“I like your gray hair.” It changes. “Oh, I mean, *black* hair.”
“Never mind that,” she waves off, still weeping a bit. She lays her head in her folded arms on the table. “I can’t (*sniff*) *believe* he’s *gone*.”
MAT pats her hand. “There there.” It’s something she did a lot for Jeffrey, especially when he woke up after one of his weird dreams. The memory makes her cry even more. We better postpone the post about her chat with MAT for another day.
Oh wait, she’s finished. She looks up, stares into MAT’s eyes. “I’m better (*sniff*). Yes,” she nods. “Better.” More nodding, like a bobble-head winding down. MAT withdraws his hand from hers, sensing he needs to do that. It starts wheels turning in Charlene’s head, though — the subtle pause. Was MAT interested in her? So soon after Jeffrey’s demise? How dare he! But maybe she’s just imagining it. She stares into his eyes. Very intelligent, yes, but very unformed. What would be a better word? Unfocused. *Fuzzy*. Blurred even, but perhaps that’s because of the remaining water in her eyes. She wipes them, looks again. Still a bit blurred, still a bit fuzzy. This was on MAT. How is he going to run a whole 1/8th sim town like that? she asks in her mind.
“How’s… (*small sniff*) Collagesity managing? I (*smaller sniff*) imagine the paperwork is piling up even higher than before, foot by foot.”
“One foot after another,” MAT recites, thinking back to leaving the subway and heading here. Spunky’s coffee bar, bought by Charlene the Punk from Rochelle the Spy in the Summer of ’98, which would be just last year, NWES Time Zone. She’d done a great job with it. “Money’s not great,” she admitted to Jeffrey Phillips just the week before last Wednesday’s Tuesday or thereabouts. So soon was he taken from us! “Come with me,” he then beckoned. “Come to Collagesity.” Oh, she was there some nights, and it always seemed the ones where he had those weird dreams. About this place called Pickleland, for example. Danny as a time traveling super scientist, ha! He can barely plunge a commode. Okay, he’s actually a pretty good janitor, Charlene admitted in her mind.
Man About Time had nodded off while Charlene thought about other stuff. He too was dreaming about Pickleland, and being in control again, fuzzy no more. Grandma loves him best of all, he knows, up there on the 7th level or whatever. Maybe 8th. But way up high, so no one could reach her. But him.
(to be continued)