Joe Antonio dumped out the bin of expired seafood, washed his hands and started scrubbing down the deli's preparation area with practiced efficiency. His attention from the important but crashingly dull duty was interrupted when he saw a girl wandering down the market street. He quickly checked the time again to make sure he wasn't running late, since it was very unusual for anyone to be in the market plaza this hour in the morning.
The girl, he quickly noticed, was a young woman, underweight, with pasty makeup and an out of place outfit of overalls, a tight red shirt underneath and sneakers. Her black hair was plain cut and she had a hand basket on her arm with a few dollars laying loose in it. Still, she had a waif-like charm and an openness in her odd, free movements and big black eyes. She appeared to be lost. There was nothing to lose, anyway, so he nodded to her. "Morning, Miss."
Bob looked over at the big, hunky black-haired male behind the counter of a deli on the bottom of a three story row of of buildings. Although there was a moment's wooziness from quickly turning her head, she managed to smile, pleasantly she hoped, and walk over to the counter. "Ah," she swallowed. "Zoup?"
"Madam?" he asked, confused.
"Was wonnn- ondering where, um, zoup. There's zoup," she nodded. "Cheeken Zoup."
"Uuuh," he looked around, trying to think who nearby would have packaged soup at this hour. Looking at her again, he decided she looked unwell. "Oh, eeh, my momma, she makes a-fine soup. The best you ever had hu? Eeh, you wait, I go get you some at the place," he pointed upstairs, took off his apron and leaned close to the counter, "no charge eh? You wait." He winked.
Bob watched him hurry upstairs then looked around. There didn't seem to be anyone else around. The doorway the man had used also led into the adjoining business, a bakery that was closed. Her attention snagged on a can of coffee in the bakery. John, Doug and Jack were getting low on coffee. Looking all around, Bob sneaked over the counter and into the bakery.
The can was nine dollars. Looking in her basket, she counted five. She thought of sneaking the can out of the bakery and out of sight, then returning for the zoup. But she decided she'd rather not be seen with the container. So she tried to open it. It wouldn't open. Right next to it, there was a display of some twisted breads two feet in length. She took one and whacked the lid with it, but the lid didn't open. Her lips moved to one side of her mouth, and she raised the bread up with both hands.
An old, disheveled and drunk lady came up the street with her liquor in hand and stopped to stare for a moment at the strange young lady brutally attacking a crumpled can of coffee grounds with a long bread stick bat on the street near the deli.
"HuAh! NEEah!" the young lady repeatedly attacked the can.
The old lady leaned forwards a little and moved her glasses to focus, relatively. The young lady looked up from her work in panic. "Why do you do thissss?" the old lady asked, clicking her tongue and shaking her head. "You asians women do these martial arts, it makes sssso muchsss hosssthility thessse dayss, it'sss not ffffit fffor a lady. Ifff few want to open one offf thesse, usse tsis," she held up her bottle opener.
Although keeping on her feet took most of the effort, the lady managed to fail opening the can. Cursing about new-fangled adult-proof everything, she staggered over to the deli, grabbed a meat cleaver and gave it to Bob.
"Sssis, will do perfffectly," she said and continued on her way, weaving down the street.
Bob hacked it open, scooped coffee into her pockets, carefully put the dulled meat cleaver back and conscientiously dropped the mangled can into the trash. Then she remembered the bread stick. Bob hurriedly scrambled into the bakery with the slightly battered breadstick, dusted it off and put it right back where it was.
Unfortunately, the hand basket knocked over a jar of something dark and gooey that broke and spilled on the floor. Bob jumped back to avoid stepping in the mess, the hand basket knocking the corner of shelving stood on a long counter along the wall. The shelving pitched over. Bob sprung from harm's way, her arm accidentally knocking an espresso machine, turning it on. Falling candy sticks from above fell into its filler, causing it to spew dust everywhere. Bob ducked when it sent splinters flying as it ground down and come to a smoking halt.
Bob slowly stood and blinked at the mess of powder and debris covering everything, the smoking machine covered with the ruins of the shelving and the former contents, as well as the now-leaking soda machine, broken glass and general destruction. "Mm-mm so f-frelled," Bob murmured to herself. Looking around, she saw that no one was near. She scurried right outside, effortlessly hurtling the deli counter, dusted herself and her hand basket off, and assumed a patiently waiting expression and stance at the deli counter.
"Ooh yes you is poor thing yes, hello," a rotund woman came downstairs just ahead of Joe with a container in her hand and offered it to the fidgety young woman waiting on the outside. "Here, here," she said, lifting Bob's hand basket and placing a lidded Styrofoam bowl of chicken soup in it. "Here you are, you poor thing. You met a-my son, Joe, no?"
"Joe-no," Bob repeated with a smile. Seeing a coffee ground on her overall, Bob hurriedly flicked it off.
Joe laughed. "This is the best eh, this momma's a-cookin," Joe proudly patted his mother's shoulder, "it fix you, no matter the sickness." Joe held his hand out in refusal when Bob offered him the five dollars she had. "No it's nothing, you come back and buy sometime at Joe's, is my deli, is the best."
"My son he has a-best this deli in the country, its just like a-home," she put her arms around him and patted him back. "Oh, he so talent for this, but, is in the blood," she shrugged. "His a-father deli, same as grandfather and this many generation. Only my son he say, momma, we no do here, we go far away to Australia, and he's a-right is do wonderful," she laughed and shook Joe in her arm. Bob had to smirk seeing the poor guy being embarrassed, and now shaken. "I'm so sorry, what's you name dear?" the lady asked.
"Bob," she said with a bob of her head.
"Bob?" she asked.
"R-roberta," she decided to say.
"Rrroberti!" the lady cheerfully exclaimed, holding both hands up and clasping them together. "Yes, how nice, well I see you soon eh? Get the healthy and well on this, and my son fix-a you the best-a sand-a-wiches, and a-soobs, as you like. But no buy a-Phil's hm?" she gestured to the bakery. "Every bread, you swear is biscotti. He's a-bread its a-so hard you can use it for a club."
"Yeah," Bob agreed, looking relieved to think someone else tried it.
"Ma," Joe scolded.
"It's truth!" she retorted. "And he sell drinks and take-a you business. He said he no sell drinks, and now look it eh," she threw her hands at him and turned to go upstairs. Then she gasped at the sight of the bakery. "Go wake a-Phil!" she urged Joe. "He's place, she been ruin!"
Joe ran upstairs, followed by his mother as Bob dropped the wad of five one-dollar bills on the counter, slipped away and ducked around the nearest corner.
"Right," Chiana put her soup spoon down and casually pointed to Doug seated across from her at the table, "so this proof that Amelia trelk is going to show this guy I've got a date with, Payne Adams, it's like those papers and transparency slides and dren I saw them looking at?"
"Maybe," Doug shrugged and took another bite of his quesadilla. "But I don't know if red wig on a stick has the originals, copies of the originals, or just developed proofs."
"Well," Chiana paused for a slurp of soup then continued, "she told Payne she's got all the dren on it. And she was working on the proofs. All we need is to get in where what's her face has them, after she's done but before she can show them to Payne or these Styx fekkiks, frell with the proofs and borrow the records of the results sorta permanently, right?"
"Cool. Sounds right," Doug agreed, struggling with long strings of cheese between his mouth and the piece of quesadilla. "Why are they keeping it from IASA, I thought they'd want to screw John over?"
"I think they want the module," Chiana said with a precociously wise attitude, tilting her head sideways to stare at the stretching strands of cheese Doug was struggling with. "Before IASA gets it. So they're holding onto the tests to bribe John for the location of the module if they don't find it after a while. Doing us a favor," she smirked as she plucked a piece of chicken that was dangling out of the quesadilla Doug was trying to eat. "Frelling with those proofs things ought to be easy."
Doug nodded, the cheese strings seemingly fascinating Chiana as they swung back and forth. "What's with the chicken soup?" he asked her despite his mouthful.
"Had a piece of those choklot sucrose things Payne gave me in the boxes last night, frelling made me sick," Chiana complained. "Cheekin zoup's sposed to be a cure right? So I got some myself this morning."
"But," Doug said, pausing for a loud, gravely belch before he stuffed the rest of the slice of quesadilla in his mouth.
"Lots of other creatures do that, you know," Chiana told him and nodded. "Belch. Even Rygel belched. Well. Maybe that's more expected, he's a frog. Course his smell worse. Doesn't make human males more special. Or more male or something. Those big cute blubber creatures with the shaking ears on this planet do it. I saw them on tee-vee."
Doug froze in place a moment, wondering how they got from doctoring John's test results to belching hippos. Fortunately for his sanity, Jack walked in from talking on the phone in the living room. "Hey. Who was it, pops?"
"That was Annie Rice, the actress," Jack explained, on his way to getting an ice cream pop out of the freezer.
"Hey bitchin', she's hot, keep swingin'," Doug gave Jack the thumbs up.
"Not calling to bask in my sex appeal, young man," Jack corrected Doug. "John wants to ask her if she'd help mankind's best friend in outer space here with her disguise."
"Yeah?" Chiana asked.
"Yeah, Annie's pretty good with makeup and those arts," Jack explained. "She plays an alien on TV."
"Whoa," Chiana looked at Jack impressed and broke into a cackle.
"She said John can visit her at the studio tomorrow," Jack said into the refrigerator. He pulled out a box of take-away Chinese food. "Chun King? Thought this place went out couple of years ago," Jack remarked before sticking the box back in.
"Ooh yeah," Doug nodded, pouring a bunch of corn chips out of his take-away bag. "Probably no good huh?"
Jack slowly looked over to Doug in astonishment. "Uuh. No," Jack replied, deciding to give up the idea of getting something out of the fridge. "Might go out and get something after John gets back."
"So," Doug said, opening a Styrofoam container of salsa, "do we know where Amelia's got the goods?"
"In a long room they keep the medical records at, under her personal project. Piece of take," Chiana explained with a sneaky slide of her eyes.
"Cake," Jack corrected as he rummaged around in the freezer.
"Cake, whatever, what we need is," Chiana continued, "to get me there Friday, after Amelia leaves, especially if it's quieter. The room's like this," she plucked some veges out of her bowl of soup and made a rectangular shape on the table. "Here's the hallway," she snatched the bottle of beer Doug hadn't opened yet and laid it down. "And here's the bathroom," she said, looking around at Doug.
Doug looked down and realized she was looking at his pocket cell phone clip and pen. He went to save them, but was too late. Chiana laid them next to the veges to illustrate the bathroom with its two doors, getting the pen, pen cap and clip dirty. "Hey," Doug complained, snatching his bottle of beer back.
"Hey! That's my hallway," Chiana impudently glared at him, then grabbed a nearby flashlight. "Okay here's the hallway," Chiana leaned forwards and rocked on her forearms on the table, pointing her finger down on the flashlight. "Here's the bathroom and the two doors. One of two ways, I get to go there alone, or if I'm with General Shinytop, I'll say I gotta use the bathroom and go in. If this door from the hallway into the records room is closed, great. If not, I could use someone to distract anyone from looking into the records room until I get the dren into the bathroom. I can work on it in there. Then I'll have to put it back. Right?"
"Hm," Jack thoughtfully replied as he pulled an ice cream pop out of the freezer. "Sounds all too easy."
"Well it is," Chiana returned a lop sided smirk. "You're sounding like John. Always said 'should be easy, it's never easy' every time things didn't go like he expected."
"Sounds like him," Jack agreed and said, "I think you out to tell him your ideas when he gets home."
"Wha- why? So he can argue with them?" Chiana objected, and asked, "Why don't you tell him?"
"Well I'm not sure I'm getting all this," Jack modestly excused, scratching the side of his chin. Chiana turned to her little table map sullenly. Jack had to smile. She wasn't fooling him. He knew she didn't sleep last night and felt badly about what she did. Jack moved up to the high kitchen table, joining the other two. "Of course, you could always whisper your ideas in his ear while he's sleeping, so he'll wake up and think it was his idea. Then he's sure to go for it," Jack joked. Chiana snapped into a laugh and shifted on her chair.
"Well," Doug began to say but interrupted himself by concentrating on taking another bite of quesadilla.
"There he goes, talking about holes again," Jack gestured Chiana to Doug. She laughed richly.
"Hey I'm serious here," Doug complained, picking up another wedge of the quesadilla. Chiana whipped a stone straight face to him and stared blankly at him until he groaned and beat his forehead on the table a couple of times. "Okay okay," he said, raising his head. "Let's get serious here."
Chiana snapped an insulted glare at Jack. "Get serious," she ordered him as he was happily eating an ice cream pop. "You can't look serious eating that. We're being serious. Look how serious Doug is."
Both guys snickered. Jack then pointed the stick of his ice cream pop at Doug. "Did you have a point?"
"Okay," Doug stuffed a couple of salsa-dipped chips in his mouth and continued to talk with his mouth full. "How do we put John's name on another's test results without it looking like a fake?"
"Why make us look like we're faking something?" Chiana slyly smirked. "Why not mess up the real tests and let Payne see the tampering? He'll notice, think Amelia faked the results, and Amelia and Styx are trying to fool him with their forged materials. Them," she said, getting up and putting her soup bowl in the sink. "Not us."
Both guys stared at her for a moment. "That's a thought," Jack said.
"Oh no really?" Chiana sarcastically asked, turning from the sink with her upper lip in a snarl. She walked out of the kitchen.
"That girl's got attitude," Doug remarked, picking up another piece of quesadilla. "So rocks," he declared.
"Fortunately she also has brains," Jack said. "Not to mention nerves. If we'd sent her back I think I'd be a despairing mess by now. She'll be great for John if they don't kill themselves."
"Can't expect perfection I guess," Doug said and shrugged.
"Not that lasts," Jack half sighed as he washed the bowl in the sink. "Hope this dish soap kills alien germs too."
"Too late to worry, man," Doug said and again shrugged, heaping another couple of chips into his mouth. "Womf fyou fine fomfom?" Doug asked.
"That might as well be alien," Jack remarked.
Doug swallowed and took a sip of beer. "Well you'll find someone," Doug repeated in English.
"Naaah," Jack tossed off the idea. Hearing the phone ring, he walked back into the living room for his newspaper. Once in the living room, he found Chiana sprawled over the couch and his newspaper, talking low and flirtatiously on the telephone. He was disarmed and went to shave instead. Then he heard that Chiana wasn't talking to John, she was talking to Payne Adams. "Puh," Jack grumbled and stormed into the bathroom to shave.
Jack walked back out, patting down his razor burned skin. He saw Chiana on the balcony, watching traffic. He had to chuckle to himself, knowing she was looking for John's car. The way she sprung up onto her toes and leaned over the railing for a moment, Jack knew that Chiana had spotted the car. Chiana bounded through the living area and past Jack, seemingly without touching the floor. "Where's the fire?" Jack asked, but she didn't bother noticing.
Soon Chiana was out the front door and sliding to a stop in front of the common area window where she could see someone coming out of the parking area and up the ramp into the building. Seeing John walking just fine into the building, no trace of any injury, she licked her lips and exhaled in relief. She hurried back into the living area of the penthouse, shoving Jack in a circle as she hopped around him and giggled. When the door bell sounded, she straightened up and swayed nervously. Jack shook his head and muttered about strange girls all the way to the door.
"John," Jack greeted him. "I see they let you out."
"Got tired of you huh?" Doug teased John as he stood in the kitchen doorway. "How's your head, dude?"
"Oh it's," John half answered, suddenly putting his hand on his head and carefully walking in, warily looking around for Chiana.
Her mouth hung open for a moment, seeing his act. Then she brightened again. "Crichton!" she yelled, hurrying at him and leaping into his arms. Chiana laughed as he set her down and winced.
"Hey, Pip," he replied. "You're looking chipper."
"How's your head?" she asked, pawing his ears tenderly.
"It'll be fine," he said and let go of her.
"Yeah? Great!" she yelled and suddenly went to whack him on the head with her hand. John managed to protect his head in time and scrambled out of the way. "Faker!" she hollered at him. "Saw you," she pointed at the door, so excited it took her a couple of gasps before she could continue speaking, "yeah, faker! Maybe it's the altitude?" she led, raising her brow and widening her eyes.
"Faker?" John objected. "I wish you'd faked that hit with the bottle, little Miss Bar Room Brawling Champion of the Uncharted Territories. If you'd hit me with something else, I'd be Humpty-Dumpty."
"Nuuh frelling should've," the hyper agitated Chiana's hands splayed as she pushed towards the bedroom.
"Oh yeah," John yelled after her while following her. "Well smarty-buns, down here they call that spouse abuse."
"They got married?" Jack asked the entertained Doug.
"I mean domestic violence, missy," John corrected himself. "You wanna send us up a serious river? What'd I say about that temper, huh?"
John and Chiana's arguing kept up for a few moments after John closed the door, but it was soon replaced by a few thuds against a wall or something. Jack and Doug stopped on their way into the kitchen and started for the bedroom door to break up a fight. Then they heard the unmistakable sound of slapping and some sort of "yee-haw!" from John between yells.
Jack and Doug looked at each other. "Uuuh," Jack said.
"Um-hm," Doug agreed as they heard the bed springs squeaking. "Well...." he scratched his neck, "it's.....good John's doing better."
"Yes, they both will be," Jack said as he walked with Doug into the living room and turned on the TV to a football game. "She's the type that often feels intensely sorry after something then is likely as not to do it again, well, like a child. It's sincere, just not always lasting. But there's a woman there too, and it's my hunch anyway from her hidden remorse that she'll be more careful."
"Yeah," Doug agreed, noticing he still had his beer in his hand and taking a drink. "Now we got to worry about them being careful in the other sense," he cleared his throat.
Jack laughed and had to turn up the TV to drown out the moans now coming out of the bedroom. "Here's hoping they're still able to walk by the weekend," Jack joked.
A thud was audible over the TV, followed by one of Chiana's gasping shrieks during lovemaking. Jack and Doug cringed at each other, turned the TV up louder and sat down to watch.
As he climbed a few rickety wooden steps up to the door of the dressing trailer, John gave a strange smile back to the strange looks a passing janitor gave. A man's voice answered a hello as soon as he knocked on the door. John checked the name tag taped to the door for a third time. "Annie?"
"Yeah come in," the man's voice repeated.
John took a breath, opened the door and walked in. The man he'd heard was a motley looking middle-aged rocker, his shirt torn and held by safety pins and his pants showing the tops of his boxers. Evidently the man was a makeup artist, as he was removing makeup from a mummy. John soon realized the mummy concealed Annie Rice.
"Hey Annie, it's me, John Crichton," John announced and bent closer to find an eye peering out among the rags. "Thought I'd drop by," he spread a greeting hand out in the field of view the eye had.
The rags shifted, apparently in a smile. "Ihll bfe ouf fin mu mihnhut," it said. "Hahf fa feat."
"No problem," John said with a smile, nodded at the eye and stood back up. He found a chair by the door. After removing a portable music player, a bunch of CDs in multi-color plastic mini-cases with glittery nail polish writing on them, 6 or 11 magazines in pieces, a book or two, a worn out group of cards illustrating what he assumed were yoga positions, a pink thong and an elastic headband, John finally got to the bottom of the seat and sat down.
"Going to Rogues?" the man asked.
"Hm?" John replied. "No those guys are keeping me pretty busy, and family just turned up."
"GreaseStand's gonna be there," the man pointed out.
John shrugged. The man smiled to himself, turned some grunge on a crappy radio and kept working. John had the impression he'd just been pegged as tragically un-hip, but he just had to smile too.
John waited for at least ten minutes. Finally, the wrappings came off and the man began removing the special makeup and prosthetic pieces from Annie's face. The stuff came off like a sticky honey, and took at least another ten minutes before he was working on her neck and she could talk. "How do you keep quiet and still that long?" John asked.
"I don't know, you did all right," the guy off-handedly remarked to John.
"Shut up, Jasper," Annie chided him and shoved one of the towels into Jasper's front pocket. "You should see me in the mornings, I can't sit still and talk all the way through it, it must drive Vash, she's my makeup lady mornings usually, unless it's Jasper here, crazy, I don't know how she can put it on, but fortunately she's a big talker to, we just gab up a storm." Annie nodded.
John took a moment to digest that. As soon as he went to speak, Annie continued.
"We were just talking about you," she said as Jasper removed the huge towels from her to reveal the tiny lady in the chair under them. That her top was wet, sticking to her and showing through, didn't seem to bother her, not that it was much of a top to start with. "Anna, Slenkarikova, you remember from Estrada's mixer? She thinks Ketifa likes you," she told John and winked.
"Bob, yes I remember," Annie was almost giggling at the slightly flustered John. "You're cute like that," she teased. After Jasper wiped her ears, neck and chest, she picked up a q-tip. "Hang on, another glamorous moment here," she remarked, wiping the outside and inside ends of her nostrils clean. "That wasn't so bad, was it?" she asked, getting up. "Nothing personal, but I've got to get outta here to go do my wash, yippee me," she said as she rummaged through the stuff that was on the chair. She picked out the portable music player, a book and the thong and headband.
"Didn't mean to chat you out of here," John remarked, standing.
"Aw no," she put the rest of the stuff back on the chair. "Hey why, did you want anything?" she asked, opening the door and heading down the steps.
"Well," John followed her to the front of the trailer. "Actually it's for Bob, she's, well, she's got an unfortunate skin condition. It's more hereditary, not contagious or anything, but she really doesn't feel right going out or anything, really screws up her life sometimes."
"Aaw," Annie stopped in her tracks and looked back at John with concern.
"Well I thought....your uh shirt," he gestured.
"Ah it'll dry," she shrugged. "I don't mean to be indelicate, is it something she can use make up for or....?"
"Is for water," Annie nodded.
"Okay smart ass, yeah she can use makeup, but the thing is, she's not very good at it, and the doctors are a long ways from being artists about it. You're the only one I know who would really know your stuff, or knows people who do, and if she could get some good skills and knowledge, why, she could go out more, meet more people, get more confidence, you know, just have a better life all around."
"Oh sure, sure," Annie nodded. "Uhm....maybe I could talk to her sometime or....?"
"Well....pumps, chains, windmills, sorry....yeah," he found himself noticing her costume pants. "Could I ask you to give us a call whenever its convenient for you? Your uh...." he gestured to her pants.
"Agh!" Annie hurried back to the trailer. She soon emerged wearing a loose blue belt and clashing tight, low-cut brown bell-bottom pants. "All I could find, I left me clobber somewhere, it's probably with Vash's things, shit I hope the garbo didn't get them. Anyway yeah, gimme your number and I'll buzz. Or maybe I can come by tomorrow if I get off early."
"Yeah that'd be great, she'll be around," he said, inwardly hoping Chiana wouldn't go running off or something. "But in case. Here," he handed her a card with his number. "If you get lucky, she'll answer it. If you get luckier, I'll answer it," he winked. "If you're luckiest of all, Dad will answer."
Annie laughed. "Do you surf? I think your Egyptian friend Ketifa said you surf?"
"Oh, yeah I hit the board sometimes when I'm, well, bored."
"Ha. We might meet this weekend if you're there, I've got a break if we finish a location shot on Friday, and I'm going to go burn on some sand," she said as she walked to a car. She dropped her things in the open window, startling someone who was sleeping in that seat.
"Catch you around, and thanks," John waved. Annie waved and got in the passenger seat. John waved again as the little car sped off. "Why didn't I get an autograph?" he asked himself.
"Hey sugar, I'm-" John bellowed as he walked in the front door of the penthouse. A narrow mirror beside the door entrance gave him a glance into the bathroom, where he saw shades of gray on the tight body of Bob, carrying a couple of towels into the bathroom with nothing on herself but a pair of fuzzy pink socks. He tried to get a better look, but she was out of sight from the mirror. "....I'm a lucky so and so," he amended his sentence. "Er I'm home!" he called out.
John walked some items over to the living room and put them down. "I got you something!" he hollered and went into the kitchen for a beer. By the time he returned with a beer and a bag of chips, he found the bag neatly re-folded, the packaging shredded, and Bob sauntering happily in to meet him, wearing the red terry cloth robe he'd bought her.
At the store, he'd realized he didn't know her size, beyond knowing she fell generally in the petite scale. Fortunately, he didn't need to know anything exact for some items, so he'd picked up a robe in as small a size as they had. Looking her up and down now, and seeing the sleek way it fit her middle with the belt tied around her waist, he decided he couldn't be more pleased with the purchase. He just scolded himself that he should have waited to show it to her until later, in case she might have came in au natueral.
"Hey," she said, needlessly. He smirked when she walked right up into his space, expecting a kiss. Instead, she smirked and turned back for the table, watching him. She seemed satisfied that he let out a heavy breath. "Getting a bath ready for you," she said, looking through a small basket of toiletries he'd picked up for her. She picked a little bottle labeled Haute Sheen. "Skin conditioner?" she read, a little puzzled. "I thought you might like a niiice hhhot bath. I know you're head's gotta be sore," she cut a teasing look over to John.
John almost looked suspicious. "Hm that's um, that's sweet of you, sugar," he said, with the same tone of suspiciousness. "How about making it a bubble bath huh?"
Bob pursed her lips, put down the stuff and went back into the bathroom. "Just be a microt. Get comfortable," she told him.
As soon as she walked into the bathroom, John clapped his hands together and rubbed them. "Ha ha," he made a devilish laugh and walked to the bedroom to get comfortable.
Bob plucked the bottle of bubblebath out of the cabinet with one hand and turned on the water with the other. She read the label. "Twenty o-z for same great fifteen o-z price. Remove seal on Down's Palm Supreme Luxurious Lavender Essence and Bubble Bath With Aloe. Pour into running water. Do not bathe in overly hot water," she read out loud. "No, really?" she snapped back at it. Peeling the seal off, she turned the bottle of bubble bath upside down over the faucet with one hand and adjusted the water temperature with the other hand.
Once the bottle was empty, she threw it over her shoulder to land in the waste basket and turned around to see how the robe looked on her. The terry cloth felt very nice and soft on her skin. She lost herself for a moment in running her hand over the robe and feeling it against her.
"La-de-de-de-da de-de-da," John absently hummed a song as he walked toward the bathroom in his own robe. He stopped in a mirror to make sure his hair didn't look too horrible.
The bathroom door to his right burst open. Bob came out, with a flood of bubbles mounting seemingly everywhere in the bathroom behind her. "Ah, Crichton? We got a problem," she said and nodded her head with a nervous tick.
"Huh?" John stared. "How could a bubble bath go wrong?"
"The frelling bath's not working right!" Bob held her hands up, exasperated. "Or the stuff I put in doesn't work right. With all that space and materials wasted on it, how can you humans mess up a bath?"
"Huh? Now, now, now wait," John told her, putting a palm at her. "What'd you do?"
"Do? Didn't do it!" she denied, slapping his hand away. "Why do you think everything's my fault? It's not my fault. Nnnnot me," she objected, looking back and seeing the mounting mess. "Noaaah, frell," she hopped in place a moment, "mmm Buffy's on," she suddenly said and tore off for the living room and the television.
"Hey uh what, the, er, hey?" John muttered, all confused. He ventured to the bathroom and took a good look around. "By the ghost of Laurence Welk, bubble machine's outta control!" John braved the mountain of bubbles to get to the running bath faucet and turn it off. The jacuzzi jets were also running and producing clouds of bubbles, so he fumbled around in the wall of bubbles for the controls and turned them off. Finally, a bubble-coated John burst out of the bubble room and gasped for air. "Whew!"
Looking around, he noticed he couldn't see. "Crap, I can't see!" he panicked.
"Oh," Bob's voice replied from the living room over the television, "we'll get you to a diagnosian some cycle, maybe."
Meanwhile, John wiped the bubbles from his face. "Oh." That crisis over, he grabbed out a pillow from the closet and went back in to burst some bubbles.
Bob looked up from the television she sat a few feet in front of on the floor to see John walk in with the bottle of bubble bath. He leaned over and held it out for her to take it. "Read the directions, Miss Welk," he told her.
Bob's lower lip stuck out impudently and she swatted a clump of bubbles from John's chin, but she took the bottle and read. "Twenty o-z for same great fifteen o-z price. Remove seal on Down's Palm Supreme Luxurious Lavender Essence and Bubble Bath With Aloe. Pour into running water. Do not bathe in overly hot water."
"What? No," John said and took the bottle back. "You use like a cap full or something, not the whole friggin' bottle! You could suds up the Olympic aqua games with a whole bottle. It says," John lectured, but he stopped as he read the label. "Huh. It um...."
Bob looked at him demandingly.
"It um...." John repeated. "Damn," he said, getting his cell phone and dialing the number on the back. "Hello? I'm John Crichton. Hey look I'm reading your twenty ounce bottle of Down's Palm bubble bath stuff. Why don't you put the directions in the directions huh? My girl here could've been crushed up against the ceiling on this stuff, and I almost got smothered to death. What's the big idea? Huh? The UPC? Er.... What? I don't know where I got it, don't you know where they sell it? My address? Receipt? No I don't want a catalog-"
"-huh? Yeah hang on. Yeah Pip?" John asked.
"While you're having your little chat, wanna get me a drink? This beer's dren."
"Huh? Oh uh yeah, what do you want?"
"Just get something," she told him and pointed to the set. "Mathers is coming on," she smirked and sat up more.
John glared at her and headed for the kitchen. "Yeah. Look I just want to complain about this label, it's useless. What's so hard about that? Huh? Did it perform satisfactorily?!" John turned off the phone and tossed it in the garbage. "Let me know when that guy's off the screen so I can come back in there," John bellowed out.
Bob smirked at John's frustration. She quickly loosened her robe belt, laid back on her elbows and let the shoulder of the robe slide off provocatively. "Think he's done, greebol," she called out.
"You know, since the water's in the tub anyway and it's aired out by now," John called back, "I think I'll take that bath anyway." Bob just waited until he came back in with a drink for her. He stopped at the kitchen door, where he threw away the empty bottle of bubble bath, and stuck when he looked in at her. "But then," he said, walking in, "we could just watch TV."
Bob switched the TV off by remote while he got down on the floor next to her with his beer. "Hey," he said, while opening his can of beer, "what about football or something?"
"Or we could play ball," Bob said as she ticked her brow.
"Good point," John agreed, putting his beer down.