“Reality has been scheduled for regular maintenance…”
That was not what James wanted to hear today. How come every time he went out without Mercedes something had to go wrong?
“…and so is temporarily down.”
“I knew it.” He sighed, shifting his bag over his shoulder. Things looked normal around him, but he knew better than to take that for granted. The elephant who had been watching him over the fence had stopped eating the chocolate leaves for goodness sakes. He never thought he would see that happen. She was still staring at him though, Mercedes thought he was being paranoid.
“Please stand by patiently and it should be back up soon.”
James didn’t move his feet. He really didn’t like having to stand in one place for very long, he hoped this would resolve itself soon.
And for some time, James waited for reality to come back.
“I may or may not have been wasted when I came up with this idea.”
He put up his hand, stopping her from speaking further. “Wait. You were drunk when you thought of this?”
She sighed, twisting her hands around the braided coil. “Yes, but can you think of a better plan that-”
Once more he cut her off. “No, no! You remember what you think of when you’re drunk?”
She stopped tugging at the rope. “That’s what you’re worried about? My mental capacity while inebriated?”
“Not worried! Kinda jealous. How do you remember anything after drinking that much?”
“Focus!” she snapped. He winced. “Are you going to help me?”
“Yeah, yeah. Sorry.”
Together, they began to pull the rope out of the beached Leviathan’s mouth.
There was a train on the track. James retied his sneakers. Mercedes stood next to him, hands on her hips.
“What. What even.”
The way her nostrils flared out with every irritated snort was something that was more pronounced in this cold weather. It was Mercedes idea that they be a bit more active. Not driving everywhere active, but really active active. It was James’ idea that they run the track to make sure they get the minimum in ever day.
Like most of James’ ideas, somehow it was ruined. Today, it was by a train.
“When did that get there?” Mercedes demanded of the passing penguins.
One of them honked. James squeezed the bridge of his nose. “We could go and run up and down the river instead?”
“And have the wind make fun of me? Last time it called you fat. The wind’s a jerk.”
“The wind doesn’t have sole possession of the riverside.”
As far as Mercedes was concerned, it did. They had to find somewhere else to run though, rather than the track. The train wasn’t theirs to move, after all. That was up to the triceratops who wanted their vote.
Mercedes grit her teeth. “How much did they say it was?”
James didn’t want to reply, because she already didn’t look happy, but there was no avoiding it. “The rate was pi.”
“Pi? I’m not paying pi!”
James shrugged. “We could always go-”
“I’m going to give them a piece of my mind!”
He stopped her from walking over there herself. “Come on! It’s not worth a piece of your mind. If paying pi is a problem, imagine what it would be like if you gave up a piece of your mind!”
“But it’s the last part I need!” Mercedes explained, waving at the object on display. “The entire collection!”
James tried not to sigh. “I’ll… I’ll ask them again. If they’ll take another price. Please be patient.”
The last thing either of them needed was to give a piece of their mind again.
The eggs began to multiply.
That would have been fine, if they had come from chickens. But every time James opened the refrigerator there was another one. He blinked and closed the door again, careful to move some of the snails from the door frame to the counter. “Mercedes!”
She didn’t answer. Probably wasn’t home. Leaving James to deal with this himself. It wasn’t as if he had been busy. He had only been washing the dimes with mint so that they would stop being so dirty. As long as that was finished before the end of the day, it didn’t matter when it was done. Sometimes he was forgetful. It happened. Before the end of the day. The sound of them in the sink probably wouldn’t let him forget.
Now, the number of eggs.
James took them all out of the refrigerator and decided to make enough omelet for Mercedes to have too when she got back. That was easy enough and all was done before too long. He ate some, it was delicious. The snails had some too.
The the sound from the fridge brought back his disillusionment.
He opened it up for the last time, for more eggs to tumble out.
James sighed. Mercedes would murder him for this.
“I think we need to ask someone for directions,” James finally said.
Mercedes glared over the paper map, as her phone had run out of power an hour earlier. “I think that’s the Waterfall of Fish over there.” She pointed over at the waterfall in the distance, then squinted. “Never mind, those aren’t fish. That’s a Waterfall of Spiders.”
“I don’t remember that one,” James replied, glancing over at her map.
“It’s not a big enough landmark to be on here.”
“There’s a giant rat over there, maybe we can ask him.” James drove forward to pull up alongside the rat, who pointedly ignored the two of them in their new hover car.
“Excuse me? Do you know how to get to the City of Warehouses from here?”
The rat squeaked.
Mercedes grit her teeth. “Yes, I know. But we still got lost, you… um, friend.”
James decided to cover up Mercedes lack of tact, not that it mattered because the rat was being rather rude. “Then you know which way we take from here?”
The rat squeaked more and then ran off into the bushes.
“He was lying,” Mercedes said.
“Maybe not,” James responded. “Let’s go.”
They took the path of java chips and continued on their way.
On their day off, they went to the beach. James wore swim trunks and Mercedes a t-shirt and shorts. “I’m going to learn how to surf!” James announced.
“Since when?” Mercedes asked, bringing up a parasol to block the sun and the drool of the long necked dinosaur that stood nearby and stared out over the ocean.
That said, he ran off to find a surfboard at one of the many vendors that were set up right above where the tide came in, getting their wares wet. James bought a surfboard from the guy who also sold tennis rackets and light bulbs. Mercedes set her towel out far away from the family of gnomes that were discussing how to make a better profit here than the leprechauns down the way. Putting on her sunglasses and propping up her parasol, she made herself comfortable. A bear settled nearby, but he was the quiet sort, so Mercedes didn’t begrudge him as a neighbor.
She looked up at where James was standing in the water, on a wave and still perfectly balanced. She tilted her sunglasses down her nose a little and noted the vacationing penguins holding him up. “Nice, James!” she responded, settling her shades back over her eyes.
Then the whale sent all playing in the water flying. Mercedes repositioned her parasol and opened a book.