V1 A Valentine’s Day Odyssey

This episode of The Sapphic Cast is titled V1 A Valentine’s Day Odyssey. It’s the story of Maddie´s adventure into the world of cosine.

This is a short story from Sidecar Stories by Ann McMan.

Sidecar Stories by Ann McMan

Synopsis

A fast, funny, and wholly satisfying compilation of short stories filled with the same rich detail, witty humor, jagged verbal jousting, and joyous intellectual tête-à-tête that are Ann McMan’s calling cards. This award winning collection features the novella, “Bottle Rocket”, along with the short stories, “V1: A Valentine’s Day Odyssey”, “Falling From Grace”, and “Nevermore!”

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Bywater Books

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Credits

Narrated and quality control by Erin Lillis

Produced and mixed by Alex Woods

Artwork by Ann McMan 

Music by ProFX | Sound Effects

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Transcript

please note this transcript has not been edited and is automatically generated meaning certain words will be incorrect

[Music] [Music] hi this is Anne McMan in 2011 I wrote a Jericho short story called V1 a Valentine’s Day Odyssey it was a little gift from me to all of the people who were kind enough to read my first novel Jericho today the wonderful women at sapphic cast have made this story available for you in audio format I hope you enjoy it happy Valentine’s Day v1 a Valentine’s Day Odyssey a Jericho short story from the collection sidecar stories by Anne McMan published by Bywater Books and narrated by Erin B Lillis

okay so tell me again how this is supposed to work Syd we’ve been over this about a thousand times maddie was growing exasperated but was trying hard not to show it I know but I just need to be really sure sweetie I’ve done everything but show you a PowerPoint presentation Maddy hesitated you really don’t have to do this at all if you’re still this uncomfortable with the idea No Syd was determined I said I’d do this and I will I’m just a chicken shit Maddy volunteered Syd glared at her not helping sorry I really don’t think you are Maddy’s side this was going from bad to worse in record time she took hold of SIDS free hand no I’m sorry honey honest Syd eyed her with suspicion I mean it if you want to go over everything again we will we can stop right now there’s no rush we can do this any time it doesn’t have to be today Syd looked out the tiny window then she sighed and looked back at Maddy it’s just that it’s a big step for me I know that sweetheart I mean I’ve never done this before and it’s scary what if I mess up what if I can’t go work what if I change my mind in the middle of it what if honey Maddy said relax I promise you won’t mess up I’ll be right here beside you the whole time trust me we’ve done everything right and you’re ready for this you’ll be through it in a flash and then it’ll be over and our biggest problem will be how to keep you calm down until you can do it again but what if I can’t pull it out said no I mean it Maddy sighed and sat back against her seat that I swear on the blonde heads of our unborn children that will take deep breaths regroup and try again are you sure positive Syd side Maddy leaned toward her come on baby let’s go for it Syd nodded she closed her eyes and started to extend her hand but Maddy caught hold of it before it reached its destination honey she said giving SIDS hand a gentle squeeze this generally works better if you keep your eyes open Oh Syd looked embarrassed sorry Maddy laughed and kissed her hand before relinquishing it Syd reached out again and took hold of the throttle levers taking a deep breath she released her foothold on the brake pedals and the twin-engine Cessna started rolling down the runway that night at dinner Henry was beside himself with excitement he hammered Syd with a non-stop barrage of questions most of them related to when he could learn to fly the airplane – let’s not get ahead of ourselves short stuff Maddy used her napkin to wipe some gravy off his chin and let’s try to keep the peas on the fork okay Henry looked down and regarded the sea of tiny green balls that trailed across the napkin on his lap I really like peas very much Maddy leaned toward him until their foreheads touched tough noogies Henry sighed and looked at Syd Syd shrugged don’t look at me sport I don’t really like them either but you don’t see me dropping them on the floor Pete likes them he volunteered at the mention of his name the big yellow dog lifted his head and cast a hopeful glanced up at Henry it hadn’t taken him long to stake his claim to the section of kitchen floor that supported Henry’s chair Peetz on a diet Mady cut in and that’s beside the point we don’t deal with food we don’t lack by giving it to Pete Henry looked confused but you did last night with your asparagus when she’d had to go answered the phone Matty closed her eyes and took a deep breath when she dared to open them Syd was staring back at her with pursed lips and was slowly tapping the edge of her fork against the rim of her plate um asparagus is good for Pete it has lots of iron and makes his coat shiny Henry looked unconvinced you said it would make him fart Henry Syd’s jaw dropped and she touched him on the shoulder that’s impolite we don’t say things like that Henry looked really confused now he stared down at his plate that’s what she said she muttered Syd glowered at Matty who sat across the table from her and felt like she’d rather be locked up in a supply closet with an insurance salesman the silence in the kitchen was deafening then Maddie sighed and picked up her spoon here buddy she reached over to Henry’s plate scooped up a mound of peas and dumped them onto the floor let me help you out long after Henry had safely been tucked in Matty and Syd sat together on their big bed propped up against a pile of mismatched pillows Matty was reading an article about the efficacy of the herpes zoster vaccine and Syd was grading papers she had been teaching for six months now and was starting to settle into a comfortable routine the Jericho Public Library had reopened but only for three days a week and Syd was able to assist the board with hiring a part-time branch manager she continued to help out whenever she could and volunteered her time at least two Saturdays a month and Maddy still worked one weekend a month in the ER at the Weiss Ville Community Hospital weekends were harder to orchestrate now with Henry in the equation he was like a floating decimal point in their lives he belonged but while his father continued to serve out his tour of duty in Afghanistan his position remained unfixed and his presence changed everything quiet evenings like this one we’re a rarity and they were basking in the luxury of having a Saturday night at home together with no other commitments with the yawn Sid Kaptur paedon and shifted her stack of papers over to a bedside table Mady glanced at her over the rim of her reading glasses you finished Sid nodded for tonight I’ll finish these up tomorrow I can put this away too no that’s okay Sid picked up her student pilots flight manual I wanted to look through this a bit Maddy gave her a smug look you seem a tad more confident than you did earlier today smartass not at all I just know you you think so I know so Maddy reopened her journal Sid sat shooing the inside of her cheek for a moment then she lowered her gaze to the flight manual and thumbed through its pages after a minute or two Maddy noticed that Sid seemed to be turning more pages than she was reading loudly she lowered her journal again you sure you don’t want me to put this away Sid faced her with raised eyebrows are you talking to me Maddy hooked an index finger over the bridge of her glasses and pulled them down her nose he’s Robert De Niro had in someplace in this bed of course I’m talking to you oh sorry I didn’t think you needed to ask me what I wanted Maddy side could we hit the reboot button please why you feel the need to take something back if that depends on whether or not I’ll get you to stop acting like Travis Bickle Sid smiled at that have you ever seen a movie that was made in this century Maddy shrugged you got the reference Sid held up the aircraft manual yes but I don’t get this one which one Sid turned the book around so Maddy could see a diagram that illustrated the 4-stroke process of an engines piston and cylinder cycle internal combustion that’s just basic physics well maybe it is to you Brainiac but I don’t get the whole squish bang pop thing Maddy looked confused we mean suck squeeze bang and blow exactly there’s nothing intuitive about it Maddi closer Journal sure there is CID side maybe it’s just my learning style I’ve always been better at hands-on instruction honey there’s really no way to get hands-on instruction in the operation of an internal combustion engine Sid ran a fingertip down the inside of Maddie’s v-neck t-shirt sure there is you just have to be creative Maddie looked down at her hand are we still talking about airplane engines Sid moved closer do you really care she pulled Maddie’s glasses off and tossed them to the bedside table oh well Sid kissed Maddie’s neck Maddie felt her heart rate shift from idle into full throttle mode I guess not so what were those stages again SIDS breath was hot against Matt easier she bit down on her lobe suck Maddy moaned and wrapped an arm around Sid squeeze their lips met bang Sid muttered against Maddie’s mouth as she pushed her back against the pillows and crawled on top of her oh Jesus zero to V 1 in 10 seconds Matty took hold of SIDS head which was traveling down her torso at an accelerated rate of speed below baby she gasped while she could still make intelligible sounds below you have got to be kidding me David was incredulous Maddy looked back at him with her characteristic deadpan expression do I look like I’m kidding David considered that for a moment as he looked her up and down you can’t show up here dressed like that and expect me to give you a serious answer Mandy looked down at her clothes she had just finished an eight-hour shift in the Wytheville ER and had stopped by the inn on her way home her blue scrubs were covered with iodine stains the aftermath of going 10 rounds with an anxious 4-year old who had vehemently and vocally resisted being the recipient of the nine stitches man he was obliged to apply to the gaping head wound the girl had sustained after riding her tricycle down the back steps of her parents deck she looked around the completely empty dining room pretty typical for early February which was why they closed the in for the mid winter months she brought her eyes back to David I apologized for committing the egregious error of not arriving in the cocktail attire to sit here and watch paint dry well I guess that’s something he plucked the piece of lint off his trouser cuff Andrey crossed his legs besides I’m not watching paint dry thank you very much I’m just killing time until chopped comes on man he looked back at him with a blank expression David’s side if you weren’t such an unwrap it and fill this time you’d know these things whatever may we return to my original query please we may but I still think you’ve lost it she’ll never buy it and besides there’s no way you can pull this off thanks for the vote of confidence Davey he waved a hand toward her I’m just trying to help you out Cinderella by undermining my confidence no by helping you face reality Maddie sat back against her chair that’s simply ridiculous I certainly have the skill set to pull this off David leaned forward oh really I have two words for you Sparky Maddie lifted her chin easy-bake not that’s three words he rolled his eyes you know what I’m talking about you damn near burned down the farm with that thing and may I add that oven was only powered by a fucking light bulb it bubbles the mind to think about what kind of damage you could do on Michaels precious eight burner turbo powered bertazzoni Matty side look it’s it’s birthday and I want to cook dinner for her David shook his head I don’t get it I thought you two were doing great we are doing great then explain to me why you want to kill her Matty exhaled I may not have to kill her if I can satisfy my bloodlust by eviscerating your ass now will you help me out or not why are you even asking me for help it’s Michael you need not me I’ll get around to him but I need you on board first yeah on board perfect image just like the Titanic’s maiden voyage David he shook his head I know I lived to regret this but okay I’ll help you man he sat back and smiled David took a sip from his glass of wine now pray tell what part will I be playing in this little Greek tragedy ah Maddie said is she tempted her fingertips you’ll be cast true to type David eyed her with suspicion as Maddie shrugged my alibi of course your alibi yeah David exhaled in frustration Maddie pressed her advantage oh come on it’s not like you don’t have experience at this sure but convincing your father those copies a playboy he found stashed under the sofa cushions belong to me was a cakewalk compared to this now why do you say that hello seeing the woman you’ve been keeping company with Cinderella isn’t she now like some kind of brown belt and Taekwondo or something green belt but what’s your point my point is that I value my gonads and I know Syd if she suspects that you’re up to something clandestine and then I’m protecting you she’ll bodyslam me first and ask questions later Maddie was growing impatient with this in the first place if Syd everybody slams you you’ll be too titillated to care about anything else in the second place I promise not to let it go that far I only need an alibi for a couple of nights her birthday is in two weeks as it is I know when her birthday is I remember last year miss oh by the way I’m gay I’m still pissed about that little Valentine’s Day revelation Maddie side I’ve apologized to you for that a lot of times if memory serves can I help it if it came out before you were able to join us yeah all kinds of things came out that night Maddie made no response but sat drumming her fingertips on the tabletop they stared at each other all they lacked were ambient cricket noises David blinked first okay all right I’ll do it Maddie gave him one of her most brilliant smiles then she sat back and told him the details of her plan Michael was a harder sell it was his kitchen after all and Michael was very specific about his kitchen and especially about his stove I don’t know about this he said as he regarded Madi with crossed arms what were you thinking about making I have a few thoughts she replied black he prompted Madi side what difference does it make you’re joking right it makes a huge difference I mean honestly Madi sauces alone can take months even years to perfect Madi rolled her eyes toward the ceiling oh don’t think I didn’t see that dr. Strangelove being able to cut up a cadaver with your ham fists and your crude medical implements doesn’t automatically qualify you to prepare a perfectly proportioned platter of crudités fine I’ll buy pre-cut vegetables Michael stared at Madi like she had just suggested they roast a goat on his range without a drip pan okay okay she offered in her most conciliatory voice we’ll do it your way what do you want to know for starters what kind of cuisine and how many courses Madi hauled up a stool and sat down clearly this was going to be a long conversation I was thinking French Michael gasped and maybe four courses Michael paled for Madi nodded only four why not six why not eight why not just drive a stake through my heart and get this nightmare over with now you know I’m not an imbecile she fluttered her hands in front of him look I actually have opposable thumbs and I did manage to graduate at the top of my med school class Michael still looked unconvinced Matty decided it was time to haul out the big guns its first Syd Michael help me do this for her he folded like a cheap suit then he sighed and sat down on a stool facing Matty all right but with one condition what’s that I need to happen to have the deductible lowered on our fire insurance very funny come on Michael gestured at the file folder in Maddy’s hand show me what you’ve got Madi finally pulled into her barn at home well after 8:00 that night and parked her Jeep next to SIDS Volvo she regretted that she’d missed dinner with Henry although she’d called Sid from the hospital to tell her she’d be late she just hadn’t volunteered the reason why choosing to let Sid draw her own conclusions this was going to be the hard part inventing reasons for her absences from home while she worked on honing her culinary skills with Michael she it maybe David was right and I should just let them cater the whole damn meal no she wanted to do this for Sid after all Sid was willingly leaving her own comfort zone to learn how to fly learning how to cook one decent meal seemed like the least she could do to pay her back it would be a selfless and loving quid pro quo at least she hope so she glanced at the workbench in her barn Edna Fremantle’s toaster oven sat there in about five pieces edna dropped it while trying to empty its crumb tray and she desperately wanted Maddy to fix it even though Maddy told her it would be cheaper to just go to Walmart and buy a new one but Edna refused and now Maddy was waiting on replacement parts to arrive from someplace damn David for reminding her about that regrettable incident with her easy-bake oven how was she supposed to know that it wouldn’t work with pizza rolls those damn things went up like mini roman candles her parents punished her for weeks she remembered that Celine was furious with her but she thought her father had a hard time concealing his grudging pleasure that she had expressed a desire to try and cook anything she shook her head and walked on toward the house Pete met her at the kitchen door she let him outside before taking off her jacket and announcing I’m home we’re up here SIDS voice carried down the back stairs Maddy took the steps two at a time they were down the hall in Henry’s room the big room at the front of the house that had been Maddie’s when she was a girl Henry was already under the covers he was wearing his sock monkey pajamas a Christmas gift from Celine and said was reading to him Maddi bent over and kissed Henry on the head then turned and kissed CID hello my little family I missed you both tonight CID smiled at her we missed you too did you get some dinner yes I grab something on the way home she looked at Henry how was your day sport I got to ride in a fire truck Maddy and I got to make the siren go you did how did that happen pal they came to my school they told us not to start fires Maddy nodded that’s very good advice Henry I hope you never will she was glad David wasn’t present to hear this conversation Syd was staring at the stains on Maddy scrubs do I want to know what that is on your clothes it’s iodine Maddie side I went ten rounds with a four-year-old who needed stitches believe me when I tell you that she fared much better than I did Syd laughed why didn’t go change that and I’ll put those into wash what I dine Maddie Henry asked with wide eyes Maddie sat down on the edge of his bed it’s yucky brownish liquid that we use to clean cut some boo-boos before we can sew them up I don’t want any of that he said then be careful and maybe we’ll never have to have any okay why don’t I stay here while Syd finishes reading your story Maddie looked at her Syd Syd never reads to me anymore I don’t really have to read to you anymore you generally find other ways to unwind before bedtime Oh on the other hand why don’t I go and change out of these dirty clothes she stood up and kissed Henry again I’ll come back to listen to the rest of your story Henry and to say good night okay Maddie he shifted his small frame around in the big bed and pulled the blankets up closer to his chin Maddie ran ahead down Syd’s back as she walked toward the door and I’ll come back with something special for you blondie she whispered Syd leaned into her hand oh I just bet you will stretch she was walking back down the wide center hallway toward the master suite she smiled as she heard the soft tones of sids voice as she read to Henry on teeth of May in the jungle of nool Maddy fared pretty well coming up with convincing explanations for her cascade of evening commitments at least for the first three sessions with Michael by the fourth night Sid was beginning to chafe at her continued absences and was struggling to contain her growing concern about what might really be behind them it didn’t help that once or twice she had walked in on Maddy while she was engrossed in phone conversations with someone and Maddy’s reflexive and abrupt efforts to terminate the calls only ratcheted up SIDS anxiety about what might be driving Maddy to be so elusive and secretive about her nocturnal activities but Sid was a mature woman and she reminded herself that she loved and trusted Maddy and had no reason to suspect that Maddy was up to anything untoward she didn’t did she of course not she understood that the biggest part of what drove her to worry about Maddy’s unusual behavior was her own ill-fated tenure as the spouse of a philandering husband but Maddie wasn’t Jeff not by any stretch of the imagination and she knew that her reactions and fears were reflexive and not rational still her conscience argued what would the harm be to check it out her first course of action simply would be to ask Maddy about it circumspectly of course she didn’t want to appear paranoid or over anxious needy would also be bad she wanted to avoid that appearance as well even though needy pretty much summarized how she was starting to feel she got her chance to broach the subject when they met for an impromptu lunch on Thursday Maddy had a long break between appointments that day and called Sid at the high school to see if she could sneak away before her afternoon Orchestra practice to grab a fast bite at Fremantle’s market Sid agreed at once and the two of them sat close together at a small table behind a towering display of motor oils and fuel injector cleaners they dined on the inevitable hotdogs and Diet Coke Sid finished hers and licked a stray drizzle of chili from her fingertips I’ll live to regret this Maddy was drew a foil wrapped pill from her pocket smiling she slid it across the tabletop here you go i raided the supply closet Syd picked it up and examined it and this would be 20 milligrams of famotidine just what the doctor ordered just what this doctor ordered at least for you why thank you I wish my other needs were as easily met Maddy raised an eyebrow really that sounds ominous I wouldn’t say ominous exactly well whatever you would say I’d be happy to hear about it do you mean that Maddy’s blue eyes look genuinely concerned now of course I mean that she extended a hand and rested it on SIDS forearm what’s up honey Maddy’s worried expression made Syd feel awkward and ashamed of her suspicions she laid a hand on top of Maddy’s and gave it a squeeze it’s nothing I’m just being silly it’s not nothing if you’re worried about something what is it come on sweetie it’s me she smiled at her sit back and tell me where it hurts Syd side I’m embarrassed to tell you Syd no let me finish Syd twisted her diet coke can’t around while she tried to find the right words to ask Maddy about what was really on her mind Maddy slit her chair closer and took hold of SIDS hand okay you’re really starting to scare the shit out of me Syd gazed at her God the woman was drop-dead gorgeous she still took her breath away there were a thousand things she wanted to say I love you she said instead opting for the only one that really mattered Maddy’s eyes softened I love you too I know you do and she did know it in her viscera where real truth resided she shook her head it’s nothing I think I’m just hormonal as hell it only is make up snow days or driving the kids nut and they’re all getting on my last nerve I’m just tense tense Maddy looked on convinced ya tents honest that’s it the stuff at school CID nodded nothing at home nothing was Henry nothing with us CID smiled and squeezed her hand never maddie exhaled and sat back in her chair well thank God she lowered her voice and said in conspiratorial tones lucky for you I did a standard rotation in stress relief I think I can help you out with your problem my problem Sid was beginning to think that approaching Maddie about her tension might prove to be one of her better ideas do tell doctor I’m all ears Maddie gave her a look that was anything but chaste once again I’m happy to point out that you are anything but I’m suddenly feeling very dirty again lucky for you I have a cure for that too Sid was preparing to ask Maddie when and how she might prove the veracity of her claims when Maddie’s cell phone rang she answered it after a short conversation Maddie pushed back her chair and stood up I’m gonna have to run off honey that was Peggy Zeke Duncan sliced his hand open with a box cutter and he’s at the clinic now Sid smiled at her it’s ok dr. Kildare I know where you live Maddie squeezed her shoulder you certainly do and I’ll see you there later on count on it Sid watched her go wondering what she had ever been worried about Maddie wasn’t it all lacking in sensibility where Sid was concerned and after their lunch conversation she almost gave up on her double-whammy birthday come Valentine’s Day culinary extravaganza she said as much to Michael the next day when they met over coffee at Dunkin Donuts to confer about the details of their next practice session but Michael encouraged her boldly to soldier on you can’t stop now he said we’re at a crucial stage tonight we clarified butter and you know how important that is the success or failure of this entire enterprise hanging in the balance if you walk away now well I can’t even find the words to describe the breath of disappointed hopes you leave in your wake Maddie looked at him in wonder you sound like we’re planning the invasion of Normandy it’s only a birthday dinner Michael he stared at her with an open mouth hello Maddie prompted snapping her fingers in front of him his face looked like it was etched in stone never was so much owed by so many to so few his voice was a whisper oh please you’re not seriously playing the Churchill card can we dial this back a bit he crossed his arms I don’t see how not when you seemed determined to cast aspersion on my entire craft oh come on Syd thinks I’m cheating on her for God’s sake I just can’t keep this deception up she sighed and shook her head I should have listened to David Michael reached across the table and slapped her snap out of it his voice rang out across the restaurant stunned Maddy raised a hand to her cheek and looked at him like he had suddenly sprouted horns patrons at other tables turned around in their seats to stare at the two of them what the hell was that for she hissed for saying he should have listened to David Oh Maddy rubbed her cheek as she considered that thanks you’re right Michael nodded and picked up his cup of coffee Maddy turned to the other diners finish your doughnuts folks there’s nothing else to see here slowly the other patrons returned their attention to their lattes and bavarian cream sticks Maddy turned back to Michael by the way big guy nice job channeling cher he smiled at her I guess attending all 42 of those farewell tours finally paid off I’ll say now about tonight when Maddie called Sid late on Friday afternoon to say she’d be out again Sid gave up trying to be understanding and not jump to conclusions she’d had it and all bets were off Maddy said she’d been called in to help Tom Green out in the ER that night that the plague of upper-respiratory crud that had been blazing a trail across the county had finally hit the hospital staff and half of Tom’s employees had called in sick she said she tried not to be too late and apologized profusely for missing yet another evening at home with Sade and Henry CID opened her mouth to protest when Maddie cut her off I gotta run sweetie this waiting room looks like Walmart on the Friday after Thanksgiving I love you she hung up Sade stood there fuming holding the phone against your ear before she could talk herself out of it she hung up then punched in the number-four Fremantle’s market hello Edna its Sid Murphy do you happen to know if Roma jean is available tonight I need a sitter for Henry I can’t believe I let you talk me into this I’m freezing my ass off Sid glared at him will you quit complaining there was no way I was going to sit out here in the dark by myself David pulled his fur trimmed car coat tied her across his neck can’t we at least turn the damn heat on No why the hell not I told you I don’t want to steam up the windows rat you’re afraid that any damn polar bears that wander by in search of food might mistake our frozen corpses for ring sales you know you’d stay warmer if you’d shut up how long are we gonna sit out here until she comes out he sighed and then what we’ve been over this already and and we follow her David drummed his gloved fingers on the center console of SIDS Volvo this was shaping up to be a bona fide nightmare and he was caught right in the middle of it when Sid called him and said she was on her way over to pick him up he grilled her about why what she said made his hair stand on end he shot a quick text message off to Maddie the eagle has landed Goldilocks headed a big house to catch mama bear with fingers and porridge bull in exactly 90 seconds Maddie called him back would you mind translating that message into English please he sighed Sid is on her way to stake out the damn hospital she wants to find out what you’re really up to and she’s dragging my ass along with her what you heard me so you’d better come up with an alibi fast David that’s your damn job hey you can’t pin this one on me Cinderella I’m an innocent bystander and one I might who now deserves hazardous duty pay shit tell me about it look you need to figure something out fast she’ll be here in about five minutes and I have to change change duh he sighed I can’t go on a stakeout February we’re in polyblend I need flannel he paused what kind of lesbian are you anyway oh good god she hung up that was too grueling hours ago and David was certain that his caps were going to crack from how much his teeth were chattering he thought he tried gonna talk Sid down off her ledge of suspicion look he began this is really a fool’s errand I know Maddie believe me she’s incapable of cheating said brought her eyes to bear on him like the laser beams sight of a shotgun cheating who said anything about cheating fuck forget I said that bad bad choice of words her eyes narrowed what do you know he threw up his hands nothing I know nothing right sergeant Schultz she grabbed him by the lapels of his jacket give it up now SID he slapped at her hands do you mind careful with the urban he brushed down the fur collar of his jacket I told you I don’t know anything then why are you so anxious to get me to give this up because my lips are turning a hideous shade of puce it’s freezing out here she sighed and sat back against her seat all right I’ll start the car and turn on the heat briefly just long enough to take the chill off but in exchange you fess up and tell me what the hell she’s up to don’t lie to me and say you don’t know anything or I might just slip up and tell your mother about some of the more eclectic interlibrary loan items I’ve had to procure from you from the State Prison collection he could feel the blood drained from his face you wouldn’t dare she leaned toward him oh I promise you I would that’s blackmail isn’t that against your Creed librarians don’t have a Creed oh nice great time to tell me that she lifted her hand and placed it on the ignition so what do you say a little tit for tat he rolled his eyes not the most effective phrase to use of the gay man you get my drift he sighed how rad already I’m so fucking cold I’d agree to do a pole dance and a pair of your father’s hip waders to get you turn on the damn heat she shook her head and started the car they sat there in blissful silence for a few minutes as the passenger compartment warmed up and the windows fogged over David stretched his cramped legs out and sighed contentedly as warmth flooded over his body down the hill across the parking lot from where they set the big glass door that led into the ER Lobby opened he stared his two figures emerged and headed straight toward them panic raced over his frame oh jesus H Christ what now Sid looked at him Tom green at 10 o’clock headed straight for us what David frantically pointed out the windshield oh shit yeah what do we do do how the hell do I know think of something me yes you this whole ridiculous stakeout was your insane idea David was nearly hysterical oh shit he sees us I know he does that old lecher will never let us live this one down how will we ever explain Sid grab David and hauled him across the console so he was half lying on top of her she pressed her lips to his in a passionate kiss shocked and addled David fought against her his wild arm gestures only succeeded in knocking the cars gearshift lever into drive their wrestling match on the front seats continued while the car rolled out of its parking space and quickly gained momentum as it rolled downhill and straight into the path of an inbound ambulance the front airbags deployed and separated them with astonishing force then SIDS car alarm went off medical personnel flooded out of the ER and into the parking lot steam rolled out from beneath the crushed hood of SIDS car people were running and shouting orderlies ran toward them with Gurney’s the front end of SIDS car was now wedged beneath the bumper of a white County EMT wagon dazed Sid and David broke their clinch and looked at each other fuck they said in unison the parking lot was like a production from a Busby Berkeley musical people were crawling all over the place in the five minutes since the accident it seemed that police cars from nine departments had shown up and blocked them in how many fucking donut shops are there in this damn County David complained CID felt like time had stopped and they had been sitting inside the car for at least a decade she had a sick feeling that life as she knew it would never be the same a gentle tapping against the driver’s side window finally got her attention slowly inevitably she turned toward the fateful sound to see Maddy standing outside the car and peering in at them with crossed arms and an unreadable expression Sid slowly rolled down her windows um hi Maddy cleared her throat and just stood there saying nothing in this case Maddy saying nothing managed to speak volumes Sid was amazed at how much she looked like her mother right then not a good sign at all I suppose you’re wondering what we’re doing here Sid asked meekly no Maddy finally said I think that part is pretty obvious why you’re here however is likely to remain one of life’s great unsolved mysteries Sid just stared back at her and abject silenced Maddy side I think there are some gentlemen here who are eager to talk to you she turned her head to indicate to sheriff’s deputies who stood near the hospital entrance tapping their pens against open notepads and staring at the carnage Maddy then took a step back and opened SIDS car door Lucie perhaps you and Ethel would care to join us inside so we can discuss this little sitcom Sid looked at her partner in crime who was busy trying to brush white airbag dust off his fur collar he raised his head and met her hopeless gaze don’t look at me mrs. Ricardo I’m just a sidekick you’re the one with the splainin to do it was after 10:00 that night would Maddie Pedro magine and thanked her for spending the evening with Henry to her credit Roma Jean managed to thank Maddy take the cash and stumble out of the house without tripping over anything progress indeed since Volvo had been towed to Firestone garage and Jericho and she had ridden home with Mattie in the Jeep silently they had dropped an equally silent David off at the end when Maddy smiled and wished him a good night’s sleep he shot her the bird and muttered payback Cinderella payback’s Syd watched him trot up the steps to the inn and leave a trail of white dust in his wake what did he mean by that Maddy looked at her oh so you’re talking to me now no Maddy chuckled my mistake Syd didn’t respond now Syd was upstairs showering Maddy could hear the shower running as she walked to Henry’s room to tuck him back in Henry had a tendency to kick his blankets off and then wake up cold during the night Maddy entered his room and smiled Pete was sound asleep on the floor of his bed since Henry came to stay with them Pete had more or less taken up residence in Henry’s room the two were inseparable Maddy adjusted his covers henry rolled over and opened his eyes he gave a sleepy smile hi Manny hi sport she sat down on the edge of his bed did you have fun tonight was Roman Jean he nodded we ate pizza and watched American Idol Maddy smiled did you do your homework yes he nodded I did it was Sid before Roma Jean came Maddy smiled good she ran a hand over his tousled hair I’m sorry I’ve been gone so much lately I want you to know that I miss you and Sid when I’m not here we miss you too he ond grab my sea called he meant Celine she did he nodded she said she’d call back did she say anything else she said she was coming for Easter he seemed excited at first then he frowned she said she had a new piano book for me Maddy tried not to laugh you go back to sleep now sport we’ll talk about it at breakfast okay okay Maddy he rolled over and pushed his head down into his pillow I love you I love you too buddy she kissed his head she scrubbed Pete’s ears then left his room to head for the master suite at the opposite end of the hall the water had stopped running so Sid must have finished her shower mani paused at the doorway to the room deliberating about what to do are you gonna stand there all night or are you going to get in here and join me Sid’s voice came from around the corner apparently she was still in the bathroom at least she was talking now that had to be a good sign Maddy walked into the bedroom and rounded the corner into the bathroom it was illuminated by candlelight and Sid reclined in the big garden tub wearing nothing but a sultry smile um Maddy began did miss a few plot points Sid lazily trailed her hand through the sudsy water I can’t think of any points you’ve ever missed Maddy sat down on the edge of the tub not that I’m complaining or anything but I confess to being a little confused since adjusted yeah that about covers it well how about you shuck off your clothes and climb in here I’m sure I can clear everything up for you in a record time Maddy pinched herself nope I’m still awake she looked at Sid in amazement an hour ago you wanted to kill me Sid ran a hand along Maddy’s arm no an hour ago I wanted to kill myself for being so stupid and forgiving into a ridiculous irrational and paranoid delusion Maddy narrowed her eyes is this horrifying characterization of your mental state supposed to make me feel better no Sid sat up and took hold of Maddy’s head and tugged her forward until their lips were nearly touching this is she ran the tip of her tongue across Maddy’s lips then kissed her and slowly untied the drawstring on the pants of Maddy’s blue scrubs when they finally drew apart Maddy’s head was spinning but things were definitely getting clearer a lot clearer I’m sorry for being such an idiot Sid whispered Maddy was too busy pulling off the rest of her clothes and climbing into the tub to hear any more of her apology Maddy settled into the tub besides Sid who slid over to straddle her lap you think you can ever forgive me well I Maddi wrapped one arm around her and latched on to the side of the tub with her free hand just so they could stay above water Sid’s lips now were busy expressing the nonverbal portion of her apology and Maddy was learning how easily breathing could become a foreign concept coherent thought appeared to have left the building – if I did forgive you I guess that wouldn’t make me Oh wet Sid asked innocently although what she was doing beneath the surface of the water was anything but innocent oh my god forming complete sentences was now a lost art another minute passed yes Maddy finally managed Oh what Syd smiled against her mouth that makes two of us the hell with it Maddy let go of the tub and they both slid deeper into the water February 14th d-day it wasn’t going well not at all and SIDS birthday dinner was tonight Maddy was flying solo because way back in December Michael had picked up a catering gig for a wedding reception in Jefferson and he couldn’t get out of it he promised her that he’d be back in plenty of time to oversee most of what they had on tap for the evening but Maddy was charged was doing the initial prep work and getting a jump start on the dessert course a pumpkin custard tart with red wine caramel sauce her job was to premix the dough mixture so it could refrigerate it apparently required two hours to do whatever in the hell it was that dough had to do in the refrigerator and make the custard filling all this so they could be ready to assemble the actual tarts when Michael returned there was just one problem she got held up at the clinic when Lizzie called to say she’d be late getting back from Blacksburg where she’d celebrated an early Valentine’s Day with SIDS brother Tom that meant Maddy had been unable to be at the inn by noon as she’d planned so she found herself in a time crunch and didn’t have the requisite two hours to wait for the dough to properly do whatever her clothes for the evening and her overnight bag were already there all Sid knew was that they were meeting at the end for a Valentine’s Day slash birthday dinner she had no idea that Maddy was cooking or that they would also be spending the night there alone in the very biggest and best guest suite and this time there’d be no red dr. Denton footy pajamas in the equation there’d be no pajamas at all if she played her cards right Lizzie was keeping Henry overnight at her place Syd didn’t know that part yet either Matty told said that she had late appointments at the clinic and that she’d have to meet her at the inn she made a grand ceremony out of carrying a garment bag containing a change of clothes with her when she left home that morning and she told said that she’d change at the clinic Syd didn’t seem to question this and if she was harboring any nascent suspicions she was still enough enmeshed in an atonement mode from the whole demolition derby stunt at the hospital that she bravely kept them to herself now Maddy was running about five hours behind schedule and she needed to make some hard choices well she reasoned when something doesn’t fit you make adjustments right cooking after all was a science just like medicine or small appliance repair it shouldn’t be rocket science to puzzle this one out really so she glanced at the clock and thought about how to make this work first the dessert why not just premix everything together and then toss the whole thing in in the freezer that would expedite the setting-up process cutting the time down by at least half maybe even two thirds Michael would never know the difference and she’d be right on track for them to finish the tarts and start the dome de boeuf ålesund on J which Michael said needed to be prepared a day ahead of time and reheated for best results but they’d have to make do with half a day she also thought she could get a jump start on the French vinaigrette with hard-boiled egg dressing for the grilled bacon-wrapped asparagus appetizer a concession and an apologetic offering for the recent regrettable incident with Pete like any good clinician she assembled her tools and ingredients first she was a whiz at multitasking and knew it so she didn’t worry too much about Michael’s solemn admonition that she needed to concentrate on completing one task at a time hell she could single-handedly juggle multiple gunshot wounds gang fights drug overdoses and crazy indigents pissing in the water fountains in the Prez ber on any Saturday night this should be like a walk in the spring ring she looked at her watch again damn it was 2:30 Sid would be here in less than four hours okay first things first the dough well maybe the eggs those she could set to hard-boil while she started the pastry mix oh and the meat that needs to be at room temperature she walked to the big walk-in cooler and grabbed the two pounds of beef shin she’d bought at the butcher shop in Roanoke she also grabbed the fat slabs of bacon they’d need to wrap the asparagus correction it was pancetta not bacon Michael was quick to correct her when she showed up with the wrong damn side meat and had to go back to the store again hell she was practically a shareholder in that joint now so okay the eggs she took a heavy stainless steel and copper pan down from the pot rack that hung over the kitchens big center island and put a couple of inches of water into it she only needed one egg for the dressing but decided to go ahead and hard boil six or seven why waste a whole pan of water for one damn egg besides she liked hard-boiled eggs and they could always use them for something else once the eggs were nicely going she carried her pastry and filling items to the area where the big gunmetal grey mixer stood proud and gleaming like some kind of culinary obelisk Michael practically worshipped the damn thing he even had a name for it Gloria GL Ori a yeah that one she paused to look over the recipe fuck the damn eggs were supposed to be at room temperature too no problem she just wait a few minutes then grab a couple out of the hot water on the stove that should work just fine as long as she got them out before the water started to boil in the meantime she could start chopping and combining the spices okay ginger check almonds check cloves check white pepper check whole beans of has to be grated nutmeg check cardamom shit cardamom goddamn it sure got the cardomom she looked up at the ceiling it took a deep breath then XI squared her shoulders substitution that’s what the best chefs did they always did it okay what would work instead of cardamom it was a mainstay of Indian cuisine right so that meant it was spicy it was one of the key ingredients in garam masala a seasoning Maddie loved so what was that like she walked to Michael’s spice cabinet and looked it over curry that should work that was in garm masala – okay curry powder it is she walked back to the mixer shit the eggs well the water had only just started to roll so they were probably still okay she grabbed a civil spoon and scooped three of them out and carried them to the table next to Gloria’s mixer alter okay let’s see she looked over the instructions pulse almonds flour baking powder salt and spices in a food processor until nuts are very finely ground beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy then beat in egg add flour mixture in two batches mixing at low speed just until a dough forms form dough into a disc and chill wrapped in plastic wrap until firm at least two hours whisk together brown sugar eggs molasses salt and spices whisk in pumpkin then cream okay that chilling part was not happening no time but she could do all the other stuff where the hell was the food processor she looked around the kitchen but didn’t see it shit she checked her watch again then she turned back to regard the stand mixer the damn thing had more attachments than an Electrolux she looked them over one of these must be used for chopping stuff Michael had them all arranged on a pegboard above the mixer like medieval torture implements hell he practically had the damn things outlined in paint she picked up a fat cone shaped and spindled metal whisk and hefted it before turning it over in her hands probably this one she attached it to the mixer and started dumping in all of the ingredients all of them including the flour the brown sugar the molasses the solid packed pumpkin and the assortment of nuts and spices oh and the eggs the perfectly poached eggs shit she needed six tablespoons of unsalted butter softened well she could go ahead and start pulsing everything else while she went got that sighing she set the mixer control – damn there was no pulse setting great what the hell would be the closest to that the thing had ten speeds not helpful okay let’s parse it out she stood back and looked the unit over critically she prepared a few of these in her time they were pretty nice machines high-performance motors 575 watts planetary drive systems mechanical bull lifts plenty of torque torque had to be good for chopping more speed equals greater torque she set the dial to eight and turn the unit on it made a tortured gurgled grinding sound at first but then seemed to even out there was a dense cloud of something drifting in waves up out of the bowl but that was probably okay it smelled sweet and spicy it tickled her nose damn that curry was really strong shrugging she walked back to the cooler to grab a stick of butter while she was in the cooler she decided to go ahead and get the vegetables she’d need for the boof dish and the damn asparagus let’s see carrots onions garlic artichoke leeks leeks nope didn’t need leeks what else lard she forgot about that the damn booth needed to be braised and lard not vegetable or olive oil now where in the hell would he keep that would it be refrigerated or not she stood there deliberating boom boom boom boom what the fuck the sounds of miniature explosions continued she exited the freezer in time to see tiny pieces of egg shrapnel flying across the kitchen oh my god she ducked as a huge piece of shell ricocheted off the wall behind her the pan containing the eggs had boiled dry and the eggs had blown up pieces of them were flying around and landing every place even on the ceiling fans Jesus Christ and the stench was incredible Matty dropped all the vegetables in an unceremonious heap on a prep table and ran over to the bertazzoni to turn off the gas ring under the now charred all-clad pot great that thing wasn’t write-off pieces of egg and shell were all over the top of the stove she didn’t even want to look at the shelf behind the stove how would she ever get the stench out of the kitchen and what about all that black smoke wait a minute black smoke where in the hell was that coming from she stood back not the stove it was off but the kitchen was filling up with it and it would only be a matter of time before an ear-splitting sound cut through the air as the smoke alarm went off and Maddy turned around to see that Gloria was the culprit dark black smoke and flames were shooting out from the mixers engine housing the stainless steel whisk had been twisted into an unrecognizable shape and finally had stopped turning a dense looking orange colored nut and spiced magma was overflowing the bowl and dripping onto the floor in fat blobs she raced across the room to unplug the mixer and grabbed a towel to suffocate the flames how could this possibly get any fucking worse she bellowed ten seconds later the overhead sprinkler system kicked in and the entire kitchen got doused in a fire prevention monsoon yeppers this was going to be one hell of a Valentine’s Day Maddy gazed up at the ceiling with arms extended in the ludicrous pantomime of crucifixion as the overhead waterfall soaked her now all she needed was for Michael to show up pew Michael what the fuck is going on in here Mike here gin oh my god Gloria Maddy closed her eyes Jesus died for somebody’s sins but not mine not even Patti Smith could save her now judging by the murderous look on Michaels face as he stood in the doorway to his kitchen surveying the carnage she thanked God that she had done her residency in emergency medicine she would have offered even money on whether or not he’d be able to kill her before he went into shock she was only sure of two things right now one it was a very good thing that she had her attorney on speed dial two she’d never be able to mention SIDS misadventure in the hospital parking lot again ever I think that was just about the best meal I’ve ever had Sid licked her fingertips it certainly was the safest Maddy poured her another glass of the cold Verve cleco the only thing she’d managed to salvage from their original dinner Sid stifled laugh I’ll say Madi shoved the bottle back into its bucket of ice hey no laughing we agreed truce right right SID saluted truce Madi held up the big red and white striped cardboard bucket another drumstick no thanks for is my limit yeah I thought you and Henry were going to have to arm wrestle for that last one Sid smiled and looked at the sleeping bag in the corner of the room still rolled out on the rug where Henry had fallen asleep after they had brought him back from Lizzie’s bungalow Madi had long since carried him upstairs to bed with Pete following along at her heels they were back at home in their living room lounging on the floor in front of a big fire with the remainder of their KFC family feast for four spread out on a blanket beside them Sid stole a glance at Madi incredibly she didn’t look any the worse for wear which was remarkable considering the events of the evening by the time Sid had arrived at the inn the fire had been contained the sprinklers had been turned off and Michael had been calmed down considerably by a generous dose of David’s an axe and a couple of single malt scotches Madi had tried to protest the combination but backed off right away when Michael picked up one of his waterlog tion paring knives and started drying it with the hem of the tablecloth I’ll get you some more ice she’d said instead and beat a hasty retreat from the dining room where they all ended up after the fire department left that was several hours ago and now the unhappy chain of horrifying events was already beginning to claim its rightful place in the country annals of myth and heroic misadventure Sid was certain that by tomorrow no one would even remember her own 15 minutes of fame but Maddy’s well hers could be expected to live on for one thing she was such an iconic figure in the lives of her patients that any opportunity to humanize her especially one that occurred on such a grand and epic scale was sure to resonate with the locals for a good long time but Sid had to smile as she thought about the lace Matty had gone to in her efforts to do something special for her and what those efforts had nearly cost them both do I want to know what you’re thinking about over there Madi sounded almost tentative Sid gazed at Maddy she was beautiful in the firelight hell she was beautiful in any light or in no light only how lucky we are Maddy snorted I mean it Maddy still looked dubious it’s been quite a few weeks Sid smiled at her it’s been quite a year Maddy took her hand this isn’t quite the evening I had planned to celebrate your birthday oh I don’t know Sid looked around the room an amazing home a beautiful fire great champagne Henry she raised their link two hands to her mouth and kissed Maddy’s fingers you what more could a girl ask for Maddy smiled that reminds me she fished into the front pocket of her jeans pulled out a tiny gold key and held it out to Sid I got you something puzzled Sid took it and looked it over what is it it’s a key Maddy drawled Sid lowered it to her lap thank you dr. Stevenson now that we’ve cleared up that mystery would you like to tackle climate change Maddy smiled turn it over and look at the back Sid sat up straighter and held the key out toward the fireplace so she could read the tiny inscription 429 WP right Sid gave her a confused look Maddy nedra playfully come on blondie reach for it Sid smiled as recognition donned your tail number of course I didn’t want you to forget Sid raised an eyebrow as if I could ever forget how to identify your tail Maddy laughed and pulled her closer well here’s hoping but in this case it’s a functional key she smiled it unlocks the airplane Sid dropped her head to Maddy’s chest and groan Oh like you’d ever trust me near another engine oh honey it’s just like riding a horse you get tossed off you get right back up on it oh really think that works with KitchenAid appliances – Maddy seem to think about that one for a moment doubtful Sid smiled into her chest Maddy smelled wonderful a mix of pine and lavender an idea occurred to her still she said as she laid a trail of soft kisses along Maddy’s collarbone I suppose we could work on that physics lesson again I think I nearly had the hang of it last time do you think Maddie ran her hands up along the skin beneath SIDS sweater hmm hmm Sid kissed off the side of Maddie’s neck you know she dressed Maddie’s shoulders since you have that CFI rating Maddie’s side happily that CFI Mei Sid kissed her chin to instructor ratings yeah Maddie looked serious now she lifts her head to try and capture SIDS mouth but Sid backed away overachiever I knew I loved you for some reason Maddie tried in vain to kiss her again but Sid skillfully rolled over and pulled Maddie along with her Maddie landed on top of her with a huff oh I get it now you want some more of that hands-on instruction don’t you what tipped you off Sid reached a very sensitive spot and just about launched Maddie into orbit easy baby Maddie breathe as she started a long slow descent down SIDS body remember once we hit v1 we’re committed and we have to go oh honey Sid tangled her fingers in Maddie’s thick dark hair I reached v1 ten seconds after I met you like the good scientist she was maddie was quick to show that her own findings trended in the same direction and that wasn’t a bad thing for when they returned to Earth they were still wrapped up together on a blanket in front of a fire in their own home with the boy who would one day become their son sleeping soundly upstairs the end Maddie’s original four-course birthday menu course one can I pay out camembert pancetta-wrapped grilled asparagus with vinaigrette dressing course too dobe do both Alice Anton J roasted vegetables course three pan-seared artichoke with balsamic glaze course for pumpkin custard tart with red wine caramel sauce thank you for listening to the sapphic cast on the lesbian talk show channel we would love your feedback on the lesbian talk show Facebook group and a rating in your podcast app hey and while you’re at it tell your friends about us all links to creators and stories can be found in the show notes and if you like what we’re doing please consider becoming a patreon patron of the lesbian talk show it helps us keep the channel alive and provides you entertainment every day of the week and now the credits the producer and editor of this show is Alex woods and my name is Erin B Lillis and I’m the podcast voice surrogate for your host Alex Woods thanks for listening and please have a wonderful day [Music]