“Blessed be,” said Kat, as she and Kate prepared to turn in. It seemed like she really meant it.
“Ah, um, good night,” said Trish, unsure of how to respond.
When we heard the door close behind them, a hum of frantic whispering rose among us.
“Are you actually going to trust them?,” Jonathan demanded.
“Kate is pretty hot, in a scary way,” Mike said.
“You think we can get to Bob through them and find Jill, don’t you?,” Moira said.
“What does ‘Blessed Be’ mean?,” Trish asked.
“Can I have some more of that Spam?,” Lynn wanted to know.
“No, I don’t trust them. Not yet. Yes, Kate is hot. Yes, I want to get to Bob so we can get Jill back. Or at least find out what happened to her,” I admitted, bleakly. “‘Blessed Be’ is a nice thing to say, “I continued. “It’s like ‘Goodnight, God bless you.’ And, yes, you can have more Spam, but that’s all we have, so don’t go wild.”
With business taken care of, we threw our exhausted bodies on sofas and on floors and in chairs and slept the sleep of lousy bastards who’d left their friend to who knows what fate and then used her digs.
I peeked out of the office blinds at the afternoon sky. I saw a few huge birds gliding over uptown buildings. I went to the living room to peek out at 42nd St. No action on the street at all.
Everyone else was starting to stir, so I stepped over Mike and gave the TV a try. All Disney movies.
“There isn’t much on TV, anymore,” Kat stood in the kitchen. “There used to be some fake news reports, but now it’s either test patterns or kiddy shows.” She filled the tea kettle.
“Do you and Kate work tonight?,” I asked.
“Yeah, we do. Only for a few hours, though. Limited hours due to the apocalypse.”
“What do you work FOR?,” I asked. “It seems like money wouldn’t be worth a dime, right now.”
“Money will be worth something again, someday. I hope. We are getting a mint of it in tips, that’s for sure. Guys are just throwing it around, since there is nothing to buy. I’m saving mine up. I want to move to Hawaii. Kate is saving for an expensive Harley motorcycle. She has always been butch in a biker chick way. Show World is paying us in groceries. They have to. Otherwise, nobody would work. Well, we wouldn’t work. We are about the only girls they have, right now. We tried to go home the day…it started. We were scared. Walked right out in the middle of our shift, but the subways were down and the streets were mob scenes. There was no way we could get home to Queens. So, we came back here and here we stayed.”
“If you are witches, then why don’t you get rid of the damned birds?” Moira was awake.
“Surely you aren’t that silly,” Kate appeared behind Kat. “If it worked that way, the world would have been perfect before the big birds showed up.” She gave Kat a hug from behind.
“Lesbians,” Moira informed the room. “It’s interesting to me that lesbians show men their cooters for money.”
Kate pointed at me and said, “You and her aren’t lesbians?”
“Noooo,” Moira gasped. “Well, SHE is a lesbian. I. Am. Not.”
“Too bad,” Kate said. “You’d make a cute little couple.”
Kate and Kat set about whipping up a hot breakfast or dinner or whatever we were going to call the first meal of the day at 5pm, now that the world had been turned upside down.
“Show World is getting cheap,” Kate grumbled, “this pastrami is green.”
“The food is running out fast, I guess,” the thought chilled me.
“Well, breakfast is on us, if you don’t mind it being a little gross,” Kat said.
“Fine by me,” Lynn popped out of the office.
“Of course it’s fine by you,” Moira said, “you were eating out of garbage cans before the birds.”
Lynn laughed, which set Moira steaming. It’s no fun to NOT get someone’s goat.
“Hey,” Trish said sleepily, “where is Jonathan?”
“In the john?,” Mike guessed. He groaned as he sat up from his bed of sofa cushions on the floor.
“No, I was just in the john,” Trish said. “Unless I sat on his lap and didn’t notice, I was alone in there.”
We all froze. Jonathan disappearing from this apartment was too much. It occurred to me that maybe things weren’t what we thought they were. Maybe some chemical had been released. Maybe we were all crazy and the government really was frantically searching for a cure. Maybe we were all creeping through the streets, scuttling like rabbits from giant birds that weren’t really there. Maybe the only real enemy we actually had was each other.