“Jesus, you’re scaring me now,” Reid said coming around the table and kneeling next to Zooey, “I think you need some coffee, or some beligian waffles perhaps?”
Zooey cast him a bitter stare.
“Okay, so, no to the waffles then…” he said nervously. Reid felt partly to blame for the existential meltdown of the girl frantically petting a kitten in the middle of a downtown cafe and slightly wondered to himself how he could fix this and have it come to benefit both of their situations.
“Zooey?” Reid said gently nudging her in the arm.
“What? Oh, wow, I’m really sorry. I feel better now. I just needed to get that out,” she said apologetically.
“Was it that bad?” Reid questioned.
“No,” Zooey said curiously, “to be perfectly honest with you I was hoping some tragedy involving Fritz would come along some time or other.”
“Really? Why?” Reid said coming closer, more curious than ever.
“To be honest…I hate Fritz.”
“What?” Reid said looking astonished, “I thought you guys were close friends, why?”
Zooey paused for a moment trying to reassure herself that she could indeed finally tell the truth.
“He’s a trust funder,” she started, “We met in art school, although, to be perfectly honest, he’s a terrible artist. Fritz thinks that creatively piling your dirty laundry is “modern art”. The closest thing he’s ever done to art is scribbling in a colouring book with crayons. He actually turned that in for an assignment too, called it “Suburban Art”. The only reason he got into art school is because his parents have money and he thought it would be fun to do some recreational slumming.”
“Recreational slumming?” Reid said looking confused.
“Its when rich people go and do things that are ‘beneath’ their social class, like dumpster diving, living in a crummy apartment and living off of spaghetti-o’s for some kind of sick fun,” Zooey explained.
“God, no wonder you hate him,” Reid said now understandingly.
“That’s not even the half of it,” Zooey said looking bitter.
“Should I prepare myself for part two of your rant?” Reid said looking a bit uneasy at the sight of Zooey slumped over in her chair chewing at her nails and staring coldly out the window.
“It’s just…” Zooey started, taking a breath, “I don’t know why we’re friends. Sure, we have fun sometimes, but only on his terms. And sure, he helps out tremendously with the rent, but until now I just realized how much I can’t stand him and his phony homosexual act he keeps playing. I know he’s only faking it to upkeep his artistic image. For god sakes he has a Betty Page shrine in his closet that he whacks off to every night.”
“Me too,” Reid said laughing.
“You strike me more as a Rita Hayworth kind of guy,” Zooey said.
“Couldn’t be anymore right about that,” Reid said smiling.
“So,” he continued, “What now? I mean, what do you do about Fritz now that you’ve come to terms with your true feelings?”
“Besides kill him?” Zooey said cheerily.
Zooey smiled, despite all the trivial issues at hand, and looked over at Reid, who was crouched by her lap looking both confused and intrigued by the situation.
“Come on,” Zooey said, pushing Reid back and sitting up from her chair. Mr. Williamson was returned to his tote bag vessel, and he peeked his tiny head out scoping out the scene with fierce concentration. Reid got to his feet and followed as Zooey blindly led them through the cafe and out onto the sidewalks.
“You weren’t serious were you? I mean about killing him…” Reid trailed off, “Because I’m sure there are guys listed in town that could do it for you. Murder is a messy ordeal.”
“Look Reid, I’m not going to go all Charlie Manson on the neighbourhood, I just want to get away from him,” Zooey said, looking up and down the street, not sure of where to go.
“Do you want to come hang out at my place?” Reid asked. There was a general sincerity in his voice.
Zooey would never go home with strangers, but this time was different.