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[personal profile] wonder_city
Something Under the Bridge

All day I told myself I would be too busy relaxing from my hectic work schedule to watch television.

My last patient of the day was an adorable, creative boy who had an intricately intertwined and richly detailed world of stories locked away in his head, complete with multiple timelines and alien worlds. He was constantly creating adventures with these people and places, and he couldn't tell anyone about them because of his issues with external communication. So I was the only person from the outside world to whom he could show his creations, and it was always an endlessly fascinating parade of shiny things on display. I love seeing them and being with him, and his mother tells me that he's trying to interact more with her and his brothers now -- he always has been, I don't bother to tell her since she only believes it when she can see the effort -- but it does wipe me out pretty much completely.

Which is why, my horrible brain told me while I swam, you need to watch something completely mindless tonight.

The night's dinner was Chinese dumplings. Ever since the end of the Unobtanium Chef program went viral on the Internet, there's been a craze for Chinese dumplings in Wonder City -- all the restaurants are trying to do them in new, chic ways. I was pleased, though, when Dario told me that Gloria had actually engaged Hanne Blank herself to talk him through the process of making the evening's dinner. I wrote a quick email to Gloria after I finished every scrap of the amazing food, asking her to see if Ms. Blank would be willing to have a contract like the other chefs. After all, it was all remote anyway. What was the difference whether it was a phone call from Wonder City or from somewhere else?

And then I wrapped up in my black silk pajamas and fuzzy butter-yellow robe, and flopped me and my black ass down in front of the television, prepared for the latest "It's a Wonderful House" to be All About The White Boy. Because, you know, one gets kinda cynical about these things.

Up came the title screen, with the five of them walking down the street, then turning to look at the house. I noticed there was more snow on the ground and their clothes were different. A new title sequence each week? That would be expensive.

This show started out all about them picking their rooms. Brandon and Tom squabbled briefly over the attic room with more windows, but Brandon got it in the end. Tom took a second floor room, saying, "Whatever, man. This one has more space for my weights."

"There's a weight room downstairs," Brandon said. "Why do you have to have your own shit?"

"In case I don't like the company," Tom said, turning his back on Brandon.

Brandon leaned close to the camera and whispered, with a shit-eating grin, "So much for inscrutable Chinese people."

"Oh," I said. "Here's our house troll."

The girls ended up with rooms on the second floor, while Simon took the second attic room, the one with fewer windows but a walk-in closet. Lizzie took the smallest room, little more than a closet, really, saying, "I don't have a lot of stuff. It's no biggie."

"Are you sure?" Jeshri and Simon both said, though Jeshri looked relieved. And Simon added, "Because I don't have to have a lot of stuff. Just books and things. Don't you want a room with a closet?"

"Why should you give up having a closet instead of me?" Lizzie wanted to know.

"Because I live locally," Simon said.

"So do I," Lizzie said.

Simon raised his eyebrows. "At the Y, hon."

Lizzie blushed furiously. "It just means that I don't have as much stuff I'd put in the room."

Simon pursed his lips and glanced at Jeshri through the darkened glasses perched on his nose. She shrugged at him. He drew in a deep breath. "All right, fine, but if you change your mind, I'll switch rooms with you, okay?"

Lizzie, not looking at him, nodded, but didn't say anything.

Tom and Brandon trotted down the stairs to the second floor. "So, are we gonna do bathrooms by floor?"

Lizzie and Jeshri looked at Tom, who shrugged. "It seems logical," Jeshri said.

"I just wondered if you wanted, you know, a girls bathroom and a boys bathroom," Brandon said, grinning and running a hand through his carefully-arranged hair. His short blond hair stood straight up in multiple cowlicks, like Calvin from Calvin & Hobbes. He had probably already been abandoned by the show's hair stylists.

"I think we can put up with Tom down here," Jeshri said. "He doesn't seem like the kind of guy to forget to put the seat down."

Tom made some sort of noise -- not quite a protest, but not quite an agreement either. Possibly more of a snort.

"Well, you know," Brandon said, "I didn't know if --" And there was a blur over his mouth and a bleep on the track. "-- here wanted to pee in the girls' room or the boys' room."

Oh, here we go.

"Who?" Jeshri said.

"What?" Lizzie said.

"What the BLEEP?" Tom said.

Simon rolled his eyes and turned slowly to face Brandon. "I'm sure you think you're being cute, but you're not. That's not my name."

"Why not, BLEEP?" Brandon said. "Too girly for you?"

Oh, Simon, I thought. You got yourself a helluva lawyer, didn't you?

Simon let his glasses slip down his nose and looked at Brandon over them. We got a nice closeup of those unnerving yellow eyes. "That's. Not. My. Name."

"You're a girl?" Jeshri and Tom said simultaneously.

Lizzie was frowning, biting her lower lip.

Simon sighed and he looked over his shoulder at them. "No, I'm not. I'm me."

Brandon grinned. "Oh, come on, BLEEP. You know the only reason you want to sleep in the attic is so you can be closer to me!" He slid his hand over his chest and made a kiss face. "Maybe I can convince you that being a girl isn't so bad."

Simon's gaze snapped back to Brandon and even that dense white boy backed up a step. "I may be bisexual, but I wouldn't touch you or someone like you with George Bush's dick, much less allow you to try to 'fix' me. And if you ever come into my room, let me just remind you who has the wolfy jaws of doom, hmm?"

Simon had turned away when that boy who never learned to shut his mouth said, in a singsong, "But then, BLEEP, you'll never win the money for your suuuurgery, right?"

I swear that Simon's hackles went up. There wasn't a thing visible -- his hair was perfect, as the song goes -- but there was a subtle something, in his stance maybe, that changed. Tom and Jeshri even took a step back. Simon didn't bother to turn around. "So you think I'll let you rape me for money? Is that it?"

My jaw dropped. The editors left that in?

Simon looked at the others. "Better lock your doors at night when Brandon's around, folks. Yes, even you, Tom." He glanced back at Brandon. "I don't have to hang around here. I can be queerbashed by better people than you on any street corner." Then he strode out of the room.

There was a long silence, then Brandon laughed and said, "Wow, those people are so sensitive."

"What 'people' are you talking about?" Lizzie said, her voice quavering a little. "Women? Men? Black people? Queer people? Paras?"

"You know," he said, waving his hand after Simon. "Those people."

"I'm not sure I want to be on the same side of the fence with you," Lizzie said, her voice firming up.

"Yeah," Jeshri said. "Leave us out of your little real life flamewars. Try treating people with a little respect." She and Lizzie turned to follow Simon.

Tom grimaced at him and drew close to him. In a low, confidential voice, he growled, "Oh, and a word to the wise? I'm not Chinese, dude." He turned on his heel and stalked out.

Brandon stared after him a moment, then looked at the camera, giving an "aw shucks" kind of look and rubbing the back of his neck. "Those people, man," he said, laughing.

All I could think was that "those people" were going to pound his ass into the floor if he kept that shit up.

There was more, another thirty minutes or so of move-in and glares and silence, but nothing really stacked up to that confrontation.

Still, near the end, Lizzie and Jeshri cornered Simon. "I changed my mind," Lizzie told him. "I want a bigger room. And a closet."

Simon immediately got suspicious, giving them both looks over his glasses. They remained solidly innocent-looking. "I'm going to take her clothes shopping," Jeshri said. "Have you seen her wardrobe?"

He quirked a smile. "Jeans and t-shirts and boots, every day," he said. "Gonna femme her up?"

"I'll try," Jeshri said, trying a conspiratorial grin. "Wanna help?"

Simon relented. "Oh, all right," he said, throwing up his hands. "Anyway, I don't need any closet."

I think I want to send the editors a little thank-you letter.


From the Author:
You knew this was coming, right? Because it had to come.

I'm posting twice weekly during January. If you like this twice-weekly thing, I'm doing it again in January: if January's posts draw 50 comments total, I'll post twice weekly through February too. As before, if you provide a comment bonanza, I'll extend appropriately.

Vote for us at Top Web Fiction! Come on and click. You know you want to.

Date: 2011-01-28 03:26 am (UTC)
contrarywise: Glowing green trees along a road (Default)
From: [personal profile] contrarywise
I have a strong suspicion that I'm going to be saying "Oh, Simon..." quite a lot during this series. Yeah, I knew that was coming, although it went down better than I feared it might. Yay for solidarity!

And yay for the Hanne Blank cameo! I started reading WCS because of the Unobtanium Chef episode that she linked on her blog. I'm glad she did, because that ep certainly whetted my appetite for more from these characters.

Date: 2011-01-28 03:30 pm (UTC)
kyleri: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kyleri
I'll admit I didn't expect so much solidarity either -- it's a good thing to watch, though! Not that I have any expectation that the drama is over by any means. :)

Date: 2012-05-10 02:37 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
Yeah, that was a surprising amount of goodness. I was expecting a little more ambivalence, but the editors and the other residents seem solidly on Simon's side.

Date: 2011-01-28 05:02 am (UTC)
finch: (Default)
From: [personal profile] finch
I really like how you handled this episode. Yay for the "editors" right? And yet I'm waiting for the Producer Drama Shoe to drop, because I've watched too much Project Runway not to wait for that.

(I also like the way you work the episodes into, well, the episodes. Yay for clever literary techniques.)

Date: 2011-01-28 11:47 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Sounds like a reality show that might actually be worth watching!

- Kriz

Date: 2012-01-28 04:55 am (UTC)
the_leaky_pen: (Default)
From: [personal profile] the_leaky_pen
It's nice that Simon and Lizzie are both on it! Good to start out friends. :D

Date: 2015-01-24 01:39 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
'I don't need any closet'

Ha! :D


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