“What the hell are you listening to?” Ben2Times asked Natalianese.
She was wriggling in her chair and nodding her head to some unknown beat and it was starting to annoy Ben2Times how happy and content she seemed while tied up. He was the one that should be that happy and here she was all tied up and having a grand time and he was free and miserable.
“I mean… can you hear it in your head or whatever or what? Because I can’t hear it.” He said and pulled up a straight-back chair in front of her. He looked down at the two twisty ties connecting her wrists together. They had eased up on the rope and now he was wondering about that. She seemed fine though.
“What do you care? You wouldn’t understand anyway…” Natalianese said and closed her eyes and smiled a little real smile. He couldn’t believe it.
“Well, it’s just that… Listen, I wanna know okay? Is that good enough? All of this stuff is happening and I need to know some things. Starting with this. How can you hear things in your head that we can’t and… and… what are they saying” He asked and leaned forward in his chair, his elbows on his knees, looking straight at her. “Will you just open your eyes?”
“Why” she replied.
“Natalianese… don’t be difficult. It’s me, Ben2Times. You know me, we have history okay? Now wait- first of all no one has to know about that and don’t go being a radio reporter all skitzed out and shit telling everybody about it, but listen, you know me. Look at me.”
Natalianese opened her eye. The other three stayed shut and that bothered him but he kept it to himself.
“Ok, that’s good,” he said, “That’s a start. Now…”
“I don’t know you.” Natalianese said.
“What?! You know me, what are you talking about?” Ben2Times replied.
“I don’t know you. Who knows anything these days? Who knows when the bumblebee will? Who knows when the working and THE BEST EPIC army strong theme song composed by Hope and IJa…”
“Let’s not do this again.” Ben2Times interrupted. “I don’t wanna hear all of that crazy shit and I definitely don’t want to have to body slam you again.” he said.
“Ohhhhhh Ben….. are you gonna give me the whatfor?” Natalianese said sarcastically and opened a few more of her eyes.
“Oh I see, now I have your attention. Do I have to make you angry to get your attention?” he asked her.
“Oh I see, now I have your attention. Do I have to make you hangry to get your attention?” she sneered back.
“Oh My God what a child.” Ben2Times said and got up, exasperated. He accidentally knocked the chair over and it landed, really only slightly grazed, Natalianese’s wrist.
“OHHHHH OHHHH it hurts. YOU HAVE INJURED ME!” she cried while all of her eyes flew open in a series like some sort of weird Jurassic dance.
“That doesn’t even make sense…” Ben2Times said but he did feel a little guilty for hitting her while she was still technically tied together. He leaned over to touch her hand gently and inspect it.
She stopped crying and looked at him deeply. “Ben2Times… I need you to do something for me” she said and pursed her lips in a quiver.
“What is it?” he said and looked up into her eyes.
They were watering.
“I…I feel kinda silly saying this but nobody’s brushed my hair. I need you to brush my hair, it’s so much easier.” she said and looked demurely away.
He felt his gut cringe and couldn’t really identify what he was feeling. “Sure Natalianese, let me go find a brush, I mean… I haven’t seen one since we’ve been here and now that I think of it, I’ve never seen any of us brush our hair or brush or teeth or anything.” He paused and looked into the distance of the lobby of the Burger Bop. “It’s like it’s not even there or we skip over that part or I keep waking up and doing other stuff but not little stuff like that. Do you? Do you dream about brushes?” he looked at her and blushed just a little. “I know that’s probably a weird question and all right now..”
“I do.” she replied. “I dream about brushed all the time.” She looked down at the twisty ties, “…in fact, that’s all I dream about…. brushes.” She looked up at him again. “You gotta help me Ben2Times, you’re the only one I can count on…”
“Okay, I’ll go find one, don’t worry.” he said and strode off toward the utility closet. d
A lone letter ‘d’ crept up behind Natalianese and tapped her on the shoulder.
“You again,” she sighed, “you know I can’t turn all the way around.”
“Yes you can, what are you saying?” the letter replied.
“You know what I mean. What do you want anyway?”
“I wanna play gin rummy again.”
“They’re not supposed to know, okay? I’m tied up. That’s all there is… go away.” She replied.
“But I’m bored.”
“Git Outta here!” she hissed, “and I mean it.”
“Fine.” the letter replied. “But you will rue.”
“What?” Natalianese asked, “what does that even mean?”
“You know… rue. Your body will definitely rue. I will make rue happen to you. Expect it. Like Hans Zimmer.”
“WHAT the fuck does that even mean?” she replied and then looked at him suspiciously, “Appalachian? Are you the Appalachian I’ve been searching for?” “Are you a muscle inspiration?”
“What? That’s ridiculous,” the ‘d’ responded, “I doubt I will ever have the chance to zimmer or even…”
“Natalianese,” Ben2Times said as he walked up and surprised them. “Why are you talking to that ‘d’?”
“She will rue, that’s why.” the ‘d’ responded.
“Rue what?” Ben2Times looked confused.
The ‘d’ turned away without responding and Natalianese shifted in her chair.
“Where’s the brush?” she asked him.
He looked despondantly around the Burger Bop. “I couldn’t find one, Natalianese I’m sorry.”
“Well here…. just use your fingers” she said and looked at him curiously.
He walked over closer to her and began to run his fingers through her hair. There were tangles and a few rough binds but they snapped through and Natalianese moaned softly, closing her eyes. But then all of a sudden her eyes snapped open and she glared up at him.
“Hey. Who are you?” she asked.
“Hey, it’s me, Ben2Times… you know me. What do you mean?”