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Old 12-07-2002, 12:10 AM   #1
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Transparent - Chapter 3

He watched her come in. He was three drinks deep and to the point of talking to strangers as if they were pals. He saw her in the mirror behind the multicolored liquor bottles. There was something familiar about her. He flashed back to his discussion of L. Rogers and her similarities to his young patient. This girl walking in would have made a trifecta with those two. She entered with such authority, as if she owned the place, walked into the back and emerged a few moments later at the bar. Jonah leaned over to order a refresh as she popped a bottle of aspirin open. It was then that his vision cleared. It was like a special effect. Suddenly this girl with the short cherry brown hair, and the shiner... suddenly , like a cross fade, she resolved into Leah Connolly. The effect on Jonah was physical. His heart skipped a beat and he felt a momentary loss of balance. As she knocked back the aspirin with some water he maintained his composure enough to ask. "How did you get the shiner?" As he did a biker in the far corner let out a mighty gaffaw. Jonah turned to look instinctively.
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Old 12-08-2002, 01:37 AM   #2
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"That'll be enough outta you, Dodger. Laugh at me once more and I'll cut'cha off for a month."

Glaring at her cousin, with his thick silvery hair and greasy skin, Leah gained her composure, set the glass under the fawcet, and filled the glass up again. She couldn't smell the man in front of her to tell just how full of it he was, strike one, and couldn't bring herself to look him in the eye and tell him the truth without feeling two inches tall, strike two. She could feel something overtake the room, although she wasn't sure quite what...tension or electricity.

"An old lady. With a purse. A heavy purse. I almost cried."

Last edited by beckstra : 12-13-2002 at 11:03 PM.
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Old 12-08-2002, 10:17 PM   #3
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He looked back to her and their eyes actually met and held for the first time. He'd looked at her eyes as she looked away before, and there had been quick furtive glances before... but this was one of those moments that makes you freeze. His eyes squeezed into a wry grin and continued to a wide toothy smile and finally a hearty laugh. He shook his head, "An old lady with a purse? You know, if you showed up next Thursday with that, I would've been forced to contact the clinic administrator to investigate."
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Old 12-08-2002, 10:50 PM   #4
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"Oh heavens to betsy there's no need for it. It's exactly how I told it. In fact, our lady here--" Leah nodded her head to the blushing, wiry little blonde girl in the skintight, knee high, vinyl boots. "Tricia, well Tricia saw the whole thing. Even got me to safety. Heh."

The doc had warm eyes with smile lines in the corners. They were a little glossy from the liquor, but not distant by any means. In fact, he had seamed to be hanging on her every word. That's what she liked about the doc. She had that sense that she was spewing honey the way he took her at her word. Never before had she known someone to want to listen, she ate up his attention like chocolate.

Tricia moved over to take up the space next to Leah and elbowed her suspiciously. She continued the story. "It was hilarious. Seriously. Our Lola here, well she was being her usual mom-self, and noticed this poor, plastered, little old lady chick getting her keys out of her car and offered to call her a cab. When the lady refused, she called anyway and tried to distract her while the cab came. So, the cab gets there, and this little old lady--drunk as a skunk--starts flipping out. Seriously. So Lola goes to grab her keys from the old lady's hand, and the lady's purse goes into overdrive, clocks Lola in the face, and Lola collapsed like a top hat! I was laughing the entire time, I swear! Anyway, I was getting off and leaving when I saw the old lady whack her. So I calmed the lady down, got her to take the cab, and drug Lola back into the billiard room to one of the booths and got her to wake up. We called an ambulance, and after an hour they let me take her home. It all happened within, like, the span of three hours. The three seriously most funny hours of my life! You shoulda seen that lady! Seriously!"
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Old 12-13-2002, 12:21 AM   #5
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Jonah was heading into the wind with his three sheets unfurled, but he could see a dynamic going on here. Leah was an authority figure here. If she didn't own the bar, she must be a night manager. All the wait staff deferred to her with their body language... and she... In this place she stood straight and tall. In their sessions together she curled into a ball on the couch, the picture of self doubt, withdrawn. Here she was a pillar. Remarkable.

"Okay," he said, "Now what about the hair?"

He liked the new do. The color looked natural against her skin and brought out her eyes. He'd bet this was as close as she could get to her real look. She handed him a refresh and pushed a lock from her forehead
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Old 12-13-2002, 11:02 PM   #6
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Self-consciously, Leah put her fingers in her hair. Tricia touched her arm, and with her warmest smile said, “Lola, it’s really something. I almost didn’t recognize you. The color’s seriously amazing.”

Leah gave a raised eyebrow and a crooked smile to the young girl, “Seriously?”

Tricia blushed and put her back to the doc. She tilted her head, and looked down at her boot. Immediately Leah was intrigued. The vinyl boot shook from side to side in all its coded beauty. She looked to the doc who was obviously curious about the exchange.

“It was all Bebe. She called today. She came and picked me up, and well, okay, the whole thing was my idea. She just gave my words some action. I think I like it though. I needed a change. Everything’s been changing around here anyway…”

The bar door gave a beep, and the girls kicked it into high gear. Leah gave her best smile when she saw the door open. She recognized him right away; the curly black hair was tale-tell.

“Connelly, my last check?”

Last edited by beckstra : 12-14-2002 at 12:52 AM.
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Old 12-15-2002, 11:18 PM   #7
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Jonah turned away from the impending exchange and falsely focused on the television. Sports Center was just starting up and a clever but disparaging remark about Drew Bledsoe's absence from the Patriots' line-up produced jeers from the bar's patrons. He watched the exchange in the mirror. The man was in his thirties perhaps. Long curly black hair with a few thin lines of white sprinkled in. His face was weathered, red from the wind, and pulled together with intensity. His eyes were blue as well, but unlike Leah's, there was no gentleness there. Jonah's mind flashed to an image from a movie with a man that reminded him of this. The bourbon hid the details from him. An old movie. A musical with a menacing character... set in 19th century London... Bill Sykes. The bad man in "Oliver!" That's who this man reminded Jonah of and suddenly he could feel the gooseflesh creep down his arms.
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Old 12-16-2002, 01:19 AM   #8
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"Jessup, where's your brother, and why can't he come in and get his own check?"

Leah stood facing one, Timothy Jessup, older brother of one Troy Jessup. Being the epitome of intimidation herself when in her own defense, Leah stared the man down. He was a brick wall with stony features and a grating voice. The only thing that gave him away was the nervous tick in his left nostril.

“Nice shiner. Troy’s at home waiting for me to bring him pizza and beer. I thought while I was in the area, I’d pick up his check for him. If you don’t mind.”

Leah gave no sign of fear. “Jessup, your brother has to come in and sign for it. That’s the rules. That’s how everyone does it. If you’d like though, I can give you a nice pack of Newcastle for a reasonable price.”

The wall smirked. “You know, he’s not coming back to work here.”

“And you never have, so if he wants his check, he can come get it himself.”

Exasperated, the wall crumbled in a huff, marched across the bar, and slammed himself out the door. Leah walked out of the dark corner and back behind the bar. Tricia, with her wide-eyed nature, asked with her face.

“He wants me. He can’t have me.”
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Old 12-22-2002, 11:51 PM   #9
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And, like that, the menace seemed neutralized. Jonah swirled his drink around in his glass with the thin red straw. He pulled the wrapper of his pack of lights and slapped them against his thigh to pack them tight. He ripped the foil with his thumbnail and tapped the pack to pop a cigarette out. 'Like a little deadly pez dispenser' he thought as he popped it into his mouth and lit up. His eyes nearly crossed at the pleasure of smoking with a three drink buzz. There were few things so pleasent in life. He let the smoke out slowly and looked up to see Leah watching him with a smile. He responded with a question that seemed crafted to minimize his apparent intelligence.

"What?"
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Old 12-24-2002, 12:30 AM   #10
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“Oh…nothing. Well, no. You…with that cigarette.” She blushed as she realized he had seen her watching him, pinched herself in the arm when she realized that she had been watching him, period. Although, Leah reasoned to herself, she had seen the signs with every other customer. She looked into the doc’s glossy, perplexed eyes. She could see the wear in the corners of his mouth and the furrow of his brow. The doc’s gray, usually lustrous gray sideburns and spot on the top of his head were lackluster. “I dunno. Just the science, I guess. So, the wife?”

Leah took an order from Maggie and began mixing. Before her sat a man like many other men—lost—like a puppy with his tail tucked neatly between his legs. She could almost hear the rain beating against the doghouse. Looking back over at the doc, she saw him staring cold. There was the wall.

Handing over the tray to Maggie, she opened the floodgates. Leah leaned over the bar to look the doc straight in the eyes. “Doc. If you don’t want to talk to me, you don’t have to…” She reached down and grabbed the most familiar bottle in the bunch and slammed it on the bar. “…But if you won’t talk to me, Jack here’ll listen. To every word.”
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Old 01-01-2003, 09:53 PM   #11
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"Oh I don't mind talking to you." He said quietly, somewhat comically, "I guess turn about is fair play."

He stared for a long while at the bottom of his glass, watching the amber impurities blending with the clear streams of melting ice.

"You said that the other day... about the wife. I'm not married. I have... I had... maybe I still have... a fiancee. I'm not sure on that point. Not sure, completely." He hesitated a moment, "They say single men are afraid of two things... being considered gay, or being considered married. What is it about me that led you to assume I was gay... I mean married!"

He let out a loud "HA" and then leaned toward her and whispered "Freud would have loved that."

Last edited by masterofNone : 01-01-2003 at 09:57 PM.
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Old 01-04-2003, 12:17 AM   #12
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“Gay huh? Oh, just a minute.” Leah could hear the haunting of the phone from her office. She walked in, closed the door behind her, and reached for the receiver. “Lola’s Bar and Grill, Lola speaking, how may I help you?”

“Damn.”

“Troy?” Leah felt her knees shut down.

“I didn’t mean to call the bar.”

“I know. I have to tell you something.” There was a long period of silence. “I didn’t know how to tell you the truth. I didn’t know how to begin. I wish to God it hadn’t been your brother who told you.”

“Dammit, Leah. I don’t care. Don’t even the hell bother with that. It’s done and over with, and I’m not coming back to pick up my check. So while I’m on the phone with you, if you’d like to send it to my P.O. then go ahead. I’ve got some business to attend to, a job to find. So if you don’t mind.”

Leah put the receiver on the desk and walked to the doorway, opened the door, and looked at the doc, sitting, shuffling his glass between his fingers. A small strand of sweat beaded over her lip as she watched his dour eyes move up to hers. Putting her shoulders back, her breathing growing heavy, she put out all her stars.
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Old 01-16-2003, 11:30 PM   #13
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He had tried not to eavesdrop. He had come up with a witty retort to reassert his heterosexuality when he looked up and saw Leah drop. Her eyes met his with the confusion of marginal consciousness. Like the sun had passed behind clouds. And then her knees buckled. For a split second he thought she was kidding... the timing was so odd. Their eyes met and she just fell like a sack of flour. His eyes widened and he whirled around the end of the bar. The bartender had made it to her side before he could and was blocking his way. "Excuse me, " he said, "I actually am a doctor and the old expression 'give her room to breath' is generally good advice." The crowd of onlookers that materialized instantly took a collective step back. Jonah dropped to her side, cradled her, and felt her neck. She was clammy. He found a pulse. Her breathing was a little shallow. "Leah? Leah!" he patted her cheek gently but firmly. "Leah! Time to wake up!"

She came to with the same level of confusion she went down with. A look that said "why am I waking up here?"
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