Two – Zip
I sat cross-legged on the floor with my back against the bed, facing Danica. The week seemed to drag on an interminable length of time. I hadn’t considered the waiting aspect of war games, nor had I considered the wrench in the crazy parfait. He was going to be trouble with a capital T.
Our plans weren’t impossible, but psych guy’s presence made it a lot more work than I’d originally anticipated. I combed my hair back with my fingers and heaved a sigh.
“You okay,” Danica asked.
“Yea,” I issued crossly.
“I suck at waiting,” I confessed.
“Yea,” Danica laughed softly, “I got that.”
“And psych guy,” I continued, “We just had to get one who is well-versed in the Hellenistic period,” I rolled my eyes with contempt.
“How about a sex change,” she grinned.
“Don’t be a queen next time. Be a God or something,” She suggested.
“Ya know,” I laughed heartily, “maybe I could keep him guessing; like hop around to different time periods and personas!”
As soon as I thought it through further, it occurred to me, That could lead to a permanent stay here and not just for me! I didn’t have the heart to voice it.
“There you go,” she said with smile, “but what are you going to do to blow off steam right now?”
“Well, let me think.”
Once again, the wheels were turning. There were small things I could pull off alone. Danica fell silent as she watched me thinking. Several minutes later, I was drawing on my knowledge of websites when Danica could stand no more, “Spill!”
“It’s just a little thing,” I explained, “but this one is on me.”
“Okay,” she said anxiously, “Spill! What are you going to do?”
“I know how to set the screensaver to scrolling marquee and download the Chiller font,” I explained.
We lifted our water cups and made a toast to the resurrection of “Operation Any Little Annoyance.”
“If I get caught,” I began.
“No” Danica interjected, “You can’t! You won’t!”
“I know,” I consoled her, “but if the worst happens, it’s just me acting alone. Nobody else goes down with me. Understand?”
Danica’s face fell. With her eyes to the floor she shook her head saying, “But we’re sisters, all for one and one for all.”
“Of course,” I argued, “but if it happens, I need you guys to finish what we started,” I lied, hoping she would buy it.
Training her eyes on mine, Danica saw right through me, “I think we should concentrate on getting you out of whatever hot water you’re in,” she replied defiantly.
“Okay, okay! I give,” I laughed.
We both knew I would protect our group with my life but, right now, I wasn’t going to take chances that involved any one of the girls.
I needed to lighten up the gloom that had descended upon us so I stared deeply into her eyes for several minutes, as though meaning to say something profound, and then broke into a wide grin,
“Its weird right,” I said, feeding her own words back to her.
“Oh, It’s weird alright, ” she laughed, “Oh so weird!”
I stood and reached for her hand to help her up,
“Darned straight and it’s about to get more weird,” I giggled softly.
We made our way through the community room and out to the porch and found our usual seat, atop the table furthest from the door. I waited while Danica stared into the distance. It wasn’t hard to tell that her thoughts were far from here tonight.
I sat watching her for a moment. There was a pain on her face I’d never seen before or perhaps didn’t notice, in my effort to keep from tumbling headlong in that direction myself.
We sat in silence while I watched emotions flash in her eyes and suddenly she looked like a woman in her thirties. She was my first friend here, the first one who was willing to be an open book, as well as guide me through my first days in this hellhole, but I hadn’t noticed.
Watching her now, staring off into the night, I realized that life had been terribly unkind to Danica. I was absolutely grief-stricken. Now, I realized that she had depths of unbearable pain that she didn’t want to talk about, but she was willing to with me. I felt really ashamed of having snapped at her on my first morning inside.
I adjusted my position to sit next to her, throwing my arm around her shoulder as she had done for me that night by the fence, wondering, How can a girl who comes from so much harsh reality still be such a caring and kind friend? What had happened to her that made her want to die? Who or what had near-fatally wounded my best friend?
We sat together for a long time not saying a word, yet conveyed so many things. We stayed lost in our thoughts until the call came for lights out. I cupped my hands around Danica’s ear and whispered, “Okay, ask me tomorrow night.”
I expected her confusion but all facades had been dropped somewhere in these last few hours.
“Okay,” She agreed.
Goon stood waiting, watching our exchange while holding the door. She looked suspicious and slightly miffed but neither of us cared. Something extremely important had changed tonight, and neither Danica nor I would ever turn back.
At two a.m. break, I made sure everyone was sleeping, and padded in my butt-ugly turquoise socks, to the main computer at the head of the community room. I downloaded the Chiller Font, set the marquee to scroll immediately and typed,
“I’M TRAPPED ON THE INSIDE AND I’M TAKING YOU WITH ME…”
As I strolled back to bed, I sliced the air with my finger whispering to myself,
“And the score is: Us – two. Them – zip!”