Once and Again
Thieves Like Us

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Unity of Effect

Wannabe offers Grace a "snack cake." "I'm not eating stolen snack cakes," Grace declares. Eli likes the way that sounds and says that "stolen snack cakes" sounds like it should be the name of something, "like a song or something." Ah, the poet stirs. Wannabe tries the "what would you do if you were starving" approach, but Grace hangs tough. Wannabe tempts Grace one more time by letting her know it's the last cake. Eli makes a move for Wannabe, unzipping her jacket suggestively to see if she's lying. Wannabe assures him, "The cupboard is bare." Just like that last nerve of mine she keeps tap-dancing all over. Wannabe suggests that the snack cake company is "probably" destroying the rain forest. Grace wants to know what she means, but Wannabe's too busy getting busy with Eli to answer her. Grace, literally caught between the two slobbering boobs, shrinks back against the bench and looks miserable.

"Hey! Hey listen, don't kill me," we hear Lily say. She's on the phone at her office, talking to Rick at his. He notes that that's a nice greeting and asks what she means. She repeats her plea, adding that she forgot about dinner. From Rick's bewildered reaction, it's clear that he did too. Lily reminds him: apparently all of them were supposed to have dinner together, kids included. True to form, Lily admonishes, "I can't believe you forgot this." Lily says that she's too swamped to do dinner because she's helping Graham with something (remember him? D.B. Sweeney's character from "Scribbling Rivalry"), and Rick is surprised to hear it. She explains that Crusty has "sort of loaned [her] out" to Graham. "You're a favor, now?" Rick chuckles, but you can hear the jealousy in his voice. Lily has to go. Suddenly, she's really important at PagesAlive.com, and she rushes off the phone. Rick is left hanging and bewildered. Isn't he always, though?

Jessie, meanwhile, is hugging her knees and staring blankly at Dr. Wise-ass, who reaches for a glass of water on his side table and then swallows it very loudly. His throat sounds drown out the ticking of the clock. Jessie continues to stare.

Her Soliloquy Self interjects disgustedly: "Just the way he sips his water. He swallows and you can hear it. Then he wipes his mouth and --" Jessie is too overcome to go on. She shakes her head, as if trying to shake the image right out of it. She adds, "Just that look on his face like he's so open-minded."

Back in the office, Dr. Swallow finishes gulping his water, sets the glass down carefully, and looks at Jessie. She says, "You're wearing house slippers!" and doesn't sound impressed. "Yep," he answers, levelly, and cocks his head. The clock tick tick ticks, heightening the sense of discomfort. The phone rings. Dr. Wiseacre doesn't move an inch, even after Jessie asks if he has to get it. He just shakes his head and continues looking at her. She's not getting off the hook. "So what now?" Jessie finally asks. "'Cause I have, like, nothing to talk about." She waves her hands for emphasis. Dr. Immobile just looks at her. Jessie squirms. "I mean, I know you think I do," she says, "but I really don't." Dr. Impassive raises his eyebrows a touch. "I've been eating," Jessie volunteers. "Like, a lot more." The clock ticks. The eyebrows waver. "Don't you believe me?" Jessie asks. "Why wouldn't I believe you?" he immediately counters. Jessie looks like she's biting back a response, and looks away instead.

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Once and Again




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