Maggie enters, frantic. She could enter into the audience, I don’t know. She enters is the point.
Maggie is asking where Emily is, calling for Emily, etc. etc. I don’t really feel like I need to write that out. She could even ask audience members where Emily is.
On the stage, Robster enters, dragging Emily, covering up her mouth so she can’t talk. Valedictorian follows, cackling. Maggie continues calling for Emily, but Emily can’t call out to her. Robster, Emily, and the Valedictorian exit.
The Mole enters.
Maggie: Mole! Hey, Mole!
Mole: I have a name, you now. It’s Maximilian Bartholomew Fieldworthington-Smythe the third.
Maggie: Have you seen Emily?
Mole: I have seen many Emilys.
Maggie: Have you seen my Emily?
Mole: Which one is that?
Maggie: Go away.
The Mole exits.
Maggie: There’s only one more place to look.
Maggie and Emily’s dorm room. Kurt is sitting on a…couch? Futon? Kurt is sitting there. Maggie enters, tired from work. She begins unloading (changing clothes) without realizing that Kurt is right there.
Maggie: Hey, I’m back. Emily, I have a serious question. You’re the best person to answer this. Should Pizza Girl have a pizza paddle as a weapon? I mean, I know I’m a delivery girl, not a pizza chef, but I helped out with making pizza tonight, and I felt so. Bangin’. You know? It was like a weapon. I should have a weapon. What do you think?
Emily (offstage): Are you trying to be the same as Pizza Boy, or do you want to be your own person?
Maggie: That’s the real question, isn’t it?
Emily (offstage): I can’t help you. You have to decide for yourself. Also, I have news.
Maggie: I know, I heard they cast Heat Shield.
Emily (offstage): And she looks so much like Heat Shield!
Maggie: I don’t think she looks like Heat Shield.
Maggie turns and sees Kurt sitting on the couch.
Emily (offstage): What do you mean? She looks so much like her. In the face. I saw on tumblr, they compared various angles of her face to different comic panels and it’s like line for line legit. It’s amazing.
Maggie: Who is this?
Emily (offstage): Oh, that’s Kurt.
Kurt (standing): Kurt Gallagher. Nice to meet you, Maggie. I’ve heard so much about you. Do you want to take a seat?
Maggie: Who are you?
Emily enters, dressed in a way that is meant to impress Kurt.
Emily: We met at the Student Union a few days ago, and he called me today to see if I wanted to hang out! He’s a professional writer.
Maggie: Do you go to school here?
Kurt: I graduated a few years ago actually.
Maggie: Then why were you hanging around at a Student Union?
Kurt: Picking up cute coeds.
He winks at Emily, who giggles.
Maggie: I see. What else do you do?
Kurt: Oh, I’m a writer. I know that Emily here is a blogger. And you’re– (Pizza Girl)
Maggie: Maggie. Emily’s best friend.
Kurt: I see.
Emily pulls Maggie aside.
Emily: I know what you’re thinking.
Maggie: Oh, good.
Emily: But don’t worry. Here’s the plan. We’ll order food, and then send you to go pick it up, and you’ll just, like, take a really really really long time to pick up the food. How does that sound?
Maggie: That’s not what I was thinking about at all.
Emily: I swear I texted you to say that I had a guy over.
Maggie checks her phone.
Maggie: Oh, yeah, yeah you did.
Emily: Then what are you so worried about?
Maggie: I don’t trust him.
Emily: Well, I trust him!
Emily goes to Kurt and hugs him.
Kurt: So, Maggie, you’re Pizza Girl.
Maggie: Who said I was?
Kurt: You did. When you walked in. How is that going?
Maggie gives Emily a look. Emily looks back, trying to say, “just go with it.”
Kurt: How did you get into superheroing, exactly? The story goes that you started out as a regular damsel in distress for Pizza Boy. Were you superheroing on the side, or did you transition from one to the next?
Maggie: I transitioned, I guess.
Kurt: What drove that decision?
Maggie: I needed a job?
Kurt: Oh, so it’s just a job for you?
Maggie: Why do you ask?
Emily: Have you seen Kurt’s blog? You should see it. I didn’t know we had a homeless population here. Kurt spent two weeks living with some homeless people just to chronicle their struggles. The photographs are beautiful. Come look, see, he has a great sense of composition.
She pulls open her laptop to get the blog.
Kurt: There’s a great underbelly in this city. The system has completely failed them and no one even sees. The bureaucrats have failed them. Families and landlords disown them. Ordinary people abuse them.
Emily: He wrote that in one of the entries.
Kurt: But no one wants to hear that. Everyone is all caught up in this superhero craze. We see superheroes in movies and now they’re in real life. I know you were talking to Emily earlier about using a paddle. Are there any other kinds of weapons that you use?
Maggie: Mostly I just sort of talk to them.
Emily: See, I found it. Look at this picture. It’s fantastic. All the busyness of the graffiti and the sleeping bags leads your eye to this corner, where the subject looks out over the drainage system. It’s fantastic.
Maggie: So you hang out with homeless people when you’re not picking up cute coeds?
Kurt: Well, I did, for this one assignment.
Kurt: Oh…I mean…
Maggie: You were assigned to talk to homeless people? That’s a weird assignment. What was your next assignment? Was it to get an inside scoop on Pizza Girl?
Emily: You’re a journalist? I thought you were just a blogger.
Kurt: They can be both. A journalist is just a blogger who actually gets paid. I have student loans.
Maggie: Aren’t you supposed to get permission from a subject before you interview them? We had to learn how to make waivers that one semester we studied folklore. You didn’t ask.
Kurt: No one will tell anyone anything about this mysterious Pizza Girl. Your school won’t comment. Cheezy Pizza won’t comment. You’re one big gigantic mystery and whoever cracks the case and lets the world know could stand to make…a lot. A lot of money.
Maggie: You didn’t ask permission!
Emily: You only cared about Maggie? Everything is about Maggie! You just used me to get to Maggie!
Emily starts to run offstage.
Maggie: Emily wait!
Emily (voice cracks): My feelings are very raw right now.
Kurt: So if I get a waiver, would you sign it?
Maggie shoots him a disgusted look and exits. Then she reenters.
Maggie: This is my dorm room. You have to leave.
Kurt exits. Then Maggie exits.
I told the elephant story four times yesterday. I’m going to have to get used to telling that story, due to the whole engaged-without-a-ring thing. I called Mom as I was getting out of work. I was very very nervous about it. What if she was, for some weird reason, angry? But Mom was delighted.
“Now that that’s out of the way,” she said after giving me congratulations, “Any plans for the wedding?”
“I’m thinking late December or early January,” I said.
“Why not New Years?”
Mom went on and on about how much fun it would be to celebrate on New Years. Then she said, “What sort of venue are you thinking about?”
I said, “I want to get married surrounded by trees, but I don’t think that’s possible in the middle of winter. So I was thinking about a greenhouse.”
(clearly this is my new favorite reaction image)
Apparently she didn’t get a lot of work done for the rest of the afternoon, because she was too busy researching greenhouses as wedding venues. She also thinks we should go with green as a dominant color, but I disagree. I told Lacey as much, and she said that purple might work. I’m thinking gray and blue, but James thinks the colors might not work together.
Mom has already picked out a potential venue, and we’ll be checking it out on Monday. I told her that it didn’t necessarily have to be a greenhouse. I just wanted it to be in the woods and for there to be lots of windows. “Like that restaurant in the forest we used to go to a lot,” I said. “The one in Maryland.”
(all the time now)
Apparently she and Grampa have always wanted to host an event there.
But the next step is to figure out who all we’re inviting. I made an initial list last night. It’s about 80 people. I have no idea if that’s workable or not.
One set of James’ many Aunts and Uncles was in town last night, so the family had a get-together at a family restaurant in Durham. It was so clearly meant to be the way we announced our engagement to the family. James waited until dinner was almost over before he made the announcement.
“Finally,” said Deb, my future mother-in-law.
When I explained why I didn’t have a ring on, James’ aunt Marcia said, “Well don’t have too untraditional of a wedding now!”
James and I were surprised, because we are two of the most traditional people that ever existed. I just…don’t like wearing rings.
Sunday was our fifth anniversary together, in case people are wondering why James proposed on March 22 rather than a more typical day, like February 14 or January 1. I had had an inkling that he was going to do it. He’s said, a few times, “My mom will probably give us the down payment on a house as a wedding present.” (James’ mother is rich) Sometimes, when we’re discussing the future townhouse, he’s said that we were probably only going to be there for the eleven-month lease and that we might be moving to a house we own next. Not subtle.
Other things, like a few months ago, he was talking about rings. Was there any kind of jewelry that I would be interested in? And I gave my usual spiel about how awful diamond companies are. Yeah, but there are other kinds of rocks. Are there any I like? I replied no. No matter how significant or sentimental a piece of jewelry is, I’m going to forget about it and stop wearing it after a day or two. Was there anything that I could think of that I would want in lieu of a ring?
James is just not a subtle man.
In January, I was looking at a particular toy elephant online that I had had my eye on for a good long while.
James asked why I was staring at it, and I explained that I would buy it, but it was $115 and there were much better things to spend that kind of money on.
About a month ago he began to talk openly about both of us needing to have March 22 off. I duly requested the 22 off, and then asked him what sort of plans he had for that day. He said he didn’t have any. He just wanted the day off.
I suggested that maybe we visit a restaurant downtown. But all of the nice restaurants in the area are either closed on Sundays, or only open for lunch.
We ended up hosting Game Night as usual. Only the three regulars showed up, Matt, Gary, and Linus. We played a few games and I lost horribly at two of them (Whitewater and Wise and Otherwise), but I won Kalimambo the second time. “Come on, guys,” James said as Gary and Linus openly discussed shoving my raft into the rocks, “I need Kelsey to be happy tonight. Then, when they left and I started cleaning up a bit, James disappeared into the bedroom and reappeared with a suspiciously toy-elephant-sized box.
I delightedly opened the box. We worked together to free the elephant from his chains (I felt like a Kyoshi warrior in Appa’s Lost Days, the episode of Avatar we watched a few days ago). I went and got my Elephant Fighter Attachment from the bedroom so that attachment and main item could be together at last.
Truly a thing of beauty.
As I worked to get all the elephant warriors to sit correctly on the harness, James reappeared with a small stuffed purple elephant. It was the last of the elephants that James’ parents had collected at various hotels in Taiwan (all hotels in Taiwan apparently come with elephants).
“This is also for you,” he said.
I laughed and said that it was weird that he was always giving me those, since my interaction with them had been to throw them at his head when his father was sick.
James told me that I had been distracting him and showing him affection, which was helped him during those dark days. So maybe they were more important to him, but he important thing was that he wanted to marry me, would I marry him.
Some great quotes I’ve encountered recently:
Leisure without literature is death — Seneca the Younger
I can conceive of no greater mistake, more disastrous in the end to religion if not to society…than of trying to make charity do the work of justice — William Jewett Tucker, as quoted by Deborah Cadbury in her book Chocolate Wars
In the end, it’s just water and beans — Meagan, my new manager (isn’t everything, though)
Linus: I have to go to work at 3:00 in the morning.
Matt: You’re one to complain! You’re chugging down all that coffee.
Linus: It’s decaf. I never drink caffeine.
Kelsey: You know that decaf still has caffeine though, right? Starbucks decaf has about as much caffeine as a regular coffee at McDonald’s.
Linus, Matt, James: Ohhhhhhhhh
Matt: Some real brand loyalty there!
So I got a new job at Starbucks. Between training at 5:00 at Starbucks, and working nine-hour shifts at Harris Teeter, I am absolutely exhausted. James pointed out that I’m “too tired to be depressed” and thus my current state is a mixed blessing. The last few days, I’ve showered as soon as I’ve gotten home, then eaten dinner, then read until I fell asleep on the couch.
I don’t want anyone to think I’ve disappeared off the face of the earth, especially given my last few posts. I want you guys to know that I am tired but optimistic.
Depression is an actual illness. I know this, because I am depressed. I know how cyclical it is. March is always the worst month. I can compare it to the other times of the year that I relapse. I know how it goes. March is always terrible.
Last March wasn’t so bad. I had things to do. I would just come home from doing them and then cry under my covers for a few hours and then fall asleep. This March, I can’t seem to get out of bed. I got home early today, and then I tried my hardest to be a functioning adult. James helped. I even went out to try to get a haircut. But I had to make an appointment instead. And all the effort of functioning, I just got worn out. I got home and collapsed into bed. All my nerve endings were telling my brain that I was exhausted, but lying down provided no relief. But I didn’t want to move. James had to make me get out of bed again.
And then, an hour later, it was all gone. I felt fine again. The thought of eating made me sick to my stomach, but I had no trouble walking around and making faces at the mirror (this is how I spend 80% of my alone time). I did eventually eat some mac & cheese and watch Samurai Jack. Then I started writing.
It was like…when you’re sick with a really bad cold, sometimes you just have a coughing fit or a sneezing fit or you just have to lie down and take a nap. And then it passes, and you’re able to function almost normally for a little while. Depression is really an illness. When your stomach produces too much acid, you have acid reflux disease. When your kidneys make too much calcium, you get kidney stones. When your body produces too many white blood cells, you have leukemia. When your body doesn’t produce enough serotonin, you become depressed.
I mean, that’s oversimplifying things a bit. I am way under-socialized and overstressed at my job. That is probably the cause of my negative introspection that is causing my seratonin production to go on the spritz. But it’s also cyclical. It’s kind of a relief, to finally get that this isn’t a failing on my part, but just a symptom of an illness.
I made some changes to my health insurance coverage, so I can’t seek treatment until April. If previous years are anything to go by, I should be feeling better by mid-April anyway. Of course, I still have to deal with the fact that I can’t get out of bed.
At Burger Down Under, an Australian-themed cheap burger joint. Valedictorian is working on a new laptop. Robster is watching her, but he is bored. There are other people sitting at the restaurant: specifically, Kurt is sitting at one table, looking at his cell phone and eating, and two policemen are sitting out of Valedictorian and Robster’s sight.
Robster: This seems weird.
Valedictorian: This won’t take much time.
Robster: But we’re here without buying anything. Isn’t that weird? People come here to eat. Well, they come inside to eat.
Valedictorian: You just want a burger.
Robster: Yes, a Queensland Burger with some Great Sandy Fries. Do you want anything?
Valedictorian: A Victorian Shake. And curly fries.
Robster: You can just share some of my fries.
Valedictorian: I don’t share.
Valedictorian: I don’t like the extra spices on the Sandy fries. Who eats food called Sandy anyway? What were they thinking?
Robster: That they’re delicious. I’ll be back soon.
He kisses her cheek and exits. Valedictorian works at the laptop silently. Maggie enters, with a bag of food and a soda. She stops and looks at the Valedictorian. She visibly tries to decide if she should approach her or not. A decision is weighed and measured. Then she sighs and approaches the Valedictorian.
Maggie: Oh hey Valedictorian, what are you doing?
Valedictorian: I’m almost there. (she registers who is speaking) Pizza…Girl. My, how you’ve grown. I’m checking my Facebook while my boyfriend buys lunch.
Valedictorian: Does that defy your expectations? Did you assume that we were constantly committing some crime? That our every waking minute was spent writhing in pure illegality?
Maggie: You just don’t strike me as the kind of person who has a Facebook account.
Valedictorian: Well I do. Facebook is wonderful! You can catch up with all your friends, old and new. See what they’re doing. See what they’re interested in. See where they go, when they’re they’re not at home, where they might live, their favorite activities, their birthday, their anniversaries, their job, their potential income, old addresses, the names of their children and pets, events they attend, what they had for lunch. You see, this is called data, and everyone uses the same data to create things. Identities. Passwords. The same thing that attracts marketers to the gold mine of demographic information is the very same thing that attracts bad people, bad people like me. I can use this information and can become more powerful than anyone ever imagined. Imagine I could hack into your Facebook account and see that your brother is in Nairobi and that your Uncle’s cat is named Marty McFly. (That is, indeed, where Maggie’ brother is and her uncle’s cat is indeed Marty McFly) Now imagine that you are very stupid, which shouldn’t be very hard. Stupid people have bad memories. They use the same passwords over and over and over again. Maybe you think you’re smart, and you rotate through six different passwords. But you still need to remember those passwords. You grab them from little memorable bits of your life. Your Uncle’s cat is Marty McFly, and his bank is First Commonwealth, and he was born May 12, 1962 and graduated from Portland State University on May 28, 1984. And imagine that, his password is HeyMcFly056284. I can do that for anyone, at any time, using only the information on their Facebook page, which I am now free to peruse thanks to my little virus that allows me to run amok through the channels of whatever website I choose to upload it.
Robster enters with food and sits down, distributing food between the two of them. Maggie has not moved this entire time. Valedictorian continues uninterrupted. Everyone is listening to her now.
Valedictorian: No one checks their bank account every day. No one will notice if one or two dollars goes missing. Most thieves make a mistake. They do one or two dollars, just to see if the system works, and then they make a giant purchase. Something noticeable. But I am patient. I have access to millions of people’s information. I will use it to my ends. You’re very clever, getting me to reveal all of this. But no matter. There’s nothing anyone can do about it anyway.
The two police officers stand up.
First Police Officer: That sounded like a confession to me.
Second Police Officer: We might need to continue this conversation elsewhere.
Robster: But the fries just came out of the fryer.
Valedictorian (to Maggie): You set this all up, didn’t you? You clever bitch.
First Police Officer: We can take it from here.
The Police Officers handcuff Valedictorian and Robster. Robster continues protesting about leaving the fries behind.
Second Police Officer: Great work, Pizza Girl. I wish we had more heroes like you in the city.
The police officers lead Valedictorian and Robster offstage. They nearly run into Brooke, who has to step aside to let them by.
Brooke: I can’t believe it. I thought you were going to call me if you found something. I thought we were a team. I guess there’s only room for one hero in this town.
Brooke exits. Maggie continues to just stand in the same place as before.
Kurt picks up his phone and dials. He picks up one of Robster’s fries, gives a small wave to Maggie, and exits.