Searching for Kansas

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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Jan 26, 2017 3:28 pm

Minutes later, she woke screaming again. Thankfully, she couldn’t remember whatever she’d been dreaming about. “I kicked him hard,” she said to herself. Bleary-eyed, Vivian picked up a book her nightstand, a murder mystery. No, not tonight. She exchanged it for romantic comedy, a story about a college dufus, pimply-faced and fat, who couldn’t get a girl to save his life. It was stupid and shallow. Shallow, shallow, shallow. Just perfect for this awful night. The sky was beginning to lighten when Vivian finally dozed off.
She woke to the sensation of spitting blood while a siren shrieked in the distance. The siren turned out to be her alarm clock beeping in her ear and jolting her awake.
You've got to be frickin' kidding, Vivian thought, and she pulled the clock out of the wall socket, almost breaking the cord with her hands.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sun Jan 29, 2017 2:15 pm

Awake, she started to get up and dress. Then she thought about it. No, she wasn't going to work. Not today. Maybe later, but not now, not today. She made it to the phone and left a message on Austin's answering machine. “I'm not coming in. I got mugged last night.” She was suddenly furious with Austin, for no apparent reason. “I kicked the SOB. And I can kick you too,” she said.
And she cried herself to sleep.
Vivian woke with the memory of her kick and the thug dropping to the ground. The terror of the night before was waning, and she found herself humming the tune to “We Are the Champions.” Too bad she'd been wearing sneakers and not steel-toed boots.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:14 pm

And it had felt good. She was powerful; she'd beat up the son of a bitch. He deserved everything and more. A smile played on her lips as she remembered the previous evening.
She owned the docks. She was the queen, the ruler, not him, not the unknown punk. She remembered the sight of him curled up in the street. He'd let out a sickly sound, half scream, half groan. The memory was thrilling. So that’s why hoods liked street fighting! It was embarrassing, and she'd never admit this to a single soul, but she had enjoyed that part, the part where she landed the kick. As Denise had suggested, Vivian replayed that kick over and over in her mind. She liked the rush. But her hands were still shaking.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:56 pm

It was about ten by this time, and she got up from bed and began her day. The coffee was on, and she'd changed into a pair of jeans and a t-shirt. Force of habit. It had been ages since she'd worn stockings or dry-clean-only clothes. No, she wouldn't go in today, but she'd go in tomorrow, and the next day, and no one was going to dictate where she could or could not go.
A knock at the door interrupted her coffee, newspaper, and daydreaming. It was Austin and he held out a bag containing a cranberry scone, a cornbread muffin, and a chocolate chip cookie.
Vivian pulled out the muffin and took a big bite.
“What happened?” Austin tried to sound casual.
“Some bozo tried to mug me.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sun Feb 05, 2017 5:56 pm

“Actually yes. A little sore. Okay, a lot sore. And there's a cut on my back where he knifed me.”
“You got knifed? Are you okay? The hospital let you go already?”
“I never went to the hospital. It wasn't that deep. And anyway, I just wanted to get to bed.”
“But you said you got stabbed.”
“It wasn't as bad as it sounds. I can't wear that t-shirt or jacket again, not even to work.” She reached for Austin’s bag. “All of a sudden I'm hungry. I don't think I ate any dinner last night - just tea and brandy.” He passed her the bag. “That scone looks really good,” she said.
“Starbucks' special.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Tue Feb 07, 2017 3:15 pm

She ate both the scone and the muffin while Austin worked on the cookie. “I'm still hungry,” she said. “If I scramble some eggs will you eat any?” She paced a bit, pumped up by the sugar.
“Here, let me scramble the eggs,” said Austin. “You were attacked.”
“Let me help then. I want to move. I don't want to sit still. It feels helpless, and I don't want to feel helpless. Not ever again.”
“Okay, then. How about, you find something for the insides, and I'll turn them into an omelet. I can fry a perfect omelet.”
“I didn't know you cooked.”
“Cooking and chemistry aren't all that different, and I aced quantitative analysis. You pick out your ingredients. You prepare them. You mix them. You heat them up. I do great Bunsen burner work, by the way. And, there you go, dinner or a doctoral thesis, depending on where it ends up.”
“And with both chemistry and cooking I seem to wind up with dirty dishes.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Feb 09, 2017 8:52 pm

“I’ll even do the dishes. Enjoy it. This is the only chance you’ll ever get to see my chivalrous side.”
Never did anything taste so good to Vivian - in part because Austin really was that good of a cook, and in part because she was as hungry for food as she was for someone to talk to.
And hungry for adventure. If her life could end that quickly and easily, she had to grab it. She'd been a bit of a caged bird living with Alex. And she'd been miserable after she'd left him. Was now the time to be happy? “I guess we should be getting to work. It's got be almost noon.” she said.
“I thought you didn't want to go in to work today.”
“I feel better now that I've eaten.” She paced back and forth as she talked. “And the knife wound is really just a scratch, a long scratch, but it's more annoying than anything else.” She felt hysterical.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Mon Feb 13, 2017 10:45 am

This must be what manic depressive feels like when you're manic, Vivian thought. She wanted to move, to do something. She had to walk, to run, to work till sweat and worry came out of her pores.
“What exactly happened to you?”
“This idiot came at me. He stuck a knife in my back. And he was all twitchy, and I was scared he’d kill me by accident. So I clipped him . . .”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Feb 15, 2017 1:23 pm

“You what?”
Vivian’s voice rose high and loud. “I clipped him - grabbed him around the knees. He fell. I ran. He pulled my hair.” Suddenly she was pacing around the room again. She sounded almost hysterical. “Then he punched me, so I kicked him in the nuts.” She kicked the air in front of her with a thundering “ha ya!”
Austin instinctively put his hands over his own groin. “Poor idiot. I almost feel sorry for him.”
“Poor idiot? What about me?”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Mon Feb 20, 2017 11:07 am

“Apparently you can take care of yourself. I’ve never been so impressed in my life. Let's take the day off and be tourists in Chesapeake Bay. No boats, I promise. What's your pleasure, a day of culture, a day of decadence, or a leisurely hike through the upper tributaries of the Monongahela?”
“What about work?”
He thought it, but didn’t dare say it. She was too emotional and likely to break something. “I’m the boss. And everything's in the refrigerator that needs to be. I checked before I came over. Nothing's rotting. There's preservative in all the specimen bottles . . . oh . . . I'm doing it again - going on at the mouth.”
“I've gotten kind of used to it.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Wed Feb 22, 2017 10:53 am

“So where do we go?”
“I want to do something different. Something I’ve never done before. I want adventure, excitement.”
Vivian recoiled as she said the word “excitement.” What was she saying? She didn’t need any more excitement. She wanted to be safe. “No, not excitement.” Why was she asking for excitement? “I don’t know. But I feel antsy. Like if I die tomorrow, I won’t have done anything. If that bozo had killed me, my life would mean zilch. I want to see something important.” Where did that come from? Did she want to be safe, or did she want her life to have meaning? Apparently, she wanted both.
“Let me take you to my favorite spot in Baltimore. It’ll be a surprise Wait. Where are you going?”
“I’m tired of wearing jeans. I’m dressing up.”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Fri Feb 24, 2017 2:54 pm

“Wear comfortable shoes.”
“Not a chance,” said Vivian.
As she climbed into the car, Austin noticed the graceful curve of her calf. His eyes followed upward to the soft roundness of her hip, and her tiny waste. Vivian was wearing a skirt with tiger cubs playing against a background of deep blue sky. it was a wraparound kind of thing, that tied at the side, A simple orange top matched the golden fur of the tigers, and its neckline was scooped low with a tiny fringe of lace, barely showing a touch of cleavage. Understated and oh so sexy. Vivian was hot. Why had he never noticed? He was a scientist for Heaven’s sake. He was supposed to be observant.
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Sun Feb 26, 2017 4:20 pm

In the car, Austin turned the radio off. They sang “I Am Woman,” and “These Boots are Made for Walking,” and “I Did It My Way.”
“Now close your eyes,” Austin said. “We’re almost there . . .” The car turned.
“Okay you turned into a parking lot. You’ve stopped the car. Can I open my eyes now?” As she spoke, Vivian was preparing herself to act delighted, mentally practicing her smile and her exclamation - something like, “Oh my gosh this is amazing!”
And Austin all but busted out of his pants. “Ta-dah!” it was Baltimore’s National Aquarium.
Vivian’s smile dropped - flat - like a canon ball or a load of bricks. She punched his arm. “This is where you take a girl? Fish!” She was screaming. Why was she screaming? Her voice was shrill in her ears, and she couldn’t seem to stop. “Fish! You moron! That’s all I see every bleepin’ day at work. Some of them are even alive. What’s your idea of a romantic date - an evening at the recycling center?”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Tue Feb 28, 2017 1:12 pm

“Quit squawking,” Austin said. “This is the best aquarium on earth and the most interesting attraction Baltimore has to offer. Whenever I lose a grant, or my equipment breaks, or my assistant quits, I come here. The ultimate cure for what troubles you. You’ll be feeling better in no time.” His voice softened and he slowed his words, as if he were talking to someone feeble.
Vivian bristled. “The ultimate cure? Feeling better in no time? Just what are you trying to say? That I’m not all right? That I need to be fixed? That I’m about to crack up? Is that what you think?”
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Re: Searching for Kansas

Postby Elaine Glimme » Thu Mar 02, 2017 9:04 am

Her moods were shifting and slamming back and forth from terrified, to sad, to maniacal. Like a pinball machine on steroids. One minute she wanted to hide in a drawer. The next minute she wanted to punch Austin again just because she could. “And the aquarium? You’ve got to be kidding me. You’re giving me fish on my day off! You’ve got to be frickin’ kidding me.” Austen said nothing as they approached the entrance. “$25! I’m not paying that to see a bunch of frickin’ fish. If I wanted fish, I could have gone to work and seen them for free.”
Austin pulled out a credit card. “Oh . . . Just shut up,” he said.
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