I was right — there’s a problem with Hubert!
A thousand injury possibilities raced through my mind, most of them related to cooking. Fire, second-degree burns, smoke inhalation…
My first thought is I’m right there with Lola, as far as being concerned goes. But then as I typed that, I realized… is she stereotyping him as a man being unable to cook? Is she being judgmental even in her concern for her possibly injured or dead friend?
Anyway, he’s not hurt! He’s “had a shock” though. Lola remembers to introduce Brother Jasper to her friends, and Mindy…. attempts to engage in smalltalk about their aunt? Did she miss the part where, hi, emergency happening? Lola missed it too, apparently, as she’s trying to communicate with her eyelashes that she’d like Ryan to drive her home. No dice, though Jasper gets a nice burn in:
“I’m Ryan Moriarty, by the way.”
Brother Jasper looked amused and gave Ryan’s hand a cursory shake. “Oh, I know exactly who you are. You live next door to me.”
Damn. No goodnight kiss for Lola, or anything else for that matter. The romance gods had conspired against me. Again.
Like seriously, it’s been, what, 500 words tops since she found out Hubert’s in trouble, and she’s already… ugh.
“What’s wrong with Hubert?” The seat belts in his car were like the kind found on airplanes. I had to adjust the clip manually, and there was no shoulder harness. No air bags either. Lucky we were surrounded by two tons of metal.
Seriously, she sounds incredibly concerned at this point in time. Also, I have a bridge in New York I might be willing to sell you.
“You’ll have to get the rest from Hubert or Piper.”
No, the Easter bunny.
Anyway, Piper drove Hubert home from the bar because he’s gotten completely and utterly drunk. This sounds bad. Apparently he saw Kelly out with someone else already — apparently she dates at the speed of Lola’s judgmentalism. It’s only been a week!
Also he did all this in the threeish hours she’s been gone. Some people, I swear to god, you take your eye off them for ONE MINUTE…
More of the awesome that is Brother Jasper:
I’d heard from the neighbors that he often used this car to give people from the homeless shelter rides to and from the free clinic. I myself had watched him load it full of canned goods to take to the food pantry. And Belinda had once told me that brother Jasper always headed up the search party when her little dog got loose. […] I wasn’t that good a person.
But Brother Jasper was.
[…]And instead of acting grateful, I’d been resistant and questioning.
Actually you’ve been manipulative, distracted, and heartless, but we’ll let that slide since this looks like we’re heading toward an epiphany!
Or a thank you. At least a verbal thank you is given.
Piper’s still here, because it’s not safe to leave drunk and hurting Hubert alone. Somehow, Lola is surprised by this. Um. Okay.
I never would have included Brother Jasper on my list of friends. He was older than my father, maybe older than my grandfather even — it was hard to say.
I felt a sudden warm surge of emotion, not unlike what the Grinch experienced when his heart grew three sizes that day.
Ha! She admits it! She’s the Grinch!
When she finally gets inside, Hubert’s on the couch, awake but not very. Also he’s throwing up. He must have had a lot — most guys I know don’t get to the throwing up stage for a few hours after the drinking heavily stage, but I’ve heard you can get there faster by increasing your alcohol quantity. Or mixing liquors I suppose. That usually makes me nauseous, though I rarely throw up, but then, I figured most guys I know hold their alcohol better than I do, so maybe it’s not such a problem for them?
Piper came out of the kitchen trailed by Crazy Myra
holy god shut the fuck up.
who was wearing a quilted housecoat and holding a coffee mug. My coffee mug.
You know, at this point I’d be worried about Hubert’s privacy, since the whole neighborhood apparently now knows about his woman problems and sees him at his worst. I’d be worried about safety given someone broke into the house recently and now everyone seems to be traipsing through it. I’d be worried about Hubert since he’s apparently had the worst day ever.
But Lola? She’s worried about strange germs on her coffee cup. Does she think she’ll catch the “Crazy”? FFS!
She grabs Piper and goes to wash her arm off, since Hubert didn’t quite make the bucket.
“I didn’t want to leave him alone, and Mike’s called three times. Brandon’s getting some teeth — he’s been wailing at the top of his lungs the whole time I’ve been gone.”
Piper. Also not concerned for her friend.
Hubert went to the gallery where he knew Kelly’d be setting up for the show he was going to take Lola to tomorrow, and it turns out she’s been cheating on him for months. Then he went to the bar, where he found out everyone knew she was cheating on him, so he started doing shots. A sensible response, I’d say.
“By the way, you really need to start keeping your phone on.”
Oh, right, this is all Lola’s fault. How dare she go out on a date when she knew Hubert was planning a nice quiet evening in with some home-cooked food and a movie? I mean, that’s obviously a warning sign that he’d end up piss-drunk on her couch throwing up on her arm by the end of the night.
“I’m sorry you were inflicted with Myra. […] She’s really an odd duck.”
Piper raised an eyebrow in surprise. “Oh no, she was a big help.”
Suck it, Lola.
“First off, she knows where everything is in this house.”
Okay that’s friggan creepy. I mean, best-case scenario, she was over frequently when Lola’s great-Aunt lived there, so she knows the layout of the house. But Lola and Hubert both moved in recently. Who’s to say they put things in the same places her great-aunt did? It’s unlikely that she’d, say, put the mugs in the same cabinet, or keep the first-aid supplies in the same closet.
“I was telling her about Brandon, and she told me about her little girl who died. So sad. And how horrible is it that just a few years later her husband and parents died within months of each other? That’s so tragic. I can’t even imagine how someone would cope with something like that. How could you keep going?”
Maybe by tending a garden for hours and muttering to ceramic garden gnomes?
Seriously? That’s what made her brand this woman as “Crazy”? She gardens?
I officially give up. WTF.
Myra, still carrying my coffee mug, left just after Piper drove away. I let the mug go without voicing an objection. I had liked that coffee mug a lot, actually, but I remembered the saying about letting the things you love be free. If it really belonged to me, it would be back. If not, it was never mine to begin wtih. Or something like that.
In any case, I had more important things to think about.
Yes, good, do that. Hey, look, Hubert, being sick! That’s kind of important. She swaps out his bucket, rinses the old one (doesn’t she know to use bleach? You always want to bleach sick-buckets, it kills the smell, which can trigger further vomiting if you use that same bucket again.)
Hubert is still awake.
“I’m drunk too, but mostly sick. Food poisoning. I had a bad seafood sub from Sub America at lunch time.”
Well that makes sense. That explains how he got to the throwing-up stage so quickly.
“And you’ve narrowed it down to the seafood sub? Are you sure that was it?”
“I wasn’t sure it was the seafood going down, but coming back up– I definitely knew.”
That makes no sense. You throw up the entire contents of your stomach. It’s not like it’s selective, what gets thrown up. Apparently Piper ignored him when he said he had food poisoning. Lola takes a moment to notice that he’s having a bad day and gives him some bottled water.
Lola tries to comfort Hubert, who admits he just wants to get married so he can stop dating. Lola takes this opportunity to muse for three paragraphs about how awesome Ryan is.
“You mark my words, Hubert. Sometime in the very near future, we will be married.”
[…] “Are you proposing to me, Lola?”
“What?” My hand froze in midair.
“Because if you’re asking, yes, I will marry you.”
Oh dear christ are we doing this?
“I was talking in general. I didn’t mean we should get married to each other.”
He raised himself up on one elbow and looked at me through half-lidded eyes. “Why not, Lola?”
Yes. Yes we are.
Neither of us would have to be alone? How pathetic was that? The poor man was speaking out of desperation.
Glass houses. Stones.