Irish pt. LIV
Ramona stares at the Scrabble board. She fusses with her tiles. She ponders.
We all sit around the game. Nobody says anything.
Ramona looks up. "Sure, I'll write something for Acid Logic," she says.
Ramona plays 'exam' with the X on a triple letter. Pete writes down her score.
"But I'm pretty rusty. It might take me a minute to get started."
"Next issue comes out in 2 weeks," says Forbis.
"I do have an idea. But I don't want to talk about it," says Ramona.
"That's what I thought you'd say," says Forbis.
"What format do you prefer?" says Ramona.
"Format?" says Forbis.
"You know, do you want it as an e-mail or an attachment or a Google doc or what?" says Ramona.
Forbis stares at Ramona for a second. "I don't care. Whatever format works for you."
"Really?" says Ramona.
"Sure, I can re-format it to fit the site easily enough," says Forbis.
"Really?" says Ramona.
"Really," says Forbis.
I play 'chop' on a double word square.
The game goes on. Forbis beats Ramona by two points.
"Are you guys hungry?" says Forbis. "I know a place up the street that's cheap and not busy."
So we all walk up to a dilapidated diner. The place is out of time machine from 1962. It's about half full. The menu is full of cholesterol bombs and starch.
Everybody finds something to order though and it arrives pretty quick and then we are eating. And the food isn't bad.
Forbis and Ramona are having an animated conversation about the publishing industry. They have common ground because neither one of them are very happy with it.
We linger after the food is gone. Chatting away. But finally the group breaks up.
Forbis heads off down 30th street and the rest of us go over to the bus stop at Ohio Street.
"That Forbis guy is pretty cool," says Ramona. "He's nothing like any of those assholes I used to have to deal with in New York."
Nobody says anything because it's pretty unusual for Ramona to use such strong language.
"No. He's not," says Pete Moss.
Then a guy rides up to the bus stop on a Bird scooter.
He rides up fast. That's nothing new. You see those scooters blowing along the sidewalk all the time.
But this one slows down as he's coming up. Then he reaches into his pocket.
"He's got a gun!" screams YoYo.
Everything happens really fast. The guy points the gun. Fires twice. People are scrambling. Glass shatters. The guy blazes off on his scooter.
Pete hits the deck. Pulls Ramona with him. Now they are getting back to their feet.
"C'mon, we gotta go," says Pete.
"Don't we have to wait for the cops?" says Ramona.
"No! We gotta move! Now!! There may be another shooter or that guy might come back to finish the job.!" says Pete.
He's stepping into the street. He's spotted an Uber at a red light. Pete runs over dragging Ramona. Pete flings open the door of the Uber and stuffs a flustered Ramona into the back seat.
The rest of us follow.
"I'm not allowed to pick up people off the street," says the irritated Uber driver. "I'm not a taxi!"
"Fifty bucks says you are," says Pete. "Just drive us away from here, now!!"
"Oh yes, I guess i can do it this once," says the driver taking the bills.
The driver makes a quick turn off congested University Avenue and is shortly half a dozen blocks away.
"What just happened?" says Ramona.
"Just a random bit of urban mayhem," says Pete.
YoYo looks at him and rolls her eyes. She looks at me and I know she's about to say something. I put my finger to my lips.
Neither one of us think it was random. Not coupled with the fact that somebody tried to run Pete down just a couple of weeks ago in San Francisco.
Later we're back at Ramona's condo on the 35th floor of Pinnacle tower at 16th and J.
Pete has fired up the grill and we're playing Scrabble.
The intercom buzzes.
"Yes?" says Ramona.
"Security," says the voice. "We've had a complaint. Could you open the door?"
Ramona opens the door.
"What's the problem?" says Ramona.
The security guy is very suave and very polished. But also not to be fucked with.
"We had a complaint about smoke." says the security guy.
"Yes. My husband is grilling some pork chops," says Ramona.
"On a charcoal grill?" says the security guy.
"Of course. He doesn't approve of propane or propane accessories," says Ramona.
"If you will check your HOA guidelines you will see that charcoal grills are strictly prohibited," says the security guy. "You did read your HOA contract, didn't you?"
"Of course, of course," says Ramona. She starts to close the door, but the security guy has his foot in the way.
"You want us to put the grill out right now?" says Ramona.
"No, I'll cut you a break on that. You can finish grilling your pork chops. But there is one other thing."
"What?" says Ramona.
"Your husband, or whatever he is, can't be rolling his bikes through the lobby."
Pete Moss comes to the door.
"What you say now?" he says.
The level of aggro has risen by a bit.
"You can't be bringing your bikes through the lobby and into the elevator, sir," says the security guy.
"Where am I supposed to put them?" says Pete.
"There's a bike parking cage in the garage, sir" says the security guy.
"Yeah right." says Pete. "I'll just be sure and do that."
"Thank you sir," says the security guy.