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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
Daredevil Girl Survives Fall
In a hurry? Read the recaplet for a nutshell description!

When Nancy comes downstairs in her flowy shirt, there's a gun on the kitchen table next to Cesar. Nancy feels caged. Everybody's gone, it's just supposed to be her, and there's Cesar looking hard and bored with a gun. She asks what he wants, and he says he's just there to keep her company. She assures him that she doesn't need company, but he thinks Esteban would disagree. She calls Esteban immediately from inside the cage and tries to get her control back: flirting, humor. "I never imagined I'd say this in real life, but: Call off your goon. Call me, we need to talk." There's barely a quaver in her voice. You'd have to be looking for it.

No answer immediately forthcoming, she asks Cesar to level with her: Is he her bodyguard? Is he her killer? What's Esteban going to do, where's his head at? She can't strategize if she doesn't know where Esteban's head is at; she needs definites and definitives if she's going to figure this one out. She's Houdini: stick him in cuffs, tie him in chains, drop him in the lake and he's fine. Leave him in the desert, all alone, and he's a goner. Nothing to push against, nothing to use. Cesar tells her nothing; no definites and no definitives. Uncertainty is a cage. He doesn't evince entirely a lack of enjoyment. "You look a little green," he says; he suggests ginger.

Nancy leans against the windowsill and stares out at the patio furniture: a little Jesus bobblehead, like Guillermo used to spy on her, that disastrous day she tried trafficking. It's a sign and a signal; she doesn't know what it means because it doesn't matter what it means. He burned the world for her; he hates her now. It's something to push against. She smiles at it, watching her from the table, and picks it up: "I Miss You, Blanca. Come See Me Now." He'll have facts. And if he doesn't have facts, he'll at least fight with her. And if he doesn't fight with her, he'll still be in a cage. She can go look at him.

"Fire has always been and, seemingly, will always remain, the most terrible of the elements." -- Harry Houdini

Cesar shakes his head at the bobblehead and she gently ribs him about what he terms his "selective" religious stance. The whole Thou Shalt Not Kill thing, for example. "And I support gay marriage," he says. It's a punchline but it's also a fact. She can use it later. She's barely thinking about him; she's thinking about getting free of the immediacy of him, the oppressive existence of Cesar that pulls her thoughts off-base and makes it hard to deal, and how to go see Guillermo in jail. In the cage where she put him, how she can go look at him in it, without Cesar coming along to ruin everything. Distractedly, she claims to have errands -- "mani-pedi, stretch mark cream" -- but of course he has her keys. He's there to keep her company.

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