Ten days blow past as Pye and I hide in a Stipple-owned warehouse. This one has a lock, four beds, a functioning bathroom, a stocked kitchen, and a regular extermination schedule. Stipple has gone to recover our crew, though I remain skeptical he’ll find them all.
Pye bakes. For whom? No idea. Cakes, pies, cookies – name it, and we probably have it on some surface. We have plenty to keep us busy. We are storytelling.
Between baking sprees, Pye researches equipment and software. I work on scripts. Badly fleshed scripts. The holes could fit tankers. Turns out, writing a story without knowing any of the details – kinda hard.
When our crew return – if they return – we are to film the indiscretions of high-profile officials. Who are these people? How will we get their worst moments? Do they even have usably bad details we can exploit?
“We need eggs,” Pye says.
“Yeah, like we need holes in our heads,” I say, balling up another sheet of paper.
“What? It calms me.”
“But you don’t eat it and we can’t give it away, so—,”
“Who says?” Pye brightens, pushing glasses up the bridge of her nose. “Let’s take a break! We can package up all the yummy stuff and give it to the homeless. I mean, the actual homeless.”
“We are not to leave.” My tone is dismissive when it should be engaging. It is a good idea, but I’m opposed to good ideas at present.
“Maybe someone could pick it up for Cindi.”
I rest my pen across the notepad. Pye won’t let this go.
“Call her,” I say.
“Yeah. Maybe she can come out herself over lunch or something.”
“You don’t think she’ll come, do you?”
“Maybe she will. And if she does, maybe she’ll have some information for us.”
Pye laughs. Not a giggle. Not a chuckle. But some sort of break-from-reality laugh. The kind of laugh that is instantly contagious, especially when unwanted. We laugh together and cut the massive chocolate cake I’d never actually give away.
We take one thin slice each but laughing turns to talking turns to crying and eating the cake directly from its plate.
“I want them to be fine,” she says. “It was the best thing I’ve ever seen you do, forcing them to bring everyone in. You’re the only one who could’ve put enough pressure on E to make it happen.”
What Pye doesn’t know is what I promised in exchange for the people I’d come to embrace as family. And I can’t tell her until she has them to lean on. Meanwhile, I have this job that can’t be done until my promise comes due, until I transition from unbird to something new.
We fall back into an easy chat about our friends, our lives, the people we used to be. I think I’d like to stay here forever. Eating cake and chatting and losing touch with the world outside the door. If only.