06 Sep 2009 @ 7:36 AM 

Chapter 5

Chapin sat hunched over her computer at a small desk in the living room of her north side Chicago apartment.  “C’mon Google Fu!” she lamented.  “Bring me something I can actually use.”  She tried a different combination of search terms which yielded nothing.  Again she tried and again she came up empty.  She had been working on an article for hours and was having no luck finding anything new or even useful.  “Damn!”  She leaned back in her chair, let out a loud sigh and crossed her arms.  “I gotta get my mind off this for a minute,” she thought.

She thought a shower and a quick meal might help.  She hopped in and out of the shower and into some flannel pajama bottoms and a t-shirt sporting a picture of John Coltrane on the front.  She ran a comb quickly through her hair and headed for the kitchen.

Chapin wasn’t much of a cook.  It wasn’t that she couldn’t follow a recipe, it just always seemed like more trouble than it was worth.  She popped open the door of the microwave and headed to the freezer.

“Hmm…pot pie or burrito?  There is no choice.  Burrito.”  She grabbed the burrito and a plate and tossed both rather haphazardly in the microwave and ran back to the computer to try another search while she waited.  She didn’t get much more than she had gotten before.

“Well,” she said as she let out a long sigh.  “I’ll just have to work with what I have.”

The microwave began to beep and Chapin immediately headed back to the kitchen.  She grabbed the plate from the microwave.  “Hot! Hot!” She gasped while simultaneously wincing and performing some sort of odd plate – burrito juggling act.  She grabbed a kitchen towel and fork and headed back to the computer.

Chapin had been trying to write the article for hours.  She had two that were due plus she would have to write an article about the charity event she would be attending the following evening. One was the interview with Skeet which she was able to knock out in a flash but the report on ‘Jazz Influence in Popular Music” was proving more formidable, the major reason being that she didn’t really care for most popular music.

She banged away several more paragraphs citing the backgrounds of Alicia Keys, Bruce Hornsby and anyone else she could think of that sounded remotely ‘jazzy’. Finally, she had at least reached the word count she needed.  She finished off her burrito and leaned back in her chair, shaking her hair out and enjoying a slight sense of accomplishment minus the pride.

She grabbed a remote control from beside the keyboard and pushed the play button.  The room filled with the sounds of ‘So What’ from Miles Davis’ “Kind of Blue” album.  A slight smile shown on her face and she decided to check her email one last time before turning in.  It was early, but she had been writing for hours and had a long day planned tomorrow.

She leaned forward again and opened up her email in box.  There was the ever present spam, of course, the standard offers to meet married people in her area that were out for discreet fun, the African prince who really needed her help to recover his fortune and the old standby offers to enlarge her penis.  “Ahh…an email from Mom?”  Chapin’s parents had an internet connection and email, albeit the twenty dollar a month America Online that they had used forever, but it was unusual for Chapin to get an email from them unless it was her mom forwarding her every false virus warning, religious spam crap or funny pet picture that ever crossed the wire.  But this one was different.  There was no ‘FW:’ in the subject line and it, in fact, read “Thanksgiving Dinner”.  Intrigued, she opened it.

Dear Chapin,” her mom was always so formal in emails.  She had tried to get her to loosen up a bit and join the modern world but so far her efforts had failed miserably.

Papa and I just had the most wonderful conversation with your ‘friend’ Jack.  He is simply delightful.  Papa says you have a real winner there.  He said he would really like to meet us so we invited him to Thanksgiving dinner.  We are so looking forward to meeting him in person.  Maybe there is some question he wants to ask your Papa?  Oh how wonderful this would be.

We are planning a supper in the late afternoon, around four or so.  You should come by about three so we can have drinks.

We are so happy and excited for you both.

Love,

Mom

Oh shit!” She was livid, or freaking out, or both.  She wasn’t sure.  “What the fuck did he do?  What the fuck did THEY do?  Oh God!  Oh God!  Oh God!”  She buried her face in both hands then began to massage her temples.  She could feel a headache coming on.  The pressure was getting to the point that she felt as if the whole world was a vice and her head was sandwiched right in the middle of it.

“I’ve gotta stop this,” she said, sitting up suddenly.  She knew that the longer her parents thought the she and Jack were…”AAAAARRRRGGGG!  She shuttered and suddenly became nauseous.  She grabbed her cell phone and dialed her parent’s house.  “Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck…,” she mumbled trailing off as the phone began to ring.  The phone rang and rang.  “C’mon!  Pick up”, she said, trying to will her mom to answer.

The phone picked up.  “Mom!  You’ve got to…,” She was cut off by the sound of her mom’s voice, Minnesota accent and all, on the other end.

“HI!  You’ve reached Alan and Agnes Hannigan!”  She said in one of those ‘just too happy you called’ voices.

“The fucking answering machine?!”  Chapin said in disbelief.  Her heart sank.

“Please leave your message at the tone and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can!”  Chapin paused for what seemed like an eternity waiting for the tone then she heard a familiar muted voice on the other end of the line.  “No Alan, you’ve got to push the….”  BEEEEP

“Mom!  Dad!  Me and Jack are not together!”  She could immediately hear her mom, a former Literature professor, chiding her for her English.  “I mean, Jack and I are NOT together.  We haven’t gone out in almost 8 months!”  She was practically screaming into the phone.  “He can’t come to Thanksgiving Dinner!  You’ve got to tell him NO!  I mean, he’s mentally not all…well…I can tell you the rest later.  But you have to uninvite him!  He can’t come to dinner.  He just can’t!  Just…ummm…call me as soon as you get this…”

Chapin hung up and thought about calling her mom’s cell phone, but she knew neither her mom nor dad would ever hear it.  She looked back at the email and the panic set in again.  She tried calling her parents again, but got the answering machine again.

“This just can’t be happening.”  She knew what she had to do and began to dial Jack’s number.

________________________

Get Chapter 5 as a pdf.

Posted By: Lans
Last Edit: 06 Sep 2009 @ 07:02 AM

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