The voice in the phone said “Audi, I am dying. You are going to go on without me and live your life to the fullest. You will reach heights that you have never imagined and solve problems without solutions. You will end world hunger and bring about world peace baby.” Audi rolled over and looked at the alarm clock. The clock displayed ten A.M. and Audi groaned. It was a full hour before she set her alarm to go off and she had planned on snoozing thirty minutes after it went off. She sat up and looked out over the city. She held the phone out and looked at it, then said “Mom do you have to do so early in the morning?” Audi’s mom sobbed into the receiver “How could you say that to your only mother? You tear my heart from my chest and break it into a million pieces.” Audi replied “I know mom, but it’s the third time this week you’ve been dying.” The sobbing stopped and a sophisticated lady said from the phone “Well then, shall we do lunch?” Audi consented and with a French goodbye her mom disconnected. Audi sighed, why did her life have to be so very hard?
Audi didn’t know, but everyone expected so much of her. Her boss expected that she would be at work every day by nine A.M. Her assistant expected for Audi to actually ask him to take her clothes to the dry cleaners before he would do it. The worst was eating a whole chocolate cake after a full dinner and drinks had caused her to gain a pound. A whole pound, the world had become impossible, and she had to skip eating the entire box of peanut butter captain crunch in order to lose the pound. It wasn’t right and Audi was not going to stand for it.
A nice hot shower and a massage was the answer. She stretched and got out of bed. She walked in the kitchen and Tyler was reading the paper. Tyler was her best friend. They were together all the way thru prep school and she could tell him anything. She really could tell him anything and he would understand completely. It was the best and he had even made her mandatory breakfast beverage a chocachino latte dub caf. He really could be the perfect gay friend, but he stubbornly remained straight. Audi took a deep drink and said “mmmm perfect”. Tyler smiled and folded down the wall street journal. He asked “Would you like your morning massage?” and Audi smiled. Tyler had the hands of a god. He had the face with a chiseled chin and athletic body of one to match. She couldn’t wait for him to get started rubbing out all the stress. She lay down on the table and he began crooning a low sweet tune, while he massaged her from head to toe. Audi could smell the sweet oil as he rubbed it into her muscles. Audi laid there and thought about the perils she faced. She was the bravest person that she had ever known.
After Tyler’s massage, Audi showered and dressed for the day. The elevator doors opened and Audi strode across the lobby to the front door. The doorman stuttered “Good day Ms. Stepman” pulling off his cap as she passed. Audi smiled at him and said “Thank you George.” George flushed and said “Mrs. Wood is waiting in the black stretched.” George opened the door for her. He was grinning. He was always grinning when Audi was around the lobby. The limousine pulled away from the curb out into traffic. George grinned as he watched it go down the street.
Audi’s mother had always been more friend then mother. Holly was beautiful and was immune to aging. She would always be twenty three. Holly was the bell of the movie industry. She would start roll playing a character and perfect it, then without fail a movie producer would come calling with the perfect script. Audi concluded Holly’s next roll must be a daisy, but the script had yet to appear for proof.
Holly was catching Audi up on all of the latest news and Audi was looking out the window. A nondescript brown car was passing outside. The driver’s lips were moving fast. Audi concentrated and was able to make out a few of the words. It was the warrior’s prayer and only said before going into battle. Audi kept her eyes on him, the traffic began backing up and the car stopped and was blocked in by the limo. Audi slid out and walked to the car. The driver was praying more fervently than ever. He was rocking back and forth in seat. Audi tapped on the glass. The man jerked up and froze looking at Audi. She made the universal roll down your window symbol. Audi stretched out her right hand and moved it in small circles. He was caught off guard by the gesture and complied. When the window was down Audi leaned in the car window. She brought her face close to his within kissing range. The car reeked of C4. Audi guessed the car must be packed full. His breath caught as she drew near to him. She slid the button from his left hand. Audi was looking at the man’s face. His features were perfect and he had a strong beauty to him. She was caught by an impulse and kissed him squarely on the mouth. She pulled back out the window taking the button with her. She gave a hard tug that pulled the wires loose. The man dazed and slightly smiling let his foot slip off the brake and hit the car in front of him. As the light bar on top of the car flashed on, the man let his head fall on the steering wheel. Audi smiled and returned to the limo feeling slightly sad. The man had kissed very innocently and it had been sweet. She touched her lips as she re-entered the limo.
The page wrippled in the breeze making it hard to write neatly. The afternoon was warm and bright with shadows drifting across the ground in contrast. A shadow touched John and his concentration was broken. He looked up from his writing. John read what he had just written. It sounded false to him and his back was aching from leaning on the tree. He saw Amy walking back from class. He got up and brushed the dirt off his pants. “Hi Amy” He said waving her over. He walked around the tree to where Rebecca was reading. She pulled down her horn rim reading glasses. She looked like a scientist inspecting an alien. John smiled at her and said “I was hoping you and Amy would let me ask you some questions about women.” Rebecca sat up obviously interested and waved Amy to come and sit on the blanket with her. Amy sat and Rebecca smiled at her. She said “John has some questions about women for us.” Now Amy got the knowing smile and John thought this had been a very bad idea. The girls turned and looked at him with interested eyes and condescending smiles. He knew exactly how a worm feels when two birds are deciding who will eat it or at least which one gets the bigger half.
John went over and sat on the grass by the girls. Rebecca said “It is about time you learned about the birds and the bees.” John looked at her. He thought I know that story, but the truth is the birds eat the bees. John said “Clever not funny, No, You see I am writing a story and the main character is a woman, but I am not sure I am doing it right.” Amy was nodding agreement. She said “I don’t think it’s possible for a man to know how a woman is going to react.” Rebecca being the kinder of the two said “Read what you wrote to us and we will tell you what you did wrong.” That sounded fair, but smelled like a trap to John. He decided it was best to start reading, while he still had a chance. He began “The voice in the phone said….” He finished and looked at the girls and said “Tell me what you think.” It occurred to him right then that if the birds were going to eat him now was the time.
Amy was twisting a piece of her hair around her fingers and feeling the tips of it. She liked the soft feel on her fingertips. She paused looking at Rebecca, then back to John. She said “Well, I liked the kiss at the end. The story is confusing me though. Why would this girl understand the situation and be able to control it. You should build up to her saving the world or something. I don’t think the part about her being late for work and resentful about it is very realistic either. The part where Tyler is her personal assistant and masseuse is not right that would be two separate jobs, but I didn’t lose interest so I guess it’s okay.” Amy suddenly looked a little uncomfortable. She thought I said too much and nodded affirmative and put what she thought was an encouraging look on her face even adding a slight smile.
John had picked up a leaf and was pulling the veins out of it. He said “I was just getting started Audi is going to save the world over and over throughout the day. She appears to lead the pampered life of a self-absorbed aristocrat, but she having a time keeping the bad guys in check. I guess you couldn’t really get that from the short you got though.” He shrugged and smiled even feeling a little encouraged.
Rebecca got a little more comfortable and smoothed out her shorts. Rebecca smiled an open mouth knowing smile. She said “You didn’t name her mom Hollywood did you? John, John, John, what am I going to do with you? What were you doing with the late thing? Aren’t men late too? And you took it too far I think. What were you doing with the weight thing and eating too much to gain only a pound, then lose it very easily are you trying to promote anorexic narcissistic beauty queens. What is that about? I like the line though. I think I will have a stencil made up saying that.” She got up on her knees gaining steam and continued “What was the part about her being the bravest person she had ever known? No woman would ever feel that way John. Women are all cowards at heart. We do what we have to do for the people we love because we have too, not because of some inner braveness. Don’t you think a single woman would run where a mother would fight to defend her children? Shouldn’t you think about that more, before writing something like that?”
John put down the veins of the leaf. He didn’t remember picking it up. The girls were both watching him now. He thought they would both agree with each other if asked about any point, but he had a feeling their views differed on several points. The only thing he was sure they agreed with was that he was wrong about women. He nodded at this thought agreeing with himself. Amy and Rebecca smiled at seeing him nod. He looked at them. They still had the intensity of birds, but something was different. He realized it then. The worm had been eaten and now they were pondering the taste. He said “Is there any hope for me understanding how women think?” They both nodded no in unison. He smiled and said “I didn’t think so, but I am gonna keep trying. Okay?” The girls smiled and John got up. He helped the girls get up and picked up Amy’s book bag for her. He said “What do you got in this thing rocks?” This was funny because Amy was a Geology major. In a moment of inspiration, John asked the girls if they would like to go over to The Hot Cup with him. He added a good chocachino latte dub caf sure would hit the spot about right now. The three of them walked off together.
The three of them had to stop for a long black limousine driving thru the intersection. The girls shared a knowing look with John. They watched it pass and continued instructing John while they walked on toward the café. It was the end of August and the first meeting of the girls club. John thinking faster than normal, but slower than his tongue said “ How does a girl feel when she wants to have sex?”