When Freyja arrived at the Ovaltine Café she saw Marty texting on his cell phone.
Marty looked up and Freyja planted a lingering kiss on his surprised lips.
Public displays of affection struck Freyja as artificial though they occasionally made for great pictures. Alfred Eisenstaedt’s V-J Day photo of Sailor kissing girl in Times Square was the iconic photo of the end of that war. No one was taking their picture but what the hell, it felt right.
“You look tired.” She slid into the restaurant booth across from him.
“Free.” He sat back, held up the phone and pressed a button. The device chimed and went dead. “I’m so glad you came.”
The effect she had on him pleased her. He looked better smiling. “I came for the grilled cheese, but now I’ve decided on the combo, sweet and sour and chow mein.”
“Wise choice. I’ll have chop suey and fried rice. We can share.”
Orders taken, they waited for the their food in silence.
“How’s BB?” Marty said.
“He’ll live – for now.” Two large plates of glistening Chinese food arrived. Freyja wiped the fork with the serviette and dug in. “Are you a big shot yet?”
Marty raised his eyebrows. “I thought I already was.”
“Come on, Marty. Will you be the power behind the throne?”
“Maybe. It’s complicated.”
Freyja mucked the chow mein in the sweet and sour. The inside of her mouth felt coated with grease. Vancouver had such a large Asian population it was hard to get bad Chinese food anymore. She’d missed it.
“Are you putting my brother out of business soon?”
Freyja took a drink of water. The msg was dehydrating her. “That’s not what I heard. I heard the Christian Party wouldn’t support you guys if you go ahead with that policy. They want tougher laws not legalization.”
Marty put down his fork. “I thought we weren’t going to talk about politics.”
He was getting defensive. Interesting. “Can’t you cut some deal? Isn’t that what politics is all about?”
“ “The art of the possible”?” Marty said.
“The art of getting re-elected.”
“You really want to talk about this?”
Freyja speared half a dozen tiny shrimp from Marty’s fried rice with her fork. “Yes.”
“We’ll form a coalition government.”
Marty frowned. “ “One of the truest tests of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” Like Chinua Achebe, our integrity will stand the test.”
Freyja stopped chewing. Someone had articulated exactly how she felt.
“He’s a Nigerian writer.”
“Really? I thought he was the robot on Star Wars.”
“Sorry.” Marty squirted soya sauce on the vegetables. “How’s the show coming?”
“No idea. I sent everything to Carly. She’s mounting and staging it.”
“Considering the subject matter of the photographs, how do you feel about making money from them?”
“Great. I only wish more people had been shot so I could’ve taken more pictures.” Maybe she didn’t want this guy for a roommate.
Marty raised his eyebrows. “It’s a legitimate question. I imagine war correspondents have to consider it all the time.”
“Next time I stumble on to a demonstration where soldiers are shooting civilians, I’ll consider it.” This was turning into a pissing match. One she started.
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