Elizabeth continues her descent into madness: "Not that [the fridge] chills anything cooler than room temperature anyway." Mark snickers, "It's just a parking ticket!" Elizabeth bellows, "It's not just the ticket! It's that I had to go chasing down there half-dressed with my hair wet!" Mark reminds her that he'd said he'd go, and she yells back, "Yeah, but you didn't, did you?" Mark says she didn't give him a chance, and she snaps, "You weren't fast enough." She flounces into the bathroom and he calls after her that he'll pay the ticket: "Calm down. I paid the other ones." The bathroom door creaks closed on its hinges, then slowly creaks back open. "What?" she asks, with steely restraint. Mark realizes his mistake and admits, "Let's just say it wasn't your first ticket." Elizabeth breathes, "You stole parking tickets off my windshield." "Just two," Mark interjects. "And paid them without telling me." Mark says that he was trying to avoid "...this." Elizabeth announces that's it: "I'm not staying here anymore." As long as you can extend the terms of that pledge to preclude him from staying at your place, and to prohibit the homes of friends, acquaintances, family members, and any hotels in the greater Chicago area, you'll really have something, Dr. Corday. "Here we go," Mark mutters. Elizabeth continues: "Every faucet leaks. Your toilet actually rocks....And there are creatures scurrying about in the walls. Do you know what scurries about in walls, Mark?" Giggling some more, Mark guesses, "Bunnies?" To my very great dismay, this does not prove to be Elizabeth's cue to tear out of the bathroom and tear him a new one, preferably on his face. In fact, she says nothing, so he asks whether she wants to take the El to work, or drive. In the bathroom, she starts her blowdryer (I assume it's hers -- it's not like he'd need one), shorts out the electricity in the apartment, and emits a shriek of transcendent, inarticulate rage. I get in moods like that sometimes. We call those "weekdays." Sometimes I think that if I see one more of Glark's socks on the floor beside the laundry hamper that I'll have to smother him with it. These grievances have a way of accumulating, is all.
John "Here Comes the Twelvestepper" Carter strolls into a bright hallway outside a meeting room somewhere. Public library? Unitarian church? Community rec centre? Progressive gay bar? I don't know, call it. Some bald dude wanders in, struggling with a huge coffee urn and a few packaged store-bought pastries; Carter relieves him of the pastries and asks whether he's found the AA meeting. Coffee Dude snorts, "How'd you guess?" and introduces himself as Brant. Shouldn't everyone be chain-smoking? Brant carries the coffee into the actual meeting room, where a woman at the podium has just started reading off the twelve steps. Blah blah, recovering alcoholics drink a lot of coffee, blah blah blah clichécakes. Brant asks whether it's Carter's first time at a meeting, and Carter says, "Here? Yeah." Brant tells him, "It's a good group." Carter finds a seat and glances around. He spots a woman tucking her bobbed brown hair behind her ear. He fixes on her, and after a moment he catches her eye: it's Abby "Lisa" Lockhart. She smiles sadly, and looks down. Carter smiles back. You know who should really be looking to hook up? Someone in recovery. And you know who'd make a really great choice as a partner? Someone else in recovery. Except, not.