Harrigan picked up the phone on the first ring: “Shit.”
“What?” said Sam. “I saw your post on Facebook: ‘Just provided 12 square feet of proof that the world DOES need professional painters’. Thought I’d give you a ring. It sounded sad.”
“Well, I suck. I painted my bedroom wall and it looks like ass. Ass painted my favorite color.”
Sam snickered. “Thanks for that image. But what’s going on?”
“What makes you think something’s going on?” asked Harrigan.
“Because I know you and I know when you’re upset and it’s more than a shitty ass-colored wall…”
“The wall isn’t ass-colored” Harrigan corrected.
“Then what is it?”
“Orange-vermillion. Streaky, lumpy, hideous orange-vermillion. This wall makes me hate my favorite color!” She took a breath. “Why do I feel like crying?”
Sam smiled. “Because it’s your first day off in weeks and you thought this was a project you could handle and you failed. You never fail. You aren’t used to it.”
“You’re saying I’m failing at failure?”
Harrigan teared up at that. “I’m thinking of doing either caffeine or alcohol. Wanna come over and help me choose?”
Sam sighed. “I can’t. I’m in the middle of a thing. Besides ‘You don’t need to sit and moan…’”
“’…you need to get on that bone.’” Harrigan finished. “Really, you’ve got to come up with a better cheer. That rhyme sucks.” She chuckled. “Alright. I need to do something….I’ll…unpack. How’s that?”
“After two months? Not bad.”
Harrigan asked, “So, how’s your thing?”
“It’s coming along. Chapter five should be finished by four. That’ll give me time to get dinner started.”
“Oooh, that’s right.” Harrigan perked up. “Who’s the dish?”
“Don’t you mean ‘what’?” Sam asked.
“No, stupid. I meant ‘who’. I forgot you were having someone over. This is the third…”
“Fourth” interrupted Sam.
“Fourth date? Nice. How long’s it been since your last fourth date?” Harrigan curled up in her chair. It was nice to think of Sam seriously dating again.
“Are you saying I suck at dating?”
“If by ‘dating’ you meant ‘painting’ and by ‘I’ you meant ‘me’, then yeah.” Harrigan reconsidered the line for a moment, then continued. “Good luck to you, though. I’m serious. And be nice to him. Are you wearing the blue?”
“It’s peacock blue and yes, I’m wearing it.” Sam turned in his chair to look at the shirt, already ironed and waiting, 3 hours early. “Harrigan. I’m scared.”
“I know. But it’ll be alright. This guy’s been nice so far, right?”
“More like perfect. That’s why I’m scared.”
“Oh, sweetie.” The only long-term relationship Sam had had in years was with her. She knew that didn’t count. Not really. Not like this. “Just enjoy yourself. You can’t fail. He can’t help but fall for you. Now go finish that chapter so you can start dinner.”
Sam was silent.
“By the way” Harrigan asked, “what’s happening in Chapter 5? Is Frank finally gonna get some sweet, sweet lovin’?”
She could hear Sam’s smile through the phone. “You bet. Right after Lori sees how nicely he painted her bedroom wall. G’night, you terrible, horrible painter.”
“Night to you, too, asshole. And good luck.”
“Same to you.”
On my commutes, I listen to nerdcore hip-hop almost exclusively now. (Click on the rap and music topic tags on the right to learn more.) By day I’m a software tester and my work requires concentration. So I pick music that’s chill – with no words if possible. Thanks to Pandora, I’ve discovered electronic tango: a mix of hip beats and traditional tango music. I highly recommend the Gotan Project station on Pandora for more.