Some light hearted fun at the mall.
A Gross Lack of Soy Sauce
Egan was staring out the window, watching the scenery whoosh past. She had always found car rides the most relaxing experience. The trees and lines on the road and cars and people all rushing past in such a hypnotic way calmed her and put her in a place where she could sit quiet and still, something she normally found difficult. Gerard, having a hard time believing she was being so well-mannered, kept glancing back in the rearview mirror, as if trying to make sure she was still there. But while Egan was being the perfect passenger, Frank was not faring so well.
For one, he was jiggling his leg a mile a minute. While bouncing back against the back of his seat repeatedly. And talking like he was coked up. Gerard, who had gone months without any sort of company but Egan, was finding it hard to adjust. Frank’s life was perilously close to becoming painful, but he chattered on, oblivious to the looming danger. Thank God for Egan who inadvertently saved his groin area from a punch.
“Gerard? Have you seen “The Little Prince”? I looked all over, I can’t seem to find it.”
“What’s that? Oh, yeah, I got it from your room.” Now, Egan was relatively new to the room, but she still considered it her domain, and this bit of information didn’t sit right with her.
“You went in my room?” she asked in a low, quiet voice. Gerard realized this tone did not bode well for him. Frank could go home, but he had to live in the same house with her.
“You were asleep” he said, trying to placate her. If she knew she was in there while he was in there, then it wasn’t such a big deal, right?
Wrong, you donut.
“You were in my room WHILE I WAS ASLEEP?” The low quiet voice was lost. It was now strident and quite frightening. Gerard once again peered into the rear view mirror and locked eyes with the tiny, fuming Egan.
“Have you lost your…what is wrong with…you must be OUTSIDE your mind!”
“Do you think this is funny? You think I’m not pissed? I am not yelling for shits and giggles Gerard!” He stared at her, took a deep breath, and began what he anticipated being a long process.
“No. I do not think it’s funny. I had hoped humor would be a saving grace for me. Apparently not. I thought, since you were in there, it would be okay. I was wrong. It is not okay. I see this now. I apologize Egan. Please forgive me.” He said all this in a stilted, monotonous way and it only made Egan all the madder.
“Why not?” This surprised him. He’d said sorry. That was supposed to make it alright.
“Because you don’t mean it. I can’t give out forgiveness if you won’t take it.”
“Honestly, I don’t see why I need forgiveness. I don’t think I did anything wrong.”
“Well that’s obvious.” Frank chose this time to discreetly flip on the radio. The station was tuned to some God-awful country station (What the hell was Gerard listening to?) so he twirled the dial, not looking to see where it landed. It couldn’t get too much worse than this.
“Oh my gosh! This song is so OLD!” Egan squealed as T-Pain’s “Buy U A Drank” came on. Frank had been wrong. There was so much farther it could sink.
Frank knew enough of short attention spans to know that when they get distracted, you should just take the ball and run with it. He quickly took advantage of the situation and began singing along.
Egan burst out laughing when she caught sight of him, face squinched up in fake emotion, trying his best to match the electronically altered wobbling vocals. It was sweet, kind of. She’d known Frank eight hours tops, but already she loved him. She smiled and sang along through intermittent bursts of laughter.
I’ma buy you a drank
I’ma take you home with me
I got money in the bay-ay-ank
Shawty whatchoo think ‘bout that?
Find me in the gray Cadillac
We in the bed like
Ooh! Ooh! Oo-ooh!
At this point it was too much. Egan and Frank collapsed in their respective seats and laughed until tears ran down their faces. Gerard cut the music, but they were still laughing for another minute and a half.
“Frank.” Gerard said.
“You think you could stop?”
“Um, probably not.” This sent him and Egan into renewed peals of laughter. Knowing you’re annoying someone always makes it that much funnier. Then Gerard looked real hard at him. Gerard was eerily good at freaking people out by staring at them. “But for you man, I’ll try.” Frank continued quickly. Egan, however, had made no promises, and she continued to howl. That is until the car jerked to a stop.
“We’re here.” Gerard announced coolly. Egan, irritated by the abrupt halt, muttered one of her favorite sayings.
“Expand your vocabulary.”
“Mind your own damn business.”
“Go three words without swearing.”
“Get laid motherfucker.”
“That was only two.”
“Shut up.” This was the exchange that took place as the three exited the car. Gerard and Egan both slammed the door a bit harder than absolutely necessary to guarantee that it would stay closed. Frank, who had taken no notice of their surroundings up until now, looked around for the first time.
“You’re not serious!”
“Serious about what?” Egan asked, pausing to look around with Frank. She didn’t see anything but marked parking spaces. Gerard stopped too.
“I am indeed serious.” Gerard said.
“We’ll get seen!” Frank attempted to whisper. He was pitiful at it.
“Serious about what?” Egan repeated. She could keep this up if she had to.
“Nah, I brought sunglasses and a hoodie for both of us. Take out your lip ring and put up your hood, we’ll be fine. No one knows who she is,” he gestured with his chin to Egan,” And as far as anyone is concerned, I’ve been MIA for months. They probably still think I have white hair.” Gerard started walking again and the other two followed.
“Hey Gerard?” Egan called, as he had gotten a bit ahead.
“Yeah.” He called back.
“What are you serious about?”
“I like to think of it as charm.”
“Where are we exactly?” They had been walking up a paved hill, part of the expansive parking lot.
“The mall.” Gerard said with the air of a ring master announcing the next act as they crested the hill. He gestured grandly towards the very large, very industrial, very bright building a few hundred feet off.
“Oh…Well what are we gonna do here?” And there was the rub, it seemed. Gerard opened his mouth and faltered slightly.
“There are many varied attractions at the mall—“
“I fail to see them, but let’s assume you’re right.” Frank cut in.
“—And I’m sure we’ll find something. We can…see a movie. Or get something to eat. Or shop. I guess. I’m actually not real big on shopping. You can shop. We could see another movie. I think there’s a tattoo parlor here too Egan, in case you wanna make it an even 70.” He smirked here.
“I will if you will.” She smirked back. He got paler, if it was possible, and shut up. Egan chewed the inside of her cheek and thought.
“They got a nail salon here?” she wondered aloud.
“Oh guuurl, you know they do.” Frank said in a ghetto voice.
“I’m bettin’.” Gerard answered.
“Then I wanna get my nails done.” Egan announced.
“Alright. Any particular reason?”
“Naw, not really. It’s just something I always wanted to do. My mom got her nails done in red and she’d look so glamorous. I would beg her to take me too, but she’d just smile and tell me “When you’re older” like mothers always do. And then…she wasn’t around to take me.” There was a sad sort of silence, then Egan cleared her throat and said in an annoyingly bright fake cheery voice “So now’s my chance!”
They walked on in silence.
Frank and Gerard were inhabiting a table on the outskirts of the “picnic” area in the center of the food court. Egan had gone to get Chinese food, and they had opted for pizza. Since the line was shorter for the pizza—there was no accounting for taste--they had returned to their table first, and Frank planned to make use of the time to have what he felt was a much needed talk with Gerard.
“It’s been a while since I’ve talked to you.” He began.
“Yeah, yeah, I know. I’m sorry about that, it’s just with Egan and everything…like I said, temptation manifests itself in many forms. I’m making attempts at responsibility.” Gerard smiled at Frank, who smiled back. Then the smile left his face.
“So, that’s it? You’re just looking out for Egan?”
“Yeah man. Just being a good sponsor.”
“Oh. Okay. Yeah, I get that. I just didn’t know if, you know…maybe you just wanted to be alone for a while. After the break up and everything…” Frank was finding it hard to look Gerard in the eye. He knew how badly the ending of the engagement had hurt Gerard, or he thought he did, and he didn’t want to bring up the past if it would hurt him too much.
Gerard seemed to be having trouble meeting Frank’s eyes as well. He looked down and studied his food while considering what to say. Frank had gotten closer to the truth than he knew. Actually, he hadn’t gotten close to the truth, he’d hit it on the head with a fucking hammer. But what should he say? Should he let Frank know just how badly he had been messed up? How badly he was still messed up? That he had teetered on the brink of insanity, sat on that edge of the cliff for days and nights, wondering and thinking of jumping off and giving in to comforting madness? How close Frank had come to being a mourner at his funeral when he contemplated suicide all those dark nights as he wandered the streets? No, he couldn’t do that, he couldn’t scare Frankie like that. Frank, who seemed so innocent. Frank, who loved to laugh and play jokes and mess around.. Frank, whom he could never bear to make sad. His best friend, the one who knew every secret. No, he couldn’t tell him what was going on, could he? Out of habit he bit the side of his bottom lip.
“Gerard?” The silence had lasted too long for Frank. “Why wouldn’t you let us come see you? Why wouldn’t you ever answer when I called?” Gerard didn’t answer.
“Why are you lying and saying it’s because of Egan that we had to stay away?” No answer. “Why are you suddenly keeping secrets Gerard? We never did that before, neither of us. It’s always been us, together. Always. Why isn’t it now?” All the frustration Frank had felt these months, all the anger and the hurt and the sadness, all of it was rising to the surface and he was having to work to keep his voice controlled.
“Why don’t you get it? I would have been there for you, if you needed that. I would have, Bob would have, Mikey would have, Ray would have.” Gerard was dragging a fork through the cheese on top of his pizza. “Why didn’t you at least let us know? I was worried about you. I thought you’d gone off the deep end for sure. I thought you’d been on some kind of wack-job bender and you weren’t coming back. Why didn’t you think about anyone besides yourself? Huh? Why did you have to be so damn selfish? You aren’t the only one who was hurt. God knows how many times Mikey called me at three in the morning, wondering why you were shutting him out. He’s your little brother Gerard. He’s family, you don’t just leave him out in the cold.” Now Frank was pissed, and letting it show. “And when it comes to family, how many times have we said we were all brothers? You shouldn’t have left us out either, Gerard, that's just…you shouldn’t have. What possessed you to think you could just disappear and no one would notice or care or want to know where the hell you disappeared off to?” Gerard was still looking down, and it was too much for Frank. “And why won’t you fucking answer?”
“I didn’t want you around.” He said it so quietly, Frank wasn’t even sure he had heard it. He looked at Gerard, waiting to see if he would speak again.
“I didn’t want you to see me.”
“I was bad. I didn’t want to be seen like that. That’s why.”
It was all so unreal, sitting here telling secrets while eating pizza in the middle of a mall surrounded by people who had no fucking idea what was going on around them. The lights were so harsh and the smell of food was so strong and the noise was so loud. The plastic chairs were hard and smelled of generic cleaning solution. There were smudges on the table top and the napkin dispenser and the oil on the pizza shone iridescently. Gerard could feel his heart beating in his chest. He felt the tiny shoots of pain every time he picked at his broken cuticle, trying to pull it off. He felt his chest relax as he breathed out through his mouth.
“I was selfish. I’m sorry Frankie.” Frank looked at him for a moment.
“Nothin’ to be sorry about.” He took a noisy sip of his drink. Just then a tray crashed down next to Frank, startling them both.
“Stupid fucking lines. Stupid fucking picky customers. Stupid fucking malls. Stupid fucking life.” Egan plopped down in front of her tray. “They didn’t even have any soy sauce.”
Author's Note: I'm sorry it's taken me 'til now to get this up. I was working on school work for a while and then when I tried to sit down and write, nothing would come. I'm not even sure if this chapter is worth it, but I'm pretty sure it's going to work alright. Let me know what you think. Y'all know i love reviews. Oh, and my first chapter has no reviews. I don't know why this bothers me, but it does. If you want, you could go back and maybe review it. I bet the reviews would be interesting, you already know what's coming. But only if you want. Also, something weird just hapened. I just heard both Hillary Clinton and Barrack Obama's voices for the first time. And they've been campaigning for a looong time. I just kind of don't care so much about government.