I haven’t felt this much like an unbird in a long time. Devoid of humanity. Uncertain. Living on the scraps of urban dwellers. And the noise! Squawking and cooing and beating of too many wings in too small a space.
Cindi and Evelyn bicker loudly over speaker phone. Pye tries to intervene gently. Stipple, back from wherever he left the remnants of our merry band, sings into his whiskey.
I sit still in the cacophony and wait for some critical mass to occur, but I needn’t wait long.
“Get your fancy, monied evil down here, oh, Queen of Deceit!” Stipple grabs the phone and shouts at her. Pye and Cindi fall quiet. “I don’t care about your exposure! If you’re not here tomorrow morning, bright and early, we’ll – all of us – disappear!”
He slaps the whole face of the phone with his palm as if that’s going to end the conversation. Cindi pulls the phone from his hand and turns of the speaker before she walks into the bedroom with it. What is said between them – Cindi and E – I don’t know. Stipple throws back his drink and pours another. We sit.
When Cindi finally returns, her eyes are puffy and steely at the same time. “Get out,” she says. “I’ll find you tomorrow when we’re ready.”
“We? She’s com-” I say but Cindi holds up a hand to silence me. It works.
She closes her eyes and says with restraint, “Leave.”
Pye and I don’t wait to be told a third time. Stipple seems to think he’s welcome. Cindi turns to him and says, “If you want to be in charge, go find some charges. I’m not one of them.”
Stipple hardens, looks like he’s about to explode. He and his bag are out the door before Pye and I part ways at the hall’s end.