Thursday, March 21, 2019

Primary Termination Chap 5: Tanya takes the plunge

It's a day of radical change for Tanya Teal, former NYC writer and editor. Or should I say night? She's not only finally made contact with her old boyfriend, Tony Smart, the one time love of her life ("first nakeds..."), but she's made the nerve wracking decision to sign up for the Everest Corp. Primary Membership program.

She is now debt free and will receive the equivalent of $2KUS in Everest Credits, week in and week out. Now all that's required of her is purchase all her goods and services exclusively from Everest.com.

So what if rumors abound that Everest.com violators have been known to simply disappear, never to be seen or heard from again? They're just rumors is all.

Or are they?


5

Grabbing hold of the beer, I chug the rest. I stare at Tony’s business card. I wonder if my mom is telling me the truth. That he gave it to her with the express purpose of my calling him.
Heart beating in my throat, I reach down along-side the bed for my jeans. My phone is still stuffed inside one of the pockets. Using my thumbprint, I unlock the device and go to the dialer icon and press it. My mouth goes more and more dry with each digit I dial. My stomach also grows tighter. What is this? Am I still in high school?
After plugging in the final number, I automatically punch the fire-engine red stop icon. I feel a quick wave of relief swim over me, followed immediately by a wave of shame.
“What the hell is the matter with you, Tanya?” I say aloud. “You’re forty-two years old.”
I don’t care if Jacquie can hear me or if she comments. I’m that angry with myself. That disappointed. Of course, there is always another option. I could send him a friendly email. But email takes too long. It’s after ten at night. He might already be in bed reading, and not interested in reading his emails until tomorrow morning. In fact, the stable of thriller authors I used to edit would almost always go to bed early to read and often times, not get to their emails until after they’d written a significant number of new words come the morning. It wasn’t unusual for me to email them on any given afternoon and not hear back from them until the next afternoon, twenty-four hours later. Might as well send an old fashioned letter using an old fashioned stamp. That is, the U.S. Postal Service still existed.
But a third option might just be the perfect solution. Why don’t I text him? The authors I was just speaking of, they might not answer an email right away, and they almost never answer the phone, but they always seemed to respond to texts right away. I’m not sure why they did that, but texts always seemed like the perfect way to communicate with them. It was also the less personal, which right now, works fine by me considering I’m talking about the man who stole my heart back in the early two thousands.
I thumb the text option set below Tony’s phone number. As I position my thumb to type a quick text, I feel myself growing almost as nervous as I was when dialing his number. For a woman who prides herself on her ability to create words, sentences, paragraphs and even full stories, I am, at present experiencing the worst bout of writer’s block possible.
“Just fucking say hi, Tanya,” I insist. Then, as though I’m my own twin standing on the opposite side of the room. “Don’t put so much pressure on me.”
Breathing in deeply, I slowly empty my lungs.
I type, Hi there Tony. You’ll never guess who this is.
I find myself smiling. I guess I could be less cryptic, but if I’m about to go through with this, which I obviously am, I might as well make it fun. I press the green send icon. Message sent. I set the phone down on top of To Kill a Mockingbird, as if there’s some special significance in placing it there. While my heart pounds against my sternum, I wait for a reply.
I could shut out the light and pray for sleep, but I know damn well, sleep isn’t going to come very easily tonight. My eyes gravitate towards my old dresser of drawers. My laptop is set on top of it. It beckons me to take hold of it and take care of some business. Slipping out of bed, I reach for the laptop, carry it back into bed with me. Opening the lid, the scanner recognizes my face and automatically boots up the Drake Search Engine home page.
First things first. See how much money I have left in my account at a bank that’s set to shut its vault for good in just a few months, now that Everest has bought it out. I log into my account and I’m immediately faced with a whole bunch of red numbers.
“Oh good God,” I say aloud.
My account balance is negative $231.23. I check my credit card statement, which is attached to the same bought out bank (and now officially an Everest.com card). It’s also a doozy. I owe $15,000 and change. Sure, I was a powerhouse editor at a big, high-paying publishing house that paid more per month than my dad would make in three months at the hardware store. But living in New York City in 2028 is a horribly expensive venture. My Park Avenue apartment might have been located at a primo address, but the one bedroom, galley kitchen, one bath space cost me upwards of nine-thousand per month, not including doorman and other associated fees. In other words, I couldn’t afford it, no matter how much I tried to skimp. But skimping was never much of an option with friends like Kate who live for their cocktails and nightlife.
“At least I still have a couple hundred cash stuffed in my bag,” I whisper, as if this is supposed to somehow reassure me.
My heart is all aflutter and it isn’t because of my text to Tony. Instead it has an awful lot to do with my debt and what’s looking more and more like a bleak future. What the hell am I going to do? What choice do I have? Do I want to live with my parents forever? What if Tony texts me back and he wants to meet me? What do I tell him then? I’m broke, without a prayer of getting another editing job, and in fact, owe fifteen-thousand-bucks on my credit card. He finds out the truth, he’ll run for the hills.
I click on my email. I delete a whole bunch of useless spam and sure enough, there it is, just like Jacquie promised. The subject heading, Everest Primary Membership Program. Attached is an application that I must sign digitally. But before that, there’s an explanatory video that goes along with the program. I click on the video.
It shows a good looking man and an equally good looking woman walking in a park, hand in hand. He’s African American and she’s white. They have lovely smiles on their faces, and they are dressed handsomely. You can’t tell what it is they’re talking about, but you get the distinct feeling that it’s nothing important. Just two very happy and in love people whiling the day away with not a care in the world.
“Imagine going through life without having to worry about money?” poses the voice over. “Imagine being debt free for the rest of your life? Imagine being free from all financial worry and concern? Imagine living life on your terms? Being free to do whatever you want to do whenever you want to do it. Free from having to drag yourself to a job you hate, day in and day out. Free from having to waste away your precious free time running errands here, there, and everywhere. Free even to just do nothing at all if that’s what you choose.
“Imagine living a much happier, healthier, fulfilling life where your time is yours and yours alone? Well, that dream can now be accomplished by applying for the Everest Corporation Primary Membership Program. When you become a member, you will be paid the equivalent of two-thousand dollars per week in Everest Credits. Are you presently losing sleep over mounting debt? For a limited time, Everest dot com is offering a promotional package that includes total debt forgiveness. Once you become a Primary member, all that’s required of you is to purchase all your products and services through Everest dot com. Since most of you are doing that now anyway, it should make for an easy and seamless transition.
“So why not get free today? Why not throw all those worries away and become a much more happier, anxiety free you? Why not take back control of your life?”
“Is this for real?” I silently ask myself. “Of course it’s real. You’ve known it’s real for a long time. You just refused to believe it. But now that your own parents believe it, maybe it’s time you did too.”
My phone buzzes. The buzz and the vibration that goes along with it means I have a new text message.
Heart be still…
I pick up the smartphone, gaze at the digital face. It’s from Tony. I open the text. I spot my original text to him.
Hi there Tony. You’ll never guess who this is.
His response: I heard you were back in town, Tanya. A little birdie told me.
My heart feels as if a soft little fluffy puppy has cozied up to it. I wrack my brain for something witty to text back. Oh, crap, just tell the truth and hope he’ll find it witty enough.
I’m afraid my life has become a bit of a train wreck, Tony. You wouldn’t like me anymore. LOL.
Nonsense, he writes. The world is changing and I guess we sort of have to change along with it.
If you remember, I hate change, Tony Smart, which I guess makes me Tanya Not So Smart.
Back in the day, Tony used to call me that, as a joke. We’d introduce ourselves as Tony Smart and Tanya Not So Smart, which always elicited a laugh or two. The point of the joke was this: How smart was I if I was hanging out with Tony Smart?  
He writes: And if I remember, you are one of the most stubborn women in the world. Lucky for you, you didn’t ride the Titanic or you would have gone down with the ship.
Excellent metaphor, Bestseller, because God knows I’m drowning.
Let’s talk about it. Meet me for a coffee in the morning Tan.
Are you asking or telling?
Asking, lady.
Don’t you have to work on the word count, Bestseller?
I’m my own boss, Tan. I’m even my own publisher now, which probably makes you want to slap me. I can decide my own hours.
One eye on the Everest Primary Program on my laptop screen and the other on my text messages.
Let me guess, Bestseller, you’re also an Everest Primary Program member.
Hey, I’m a writer. You are too. Or used to be anyway. That program was heaven sent for any artist, Tanya. Use it or lose it.
 I’ll be dipped, but he is absolutely right. As an editor, the artist angle of the Everest Primary Program never even dawned on me. Had I been thinking about it as a writer, like my dad suggested while we were out at the park today, I might have put two and two together and signed up ages ago.
Thanks for that, Tony…
I’m in for coffee, I write. What else do I have to do with my time?
How about meet me at the Everest Starbucks across from the old Times Union Newspaper building? Ten AM. Wear something sexy and revealing.
Oh my God, that is so Tony… 
Good to see you haven’t lost your sense of humor. How do you know I’m not four- hundred pounds and toothless?
Haha, because one, your mom would have told me, and two, I’ve been keeping up with you and your accomplishments on the web. Oh, and thanks for publishing me, BTW.
My stomach sinks.
We’ll talk about it tomorrow, Bestseller. Looks like you didn’t need me in order to conquer the literary world.
 Would have been nice.
Goodnight, Tony Smart.
Good night, Tanya Not so Smart. Glad we’re in touch again.
Is that what we are, back in touch? I suddenly feel lighter than air. And yeah, I certainly hope my new underwear gets here on time. You never know. Setting the phone down I once again stare at the laptop screen and the Everest Primary Program website. I click on the PDF application form and it comes up for me. There’s a whole bunch of terms and conditions which I skip over (I’m too lazy and way too tired to read the fine print. Who isn’t?). I scroll all the way to the electronic signature portion of the contract.
In my head I see my dad’s face, hear him talking about what a relief it is to not have to worry about money. I see my mom laying out a feast of Everest pot roast and red wine. Very good red wine, I might add. I reread Tony’s text without having to look at it again… the one text that’s really hit home.  
Hey, I’m a writer. You are too. Or used to be anyway. That program was heaven sent for any artist, Tanya. Use it or lose it.
Now if the people I love the most (and used to love the most, in Tony’s case) are signing up for the program, maybe my worries about Primary Program violators disappearing are entirely unfounded and the result of my rather overactive imagination.
Just do it, Tan…live a worry free life…
Electronically signing the contract application, I thumb the Enter key and send it back to Everest.com.
“I wonder when I’ll find out if I’ve been accepted or not,” I whisper out loud.
“You already have been accepted,” says Jacquie. “Congratulations, Tanya. You’re not only debt free, you never have to worry about money again. Just remember to use only Everest products and services exclusively. I hope that you find the Everest Primary Membership Program an enjoyable and satisfactory, stress free life experience.”
Why am I not surprised that Jacquie chimed in so quickly?
“I’m sure I will, Jacquie,” I say, closing the laptop and setting it beside my smartphone, and To Kill a Mockingbird. “It’s a new, worry free era for old Scout.”
Shutting off the lamp, I lie in the dark staring up at the ceiling. So why is it then, that I’m still worried?

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Primary Termination Chapter 4: Tanya's true love...

So if her life isn't already complicated with the loss of her job and the pressure for her to join the Everest Corp. Primary Program where she will never have to worry about money ever again, Tanya's true love, Tony Smart, bestselling Cradle author, is about to come back into her life after more than a 20 year absence. 

Read all about it here in Chapter 4 of Primary Termination:


4

Okay so I gotta suck this one up and just come out and admit it. The Everest pot roast was delicious. The meat was so tender, it melted in my mouth. The wine was so good, mom and I opened another bottle. Dad had a few more beers and suddenly, he and mom were singing in unison to some song from an ancient band called, Modern English.
“I’ll stop the world and melt with you…”
There’s nothing modern about Modern English. People had the worst taste in music back then. Even Jacquie was probably covering her digital ears with her digital hands. My folks kept singing while we cleaned up. I volunteered to do the dishes since they were having such a great time and it kept me from thinking too much not only about joining the Everest Primary Program, but from thinking about my ex, Tony Smart.
But it wasn’t working very well.  
Maybe you’ve gotten the message by now that Tony and I had been quite the item for most of high school. We went to the dances together, the proms, the house parties. I spent the fall weekend at his football games (he was an offensive lineman and linebacker on defense), the winters watching him wrestle and in the spring, his baseball games (he played catcher). At five- feet-eight or so, Tony wasn’t the tallest guy in school, but he loved to hit the weights, so he was most definitely one of the strongest.
His hair was thick and dark, and his eyes brown and shaped like almonds. His face was round, and his nose a little pugged from having broken it a couple of times on the football field. But he had an energy about him, a charisma that many taller, more classically handsome boys didn’t come close to. He was also gifted. Like me, he knew from day one that he wanted to be a writer, and he was determined to make it happen. Whereas most kids dreaded English class, Tony couldn’t wait for it, and he spent many hours on his papers, making sure they would not only receive A’s (an A wasn’t good enough for him or me), he wanted them to the best in the class. Often times, the teacher would point out what terrific work Tony did, and cite his paper or short story as an example of the kind of writing that could be accomplished, even at sixteen or seventeen years old, if you just put a little effort into it. I loved that about him.
But here’s the thing. His only competition in our English classes came from me. Just as often as his work would receive the kudos, so would mine. Thus began our little friendly feud. Whenever a short story was due in class, it was like watching a wrestling match to see which story was better. Sometimes he won the day and sometimes I would win. Sometimes we’d receive equal praise. But we had a blast competing with one another, and it was one of the things that bound us together. No one could write like we could and the entire school, including the faculty knew it, and respected us for it. To say the least, it was a magical time to be alive.
On occasion he’d write me poems…little two or three paragraph pieces that I would stuff into my dog-haired copy of To Kill a Mockingbird. That book is still on my bookshelf up in my bedroom and I can bet the poems are still there too. Could it truly be that Tony isn’t married anymore?
I’d seen his profile many times on Facebook, before all the social media giants were swallowed up by Everest. But there wasn’t a whole lot of personal information offered up. I think he used the site mostly as an advertisement for his Cradle books. Judging by his social media photos, which were mostly professional studio shots taken for his website and book dustjackets, he still maintained his rugged good looks and his muscular shape (I could never imagine Tony giving up the gym). Sure his hair was thinner and a little grayer, and he sometimes wore eyeglasses now, but he was still the same Tony.
As I dry the last dish and set it into the cabinet above the oven, I wonder how Tony would feel if I reach out to him. If he would feel horrified, or if he would welcome seeing me. Because here’s the sticky thing. Over the years, Tony would send me the occasional manuscript in hopes of striking a deal. Because he and I were so close once, I always passed without reading it. I know it sounds like a shitty thing to do, but listen, Tony was my very first. I mean the first. First real kiss, first 1st base, 2nd base, 3rd base, and yeah, first nakeds (yup, that plural spelling is correct), first boy I ever slept with. That’s a huge deal when you’re only seventeen years old. After he dumped me just before we went off to different colleges in different states, I didn’t sleep with another boy until three years later. That’s how upset I was. And yeah, that’s how much I still loved him.

Stealing one of dad’s beers from the fridge, I take it upstairs with me to my room, set it on my nightstand beside my lamp. Undressing down to my undies, I slip under the covers. It’s then I notice my twenty-five year old copy of To Kill a Mockingbird has been precariously placed on the bed, directly next to my pillows.
“Gee, I wonder who is responsible for that?” I ask aloud.
“Your mother thought it would be a nice surprise for you,” Jacquie says. “I hope this answer satisfies your query, Tanya.”
OMG, does the AI ever sleep?
I drink some beer, set the bottle back on the nightstand.    
“Thanks, Jacquie,” I say. “I’m going to say goodnight now.”
In theory, once you say goodnight to the current generation of Jacquie, she’s not supposed to chime in, or bother you in anyway whatsoever, unless there’s an emergency like a house fire, a carbon monoxide leak, and/or a home intrusion in progress.
“Goodnight, Jacquie,” I say. “I’ll talk with you in the morning.”
“Goodnight, Tanya,” she says. “It’s good to have you back home again. I downloaded your application for the Everest Primary Program to you email address, so please look it over at your convenience. Wouldn’t it be wonderful never to have to worry about money again? Wouldn’t it be lovely to live a worry free lifestyle?”
The AI woman…if she really is a woman…just doesn’t stop, does she?
“Yes, Jacquie,” I say, “I’m looking forward to checking it out.”
“And all your debts will be forgiven, don’t forget. And you have quite a heavy load, if you don’t mind my saying so.”
If only I could toss my beer bottle at her. But she’s just a voice…a nothing…but a very powerful nothing…
Breathing in and exhaling a calming breath.
“Thanks again, Jacquie. Goodnight.”
“Goodnight, Tanya,” she says. “I hope our little conversation was a satisfactory one.”
“Very,” I say.
For a brief beat, I wait for yet another Jacquie response. When it doesn’t come, I get the feeling she is finally dormant for the rest of the night. One can only hope. I drink some more beer, and set it back down. For a moment, I just stare at the floor-to-ceiling bookshelf directly across from me. It’s stuffed with all the books I loved as a kid. All the Harry Potters, the Lee Childs, the Michael Connelly’s, the Ernest Hemingway’s, and even a sexy book called 50 Shades of Grey that I loved, but that Tony thought of as total junk.
Tony might have been a gifted jock, but he loved to read as much as I did. While a bunch of our friends would be partying in the cemetery with six packs of beer and pint bottles of Jack Daniels, more often than not, Tony and I would hang out at either my house or his house, just reading together. Many of our date nights were filled with silence, because we loved to snuggle up against one another and just read. On occasion, we’d write together, he clacking away at his laptop and me, mine. It was a magical time.
“Where are you tonight, Tony?” I ask aloud.
Then, knowing that Jacquie is liable to chime in, I regret having said it. But when she doesn’t answer me, I realize she is indeed, dormant until morning. Or should I say sleeping? To Kill a Mockingbird is sitting beside me on the bed with all the weight and presence of Tony himself.
“Oh what the hell,” I say, taking hold of the old book.
Here’s the thing. My mom didn’t put the novel there so I could reread it for what would be my thirtieth time or so. She put it there so I could reread some of the old Tony Smart poems that are stuffed inside the pages. Why does my heart start to pound just by picking up the book? Why does my breath grow shallower, my stomach tightening?
A slip of paper falls out. A little page torn out of a notebook. I pick it up with my free hand.
Rose
The rose is plucked from the bush beside the bike rack
It is the most red thing under the sun
I give it to you and you place it in your hair
You smile and mount your bike and ride off into the sunset
I follow the sun
I follow my rose
My heart beats faster. I pull another couple of poems out, then set the novel back down onto the bed.
Tanya
She makes me laugh when I want to cry
She makes me cry when I don’t feel anything at all
She makes me love when I want to run
She is my opposite and my equal
She is me and I am her.
She is my Tanya
“Oh my God,” I whisper to myself. “We were sooo freaking in love.”
Stealing a sip of beer, my eyes fill. I read one more.
Night
Lying in my bed alone
It’s night
Darkness blankets me
Lonely
The pen and paper keep me company
Make Tanya come alive for me
She comes to me in the night
My love
Okay, full disclosure. Now I’m pretty much balling my eyes out.
“Whatever happened to us, Tony?” I say.
Then, a gentle knuckle rap on the door.
“Tanya,” comes the soft voice of my mother. “You up, honey?”
Oh crap. Dry my eyes, wipe my nose, breathe in deeply. I stuff the poems back into the novel and clear the lonely frog from my throat
“Yeah, mom,” I say, slapping the novel down beside me and stealing another sip of beer. “Just getting in bed.”
The door opens and in walks my mom in her nightgown. Without her face on, she looks older. My mom has always been the forever young, hip, spry one. But now, she too, like my dad, is starting to look older to me, and it’s a bit disconcerting. That’s life, I guess. From the cradle to the grave.
She smiles and sits down on the edge of the bed. Staring at the beer bottle, she picks it up and takes a small sip, sets it back down.
“That’s funny,” she says. “When you were a little girl, I would sometimes take one of your dad’s beers up to bed with me. It helped me get to sleep faster.” She giggles. “Of course, it made me belch too.”
Now she outright laughs.
“Jeeze, mom,” I say, laughing along with her. “You should have just stuck to wine. Poor dad.”
She rolls her eyes.
“Maybe,” she says. Then, her eyes shifting to To Kill a Mockingbird. “I see you found my little surprise.”
“Don’t worry,” I say. “Jacquie blew your cover.”
Wait for it.
“That’s not entirely accurate, Tanya,” Jacquie says. “I was not given explicit instructions not to reveal the source of the placement of the novel on your bed. I hope this explanation addresses your concerns satisfactorily.”
Shaking my head.
“We’re good, Jacquie,” I say.
But what I really want to do is edit her use of the double negative. That just might piss her the hell off, however.
My mother takes hold of my hand, holds it tight.
“You should call him, honey,” she says. “Or at least email him. Let him know you’re back in town. That you’ll be here a while.”
I release mom’s hand, cross my arms over my chest.
“Whoever on earth are you talking about, mom?”
She smirks, the way she always smirks when she knows that I know that she knows exactly what she’s talking about. It’s what dad calls a Cut the bullshit expression.
She pokes me in the ribs.
“You know who, silly,” she says. “Tony Smart, who was really dumb to breakup with you all those years ago.”
“Good one,” I say. “Glad to see his name is still the brunt of so many jokes.”
She hesitates for a moment, her eyes looking into my face, like she’s admiring her creative handiwork.
“You’ve been reading some of the old poems he sent you back in high school, haven’t you?”
“First of all, mom,” I say, “how would you know about any poems? You been snooping?”
“That’s what parents do. Or used to do anyway. Back when you were still a young woman. It’s called parenting.”
I pat her hand.
“I know,” I say. “And thanks for watching out for me like you did. You and dad. I was your only child and you were over protective, but fair.”
Mom’s eyes go wide.
“You’re welcome,” she says. Then, “You’ve been crying.”
“Have not,” I say, just to be difficult for difficult’s sake.
“You can’t fool mother nature or Momma Teal,” she says. “I can always tell when you’ve been crying.”
“Snagged,” I say. “And yes, I started reading some of the old poems.”
Re-crossing my arms over my chest, I sit there and sulk. I hate showing too much emotion. It’s a trait I inherited from Bradley Teal the Hardware Man. Mom nods in the direction of To Kill a Mockingbird.
“May I?” she says.
“Oh no, Mom,” I say, “I’m forty-two years old. I’m a little beyond being read to at night. And please don’t tell me you wanna read Tony’s poems, because that’s where I draw--”
She places two fingers against my lips.
“Shush already,” she says. Then, holding out her hand. “Now, the novel please.”
I place it in her hand. Much to my surprise, she doesn’t flip through the pages, or pull out any of Tony’s old poems. Instead she goes all the way to the back of the book, and pulls out a card. A business card to be precise. She hands it to me.
“Well look at that,” she says, “Tony Smart’s card. I wonder how on earth it got there?”
She smirks again. She is absolutely loving every minute of this. Mom the matchmaker. Placing the book back down on my lap, she kisses me on the cheek, and stands. She looks me in the eyes.
“His email address is on there and his cell phone number. Not telling you what to do, but what could it hurt by giving him a call or at least an email? I’m sure he’ll respond right away.”
Me, holding up the card.
“And how did you get this?”
Another smirk. “Let’s just say I ran into him in the Everest Garden-Fresh Market the other day.”
“And of course you told him your broke, in debt, now middle-aged loser daughter is back in town, living with the ‘rents in her old bedroom after being fired from her job.”
“Well, I didn’t exactly put it that way, but I did tell him you were back in town for a while. And you know what, honey? His face lit right up. He dug in his pocket for his card and he asked me to give this to you.”
I furrow my brow and squint my eyes.
“You’re telling me the truth, mom? Hope to die?”
She makes the sign of the cross. Something you rarely see these days, even inside some old church that’s either soon to be abandoned, converted into a restaurant or music club, or turned into a mosque.
“Hope to die,” she says. “Well, not really. But you know what I mean, honey.”
I stare at the card. It’s a simple presentation. It says, Tony Smart, Everest New York Times and Everest Cradle Overall No. 1 Bestselling Thriller Author. Under that it’s got his email address and his cell number.
“I’ll think about emailing him,” I say.
Mom’s smirk turns into a smile.
“I truly hope so,” she says. “Maybe you two can hook up and write together again, like you used to do in the old days. Wouldn’t that be special?”
“Whaddya mean by hook up, mom?” I say snidely.
She winks at me. But then she does something I’ve always hated. She gives me a real good dose of her up-one-side-and-down-the-other inspection eyes.   
“You know, Tanya,” she says, “not to be overly doting and motherly at your advanced age, but you really could use some new underwear. I mean, there’s a tear in your underpants, and that bra is not only old and faded, it’s too big for you. You need something that will make you look more…oh what’s the word?”
“Perky, mom,” I say.
Her face lights up.
“Exactly.” Then, “Jacquie, excuse me for a moment. But please order Tanya two new sets of Victoria Secret black lacy thongs, size medium, and two black laced push-up bras, cup size C.”
“Already done,” Jacquie says. “The package is scheduled to arrive in one hour via drone. It will be placed outside the front door where I will make sure to monitor it since you will be asleep. Thank you for your order and your loyalty to Everest dot com. I hope you have found our services satisfactory.”
“Yes, thanks, Jacquie,” my mom says. “You always get me my stuff when I want it. Goodnight.”
“Thanks for the new undies, mom,” I say. “Or perhaps I should say, Tony thanks you in advance.”
She winks at me again.
“Night, dear,” she says heading out of the bedroom.
I watch her close the door, knowing full well my own mother is trying her hardest to find me a husband.