“Stranger Than You Imagine… Stranger Than You Can Imagine”

A brown car passes two gals sitting in an outdoor cafe.  Felicia moves her cherry-red tendrils from her face, compliments of the sudden gust of wind, as she goes back to her Jocelyn chat.  Cafe Anderson’s hanging sign settles along with Felicia’s hair as she brings up the time when they were kids chased by a rabid dog.  Giggling into her cappuccino, Felicia talks about the fields of fences and towers of stairs they had to escape through before the hound got bored.  Jocelyn ponders if it was an asthma attack, and they both laugh morbidly at the idea of their Cerberus reaching for its inhaler mid-maul.  Their waiter comes to their cackling table and asks if Felicia wants a refill.  As he takes her cup back to the DeLonghi, his boss taps him on his shoulder.  “…who’s the ginger been talking to?”

Jocelyn puts her inky hair in a ponytail as the wind picks up.  She notices a car passing that matches her cappuccino, then the two cats painted on the cafe’s sign overhead.  She stares for a while, then is snapped back along with Felicia’s fingers.  Jocelyn asks if Felicia remembers the guy in her Freshman gym class who kept kicking her.  Felicia nods as Jocelyn listlessly stirs her half-empty porcelain.  Jocelyn looks down at her old habit and isn’t sure whether to take the spoon out or not.  Felicia tells Jocelyn that she only brings him up if a guy has caught her passing fancy.  Jocelyn turns a familiar rouge as a child stares at her from another table.  “Mommy, Mommy!  That lady’s face matches the other one’s hair!  Why does she do that?”  But all Mommy can see is a woman blushing alone.

The title was originally supposed to be a chapter title of “Love! in Bedlam”.  I heard it in a commentary I was watching and thought it was too interesting to leave there.  I wasn’t sure how I was gonna use the title, but it was jotted in my notes so I could deal with that later.  Then, earlier today, I shared a few words with Rebecca of Lady or Not.  I said something along the lines of maybe two people were friendly because of a glitch in the Matrix and they were figments of each other’s imaginations.  The writer part of my brain said, “Oi!  That’s too good to let go!”  So I didn’t.  Then it stole the chapter title.  Next was just a matter of figuring out how exactly to portray that.  A nod or two exists to the reference that sparked the story.  I might use that idea again later.  We’ll see.


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