The Next Month At The Ford: Episode 12

Marvin whistles a merry tune as he gets off the train and walks toward the Sime Center. He takes the opportunity to stretch his legs and maybe deliver a bit of a surprise, insofar as one channel can surprise another. He thinks, "Of course, she is expecting me by this train. Who'm I fooling."

Marvin is a wiry fellow with an appetite for loud colors, despite the fact that he doesn't belong to a Householding.

Riso wishes his channel would have a bit more clothes sense, but admits that he's very good at his job.

Riso is outwardly the ideal Tecton Donor -- totally self-effacing outside his profession.

Marvin walks on, Riso a bit behind him, providing ~~ standard light support ~~

Marvin could do this with his eyes shut, literally, but he knows how that would look to random Gens here at the Ford.

Riso figures Marvin is up to something, and wishes he knows what it was. Not for the first time, he wishes the Tecton weren't quite so sparing of details about channels, though he understands the reasons for it.

Marvin is glad to see the Sime Center, though not so glad to smell the abattoir next door. He comes up to the main entrance and knocks on the door.

Riso waits patiently just behind, keeping his field ~~ neutral ~~.

Bibi has zlinned him coming and flings the door open with a big smile.

Bibi: Marvin! So glad you're here!

Marvin: Well, well, look who's here. Glad to see you, Dimples, and what a surprise! You're looking more chipper than I had any right to expect.

Bibi: Well, it's been a while, and things have been happening. Come in. Riso, are you hungry?

Bibi always asks these things rather than stating what she zlins. She thinks it's more polite.

Riso: [quietly] I'd be happy to eat something, Hajene. Your food is always good.

Bibi: Go on ahead and see what Gitl has for you, then. Marvin probably hasn't been taking proper care of you. ~~ teasing Marvin ~~

Marvin: [laughs] Him? He's been eating me out of a month's salary! As you can zlin, my appetite's a bit off, but I wouldn't say no to a cookie and some trin.

Bibi: Come to my office then.

Marvin follows Bibi toward her office, his showfield radiating ~~ appetite ~~

Riso figures Marvin is in good hands and follows his nose to the kitchen.

Bibi gets out the cookies and a clean mug from the bottom drawer of the file cabinet, fills the mug and offers the snack to Marvin. She smiles ~~ happily ~~ at Marvin, living up to his nickname for her.

Marvin looks for a chair, pulls it up, bows, sits down, nibbles on his cookie, sips his tea.

Bibi sits as well, continuing to smile.

Marvin: I'm soooo glad to see you, Dimples. This is my favorite stop on the whole run.

Bibi: I bet!

Marvin: [quirks his eyebrows] Pity about the damn timing, though.

Marvin drops his showfield for a moment, showing her his ~~ third-quarter need ~~.

Bibi sighs. She and Marvin are almost 180 degrees out of phase.

Marvin is glad the Tecton keeps him on a short schedule so that he can eventually drift back into phase with Bibi.

Marvin: Well, anyhow. No rag tag and bobtail following me about this trip, at least not yet. [teasingly] What have you got for me this time?

Bibi: Well, there's Magit. She's doing well in most ways, but her turnover was really frightening - she passed out and started voiding. We really have to get her to a place with some excellent medical staff.

Marvin: Yes, I remember your letter. Salt Ash Mountain camp sounds perfect for her; there's a First on rotation running it right now.

Bibi: I wonder if she shouldn't be close to a major facility with experts in transfer dysfunctions. You can read Hajene Seruffin's report -- he thinks she should take her next transfer from a specialist, and after that turnover I definitely concur.

Marvin: Hmm. I'd better check that out.

Marvin holds out his tentacles for the report.

Bibi takes the file out and hands it over.

Marvin flips through it.

Marvin: Ow. Ow ow ow ow. You're absolutely right. This is a lot worse than I thought.

Bibi: I've put in a copy of Seruffin's report on her mother's donation, also very strange, in case it's hereditary and this helps them diagnose it. Magit's a great kid, very lively and bright. I haven't let her know that she's got a problem, since I have no idea how serious it is.

Marvin: Yeah, I saw. What a weird family. You know that theory about Gen variation that Householding Metesky published last year?

Bibi: Yeah, but I thought they were generalizing from some awfully small samples, myself.

Marvin: After all, most Gens live out-T still. Until we get really reliable ... But you've heard this song before, Dimples.

Bibi: The only really good data comes from the Householdings. It will take a few more generations to get good data for the general population.

Marvin: Anyway, no training camp for your Magit, I fear. Next stop, Central Sime Center in the big city.

Bibi: I hope she'll be all right. I know you'll do your best for her.

Marvin: You bet your sweet bippy I will.

Bibi seldom blushes with Marvin, since he's like this all the time.

Marvin, like Cristal (whom he otherwise resembles not at all) has a taste for funky swear words.

Marvin's eyes flash, and his field ~~ swirls with glee and anticipation ~~. Bibi isn't fooled, of course.

Bibi smiles ~~ affection ~~ appreciation ~~ friendship ~~

Marvin sets his showfield to ~~ mirror ~~ and adds his own genuine emotions just slightly out of phase, producing a ~~ pleasing nageric harmony ~~.

Bibi: I'm so glad you're here, and not just because my secondary is ready to burst at the seams.

Marvin: Ho, yes. Speaking of that, sweetling, shall we?

Bibi: Of course.

Bibi gets up and offers her arms.

Marvin gets up and takes Bibi's arms in his hands and handling tentacles.

Bibi wraps her tentacles around Marvin's arms and entwines laterals.

Marvin suddenly forces his showfield to ~~ full-blast need ~~.

Bibi smirks. ~~ intense Gen need-to-give ~~ She hopes the Tecton doesn't know about these little games. She'll never tell.

Marvin pulls a ~~ simulated transfer ~~ out of Bibi's secondary system into his own. His field ~~ rings with momentary satisfaction ~~ and then slowly reverts to ~~ neutral ~~.

Bibi staggers a little as her systems rebalance. She clings to Marvin.

Marvin stands on one leg and uses the other leg to support Bibi physically, as his field modulates smoothly to ~~ intense sympathy ~~.

Bibi: Sheesh, Marvin. One of these days you're gonna burn me like that.

Bibi is smiling, though.

Marvin looks sidelong at Bibi and grins.

Marvin: But it feeeeeeels so goooooood.

Bibi laughs and hugs him.

Marvin notices that there's a renSime behind the door.

Magit knocks on the door.

Magit: Hajene, are you all right?

Bibi opens the door, wishing it were as well insulated as the walls.

Bibi: Yes, everything's okay, Magit. Come in and meet Hajene Marvin.

Magit: I zlinned something strange in the ambient...Ooops.

Magit wishes she had the common sense to restrain herself, but ....

Marvin turns around and walks over to the door. He takes Magit's hand and kisses it.

Marvin: You must be the new Sime I've been hearing so much about!

Magit blushes, probably for the first time in her life.

Marvin: As you've probably guessed, I'll be your escort to Sime Territory. Well, the big Sime Territory, that is. My Donor Riso will be with us: he's probably down in the kitchen pigging out again.

Bibi: Marvin starves him shamefully.

Marvin: If I didn't, I'd have to be living rough and selling transfers to secret juncts.

Magit switches from blushes to ~~ shock ~~.

Magit: I thought the juncts were all, well, history! You mean they are ...

Bibi: He's just kidding, Magit. Why don't you go to the kitchen and meet Riso yourself?

Magit: Umm, yes. Right. Off to the kitchen with little Magit. ~~ wicked humor ~~

Magit leaves, closing the door behind her.

Marvin: Spoiling my fun like that, Dimples. What could you be thinking?

Bibi: Every comedian needs a straight man, that's Riso for you.

Marvin: Yes, but I seem to be your straight man these days. Well, you know what ol' Klyd Farris used to say about that...

Bibi: ~~ inquiry ~~

Marvin: "Channels are virtually incapable of anything except being intermittent straight men"!

Bibi blushes, dimples and all.

Marvin: Aw, Bibi, you know you can always capture my heart with that look. ~~ inward blush ~~ pleasure ~~

Bibi hugs Marvin again and kisses him on the cheek, then sits behind her desk again.

Marvin: ~~ affection ~~ happiness ~~

Marvin sits down too.

Bibi: Last time you were in-T, did you hear anything about changing the pickup run schedules?

Marvin: There was some sort of rumor, but no details. Do you know anything you ought to tell me?

Bibi: Well, I had that big shot, Seruffin, here. Very nice guy -- I was surprised.

Marvin: Some of those high-powered Firsts are really very decent. They don't require the thrill of lording it over us poor feeble Seconds.

Bibi: He got interested in how things work in a little outfit like this, and I told him that I can gather more selyn than I can ship. So he offered to shake things up a bit so I got more frequent pickups. ~~ worry ~~

Marvin: Let's see, he was Sime Diplomatic Corps, right? He probably can make it happen, then. But, umm, that may mean that I get reassigned, you know.

Bibi: I told him that I don't want to lose you, and that I'm concerned about the repercussions if it comes out looking like I've jumped a lot of layers of authority to make a complaint about my management.

Marvin: Well, good. In that case, a specialist in soft answers that turn away wrath is just what we want. He isn't likely to just issue a peremptory order through channels, it sounds like.

Bibi: i don't think I really got through to him. I guess he hasn't had much experience with bureaucracies from the bottom.

Marvin: Even diplomats, even Firsts, have to start somewhere. He wasn't born with all that charm I zlin you are still responding to. ~~ teasing ~~

Bibi blushes.

Bibi: Shuven, Marvin, have you ever zlinned a high First, from close up? That sec is like a whirlpool, sucking you in.

Marvin: Well, Dimples, I think that that kind of First would be just a weeny bit scared of getting that close to little old Marvin. ~~ a bit defensive ~~

Bibi offers Marvin her hand.

Marvin takes the hand and ~~ lowers his showfield about 25% ~~ so that Bibi can zlin his ~~ regret ~~ loneliness ~~.

Marvin: [lightly] [English] It's not easy having the cooties, you know.

Bibi entwines tentacles with him. She knows how he really feels as a disjunct, under all that humor and charm.

Bibi: You know I don't mind. The same thing could have so easily happened to me.

Marvin keeps his showfield partly lowered ~~ longing ~~ faint hope ~~

Bibi: Seruffin... He's a lot older than us. He grew up in junct culture, changed over not long after Unity. I don't think he'd look down on you.

Marvin: Probably not. But even so, why should he want to expose himself to all that nageric scar tissue? He'd see through me like an open window, whether he wanted to or not.

Bibi: He's zlinned far worse, in the bad old days.... Marvin, I don't mind zlinning you. To me, you zlin like my friend, not a disjunct.

Marvin: Bibi, you know how to make a guy feel special, that's for sure. ~~ smiles inwardly ~~

Bibi: ~~ affection ~~ compassion ~~

Bibi: At any rate, the whole thing was kind of embarrassing. I was ready to tie myself to the desk to keep from throwing myself at him. That sec... and he was so polite, and his showfield was absolutely opaque....

Marvin: Ooooh ooh ooh ooh ~~ pretends to drool ~~

Bibi: ~~ confusion ~~ remorse ~~ regret ~~

Bibi: Well, I couldn't tell if he really liked me or was just humoring me. Shen, I sound like a teenager!

Marvin: ~~ compassion ~~ What's wrong, Bibi? You couldn't help your reactions, and he must have known that.

Marvin: ~~ very serious ~~ It's not about how we feel. It's about what we do with what we feel.

Bibi: Yeah, he was very polite, tried not to affect me like that, but.....

Marvin: But he couldn't help it any more than you could, could he.

Bibi: ~~ embarrassment ~~ confusion ~~~

Marvin: Bibi. Look.

Bibi: Well... shidoni, Marvin, I wanted him to!

Marvin: Of course you did. Of course. ~~ compassion tenderness ~~

Bibi: I felt like a complete idiot, and I kept doing it!

Marvin: Look, it's not about how you feel. Your feelings are what they are.

Bibi: And he was so shendi-fleckin polite about it!

Marvin: Of course he was. He's a diplomat, for shen and shid.

Bibi: Right!

Bibi rubs her scalp with her tentacles. ~~ totally mixed emotions ~~

Marvin: ~~ medium support ~~ calm ~~

Marvin: Look, did you throw yourself at him? Actually, really?

Bibi: Umm, yeah. I did.

Bibi recalls leaning against Seruffin's chest, radiating ~~ mindless adoration ~~

Bibi blushes intensely ~~ embarrassment ~~ hope ~~

Bibi: Yeah, I took his hand. I leaned against him. And he suggested we have supper together, and I friggin seduced him.

Marvin: It zlins to me like you didn't do anything he wasn't more than happy for you to do.

Bibi uses the word for 'seduced into nageric interaction' which doesn't have an English equivalent.

Marvin: And trust me, you couldn't seduce anyone who wouldn't be more than happy to be seduced.

Bibi: Oh, well, I had to give him some of Miz Brown's elderberry cordial first.

Bibi snickers, then bursts out laughing.

Marvin: Aha! It was all your fault. Poor innocent Sime diplomat First, he couldn't possibly resist the wiles of ~~ urgh ~~ Elderberry Cordial! ~~ happy for Bibi ~~

Bibi: Yeah, I liquored him up and made him have his way with me!

Marvin: Now don't go pretending you can't count. I know perfectly well you were in need, whatever he, my Hated Rival, may have been!

Bibi: Sly sneaky nagerically besotted little Second Order channel, Controller Bibi!

Marvin: All right, now you are laughing and it's time for Marvin's lecture.

Bibi: He was past turnover, Marvin.

Marvin does the tentacle gesture that means "Whatever".

Marvin: Anyway, as I was saying ~~ seriously ~~ there can't be anything wrong with how you feel, no matter how you do feel. Nor can there be any harm in anything you do consensually.

Marvin: Now even apart from the fact that (elderberry cordial aside) there was nothing you could do to Seruffin, and he was probably pretty flattered by the fact that you even wanted to,

Bibi: Hey, my Gen upbringing came out and I even tried to get to him by feeding him a nice meal!

Marvin: Don't interrupt, Dimples. ~~ smiles ~~ Anyhow, he obviously knows you're from out-T.

Marvin: But the fact is ~~ drops showfield altogether ~~ I wake up every morning with desires I can't possibly allow myself to satisfy.

Bibi: Oh, Marvin... ~~ compassion ~~ desire to help ~~ support ~~

Marvin: They sing in my sleeping ears, they hum in my waking head, but I don't act on them and that makes me an all right person, no matter what I find myself thinking. Or what the Tecton thinks, either.

Bibi: ~~ intense desire to give comfort ~~

Marvin: Every night I tell myself ~~ determination ~~ I made it. Only one more day to go.

Marvin: I remember what Preacher Sinth told us as a child: "The intention to sin is sin indeed, but the inclination to sin is not a sin, and those who do wrong, merely because it is against their inclination, are not practicing the reasonable science of virtue, but are lunatics."

Marvin breathes deeply in, then out, and radiates ~~ relaxation ~~.

Marvin: And while I may be a lunatic, I'm not that kind of lunatic. ~~ humor ~~

Bibi: ~~ comfort ~~ affection ~~

Marvin: ~~ affection ~~

Bibi: Let's see if he comes back here on his way home. Nattin talked me into sending him a card, inviting him.

Marvin: Way to go Bibi!

Bibi: Nattin thinks he likes me. But really, what kind of future is there in it?

Marvin: Umm, I don't think you can get to be a senior diplomat if you are a congenital idiot, too, you know. ~~ sardonic ~~

Bibi: You should meet his Donor.

Marvin: ~~ curiosity ~~ Why his Donor?

Bibi: That's not fair. His Donor is a very sweet tempered, very talented young man who lost a lot of brains to the coughing sickness as a child.

Marvin commences to do the ape act, complete with scratching his sides and the opposite ear and pant-hooting.

Marvin: ~~ compassion sympathy ~~

Marvin drops the ape act.

Bibi: You should meet him. A beautiful nager, and real love and devotion to his channel. I think it embarrasses Seruffin.

Marvin: I think you're projecting. If only Riso radiated love and devotion to me! ~~ still sardonic ~~

Bibi: Well, want to swap? I've got Cristal.

Marvin imitates Cristal

Marvin: I'm sorry to say, Hajene, that any such suggestion would be entirely contrary to Tecton Regulation one five two seven three stroke five four, subsection B, paragraph two!

Bibi: Aren't you and Riso getting along these days?

Marvin: ~~ serious ~~ He's pretty wary of me, when we're not doing a functional, and I can't blame him. I do get such a kick out of trying to throw him off balance, and he seems to take it all so fleckin calmly.

Bibi: Not everyone appreciates your sense of humor. How are the transfers?

Marvin: Strictly by the book, except, well, sometimes I suspect him of being a First in disguise. No mere mortal ought to be so inhumanly self-controlled.

Bibi wishes Marvin could get an assignment with a Donor who would be willing to ignore the book and give him what he really needs at least some of the time.

Marvin: Anyhow, he'll be rotated out next month, and [sings] I can dream, can't I? But he serves me quite, quite professionally. He just has no ...

Marvin: ~~ fumbles for the word ~~

Bibi wonders whether Seruffin, with all his experience with semi-juncts, could give Marvin a better transfer than he can get from the Donors he's assigned.

Marvin: ... flavor to him, somehow.

Bibi: You know, Nattin has been filling my head with Householding tales. Maybe we should start a Householding and get some Donors and train them as real Companions, eh?

Marvin: Yeah yeah yeah! After all, why should the old Householdings have the monopolopoly on the deal, anyhow?

Bibi has a brief fantasy about Seruffin as her Sectuib, with Gerrhonot as First Companion. Little does she know that Gerrhonot often indulges in the same fantasy.

Marvin: [zlinning] Mmm, that looked nice. A dynopter for your thoughts ...

Bibi: You want more dynopters? I'm still half full. We really do need a shorter schedule on the pickups.

Marvin: Umm, I was offering, not accepting. But I think I could hold a few more if you [English] really need me to [snickers]

Bibi: Oh, I didn't tell you about Sal, the other new Sime.

Marvin: Yes, please do. And I didn't tell you about the future, either. You first.

Bibi: Poor girl. Last week, a boy changed over and killed his sister and was shot, so all the local kids were upset, of course. The daughter of one of our regular donors talked a bunch of friends into coming here to be checked for establishment. Of course, they all hoped, or even assumed, that they'd established. Some of them were from very ... conservative ... homes.

Marvin: And one of them went into changeover on the spot? That was quite a coinkydink! ~~ mild disbelief ~~

Bibi: Not quite. They let me deep zlin them, and that's when I spotted it, pretty much at the limit of my sensitivity. So she stayed here, and yesterday evening, the obvious symptoms started, and I served her in First Transfer last night.

Bibi: Her brother was in the group, and Cristal sent him home to tell her mother. Neither of them came here afterwards.

Marvin: ~~ envy mixed with happiness for Bibi ~~ Poor kid.

Bibi: Yes. I almost wish she could stay here a bit longer, give her family a chance to adjust. I think some of her friends would come visit her.... Oh, well.

Marvin: ~~ sympathy resignation ~~

Marvin: That's the way the Tecton crumbles. Not. ~~ sardonic ~~

Marvin: But it was a straightforward changeover, I hope?

Bibi: Yes. It was good that we had time to teach her a bit, and talking to Ghan and Driver helped her a lot in accepting it. Still, it wasn't like an in-T changeover, but they never are. ~~ sadness ~~

Marvin ~~ mirrors the sadness ~~ adds his own, slightly out of phase again ~~

Bibi: And we lost the boy and his sister, to the rifle and the Kill.

Marvin ~~ adds the third and fourth harmonics to the nager ~~

Bibi: I'm sorry, Marvin, I'm making you feel worse. ~~ support ~~ comfort ~~

Marvin: No, no, Bibi. Sadness is good, when people die unnecessarily. Without sadness, there can't be ~~ hope ~~.

Bibi: You're right. So what were you going to tell me about the future?

Marvin begins to hum a dirge: daaaa-da-da-dumm-daa, da-da-daaaaa da da da da da. He lets the ~~ nageric harmony ~~ fade away, then does the ~~ relaxation ~~ exercise again.

Bibi: ~~ puzzled ~~ charmed ~~

Marvin: A while back you said "But what kind of future is there in it?" And then you carefully avoided the topic thereafter. ~~ intense ~~

Bibi: Well, yes...

Marvin: Unfortunately, you are my friend and I'm not going to let you wiggle off the hook ~~ vivid image ~~

Marvin: Your future with Seruffin is the same as your future with me, in its different [musical] key: nobody knows. The past is past, and the future ... will be what it will be. Don't try to plan your feelings, Dimples. Since you want to spend time with Seruffin, spend time with him. There doesn't have to be a goal in it.

Bibi: I guess so. My work is here. Or maybe, now that things are going fairly well here, I should move on to open a Sime Center in another out-T town.

Marvin: [quirks his eyebrow] On my route, of course!

Bibi: I hope so!

Bibi: Marvin, sleep with me tonight. I always like being with you.

Marvin: ~~ [silly smile] ~~ Even when there's no future in it? Or should I say ... ~~ vivid image ~~

Bibi: Let's make poor Cristal jealous. As if he isn't already.

Bibi likes snuggling, even if it doesn't go any farther, and the intimacy and acceptance are really good for Marvin, too.

Marvin: [nods eagerly] Yup yup yup yup yup yup!

Marvin thinks that snuggling with Bibi is more, umm, emphatic than sex with some people!

Marvin: I like being with you too, Dimples.

Bibi: Seruffin had a talk with him, and he got him to at least stop pestering me about doing his duty to protect me from the dread CDs.

Marvin makes the "hurray" gesture: holds his arms over his head and lashes his tentacles forward, followed by his fists.

Bibi laughs.

Marvin: [pompously] We Will Fix His Wagon, Hajene. He Will Wish He Had Never Been Born.

Bibi: Be gentle with him, Marvin. He can't help being the way he is. He's trying to do the right thing as he sees it.

Marvin: ~~ relaxes ~~ I'm afraid that no matter how hard he tries, he will never understand why a chicken with lips is funny!

Bibi snickers.

Bibi: You silly man.

Marvin grins very broadly, nods head up and down with amazing rapidity.

Bibi: ~~ great affection ~~

Marvin ~~ mirrors it, adds his own in perfect phase to create a double-strength affection wave ~~

Bibi smiles wider and extends her laterals part way in self-indulgent ~~ enjoyment ~~ of the ambient the two of them are creating.

Marvin, not to be outdone, extends his laterals and wriggles them to create ~~ happiness palpitations ~~

Bibi giggles, something she seldom does.

Marvin: Ah, I made you laugh!

Bibi: You always do!

Marvin: Yes, but you make me work for it.

Bibi: I'm one of your biggest fans!

Marvin takes Bibi by the arms and tentacles and whirls her around in a crazy dance, their laterals leaving wet and zingy streaks on each other's skin.

Bibi tries not to bruise herself on the furniture.

Marvin concludes the improvised polka.

Marvin: Bibi, being with you gives a man ~~ hope ~~.

Bibi hugs him.

Bibi: You deserve all good things, Marvin.

Marvin hugs back, and gently kisses Bibi.

Marvin: And so do you, Dimples. And you'll get them.

Marvin: ~~ happiness ~~

Bibi: ~~ happiness ~~

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