I had probably experienced jet lag previously, but I honestly didn’t remember. I can promise you this, I will never forget the feeling again. My head was buried so far up my ass, I could see my last meal. I took another shower, not so much to wash away the sleep sweat, as to try to clear the cobwebs.
“Hey girl,” Lamar’s voice came from the phone. I had answered it still dressed in my panties and bra. I knew that I was on camera, but I also knew that I had nothing worth flaunting. If anything, my body would bore the observer to death.
“Lamar, what can I do for you?” I asked.
“I wanted to give you a heads up. We are having a forth for dinner tonight. His name is Harvey Priest.” Lamar informed me.
“And who is Mr. Priest that I should care?” I asked.
“One of the chief engineers on project Lucy,” Lamar informed me. “He is here to give you the technical information about Lucy. Kind of lay out all, well most of the things you will have to deal with.?
“I don’t want the technical information about Lucy. I don’t care how my car works either. I just take it in, when it isn’t doing what I want. Lamar listen hon, I am no McGiver. If Lucy won’t start, I will be calling the equivalent of a tow truck.”
“Well that is between you and Harvey. We will be eating late, why don’t you call down and have them bring you a tray of snacks?”
“How late is dinner going to be?” I asked.
“Most likely nine pm or so,” Lamar suggested.
I was in jeans, when the girl from the kitchen brought the tray of crackers, cheese, and cold meats. It was a dry snack and I wanted to explain the difference between flavored cardboard and real food, but I lacked Helen’s expertise. Coming from me it would just be a complaint and those get you no where.
Since it was just after 5PM and dinner was going to be much later, I lay back down and fell asleep. I was still dopey, when I awoke at seven. The cobwebs cleared finally around eight. By the time the call came from Lamar, I was pretty much back in the game.
“Meet us in the lobby in ten minutes,” Lamar said to me.
“Right,” I replied. Lamar was about to get a surprised. Unlike most women I would be a few minutes early. I was always early, usually at least a few minutes, sometimes much more. When I got to the lobby, I found Lemar standing with two strangers. One was a male, who looked like Albert Einstein, but with better hair.
The other was what appeared to be a woman, who looked ten years younger than me. She was so ordinary that if she went berserk and killed both men, I would be hard pressed to describe her to the police in any detail. I mean I knew she had mousy brown hair, somewhat like my own. Hers wasn’t as thin, or as unruly as mine, but it was close. Her body was thin and tough looking, something like a knotted rope. She had very slim hips and small boobs. All in all I would describe Lucy as a compact model, whereas I am more a sedan.
“Well Lamar, who are your friends?” I asked.
“Maxine Stone, this is Doctor Priest and Lucy,” He said.
I put out my hand first to Lucy then to Priest. “Nice to meet you both.” I was a little surprised that Lucy didn’t crush my hand. She has actually done a good job of seeming warm and real.
“I have heard an awfully lot about you Ms Stone,” Priest said.
“Really now, I can’t imagine that. I mean I live in a small town and I’m quite ordinary.” I said.
“Hardly ordinary Maxine,” Priest said. “When we began working on this project we knew that we needed a human model for our girl. One of my assistance found your story and TV show on line. We used you for a model, since we were close enough to the end, so that we were ready to do that.”
“I am truly flattered, even if was just lucky timing,” I replied, even though I wasn’t quite sure that it was a compliment. I turned my attention to Lucy. “So how are you Lucy?” I asked slowly.
“I’m just fine Maxine and I hope you are,” she said. You reading the words, is nothing like hearing her speak them. I swear she was June Cleaver, from the old Leave It To Beaver TV show.
“I’m fine. Did anyone ever tell you that you are very conspicuous in your efforts not to be. You said all the right words, but people don’t usually talk that well.”
“I see, I think I understand. What should I do then?”
“I guess you will have to watch the subtle difference of those around you.” I suggested.
“I will attempt to do just that, Maxine,” she said. She still sounded like a small town librarian. I knew that she would get the hang of it, since Lamar told me she was programmed to learn.
“Let’s go to dinner,” Lamar suggested.
“Good. what did you have in mind?” I asked.
“There is a pretty good American style restaurant in the downtown,” he suggested.
“I didn’t fly eight hours just to have dinner across the street from my home. Let’s go to a real British pub for dinner.” I turned my attention back to Lucy. “What do you say?”
“Since I don’t really eat, it makes no difference to me,” she informed me.
“I would have said simply, I don’t have a preference they both sound fine.” I watched as she processed that. “The ‘I don’t eat’ part was more information than necessary.”
“I see what you mean, I should not say things that might force people to wonder about my origin.” she said.
“Exactly,” I admitted. I turned to Lamar, since I do have a preference and I do eat, I want to go to a neighborhood pub. One that isn’t filled with tourists.”
Lemar just nodded, then disappeared for a few minutes. “Is it true that you fought pirates in the Gulf of Aden?” Priest asked.
“Yes, but it wasn’t very heroic. I even got shot there.” I said.
“So how is the leg?” Lucy asked.
“Better,” I said with the question for Priest in my eyes.
“We call that the empathy program,” he said with a smug smile.
“Well, if I didn’t know better, it would have for sure worked.” I replied.
The Bore and Thistle was just like the set of a TV show. The wood was dark and the pub lighting did nothing to brighten it. There was no telling what the poor lighting was meant to hide. Since I was starved, I hoped it wasn’t hiding roaches in the food.
“So what’s good?” I asked the badly over weight, middle aged woman, with even worse hair than me.
“I haven’t a clue luv,” she said to me.
“Well what’s in this stew?” I asked.
“Today it, lamb stew, with potatoes and green peas,” she said. “Along with onions of course.”
“Of course,” I replied. “How is the steak and onion pie?” You just can’t go wrong with steak and onions, I thought.
“I rather like it myself,” she informed me.
“That’s good enough for me. Since it comes in sizes I’ll have a small and so will by friend Lucy,” I pointed to Lucy while I spoke.
Lamar and Priest ordered some kind of dish made with beer. I wouldn’t be surprised to find everything had some beer in it. The beer was warm as I had been told it would be, so I was glad that I had ordered coffee instead.
“When the food comes Lucy, if you don’t want it, push it around your plate. We can always switch plates when I finish mine. I will take a few bites of yours so that it at least looks as though you ate some of it.”
Lamar looked at the Doctor and smiled as if to say, I told you so.
“Don’t be so smug, I just don’t want her to embarrass me.” I admitted. “By the way this bot is not one of those terminator’s is she?”
“No of course not, this is not a movie,” Lamar said.
“Sweetie don’t lie to me like that. If you wanted her to learn the social graces, you would have hired a débutante. From me she is only going to learn how to avoid trouble until it can’t be avoided any more.”
“That and few other things, but for now trust me, she is not a killer bee,” Priest said.
The food came, so I gave it up. The steak and onion pie was very good. It had great gravy and the onions were both crispy and soft. Altogether a successful dinner, so I also ate all of Lucy’s dinner as well.
“You guys ready to leave?” Lamar askedm. I could tell he felt a little uncomfortable. Paranoia is something everyone on the edge lives with. Sometimes it’s a struggle to keep it below the surface. He was a black man, sitting with two white women in a blue collar pub. I know that kind of thing is accepted all over the world. All except for some small enclaves of working class neighborhoods, inside larger cities. Such was the case at the Bore and Thistle.
I figured that I would see what kind of operative Lamar was. It pays to know who you are working with and the sooner the better. “Hell no, lets play darts. I have never played. Maybe one of these gentlemen will give me some pointers.”
Priest just smiled, Lamar looked a little nervous. I couldn’t really blame him, the crowd in the common room was a bit rough looking and of course they were, late night bar, loud. Some of them seemed to be spoiling for a confrontation. One look at Lamar and I knew that he was not the Irishman or the Gunny. Either of those two would have waded into the crowd with looks to send the ‘would be’ bad asses bunch scurrying for shelter.
The only way to judge my new partners was to step in and see how he reacted. I needed to know before things got too far out of hand. I would then be able to conduct myself accordingly. I was sure that I could wimp out as well as anyone, if that was the way things were going to be.
“Come on Lucy, let’s play darts.” She looked at priest who nodded his head.
“Very well Maxine, we shall play a game of darts with the locals.“ she said.
“Be ready for anything,” I said to Lucy.
“I always am ready for anything,” she said but with no facial expression.
“Lucy when you say that kind of thing, you have to smile like this,” I flashed her my bad ass smile.
“Like this?” she asked. As she asked it she was showing me a smile that could have been for a child’s birthday party. It was totally out of place for the situation in which we found ourselves. She did look like a retard with that sweet smile, while I was doing my bad ass bitch thing right beside her. I couldn’t help but laugh.
Before I left the table I carefully wiped off one of steak knives. I really did like their steak knife. For some reason it had a lot more heft than the ones used in most restaurants. I hid the steak knife under my tee shirt.
“Hey guys would you consider teaching me and my friend how to play that game. We have seen movies of people in pubs playing it, but never thought we would get the chance.”
“Sure you can play with me anytime baby,” he said with a wink for the others.
“Ah I see, so this isn’t going to be about darts. Then I guess we need to go,” I said.
One of the young men answered, ”I don’t think so. We don’t often get Yank Sluts in here. We can teach you darts, and how to mind your manners as well.”