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Making Your Life a Line

Last night was my first night on the phone banks and it wasn’t bad.  I had something like 120 numbers to call in two and a half hours, and most of them were either no answer or straight to voice mail, which is the new “I don’t want to pick up” of the Twenty-first Century.    I didn’t get any video of me talking, but I did get this:

No one yelled at me, no one cursed, but one guy on the banks kept getting people who say they were voting for Trump and he was having fun with them.  But a fun time was had by all and I’ll be back to do it again next Wednesday.

For now, it’s time to get back to Bristol, England, about three years ago–

Kerry and Berniece Rutherford are together and it’s time they get back to talking.  It’s chilly and damp where they are, but that’s not going to stop them from having a conversation.  Though his case worker notices it’s a bit one sided–

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

While this short conversation occurred Berniece watched Kerry’s movements and body language, listened to his words and the tone of his voice. Though not quite the expert in interpretation as some in her office, it wasn’t necessary. All his answers are short and to the point, all his comments clipped. He hasn’t relaxed once since I arrived and he’s tense as hell. He is nothing like the boy I dropped off a month ago.

She knew the exact question to ask to put her in a position to assess the reason for being here. “How you doing, Kerry?”

He gave a one-shoulder shrug and answered without looking at her. “I’m okay.”

Berniece didn’t look at him as she replied. “Are you really okay, or are you just saying that to shut me up?”

Kerry half turned to his right with a slightly embarrassed look. “I do say that a lot, don’t I?”

“You have an annoying tendency to use that as your go-to answer for everything.” Berniece turned so she was facing the boy. “It makes it difficult for me to know if you’re having real issues because you’re replying to my inquiries with bullshit responses.”

 

Finally!  Someone calls out Kerry on his bullshit.  Kerry does like to hide things from others and that doesn’t make him bad, it just means he’s a teenage boy still having trouble getting in touch with his feelings.  Given that Berniece has never shown any frustration when dealing with Kerry, this is a first for her.  Though she’s not the first to feel this way…

The look everyone makes when Kerry says "I'm okay".

The look everyone makes when Kerry says “I’m okay”.

It’s a good thing Kerry knows when he’s being called out and he’s willing not to get pissy and clam up–

 

He nodded a couple of times as a real look of regret appeared upon his face. “I’m sorry.”

“I know you are, Kerry. But you have to understand—” She moved closer and leaned in, lowering her voice into a comforting tone. “I can only help if you let me help. And I want to help. It’s not just my job, you know.” She lay her left hand upon his shoulder. “It hurts me to see you troubled.”

Kerry looked down and away for a few moments so he didn’t have to look directly at his case worker. Even when he spoke he had difficultly meeting her gaze. “You trying to tell me you’re my friend?”

“I’m someone who understands.” Berniece dropped her hand to her side. “That’s one of the reasons I’m a case worker.”

Kerry finally stopped glancing about and looked directly at the young woman. “Okay. I won’t do that again.”

“Good.” She gave him a half-grin. “So… how are you feeling?”

He sighed loudly. “It’s not good: I’m not good.”

“What’s the problem.”

“Oh, not much.” He stared out towards the gorge again. “It’s just that my life has pretty much become a Doctor Who tag line.”

Berniece decided to let him work his way towards the point he was trying to make, because she knew that was how Kerry often acted. “What do you mean?”

He glanced up towards the sky for a moment before looking directly at her. “Silence has fallen.”

She didn’t need elaboration. “Come on.” She waved her hand beckoning Kerry onward. “Let’s walk up the path a bit.” Kerry fell in alongside and they they followed the path towards the tree line to the north. “What are your parents doing?”

“That’s just it: they’re doing nothing.” He snorted. “They’ve been getting a lot colder towards me: at least it feels that way.”

Berniece kept her pace slow. “Tell me everything.”

Kerry rotated his shoulders, resetting his pack, then started talking. “Last Wednesday Annie and I met up for lunch. Erywin picked me up and jaunted us off to Russel Square to meet Annie, and she and I had lunch at our usual spot there.”

“Prêt à Manger.”

Kerry shot Berniece a quizzical look out of the corner of his eye. “Do you have that in a report?”

She smiled. “Yes. Please continue.”

 

Finally:  he’s admitting that things are home aren’t the best and it’s getting to him.  He’s also a bit surprised to hear Berniece tell him that she knows where Annie and he go for lunch during the summer because it’s a report, but Annie has probably figured this out already–since she knows about all the reporting–and it’s only a matter time before Kerry wonders what else is in those reports.

In the mean time you’re probably going to wonder what comes next.  And, in time, you’ll find out–

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10 thoughts on “Making Your Life a Line

  1. Lad to know you have a good list. But work hard , you guys, because as of this moment, HRC only has a 9 point lead in Pennsylvania.

    Kerry should let it all out, and not keep his worries to himself. That way, he won’t feel alone.

    Are you going to put out here Kerry’s and Annie’s lunch date ?

    I assume that he’s able to go out only when the parents aren’t home.

  2. OMG! You live in Harrisburg!! Totally forgot. I just got home less than an hour ago from a weekend there. Pouring buckets on the way home. Hope all is well in your part of creative heaven there!!

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