“Good afternoon, Global Octopus, a World Domination Enterprise. Pearl speaking.”
“Pearl? I did a bad thing.”
I brace myself. When Mary has done a bad thing, it can be an exceedingly bad thing indeed.
I check my cube mate for signs of listening, a furtive gesture. She is humming what I believe may be a hymn.
“What’d you do?”
Mary presses her lips against the phone, a gesture I find endearing, whispers into it conspiratorially. “Kathy said I could have a cupcake.”
Mary has lost almost 30 pounds in the last four, maybe five months. I’ve spent the last month or so warning her: You need to stop now. You look really awesome, and this is putting pressure on me. Cut it out.
“I did. After I finished cleaning her place, I had a cupcake!” She laughs, lost in the memory. “It was a cupcake. From a cupcake place. You know. The kind that specializes in cupcakes. A dense, moist, love-filled assemblage of ingredients that reminded me of the time –“
“Mary!” I shout into the phone. I have not had this kind of – gulp! – moist, heady carb for, oh, a year, and I find my mouth watering involuntarily.
Tamra turns, eyes wide.
“Shutty, Mary,” I hiss into the phone. “You just stop that right now.”
Mary laughs. “It really wasn’t that good,” she lies.
“You lie,” I say. “And I love you for it.”
There is silence as we contemplate the warped direction our friendship sometimes takes.
“ANYway,” she says, as if shaking herself awake, “I’m at Lund’s, gonna pick up some vegetables for tonight.”
“Try to remember that there are no vegetables in the bakery section,” I mutter.
“Oh, I LOL,” she chortles. “I LOL at you.”
I smile. “Enjoy your shopping.”
“Talk to ya later, Pearl.”