Astrid poured me a cup of coffee. It was noon. I floundered my way through the tunnel to see if anybody might be alive. I knocked on the door, since I was not provided with equal opportunity numbers to get back into the women’s dorm, and was met by a Brazilian glare. She didn’t say a word to me, just nodded for me to follow her up the stairs. This wasn’t difficult because of Astrid’s penchant for wearing a thong and precious little else. The movement was hurting my eyes as I was following her up the stairs. We were half way up and she stopped and I collided into her left cheek. She turned around and snorted.
“What you think there’s going to be a quiz on them?” My attempt at a witty repartee was hampered by the result of her turning around and now my nose and mouth being just north of all things precious, good, moist, and welcome to all males save the members of Frankie Goes to Hollywood and the Will and Grace fan club. She reached down and lifted up on my chin.
“I’m sorry?” was all I could manage.
“Yes, you are.” Astrid continued her ascent up the stairs and I contemplated life with my new diverse friends. “Coffee?” I heard her faintly. Only if it’s fair-exchange I heard the good, moral part of me say. It was a faint voice to be sure.
“Please.” I made it up to the top of the steps, wishing my daughter had sprung for an elevator and a need for less companionship. Astrid settled two large porcelain cups on the table and poured. Apparently we were to have a conversation. I looked around for a to-go cup and saw nary a one so I settled into my seat and Astrid sat across from me. She adjusted her thong from the looks of arm and hand movement and cleared her throat.
I did likewise. Cleared my throat that is. I popped my eyes open and shut to keep the memories of her thong tucked away.
We both took sips of coffee. Didn’t she have laundry to do?
“I used to be a hippie chick,” Astrid said. She stirred sugar into her coffee and continued. “I lived on a commune. A nature commune. A nudist commune.” Why was I continually being tested and teased. I closed my eyes. Of course, that’s when the projector went off in my head. There was Astrid in a tie-died shirt. There was Astrid sans shirt. There was Astrid serving tea to her friends buck naked with flowers in her hair. I shook my head and looked up at her.
“And then what happened?” The projector was stuck. I tapped the side of my head.
“It was all crap, man.” This chick was like the damn princess with the pea. She could take a bath in yogurt and get a piece of glass stuck up her ass. Why did I always think so visually?
“Well, we all have our ideals and then we tend to lose some of that when we mature a bit.”
“I know you’re not calling me immature.” No, good god no. I liked life far too much to be that foolish.
“That wouldn’t be prudent of me.” Or of anyone who valued their penis.
“A wiser statement was never spoken.” I didn’t need circle conversations. Not with that Southern Comfort still banging up against important brain cells, laughing at my every attempt to make sense of speech and darkness from glare.
A bird came to the feeder at the window and started tapping away at the food. Astrid got up and threw some milk into a blender, added a banana, a raw egg, and blasted it all to smithereens. She got a glass out of the cupboard and poured the goop into a tall glass.
“Drink,” she said, putting the glass directly in front of me. She sat back down and put her feet up on the table and crossed them at the ankles. She started rubbing her toes together, looking at me. “What?”
“Nothing.” I gulped down the mess without breathing. Rin’s toes. Dammit!
“No thanks.” I wiped my mouth with the back of my sleeve. I suddenly wondered where the rest of the crew might be. “Where is everybody?”
“Gone.” Wordy sort.
“And they might be where?”
“You’re wearing me out.” Astrid got up, adjusted her thong and left the kitchen.
. . .from the novel in progress. . .Permanent Declarations of a Temporary Love