Phil's Return

byTabby JJ Kitty©

Melody did not notice her friends at the counter. She barely noticed where she was and she certainly had no idea of her current physical appearance. Cat dragged in would be a complement; war torn was more like it. She and Philip sat in a corner far away from windows doors and critical friends. Barbra came up to them with coffee and disapproval. She knew the whole story. Melody, tear stained, did not look up. Philip clueless, nervous, ordered two breakfast specials. Alistare and D whispered together at the counter. Alisatre recounted the morning's episode with Philip. "So, he was just there naked?" D asked. "Looked as if he'd wrapped him self in receipts for warmth" answered Al. They giggled like bad kids. "Where was she? " D asked. "Dunno," he answered, "in the building, somewhere...I guess..."

The breakfast specials came to the table greasy and cold. Philip ate thoughtlessly. Melody stared at the congealing eggs. She felt unwell. All this time they'd said nothing. They sat feeling the way they do about each other and the situation, cocooned in their individual perspectives. Finally, she said "It's not fair." She said it flatly, factually, almost inaudibly to the cold crusty bacon strips that she did not want on her plate. "Hmm?" asked Philip, detached, sipping his coffee like some ancient duke at tea with the queen. She composed herself, sat up, looked him in the eye, straight. "It's not fair." This time she spoke clearly but her tone remained flat. "Not fair? What?" he asked. His cup found its way back to the table. They stared at each other. This wasn't the gooey stare of infatuation that usually bound them, this was the stare of a woman accuser and her befuddled male accused. It was a stare that bordered on hostel but didn't quite have enough cab fare to make it. Both were certainly more alert now. She smirked a little with her new found sense of power. "It's not fair" she said again as lightly as one would say "Nice jacket". "What the hell are you talking about?" he asked, annoyed. She smiled fully now, a menacing but pleased smile. "Us. I'm talking about Us." She said brightly like she was making a wonderful discovery. "Us? There's no Us..." he started snarling but then stopped himself. Seven years of this not quite affair and he says 'There's no Us?' he knew that he'd fucked up. Her face fell. "I guess you're right." She said, the words falling from her lips in glacier-like chunks. She then scooched out of the booth. Seeing D & Al at the counter, she marched over to them and very efficiently said " We need to have a meeting." And walked out. D & Al jumped up immediately and followed her out. Philip sat watching the whole thing and sipping his coffee, thoroughly confused.

Back at the theatre amid puddles of spilt booze and scattered refuse, Melody paced in front of Alistare and D as they berated their negligence. Melody listened. "That's really not the issue." She stated. "The issue is that we're still broke, and how are we going to get un-broke?" she had the air of a military sergeant about her, her friends didn't understand the sudden switch in demeanor. Must be the coffee...?

"I could hold classes here instead of the gym and pay you guys the same rent I pay the Gym?" D suggested. "Thanks...that's a start...I guess I could hold acting classes...and put the revenue toward the theater..." Melody thought out loud. "I could tutor kids in math...!" Alistare blurted out, more to be part of the game than to actually be helpful. Mel & D looked at him skeptically surprised. "What?" he asked. "You mean it?" D questioned with a sideways glance. "Yes, of course I mean it..." Al defended himself. "Seriously, You're going to interact with children?" Melody's tone was downright accusatory. "Yes, " he answered, "yes, I am. For the sake of the theatre and Our Work."

Mel & D were totally shocked. "Maybe I should've stressed the word interact?" Mel asked. "No...I got it...look guys, I just want to help out...If you don't want me to, then..." started Al.

"It's not that we don't want you to. It's a great idea but, you don't like to deal with people and with kids, you..." said D

"I don't know what else I can do..." He sounded helpless.

"That's what you can do, but are you sure you want to do it?" asked Mel.

"I told you I did" Al stated

"You can't drop the ball because you're bored, tired or don't feel like it that day, you can't flake on kids." Said D

"Now you're calling me a flake?"

"YES" Mel & D said in unison. It was the first time that cat had been let out of the bag, and it may have been a little too ferocious. Poor Alistare was pulverized. He got himself out of the chair and went home. This was a bad bad day. Mel & D decided to leave it alone till later and just clean up the theatre right now.

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