Are You Alienated (part ten)
As she unlocked the Volvo, she saw Cammie, on the far side of the divided highway. That the disadvantaged locals, with two double lanes to cross, were expected to scurry, bending and pumping their arms in imitation of the little figure on the screen, while the warning sign ticked off seconds, and the engines of impatient drivers churned, made Minta feel worse for Cammie. She watched her take a short cut, down and back up through the ditch, leap a concrete bumper, disappear at length between a pair of featureless apartment houses, arrayed with stingy little rows of windows.
In her drive, she found Art’s electric car. Art was nominally Quentin’s boss…CEO, birth-mother, and guru of their company. But they were too soul-matey, the two of them, for such distinctions. She found them sprawled, wearing their virtual reality gear, Quentin in the recliner, Art on the sofa. Minta was glad, of course, that Quentin had evolved past dominating her room with an eighty-inch TV (now stored in the garage).
“Are you watching golf? Or playing golf? Or whatever?” she asked.
Art sat up. He removed his headset.
“Minta.” His eyes twinkled. Quentin had not stirred. She wasn’t really fond of Art. She knew―she could see it as clearly as if she were watching one of Quentin’s clips―that not long ago, talking out loud to herself, she had groused about his personality. This twinkliness she mistrusted. He’d parked in their drive on that occasion as well, and Minta had again pulled her car in behind his. She’d been folding her umbrella when Art popped out of Quentin’s study, where they were at work on some nameless project, with the Art-like notion of picking up an order of tuna rolls. Sushi was Art’s pizza.
“If you give me your keys, Mint, I’ll just take your car. You don’t mind.”
He talked like a salesman making her a limited-time offer. She knew he was going to reset her radio stations, and she would not be able to figure out what he’d done. She had a bad habit of talking to herself, apparently. But she hadn’t known what meaning lay behind Art’s grin, his exchange of glances with Quentin. She’d assumed them just two aging frat boys, shoulder-bumping over some nerdism. She could not recall now what she’d said about Art, but he must have greatly enjoyed hearing it.
The folder, on her own phone.
Give the victim custody of the evidence. Explain that, Mrs. Castelberry. Minta shrugged, and went into the kitchen, her vexation at Quentin’s wireless weather station, and the counter space it commanded, heightened by her mood. She crowded his gizmo with her bag, allowing fate to preserve it ot not, and opened the refrigerator.
When she’d last bought groceries, she hadn’t shopped for disgruntlement. Likely, she wasn’t going to find cheese danish, or buffalo wings…she was sure she didn’t have blue corn tortilla chips in the cabinet, either. She settled for ice cream, and was closing the freezer door when she heard a tone. The tone reminded her of an incoming text, yet was one she thought she’d never heard. Battery low, she made herself guess, and setting the ice cream carton aside, dug her phone out of her bag.
Are You Alienated
(2015, Stephanie Foster)