Once and Again
Love's Laborers' Lost

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Judy Needs a Good Gluck

Back at the restaurant, Judy says, "And the headhunting business was a huge success, of course." He says that it was, for two years. "Then what happened?" Judy asks. Paul looks at her for a second and says that he had this partner...and uh...He slides his tongue all around his mouth, probing for something, and signaling that he's clearly not interested in saying more. Judy looks expectant. He adds that it's a long story. "I like long stories," Judy smiles. He smiles back, a very big, white, fake smile, and says that it's a long and boring story. Guess what Judy says. That's right: "I like long and boring stories." He smiles uncomfortably and studies the tablecloth, grunting little laughs. Then he changes the subject by asking something really important: "Are you the kind of girl I can count on to split dessert with me?" Judy marvels at him, a tiny dazzled smile playing at her lips, and says, "I'm afraid not. I want my own!" He puts on a beatific grin and looks heavenward, places his hand over his heart, and says, "I'll take her!" Judy giggles and takes another mouthful of wine.

Jessie comes into Eli's room and hands him the cordless phone. She lingers in the doorway, listening as Eli discovers that it's Wannabe. He asks what she's doing. "Hanging around," she grates. "Where?" "I dunno, see for yourself," she answers. He rolls off the bed and heads to the window, which is artfully decorated with Dickensian frost circles. Jessie cranes from the doorway to see what he's looking at. Save the effort, Jessie -- it isn't much. Wannabe waves from the sidewalk. "And what are you doing?" Eli asks. "Hanging around," she grates again. God, her voice goes through you like prune juice. Eli grins, covers the phone, and asks Jessie where Rick is. He's downstairs working. Eli asks Wannabe if she wants him to come down. "You can't, you're working," she taunts, piling the contempt on "working." He asks if she wants to go up there. "I can't, you're working!" she mocks again. Wow, what a scintillating conversation. And how thoughtful of her to stop by just to tease him with the fact that he's trapped in his room while she's free to do whatever she wants. Eli asks again what she's doing there, then. "I told you: I'm hanging around." "I'm gonna kill you," Eli says. Sadly, he's joking. "Bye," Wannabe says with a big stupid grin. "Wait!" Eli protests. "I gotta go!" she says, disconnecting. You know, because she's got so much to do. "Great, thank you," Eli complains, shutting his window.

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Once and Again

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