The Skype version 7 May 12
Given the interest in how Cathy and I are trying to do the Cathy-and-I bits, we thought you might like to see the First Ever Bilateral Summit. The date at the head—7 May—is accurate, and we did it way before I’d got anywhere near that far in the ep writing, so, for example, we thought Kes and Hayley would be meeting at the house. And we did it by—is it instant messaging?—I forget what it’s called—but you have a window on Skype where your and anyone else’s typing appears almost immediately—almost—which means the back-and-forth frequently gets a little misaligned. But here is what happened, only slightly tidied up for general consumption.
Cathy: She’s somehow got there ahead of the realtor. She can poke around the house as much as you like, of course… but then we have a sort of shuffle scuffle SNAP noise from the basement.
Robin: Oh [expletive deleted]–she says. Remember she’s a city girl. The crickets make her nervous. She freezes. Maybe she’ll wait till Hayley gets here. Then she hears the noise again (?). [EXPLETIVE DELETED]. [Note to self: invent 'frelling' equivalent for her.] Hey, if she’s going to live here she’s going to have to deal with stuff like NOISES IN THE CELLAR. [EXPLETIIIIIIIVE DELEEEEEEEEEETED]. Of course she can’t find the light switch. She gets a flashlight out of the van and . . .
Cathy: The noise has moved. It’s coming up the steps. Shuffle–scraaape–shuffle—scraaaape
Cathy: (this can happen during her moment of indecision about waiting for Hayley, or you can push it later)
Cathy: But generally, don’t get too far ahead on the timeline; sometimes something will happen before you’ve got time to go for the flashlight, if you take my meaning
Robin: AAAAAAAAAAAUGH. She’s standing frozen at the top of the stairs with her hand on the cellar door. There’s no way to bolt the door from this side, yes? She looks for a bolt. No bolt. AAAAAAAAAAAAUGH. Maybe she can live in one room with cockroaches in the nice safe city after all .. . .
Robin: Okay. She DOESN’T have a flashlight. She thought of the flashlight before IT started shambling up the stairs.
Cathy: It’s at the top of the stairs–she feels the knob turn under her hand
Robin: AAAAAAAAAAAUGH. –I favour her standing there like a dummy rather than running like [expletive deleted], but I would take advice on this. :)
Cathy: Well she’s going to get hit by the door when it opens, she might take a step or two back. :)
Robin: Fine. She backs up a semi paralytic step or two. I’ll also have to figure out the floor plan. Is she backing into a wall? Into the kitchen? Is it going to matter?
Cathy: not at the moment
Cathy: door swings open
Cathy: and she sees
THERE’S A TWENTY SECOND PAUSE HERE, PRODUCING:
Robin: [EXPLETIVE DELETED] YOU HAMAKER
Cathy: a monstrous metal robot thing with
Cathy: no wait, I’m sorry
Cathy: it’s a dwarf carrying a metal stepladder
Cathy: He’s wearing jeans and a workbelt
Robin: It’s a WHAT? –this is her reaction. I’m sitting here totally cool and intellectual. :)
Cathy: His hands and face are smeared with dusty grime from the basement
Cathy: He’s about 4.5′ tall, with dark curly hair
Cathy: He is as startled to see her as she is to see him
Robin: Ooh. Is he cute? –No, this is me. She’s beyond cute at this point, I think.
Cathy: Well, he’s a bit older than Kes, but not bad looking. A little salt and pepper in the hair.
Robin: Okay. This is interesting. :)
Cathy: He’s stopped at the top of the stairs. Does she scream, or anything like that, or shall we just proceed?
Robin: No, she’s gobsmacked. She thought she was about to die and is having trouble readjusting. Also, AAAAAAUGH to the contrary notwithstanding, she’s not a screamer. She’ll have been thinking AAAAAAAAUGH and muttering expletivedeletedEXPLETIVEDELETEDRUMSODOMYANDTHELASHEXPLETIVEDELETED under her breath. She’ll just stand there staring and be incapable of saying or doing anything.
Cathy: The dwarf regains his composure first. He says, “Sorry–are you looking for something?”
Robin: Er, she quavers. I’m–er–waiting for–er–the realtor who’s showing me this house. To rent. Er.
Cathy: “Oh!” The light goes on. “Oh, I’m sorry–you’re the new renter, are you?”
Robin: [expletive deleted] (she thinks) gossip travels fast. I haven’t SAID I’m renting yet. “Er,” she says (out loud). “Well, that’s the plan. Sort of. I guess.” She hesitates. “I’m from the city, and I–er–decided I wanted to live in Cold Valley but I’m not sure what I’m looking for.” She looks around. “This house is bigger than I had in mind, but I want to get a dog, and the other house Hayley offered doesn’t allow pets.” You’re babbling, she tells herself. Shut up.
Cathy: the dwarf has narrowed his eyes thoughtfully as she’s talking, and seems to be giving her a careful once-over. “Well, you’ll do, I expect.” While she’s wondering what the hell THAT means, he steps out into the hallway and sets down the ladder and the toolbox he’d been carrying. “Yep–it’s big enough, true that. Plenty of room for dogs. You say you’re from the city–you sure you’ll like living up here? Gets mighty quiet, this place.” As she’s responding to this, he’s going to walk into the kitchen (it’s that door, right there,) step up on the stepstool which someone has kindly placed at the sink, and begin washing his hands.
Robin: Yeah, she thinks. Mighty quiet. And there are all those CRICKETS. And things. Yeep. Okay, this is why I’m getting a dog (she thinks). So she says aloud: “Yeah. I know. Theoretically. I’ve never lived in the country. But it’s why I want a dog.” Who the [expletive deleted] is this guy? she suddenly gets unparalytic enough to think. I wish Hayley would get here.
Cathy: “Dogs aren’t quiet, that’s for sure. At least, mine isn’t.” He turns around and hops off the stool (presumably she’s followed him into the kitchen) and offers his hand to shake. “I’m Ron Driscoll. I do odd jobs, electrical work, that kind of thing. I was sorting out some issues with your fuse box.” She notices, now, that his dark green work shirt has a name tag above the pocket that says “Ron” in yellow script.
Robin: She shakes his hand. Her heart rate is slowing down to normal. “Nice to meet you,” she says (inanely. Feeling inane. Also feeling like a total asshole. She TOTALLY believed that was Yog-Sothoth in the cellar :)). Tries to think of something else to say. Fails. Kind of wants to know if he lives in Cold Valley and is available on Sunday mornings when the hot water fails to be hot but feels this might be pushy. Oh, wait. You can ask people about their dogs. “What kind of dog?”
Cathy: “Mine, y’mean? Hank’s a Malamute. Big hairy [expletive deleted].”
Cathy: Wait, I’m sorry
Cathy: “Mine, y’mean? Hank’s a Malamute. Delightful fluffy companion!”
Cathy: Wait, no.
Robin: ::falls down laughing::
Cathy: “Mine, y’mean? Hank’s a Malamute. Good dogs–one person dogs, though, at least he is.”
Robin: Note to self: Do not drop by Ron’s when he’s not there.
Cathy: “He’s not a barker, but he’ll howl like you wouldn’t believe. I live just down the road a piece–so if you hear howling, it’s probably Hank. Coyotes tend to avoid this area.”
Cathy: And then Hayley shows up. “Hellooooo! Kes, are you here?” She comes in the kitchen. “Oh, hi, Ron! I see you’ve met Kes.”
Cathy: (As you’ve already established a personality for Hayley that I’ve not read, you’d better take over for her.)
Robin: I haven’t entirely settled on Hayley. Do you want input? She’s perky and a bustler is as far as I’ve gotten. But I haven’t figured out if she’s (a) a potential friend/ally (b) middle aged (c) young (d) settled here in the boonies (e) ambitious/still ambitious to get out (she could also have had a recent life crisis) etc. We can run on just perky and bustling for the moment if you like.
Robin: She suppresses saying ‘thank the gods you’re here’ and says (still in inane mode), oh, you know each other? And, um, good about the coyotes. Thinks: KY [EXPLETIVE DELETED] YOTES????
Cathy: Ron says, “Hi, Hayley–I was just finishing up some work on the electrical. I’ll get out of your way so you can show… Kes, was it? Nice to meet you, Kes… around the place.” Ron goes out to the hallway, shoulders his ladder and grabs the toolbox, then heads out the front door and down the steps.
Robin: By the way, I think at this point Kes does not know that [EXPLETIVE DELETED] MALAMUTES LOOK A LOT LIKE REAL [EXPLETIVE DELETED] WOLVES. Just in case you have plans.
Cathy: this is my vicarious malamute. DAMN do I want one of those dogs.
Cathy: Hayley tells Kes, “Ron’s the local handyman, he does great work. I’ll make sure you have his number in case you need anything fixed around the place.”
Robin: “Oh good. Thanks.” Kes takes a deep breath. She knows she’s still paralytic and while Ron may just think she’s a moron (which would be too bad, because he’s kind of cute), Hayley had seen her in post-pancakes sugar-high mode and knows she can talk. “He was in the cellar when I got here, so I didn’t know what was happening. I just heard something coming up the cellar stairs–he was carrying his ladder and–” Hayley starts laughing and then tries to stop. “Oh dear. I’m so sorry. It must have been–very alarming.” “Yes. You could say that.” Feelingly. –At this point Hayley would start doing the official tour, I think. Do you want to stop here? You’ve certainly given me enough to go on–I can get two posts out of this, I think. AND IT’S GOING TO WORK. YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY. :):):):):):):)
Cathy: Yes, sure, let’s stop here.
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