Over the River and Through the Woods
"It's not us, sir: it's a change from the Federal Government." She yawned, tired of this issue. (Most people dealt with it by putting "email@example.com" and the notorious 1980s song lyric phone number, 867-5309.)
"I know who it is!" retorted Beckmann. "You don't think I know you're all in it together, spying on everybody?! I thought people would be more patriotic at the Pentagon City Mall!"
"Are you interested in being a mall Santa or not?" asked the woman, who had already hired two others who were older and fatter, anyway.
"A pox on your establishment!" exclaimed Beckmann, standing up. "I bite my thumb at you!" He threw the establishment's pen on the carpet and stomped it into pieces. "And you will have no secret recordings of me!"
Over in Lynnette Wong's Chinatown establishment, Angela de la Paz was enjoying a far more cordial visit.
"I meant to come yesterday for Small Business Saturday, but--"
"That's alright!" said Wong. "We did very well!"
"I'm glad," said Angela, sniffing at the herbal mix Wong had prepared for soaking her swelling feet. "I don't know why this is happening so soon--I haven't gained that much weight yet."
"You're eating more, which means you are taking in more salt," said Wong.
"Oh," said Angela. "I really need to read the pregnancy book Solomon got me."
"Things are getting serious with you two," commented Wong.
"Oh, no!" said Angela, who still thought a lot about the deceased father of her unborn child. "I'm not really sure about him. I think he's a different person when he's not around me." (She had good reason to wonder if Solomon Kane was a stone-cold killer when she was not around.) "He says I've changed him, but I don't think I'll really know until I see him on a mission."
"You're going on a mission with him?"
"Not any time soon," said Angela, who now had little thought for the calendar except in relation to her pregnancy. "But I suppose I should earn some more money for the baby."
"And get a place of your own," said Wong, who knew Angela was still living out of suitcases.
"Button is looking for a townhouse with a separate English basement."
"Are you keeping the baby?" asked Wong, who did not believe sharing any kind of housing with Henrietta Samuelson was a step in the right direction.
Angela looked at her in surprise. "Why wouldn't I?"
"I thought you were going to go back to school.," said Wong, sidestepping the bigger issues.
"You're starting to sound like Dr. Raj! Anyway, I could keep the baby and go back to school." Angela had no desire to go back to school, but hated to sound directionless. She didn't want to work for the Heurich Society forever, but nothing else made more sense...yet.
Wong went off to help a customer, leaving Angela to wonder why some people treated her like she had a magical destiny, and others still treated her like a kid. Or was it the same thing?
Out in Maryland, Calico Johnson was hosting another set of people infused with varying mixtures of destiny and childishness: a post-Thanksgiving meeting of Sense of Entitlement Anonymous (D.C. Chapter).
"I didn't really appreciate my fiance' nagging me about Small Business Saturday!" said Bridezilla, looking in the opposite direction of Luciano Talaverdi (who had failed in his romantic rivalry). "Just because he grew up in a small town in Mississippi is no reason for me to have to miss Black Friday at Lord and Taylor!"
"I thought you were talking about Saturday," pointed out The Braggart, a new member.
"Black Friday doesn't end on Friday!" exclaimed Bridezilla, rolling her eyes at this mere contract attorney without a private office at Prince and Prowling, who had shown the audacity to join this meeting.
The Braggart replied in Chinese, with a haughty smile, then translated the folk saying loosely as: "Only a fat cat needs cream."
"Could we get back to the topic of Thanksgiving?" asked Dick Cheney. "Is it too much to ask that my adult daughters not embarrass us with public political arguments?"
"What does that have to do with Thanksgiving?" asked The Braggart. "Liz threw Mary under the bus to get cash donations from your bigot wing--that's the Republican politics you raised them on."
"We couldn't have a nice holiday with everybody all together!" glowered Cheney, wondering who this extremely un-rich, un-powerful, and un-famous upstart was.
"Do you know how many gay couples can't have a nice holiday with everybody all together?!" retorted The Braggart. "Everybody has a right to eat in peace."
"I don't want to take sides!" exclaimed Cheney. "I'm retired from politics!" (Everybody in the room burst out laughing.) "No, I am!"
"I'm with the lesbian on this one," said Judge Sowell Ame. "If you throw your sister under the bus, you're the one that deserves to be uninvited to Thanksgiving."
"I'm not a lesbian!" said The Braggart. (Luciano Talaverdi perked up for a moment, but his heart wasn't in it.)
"I understand what Dick is saying," said Mayor Vincent Gray. (Cheney bristled at hearing his first name called out by this local hooligan.) "Thanksgiving should be politics-free. For a politician, talking politics at Thanksgiving is like talking shop!"
"I think it's wrong to give your nanny Thanksgiving off," said one member of N.U.T.T.Y. in attendance (Nannies United To Take Y-chromosomes). "When you love a man, er, I mean, your charge, you want to spend holidays with him, er, them." (Luciano Talaverdi sighed at the lack of quality women in this group.)
"I think I retired too soon," said a former member of the F.I.S.A. Court. "I thought there would be lucrative consulting opportunities with anti-secrecy zealots, but they're all just haters! I interviewed with a Hollywood producer to consult on a film they're doing about the National Security Agency, and then she told me I should do it pro bono! Those liberals are just as selfish as everybody else!"
"What does that have to do with Thanksgiving?" asked The Braggart.
"Not everything is about you!" exclaimed Bridezilla, desperate to vote her out of the group.
"She meant Thanksgiving," said Luciano Talaverdi, who could not help himself from defending Bridezilla. "Not everything is about Thanksgiving."
"Why are you even here?" asked Cheney. "Did you celebrate Thanksgiving?"
"Yes," said Talaverdi. "Is there some law against foreigners' celebrating it? Does your gay daughter have more rights than I have?"
"This is starting to sound like Thanksgiving at my sister's house," said Judge Sowell Ame.
"At least you got to be in a house!" cried the member of N.U.T.T.Y. "I spent Thanksgiving with my nanny friends at a Chinese restaurant!"
"The food is better there, anyway," said The Braggart, "unless you know how to cook authentic Peking and Cantonese cuisine, like I do."
"Nothing beats Tidewater sweet potato pie!" exclaimed Bridezilla.
"Is tide water really an ingredient?" asked The Braggart.
"More wine, anyone?" asked host Calico Johnson.
Back in the city, Golden Fawn was finishing lunch with her husband (Marcos Vazquez) and mother-in-law from Puerto Rico. "More wine, anyone?" Her mother-in-law frowned, wondering why Golden Fawn was never pregnant. "I'm so glad you're staying through Christmas!" said Golden Fawn, dutifully.
"Next week, I will start baking."
"No rush, mami--better pace yourself!" said Vazquez, who had never told his mother about Golden Fawn's second bout with breast cancer.
"What else am I going to do in this little condo?" she asked accusingly.
If only we could harness that anger in the fight against Ardua, thought Golden Fawn.
Out on the balcony, a pink warbler chased the demonic starlings away from the bird feeder, and let the sparrows eat in peace...for now.
The Braggart is kicked out of Sense of Entitlement Anonymous (D.C. Chapter) because she wrote her own Wikipedia page.