Once and Again
Busted

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Reefer Madness

Cut to PagesAlive, where Lily's just arrived to find everyone in the midst of boxing up their stuff. It's eerily quiet. She approaches a girl and asks, "What's wrong? Did somebody die?" The girl jabs her thumb toward Crusty's office. "Christy died?" Lily asks, her heart skipping a merry beat. "Lily! There you are," Crusty says, squelching the opening strains of "Ding-dong, the witch is dead."

Inside Crusty's office, Lily gets the lowdown: PagesAlive is now PagesNotSoAlive. It's dead, actually. Those horrible, horrible venture capitalists who are actually interested in earning a return on their money have pulled the plug. Lily opens her salmon-rimmed lips in a big "o." That lipstick does nothing for her, by the way. "But Graham said --" she stammers. "Graham? Graham? Is the new CFO of Feldspar Communications," Crusty bitterly informs her. Lily mutters that she's so sorry, and Crusty starts singing her diva swan song. "Yeah, well, it serves me right for thinking I could do something really different and creative and committed," she pouts. Like restaurant reviews, and flash-animated cows kicking over lanterns. We saw the shite, I mean "site," Crusty. Get over it. Lily assures Crusty that it wasn't her fault things didn't work out. Crusty's not interested in relinquishing any of the weight on her shoulders. She tells Lily that it is her fault. I'll summarize: she didn't believe in it enough; she didn't hire the right writers; she didn't arrange for a back-up server in case the primary one went down. I get the feeling she's echoing complaints that she's heard from other sources. Then she chokes up and says, "And when the financing runs out, that's my fault. Because, why didn't I go everywhere in the world to find somebody who believes in this as much as I did." Because that person doesn't exist? She starts openly bawling, and Lily hands her a tissue. Crusty says not to worry about her; she's already gotten three phone calls this morning. "I'm not worried about you," Lily says, her voice oozing sincerity. "What about you?" Crusty asks. Lily shakes her head somberly and says she doesn't know. "I'm sorry, Lily. I guess I can tell you the truth now," Crusty says. "You weren't much of an assistant." Atta girl! Send her out on a high note! "But you made one hell of an older sister!" she adds. Great. That'll look good on a résumé. Lily's face crumples, and she opens her arms to Crusty. Over Crusty's shoulder, Lily puffs out a couple of quick breaths, like she's trying hard not to hyperventilate.

We return from commercials to find Eli hard at work, making sure the couch is evenly worn and doing his part to keep the potato chip population from raging out of control. He's watching Jerry Springer. Right now, his demeanor bears a striking resemblance to that of my last boyfriend, which means he's treading dangerously close to Lowest Common Denominator territory. The topic of the show is "Mom, I'm marrying your man!" and Jerry is in the process of questioning some trailer-park trash who's squeezed her way into a wedding gown for the show. He clarifies, "So, you're sleeping with your mother's boyfriend," and the woman agrees. He asks why she's wearing a wedding dress, and the TPT answers that she's getting married today, to the boyfriend. The crowd erupts in an angry roar. Eli crunches another potato chip, and his expression changes from intense scrutiny to smirking superiority.

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Once and Again

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