven.  I mean I have to deal with shit like that all the time.  You saw the way your boss leered at me.  So gross.”
            “He does that to all the chicks.”
            “My point exactly.  All women have to deal with that kind of bullshit all the time.”
            “You shouldn’t have to put up with that.”
            “Ok, well I’ll wait here while you go join a gender equality march.  In like, the ‘70s.”
            “Men are such assholes,” Terry grumbled.  “Speaking of which, how was your date with Townsend?”
            “Ok I guess.”
            “He’s a prick.”
            “According to you these days everyone is a prick.”
            “Everyone is!”  He spoke a little loudly and the two other clients in the bakery looked up from their newspapers.  Yeah, newspapers.  Most of the people who came here were way old.
            Karine giggled and finished off her drink, saying her break was over. 
            “Friend of yours?” asked Brown as Terry went back behind the counter.  “She’s a hot piece of ass.”
            Terry ignored that comment and started sweeping the floor, just so Brown wouldn’t ask him to carry flour around again.

            After seeing the hideous crime against fashion that Karine was expected to wear at her workplace, Cerise was grateful they had no dress code at the bookstore.  Yet she’d swap places with Karine in a second because it’d be a lot more fun to work with Janice than Trista. 
Cerise silently shelved all the books readers had taken out while Trista talked to a middle-aged woman in the New Age section.
“This one will tell you everything you need to know about homeopathic remedies.”
“And you recommend this over traditional medicine?” the lady asked.
“Absolutely,” nodded Trista.  “Doctors these days only treat the symptoms, not the disease.  And they only care about treating the body.  But homeopathic medicine treats mind, body and soul.  This book has great information about cleansing rituals that align your entire life force and keep you from getting sick in the first place.”
Cerise found the advice inane but the woman bought the book and Trista made some comment about how she was so well suited to this job.
“How many books have you sold, Cerisse?”  Trista always pronounced Cerise’s name with a soft ‘S’ and it drove her crazy but she’d never let on that Trista was driving her mad.
“I don’t really keep track, Trista.  To me it’s not about how much money we make, it’s about making sure the customer is happy with their experience here.  I want them to feel at home, to feel like they’ve really been taken care of.”  This was of course a load of bullshit but she knew Trista would eat it up.
“Oh my god, I completely agree.  I really think that lady will benefit from aligning her chakras.”
You couldn’t make shit like this up.  Sometimes Cerise wanted to record the stupidity that came out of Trista’s mouth just to prove to people that she really was that out of touch with reality. 
“We should sell crystals here,” Trista went on.
“Yeah, we could like hang them up everywhere.  They’d really help to harmonize the space.”
“Good idea,” said Cerise as she bit her lip.  Truth was, her mother would probably think it was a good idea.  She braced herself for the crystal palace that was no doubt forthcoming.  How ironic that all of Trista’s ideas on creating a peaceful and calming atmosphere always made Cerise want to stab herself in the eye.
This was gonna be a long summer.