Sorry about the absence. I hope to be back by
September 15 October 6, with a full explanation. Or, at least, a decent excuse.
The next morning, Rings in place, Banny and Lissa showed up for work.
Duncan was a little nerdy. Not dorky nerdy, but that somewhat cute Woody Harrelson chicks-would-still-do-him nerdy. He was thrilled to be here, thrilled to meet you, and holy-mackerel-thrilled to get his own secretary.
"Hi, Ms. Cheng. I'm Duncan. Kilner. Duncan Kilner. Duncan. Call me Duncan, Wow, I've never had a real secretary before." He showed her to a desk just outside his small office.
"The others were all blow-up dolls?" she asked. Duncan laughed. And blushed. He had a nice laugh. And a great blush. "Hi. Call me Lissa. And I've never been a real secretary before."
"Well then, Lissa. We'll just have to teach each other."
Meanwhile, Banny was being taught a thing or two himself.
Lizzie had brought Banny over to a desk, behind which a child sat. The child was well-dressed, looked about thirteen or fourteen, black with long hair in elaborate cornrows. She was typing on the computer keyboard. Before the child or Lizzie could say anything Banny said, "Hi. I'm Banny. Hey, can I meet with your mommy?"
Lizzie said, "That is Kaylin," and Kaylin said, "I happen to be twenty-two years old. You don't need to talk to my 'mommy'."
"No," Banny said. "But I was hoping to. Your mommy is Marttha Jackson, right? She does voices for cartoons? She did the voice of Sillystra the Traitor in Azabout and the Traitor's Ghost, and Squeaky in Squeaky Sat down in a Chair? And a lot others. I'm a fan. Can I meet her?"
"Yep, that's her. But she lives in New York. How'd you know I was Squeaky's daughter?"
Banny couldn't tell her the truth, that he'd read her mother's name in her file. Kaylin might not have a high enough security clearance to know what was in her file. "You have the same voice. Besides, how many people can there be with the last name 'Jackson'?"
Lizzie jumped in. "Anyway, Kaylin, Banny. Banny, Kaylin. He's all yours. Good luck, Banny. And, Kaylin... remember.. he's a friend..." She left.
Kaylin looked Banny up and down. "I wish he were all mine," she muttered. "Now listen, Banny. Ever had any military training?"
"I saw Stripes. You know..." he stood at attention and shouted, "DAT'S DAH FACK, JACK!"
"I hope that'll be enough. I've seen Navy Seals, jet fighter pilots, martial arts masters, Nasa scientists, thoracic surgeons, even an ex-astronaut, all try the Massachusetts State Real Estate License Exam course. And crash and burn. The lucky ones just quit; they know they can't take the pressure. Most flunk out early. A few... let's not talk about them." Her brown eyes bore into his blue. "Banny, there is no shame is stopping now. There is no shame in wanting to keep your sanity."
Banny was terrified. He thought, if a naive sea lion Jedi master who drove Nascar and made Thor sick as an astronaut couldn't do this, how can I? He just hoped he had maybe misheard something.
Well, Lissa needed his help, so he'd help, even if he did have to risk his sanity. As long as she didn't mind if he started acting a little strange.
* * * * * *
That night Banny and Lissa talked with Mr. Fwuzzums and Nicoletta in the blind woman's apartment. Banny explained why Elizabeth Panderson had to be human. "She gave us jobs, went out of her way to help us. And she's trying to bring dad and me back together. And it's not just that. I don't see any difference in her. I don't see any evil. I remember, she giggled. Bad guys don't giggle. They always chuckle evilly."
Lissa seemed a hell of a lot more relaxed. She had taken off her shoes, and her stockinged feet were in Banny's lap, getting massaged. "I know who the gonner is. It's not Lizzie, it's Duncan Kilner."
"Of course," said Mr. Fwuzzums "the only other individual you had the opportunity to meet beyond the merest acquaintance."
"I got to meet most of them today. At least I got to say hello. Anyway, listen!" She stood up, paced the tile-floored living room. As she talked she grew more and more excited. "He was the absolute worst bottom-feeder salesman at some big-ass firm where they got all sorts of training programs and crap that could even turn me into a salesman. Woman. I meant 'could even turn me into a woman'. You know what I mean, now knock it off!! So he quits, joins Lizzie, and BAM! he's her top seller, he's better than she is herself? And he's the only agent with his own office. And his own secretary. How do you think he got that?Also, he's a nice guy, very sweet. To everybody. Normal people just aaa!!!-" She slipped, and Banny, moving at superhuman speed, caught her. "Oh, god! Thank you, Banny! Thank you. Um... Where was I? Yeah. Normal people just aren't that nice."
Go to Chapter 45: Panderson Real Estate
Go to Chapter 47: Employees Of Panderson Real Estate (Summaries And Evaluations)
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