Spoilers: Three of A Kind. Teensie
brush with 'Like Water For Octane.'
Summary: So... What did 'Blondie' get up
to between the time he breezed off with
Jimmy and Timmy, to catch the floor show
that went along with 'the all you can eat
lobster,' before Scully arrived?
Disclaimer: All X-Files characters and
references are property of C. Carter,
Morgan & Wong, 10-13 Productions and FOX.
In a minute it'll be three twenty-five in the
a.m., and we're still up. Her little guy's
safely tucked back in his bed which looks like
it's one big building block, with matching
Batman sheets, pillowcases and blanket. We
share a similar interest, and not only in
bedding. He's got several nifty Transformers
to boot. But there's something I can't help
noticing he lacks. Though he's nearly three,
he could use a computer. It's never too early
for initiating little fries into a much
bigger world. A world that will no doubt be
greatly more sophisticated, and perfected,
technologically speaking, when he's my age. I
hold to that view staunchly, and I'm sticking
to it, defying anybody to shoot it down. Now,
or thirty years from now. I am geek, hear me
Man, time flies when you're into serious
rapping, catching up on too many years the way
we've been these past hours. Too many of
those passages not the best of times for Cin,
it pains me to dwell on, as we sit at her
kitchen nook table, sipping flavorful cups
of Maxwell House...(yeah, I know, but if it's
made right, and doctored to my liking, which
it is; it's majorly milky, what with all the
half-and-half I drenched it with, and Cin
questioned my imprudent use of so much sugar.
I'm lapping it up, no problem).
You know that old hackneyed expression? 'Stay
in school, get a better job?' I'm not one who
goes in for the trite, as a rule, but in Cin's
case, the notion works like using Latex gloves
to perform autopsies. Posing for those campus
prints had started off innocently enough.
Frat house idiocy, and the like; a lot of fun
and much-needed bucks as the perk. No more
having to write home, asking for bread. Bread
her mom couldn't afford to send, what with
being laid off from damn two-bit jobs of every
description faster than spending the funds
from final paychecks. Even when Cin was asked
to pose semi-nude, by the stage she'd entered,
she thought nothing of it. Wish I would have
been around then... If I had been, maybe all
this shit she's in would have never happened.
By the time she realized where she was headed,
it was no big deal with her. She was making
serious money to defray her expenses tied in
with what not, and she liked that. She was
hooked, and it just got more and more
seductive... She, bolder and bolder, until
she'd reached her private sticking point of
'I can make way more bread this way, and a
whole lot quicker. Screw the college degree.'
She'd decided to trade solely on her looks.
I couldn't help but wonder after she'd said
this, what had happened to all that money
she'd made? And then it came to me. She'd
let me hold the clingy package she had
invested in a little while ago who had
managed to wet my pants a little, and whose
top of his fleece-haired head I kissed.
"You could go back to school, right?" I drain
my cup and look off in the direction of the
brewmaster machine. "Okay, sure. The
scholarship's history, but there're tons of
funding you can connect with nowadays, even
finishing your education via the Web."
"Want more coffee," she asks attentively,
already getting up.
She goes for it, and as she's pouring says,
"Richie, you know, and I know it's much too
late for that."
"Bullshit," I bark, which causes her to start,
messing up her aim, and some coffee drips to
the table. "Look, first things first. First
you've gotta get outta this place, if it's
the last thing you ever do," I ad lib from
favorite lyrics. "Girl, there's a better life
She pours herself more too, and after setting
the decanter down replies, "I won't live in
constant dread of having my son taken from
me, one day."
Dumping in what I dumped into my cup before,
then stirring I target the intensity gleaming
from my eyes on her. "I can fix it so you
won't have to worry about that. You won't.
Just trust me."
She touches the side of her cheek, fingering
it, looking thought-provoked. Without
realizing it, I guess, she's upping the
pressure so that a red mark gradually appears.
Sounding as though she's hoping when she
knows full well to do so is pointless, she
says, "Fix it? Fix it how?"
I keep it simple because though she's a
smart girl, technobabble turns off most
people; except people like me who live,
breathe and inwardly digest the realm.
"You could really do that? Make it appear as
though we've disappeared into thin air?"
She's looking abrupt, as though I've told her
I can fly minus benefit of Rolls Royce turbos,
and aerodynamically designed wings.
"Square biz. Piece of cake. Hey, like you
She nods, and no sooner do I finish wondering
what kind she's got, she sets a cake carrier
down on the table, which she removed from atop
the fridge, accompanied by knife, fork and a
plate scrawled over with tulips. My mouth
waters. "Baked this myself," she says proudly
while removing the carrier's lid.
"Cool," I award, eyeing the four layer
chocolatety draw longingly. "Sorta hungry.
I get hungry fast, a lot."
"Like I've said, 'ad cloysum' some things
never change. Remember how you polished off
most of the dinner that time we had you over?"
"Hey, that was a totally tiny turkey. And
your mom said I had a healthy appetite; a
growing boy thing goin' on." There was my
other appetite, which nourished the torrid
fantasies I'd have about Cin, I kept well
hidden from her mom. If she had had a clue,
she would have kept her daughter under lock
and key. I never needed skin mags...my
dreams, day or night did it for me. I kept
my true feelings pretty much well hidden from
Cin too. Afraid I'd scare her if she knew
how raging my libido was where she was
concerned. I was one screwed up swill of
latent hormones. Was? What's so different
about what I am now? A boyish man who still
lives too much inside of himself.
"She was being kind," Cin cajoles, winking my
way, and triggering a torrent of 'those were
the days' to flow.
"How's your mom doing these days?"
"So-so. She uses a walker now. Her left
knee's very bad."
"Hey that's rough. She still livin' in the
"Yep. Our old one that's bleeding what
little savings she has dry."
"Your brother still lives at home?"
Looking wistful, Cin replies, "No, he got
married last year. Lives in Atlanta now;
sells some kind of insurance. Car, I think."
She's just about to cut the cake, but holds
up before making a mark. "Why don't I make
you some breakfast, instead? It's certainly
getting to be that time."
"Negatory on that. Don't put yourself out.
The cake'll be fine," and I scoot it over
closer to me. "Got milk?"
"No," Cin says defiantly.
"No sweat, I'll use up the coffee."
"No," she repeats obstinately. "Eating cake
at this hour isn't good for you."
"Hey, I'll be the judge of that, mama. Most
of the stuff I do's not good for me," I
defend, pouting, helping myself to a slice
of pig-out proportions, but she butts the
knife out of my hand. I make with a hurt
face, but Cin looks lethal; she's acquainted
with my sad tactics of trying to get sympathy.
Then, ultimately, my own way. "All right, you
win. I'll let you save me from this early
morning sugar rush, ya big bully." When she
says, 'no' you don't argue. Least I never
did. I liked keeping her mellow and nectarly
laid back, which cost me her, in the end.
I was the putty; guess I still am.
"Eggs, bacon, a few fried potatoes, toast,
juice? How's that sound?"
"Like I can't wait to dig in," I banter.
I watch her appreciatively go through with my
breakfast preparation; on second thought,
real food would be better, and I'm very glad
I gave in without a fuss.
"Did you ever make good on your threat about
learning how to cook?" she asks, throwing me
for a total loop. "You did okay in Home Ec,
I think I remember..."
Some subjects are better left 'ungone' over,
and I pick up where we left off.
"So like I was sayin', yeah...no problem
cookin' up a 'cloaking' device, in a manner
of speaking, so you can slip away, and stay
slipped," I brag, cerebrally thumbing through
all the obligatory times we've indulged Scully
and her 'make it look as though' whoever they
needed to protect, 'fell off the face of the
planet,' partner drafted me and mine to
perform the electronic safe house service
behind the scenes. "Jag-wrap ya, and you're
good to go."
"I'll take that convolution as a 'no,'" she
ribs. Her face spikes with a knowledgeable
tick. "You hack, in not so many words." A
look of 'who told you?' zip-locks my facial
muscles as my mouth drops open like it got
changed into some kind of drawbridge. "Why
that look?" she questions steadily. "Aside
from your just telling me what brings you to
town, quizzing you for computer lab became my
way of life. How could you forget?"
"Nah, nah," I balk, "it's just that you made
it sound like it sucks."
She's quick to coffer, "No, no," but I'd
swear she's enjoying me getting all defensive.
"Did I?" I pull on my scruffy chin, she
cracks another egg. "Well, if that's how it
sounded, then I didn't mean for it to."
"I got the power," I can't resist spouting,
and she thrusts her lower lip out at me before
using her upper lip to pin it down, "but I
only use it for good. Never evil."
"Why do you sound like a melodrama?"
I see she has that base covered, and am about
to probe a bit further, but she says, "I
believe you, Richie. I could never picture
you doing anything that would hurt someone, no
matter how much you liked to joke about
bringing the Swiss Bank to its knees."
"Oh, you remember that?" I leak. How much
hurt are we talking here with the crowd who
banks at that 'piggy bank?'
"But you were a kid, only kidding."
"Kidding," I say hollowly, wondering if she
hears the how many times I've been tempted
in my voice. One day, just for fun, I got
real close; I could almost hear the systemic
tumblers succumbing to my pugnacious Kung
Fu, but I pulled out before, I discovered to
my horror, the rabbit trace was in, and
getting burned was a real possibility, as a
direct result of my raging curiosity and a
full head of steam, was nanoseconds off.
Janis Joplin in a micro miniskirt and a tank
top, hitchin' to Frisco for a love-in...that
was the closest I'd ever come to getting
buried in the graveyard due to my _own_ tunnel
vision. Those were my crazier days, man. Way
before I enlisted for the 'cause,' trying to
make a difference.
"How many strips of bacon?"
"Wha'?" I blink myself back into this
reality instead of the one I scrounged in
going on over a decade ago. Had I been gone
"How many strips..."
Cin smirks, doing a very respectable imitation
of me. "Where were you, cutie-petutti?"
Oh, man, I'm like so home. She used the
favorite, the bombest 'nicky' on me. "A
place I never wanna be again." I frown.
"What was the question?"
"How much bacon do you want?"
"Much as you're having." Then as an
afterthought, I say, "Please?"
"Oh, I'm skipping the bacon today. When
you're over thirty, it gets harder to keep
the pounds off. I need to lose a few."
"Where? You look spiffy to me." And I
even catch myself leering, and I get
flustered. Her body's already knocked my
socks off. Little did those two jerks I
had the desperation of mind to dine with
realize I was on the joy trip at the
table, with every enticing step she took
on that runway, making my throat run dry,
and my breath hitch so hard, I had a
breathing problem to the tune of,
'oxygen--stat! And hose him down, while
you're at it.'
"I'm honest," I lace. "Who told you to lose
weight? Monty Python who wants to eat his
"In so many words, transmitted via one of
his grapevine worms, or Jeffy goes bye-bye,
bye-bye. Nobody wants to lay out heavy
wadage for a fat pro."
I bite my tongue for that one. Not that
I've ever come even close, laying it out for
a 'ho' of whatever description, even those
times when I'd been desperate enough to do
anything, tryin' to forget her. So lonely,
man, but too paranoid, and not in the mood
for background checking. So...I'd chicken
out, and go home to my virtual diversions,
after 'counter measures,' that is.
"The scumbag gets off on holding the kid over
your head, don't he?" Anyone who knows me
knows I'm not a fighter, I'm nobody's lover
either. (Leese is a sweet girl. She never
told me how much I suck in the Don Juan
department, which I so do, when I made it
clear I couldn't sleep with her. At least
not then and there like that, on the trip.
Way too scared, and I would have freaked
right in front of her; gotten physically
ill, not to the point of puking, but near
enough. Trust me. It's what happens.
I've got freaky issues with intimacy.)
All I know, is that if this prick was here
with us now, I'd mess him up so bad, his
new permanent residence would be a hospital.
Preferably one with quacks for personnel.
Cin nods quickly, then looks away, and I know
what her eyes want to run and hide to do.
I've done it again, dammit. "Cin, I wanna
bake this frog's cakes so bad, I can taste
She can't answer, only sniffle in reply. That
settles it, I'm gonna take him apart by any
worm-means possible; bust him up
cyberspatially. I get up and go over to the
stove where she's buckled. I turn off the
flame under the sizzling frying pan before she
self-immolates. "Easy, baby, easy. It's
gonna be all right. Swear it is."
"You must really think I'm some new strain of
gutless wonder. You know I was never like
this. I'm so jacked up, and degraded... I
so suck." She slumps against me, her hand
covers her face into which she sobs, and my
arms are her saving grace.
I coo blandishments I never knew I had in me.
"After I'm finished with him, Cinny, _he_
will. So much so that they'll be able to put
him in the box with the other flexible ones."
She burrows her forehead into my chest, and I
rest my chin on the back of her head. "We'll
eat first, then sort it all out. You sit,
I'll take over."
She eases off of, and stares at me dead to
rights, in disbelief. I've seen more
confidence bounced my way after one of
Frohike's tired lectures on the merits of
temperance, in all aspects. You'd think he'd
realize, after all these years, his counsel
goes in one, and out the other. Unless of
course, on those few and far between
occasions he's got a point.
I chuckle just enough to get her to smile
again. "Well, I never said I'm a virgin
in the kitchen." Just everywhere else, in
the Biblical sense.
"Or the bathroom, the bedroom, the shower,"
she says, deciding to dribble the ball I've
forward passed to her for the easy lay-up.
"Score," I say, as we walk back to the table
and I tell her to sit so she can watch me
perform the culinary acrobatics. "See, I've
got this grisly old friend who's been my food
guru for a while now. Total rough going at
first, because I wanted to do everything my
own way. The way I used to fly by the seat
of my pants in Home Ec."
"Did you say you have a grizzly for a friend?"
Cin says, an Atlantic and a Pacific more
upbeat, "or did you mean grizzled?"
"Both," I mutter, as I search for the knife to
finish chopping up the potatoes and onions.
"And bald, on top, in a handbasket. He, his
"Frohike?" Cin says, steepling her fingers,
looking intrigued, "that's a weird name."
"Goes along with a real weird dude I've been
tight with going on over ten years now. He
even looks like a grizzly sometimes. A short,
stocky one who's a real bear in the morning.
Mel's not only a friend, he's one of my
associates. He, and the other dude, who's a
roomie too; John Byers." The 'starchies'
are all chopped and frying away in their own
pan now, I face around to her, wanting to fish
some more in the meantime. "Since you had
Python's kid, I'm figuring you and he were
tighter than size twelves pinched and
blistering in tens."
"Once," she echoes in endorsement, looking
morose again, and I curse the creep inwardly.
The bastard. "Tell me some of the other
things you know about him..." I gaze
thoughtfully into her pretty, commanding eyes,
rimmed somewhat by a sadness I can't seem to
work around easily. "I wanna toast him.
Make it hurt hard. Really 'megmo' his dumb
"'Megmo?' What's that?" she bas reliefs,
mystification entangled in her voice.
"Fix him with the 'fixes' over the top."
Way over when I'm banging away full blast at
a righteous...yeah this one'll be a crack.
Blood racin' full throttle...ooooh. "When
you're in the zone, and it's all happenin',
a righteous crack is better than sex." Not
that I'm any expert in the sexual arena; the
furthest from. She really gives me the eye
then, like I'm tellin' her something better
told to a shrink. Although, she is a... I
refuse to think about what she is; so not
"You've really made the computer thing your
life, haven't you?"
"Yeah. We, me and the 'flotilla' fit hand
and glove." Getting into a lengthy
discussion about why I've chosen to use my
talents the way I do would serve no purpose
in this context. Laymen and women have a
hard time wrapping their minds around the
concept of enlisting for the 'cov-seekers,
blow the lid off and run with it' detail.
"If nothing else, when it comes to
technology, I'm always at home." With the
tech aspect, yeah; with the danger
sometimes inherent in what we do, uh...that's
the part I can live without. I've grown real
used to breathe in, breathe out, repeat the
process several thousands of times in the
course of a day. Eating, sleeping, razzin'
Fro' and 'narcky' too, coming off the victor
in my stockpile of vid. games; all part of the
being alive deal, to which I've grown
accustomed. Very accustomed.
Cin thinks for a minute. I think she can see
I've zoned out, a little, uh huh. But not
that zoned out, though. Least I notice she
stopped looking so brain damaged for a moment
or two. She tweaks, "How would you hurt--"
"Scumbag." I'm tickled; that's the perfect
nym for the friggin' turkey I'm all hot to
"Give me a 'for instance.'"
"I'm thinking more along the lines of, well,
businessy." She's still thinking when I'm
struck by lightning. "Nothing for child
support, I bet, huh."
She looks at me as though I've shot an arrow
through her heart, cleaving it as her flesh
melts away from bone. "Not a penny. He's a
scumbag. Henceforth, he shall be known as."
I smile, she does too, but her tone is
wooden. "Scumbag has no son, until he makes
noises like he's going to seize him so I walk
the straight and narrow." It hardens even
more, like it'll crack. "I'm probably
looking at, what? If my boobs don't sag, and
my tush stays firm..." I gawk at her, those
tempting anatomical sites messing up my
ability to think straight. "Anywhere from
five, maybe six years tops before he turns me
out. Past prosty-prime. He merchandises
I let those comments pass uncommented on.
The feather of an idea is tickling my thought
patterns. "This is only if ya know, but
would you know where he does his banking?"
There's a light burning brightly in my eyes,
trained on her, (trust me, there is) and she
supplies, "Several banks here in town, and
the one he favors with the serious money, in
The bacon's popping off at me and I pop
several fat bubbles on the strips while
turning them over. "Not the one of Swiss
She yodels a little, and I can't help but
crack up after cracking the last of the four
eggs I've used. (Told you I'm hungry.) "That
I wouldn't know. There were some things that
didn't make it to the pillow."
I stand watching the eggs' sunnyside yokes
harden, locked in a synthesis of thought.
"Bring plates," I say after I judge the food's
gonna be our meal soon.
"What are you cooking up in that microwave
brain of yours?" she asks, handing me a plate,
gently elbowing my ribs.
"That depends..." I spatula-out the far cry
from 'huevos rancheros' onto both plates,
followed up by the bacon just for me, none
for her. She has no weight problem, but soon
that point will be moot once she shakes Vegas'
dust off her high heels, and books from here
with all due haste. I'm about to fill her
plate with my rarified version of home fries.
I believe my 'taters' taste better the lighter
they are, like this, though Frohike disagrees.
He likes his spuds leathery brown, tough.
Too crunchy, like him. Disgusting. I can see
Cin doesn't want the fries either, but I
ignore what her eyes are telling me, and divvy
up the pepper-sprinkled tubers, and she
"On what?" she replies huskily, in kind.
"Ooh, that's enough, thank you," she
stipulates, covering her plate over with her
left hand. "I'll have to lose twelve pounds,
and it'll be all your fault."
I dump a few more 'Idahos' on her plate, but
she deftly shifts them to mine. I let them
stay where they are. I don't want this to
escalate into a food fight, and if memory
serves, and it does, the second best thing
we liked to do was get into wack physical
skirmishes with each other, which nine times
out of ten climaxed with heavy lip action as
the aftermath. Our lives were fun and not
all that centered on what tomorrow would
bring. Damn, I miss those days...
We're all grown up now, dealing with the shit
that goes with it. Fun is something that
needs scheduling. "Ever actually do his
banking?" I conjecture aloud, for the hell of
it, and if she says she's played courier, or
even got a good look at some numbers belonging
to one or two accounts, we could have a match.
I see a glimmer in her eyes, and I know what
that means all too well. She might have
gotten into flinging a little of our pre-dawn
repast if I hadn't sobered the subject.
"Do one-arm bandits have slots?"
"The ones I've played so far were one big
drain. Shoulda had a bottle of Mister
Plumber for professional clogs on me to
loosen some of 'em up."
"There's another thing I've so missed about
you." She's standing very close to me, and
looking so young, so 'long time ago, in a
galaxy far, far away' mine again. What a
time for my malcontent of a stomach to start
"What's that?" I say haltingly, for some
reason I can't explain, feeling strange.
Like deja vu on the high seas.
"Your one of a kind sense of humor..."
"Just me bein' me." The reason for deja vu's
clear. Leese told me something similar, the
last night of the cruise. The best night of
the voyage. We stood for hours, holding each
other at the rail, gazing at the moon. If I'd
been any other guy, who wasn't feeling so at
odds with himself, I guess it would have been
real romantic, even though she told me she
admired me for wanting to take things slow.
Not like other guys who had made no bones
about their impatience. I clear my throat a
second time. "So, uh...like. Where were we?"
"Well, I was about to tell you what a fool
Marcus was for me once upon a time. Anything
I wanted, whimmed, demanded, it was prestoed.
Then I got pregnant, and wound up as scrap
for the heap. It wasn't love, it was his
private, demented world of acquisition." Her
sigh sounds as if it's scraping against her
chest wall. "Thing was, he had no desire to
acquire a son. Jeffy's a pawn to him."
"Got any old receipts of deposits, or
withdrawls? Like I hinted at before. Ever
write down any old account numbers?"
Her smile is flaccid, but broadening as we
return to the table to first polish off my
cooking, and then, what I'm hoping for,
plotting. If I can make good on what he
owes Cin for putting her through hell, I'll
be more than satisfied. Ball's in her court
at the moment.
She's about to answer, when I smell something
burning. "Ooops--lemme get the toast before
it's nothing but ash," I erupt while Cin pours
the Minute Maid.
Once I reseat, and before she starts in on my
greasy 'cookworks,' she says in a voice soaked
in feeling, "Thank you, Richie. I don't rate
"Save it," I say while buttering the singed,
but salvageable toast. "I haven't done
anything, but I wanna."
"A lot you know," she rebuts, aimlessly
fiddling with her eggs. "I've forgotten what
it feels like to be with a man who wants
nothing more than just talk."
The way she sounds makes smiling difficult,
for both of us. "C'mon, eat up already.
Can't hold me responsible for stone cold
rubbery eggs you wouldn't feed to a dog."
Through rapid chews, I continue, "So, are you
remembering? About any old accounts, is what
I mean." I think that's what I mean. Don't
know if I'm all too sure. Seeing her again,
most of all seeing her like this is doing all
kinds of tricky things to my head.
"Don't have to." She lays the fork down upon
her eggs, then looks up, and instead of
looking vague, which I figured I'd see, a
smile teases both her lips and me. "This is
"I've got several old passbooks he asked me
to hold onto, and has never asked for them
back. He must've forgotten I have them."
Bingo, baby... We're in totally serious
business. "Yeah, maybe, but guaranteed.
He'll wish he remembered once I get to him
"What do you mean?"
"You already know..."
"Richie... I don't think--"
"Sure ya do."
"What if... What if his account numbers
I do a double-think which lasts a few seconds.
"But I'll know that in short order." Her face
blanks and it's not hard to understand why.
I've seen that expression on many a naive
mug. Old numbers. New. Access denied;
'base-to-'base upgraded protection. What does
it matter? I look at her for a long while, my
entire face a lopsided smile.
Sure; I know nothing about how to, let's say
for argument's sake, hold my fork the 'right
way.' Fold my napkin the way Byers does
after he finishes wiping his mouth off. Like
that stuff really matters. My mind sprints
over what does, leaving Cin behind for a
Right now, I'm having a very Hoover moment,
and the funky dam's got nothing to do with it.
That goes for the Crayola box building crammed
with Fibbies in D.C. too. All I can taste is
my cleaning Scumbag out, and how good it will,
once I do.
End Part 4