Friday, July 25, 2008

Endless Possibilities

Sometimes I just don't get Starr Ann. There she was a few days ago, all concerned about the fact that I've not posted about Jodie for a while and that Jodie and I seem to have drifted apart. Which, if you ask me, we haven't. But once Starr Ann gets an idea in her head, it's there to stay until she gets rid of it her own self, in her own way. So, I filled out Starr Ann's weird questionnaire (what the heck does my hottest, most recurring sexual fantasy have to do with this, anyway?) and she was supposed to use her homemade algorithm to run my 'data' and come up with the best possible way for Jodie and me to reconnect.

I handed Starr Ann the completed survey, and guess what she did? Without even glancing at my answers, she saddled up her trusty steed Oatmeal and rode off, saying, "Going to one of the bunkers to process this, Margo. Be back soon." That was three days ago.

That night, Jodie asked me over to her place for supper so we could try to figure out what kinda ordeal Starr Ann was going to come up with for us. Jodie's first guess was that Starr Ann would send us off on an extended camping trip. Maybe to Red River Gorge. That sounded real fun to me, so we stopped what we were doing, right in the middle of making the salads, to go check out the Gorge online. Pretty, isn't it?

Then, after another margarita or two, I started thinking that was way too predictable. Starr Ann would surely come up with something a little more subtle than that. Jodie said I was prolly right.

While Jodie and I were all caught up in Googling the Gorge, we started smelling something odd. Right at the same second, we both realized the odor was coming from the kitchen.

Jodie got to the stove first, and started stirring one pan all fast and furious. She said, real relieved, "We nearly scorched our white sauce."

For some reason, that sentence struck me way too funny. My side was killing me, and each time I almost recovered from the laughter, Jodie would make this wry face and repeat, "We nearly scorched our white sauce." Which sent me into another laughing fit.

During dinner, we made all kinds of plans about the camping trip. Then I remembered how, just about a month ago, some guy went missing in Red River Gorge. I told Jodie how Starr Ann had smirked while reading the newspaper article that said he was found about a week later right near where he'd originally camped, had to be identified through dental records, and all his valuables were missing. The smirky part came when Starr Ann quoted: Police do not suspect foul play. In other words, tourism brings in too much revenue to let one person's misfortune get in its way.

Jodie said, "I see your point, Margo. Starr Ann isn't about to let us go trekking off into someplace she deems dangerous."

So by dessert (Jodie had made her super special key lime pie) we were back at square one on figuring out Starr Ann's plan. Jodie threw her hand out, real frustrated like, and nearly knocked over her amaretto coffee.

I poured a little more liqueur into both our coffees and said, "We've gotta get into her head. Gotta think like Starr Ann."

Jodie cracked up. "Takes a brave woman to try a thing like that," she said, and raised her cup. "Here's to brave women."

I raised mine. "Brave women."

After a few minutes of silence, I offered, "Maybe she'll send us off on an exotic vacation somewhere. An Olivia cruise."

Jodie clasped her hands behind her neck and stared at the ceiling for about five seconds. Then she dismissed my idea with, "Hell, no. That'd leave all the chores on both ranches for Starr Ann to do all by herself. Plus, you know how nosy Starr Ann can be. No way is she about to send us off where she can't snoop around on whether we're re-bonding or not."

I said, "Point well taken. You can say that again."

Jodie quit squinting at the ceiling and focused on me. "You're getting tipsy, Margo."

"Not on your life. Not a snowball's chance."

Jodie smiled real knowing-like. "It was just an observation, not an accusation. More amaretto?"

"Yep, fill 'er up. Top me off."

The bottle seemed to be getting a little frisky, so Jodie handled it very deliberately. She spoke real slow and careful too. "You're definitely buzzed. I can tell because you're starting to speak in clich├ęs. And you're reinforcing the first one with a second one."

"You're off the mark, Jodie. Totally out of the money, here."

I swear Jodie's starting to take on some of Starr Ann's mannerisms, because right then she did a fairly accurate version of that one smug smile that Starr Ann practically has a patent on.

So, we played strip Scrabble for a while, until it was way late. Finally, we decided Miss Algorithm wasn't going to show up that night.

"You might as well stay here tonight, Margo. Trickster and Amelia get along so well, and I'll bet they've already bedded down out there beside the hay roll."

I said, "Moon's up by now, and it's fairly large tonight. Let's take a moonlight walk to the pasture and surprise those two with some carrots."

Jodie was on her feet and getting the carrots before I even finished what I was saying.

Turned out, we didn't get moonlight. Nope. Cloud cover was so dense, we couldn't even pick out a glowing area to tell us where the moon was hiding.

We had climbed the fence and were taking care not to trip in the pasture, which tends to be rougher going than a plain old grassy field, on account of deep hoof prints. All of a sudden, Jodie put her hand on my arm to stop me, and we stood there very still for a few seconds. Our eyes began to adjust to the deep darkness, and we could see both horses lying flat out over by the hay roll, right where Jodie guessed they'd be. Lightning bug paparazzi flashed all around us, and off toward the south fence, we saw the silhouettes of about ten deer, heads to the ground, casually grazing. It was one of those moments where you feel like you're getting a glimpse of what lies underneath everything we call reality. I knew Jodie felt that way too when she took my hand and squeezed it nice and even.

Well, Amelia and Trickster didn't even bother to get up, so we stooped down and fed them their carrots right there on the ground. Lazy bums.

In the morning, with still no sign of Starr Ann, I stayed and helped Jodie do her morning chores then she came over to Happy Hands Ranch to do mine with me.

All through chores, all while we enjoyed a delicious lunch Jodie whipped up, all during a late-afternoon ride down to the big pond for a swim, and then even all through fixing supper that night, we came up with one hypothesis after another trying to guess what kinda plot Starr Ann's gonna come up with to help Jodie and me get close again.

Jodie's going to stay here tonight, because we're going to scour my hard drive for that algorithm. Try to beat Starr Ann to the punch. Heh. It's always good to stay one step ahead of Starr Ann when she gets all possessed with something like this.