"Playing Cards"

Inside Amethyst Hill's main house, Gracie, Zach, and Morrigan spend their evening gathered around a table, playing a hand of pinochle and snacking on some of Amy's homemade veggie chips.

Amethyst: (Holding a cat up to the table and speaking in an accent) Roshumba opens the bid at 250

Gracie: (Groaning at her cards) Pass

Morrigan: Jump

Zach: (Getting up and dancing) FOR MY LOVE

Amethyst: (Joining Zach) JUMP IN AND FEEL MY TOUCH

Zach: (Wiggling his rear) IF YOU WANT TO TASTE MY KISSES IN THE NIGHT THEN

Amethyst: (Dancing with the cat) JUMP JUMP FOR MY LOVE

Morrigan: (Smiling) 80's songs!

Gracie: Swear to God, Morri, if you join them, I will slaughter you where you sit

Amethyst: (Back to Roshumba's accent) What is the matter, is Miss Grace not living up to her name today?

Gracie: I THOUGHT I was here to play cards

Zach: (Returning to his chair) And play, we shall!

Morrigan: Once again, Mr. Isaacson wins the most heinous t-shirt award!

Zach: (Bowing) Thank you, thank you

On the front are the words "Liquor in the Front" and on the back are the words "Poker in the Rear."

Gracie: (Reading) I don't get it

Zach: Sound it out and read it slow

Gracie: Still don't get it

Morrigan: It's a play on words

Zach: We're writers, we get it

Gracie makes a face and flips them off.

Amethyst: (Massaging the cat's back with her foot) Gracie, I think you need an aura cleanse

The blonde rushes off and returns with a square candle, sets it in the middle of the table and lights it.

Gracie: How about sparking me a joint instead?

Zach: (All smiles) Now, you're talking!

Morrigan: (Firm) Not in my presence, please

Gracie: I forgot, Saint McBride is in the room

Amethyst: Roshumba agrees, now is not the proper time... sex needs to be involved

Zach: I just love your pussy

Gracie: GUYS, PLEASE - I am totally wiped today - I spent last night DJ-ing a wedding - three solid hours of Barry Manilow, Journey, and Enya... I want to slit my wrists

Morrigan: Did they make you play "The Macarena" or "The Chicken Dance?"

Gracie: Both

Morrigan: Ooh, let's cut her some slack

Zach: Hey, that reminds me, you'll never guess who's getting married

Amethyst: Give me your hand, Zach

Zach: (Doing so) Why?

Amethyst: Let me see if I can guess who it is

Zach: (Shrugging) OK

Amy passes her one hand over the candle while the other one squeezes Zach's hand tightly.

Amethyst: (Closing her eyes and concentrating) Ah, I know

Zach: Who is it?

Amethyst: NOT YOU

Morrigan chuckles as Gracie slumps over on the table and sighs.

Zach: Hey, that's almost funny... almost

Morrigan: So, who is getting married?

Zach: You don't know him

Morrigan: OK, just trying to keep the conversation going

Zach: (Casting a sly look at Gracie) It's Jimmy the Skinny

Gracie: You have got to be kidding me!

Amethyst: Now THAT is almost funny

Morrigan: Who is Jimmy?

Zach: This guy Gracie fucked at a party once

Gracie: I did NOT fuck him... I blew him - there's a difference

Amethyst: Where did Skinny meet this girl?

Morrigan: Why is he called "skinny?"

All three look at Morrigan and ignore her.

Morrigan: Hey, I'm just curious

Zach: Are you ready for this? - he met her at Bible Study!

Gracie: You have GOT to be kidding me!

Zach: No, that is the primo place to meet chicks, next to the supermarket

Amethyst: Huh, my coven has socials all the time, I wonder why we never meet any marriage-minded men?

Zach: Oh, I don't know, something about a bubbling caldron of bat's blood as a centerpiece instead of chips and salsa

Amethyst: It wasn't bat's blood... it was eye of newt

Gracie: I don't get it, Jimmy is not even religious

Zach: But he is ready to settle down, have someone do his laundry, and squeeze out a few kids

Gracie: (Gulping her beer) So glad the apostles will assist him in achieving choice snatch

Zach: Yep, and if he's lucky, he might even score a virgin

Morrigan: I cannot believe what I am hearing!

Zach: Like he'd want to marry some party skank... sorry, Grace

Takanachi mock smiles and waves.

Zach: See, ladies, it's like hunting - if you want to bag the trophy deer, you need to go to their territory, you don't wait for them to come down from the hills and land on the hood of your car

Morrigan: Such a fitting image

Amethyst: That reminds me, I need to defrost the buck antlers

The blonde woman bounces up from the table.

Morrigan: I thought you were a vegetarian?

Amethyst: They're not for eating

Morrigan: oookay

Zach: (Turning to Morrigan) Well, Ms. Catholic, what is your opinion on the subject... or should I say, the Pope's opinion?

Morrigan: (Sipping her drink) Being Catholic, Jewish or Wiccan doesn't really matter - a union between two people should be based on mutual love and respect... not on the need to breed

Gracie: (Rubbing her head) Can we please change the subject, PLEASE? - who knows a good dog poop joke?

Morrigan: Aren't you feeling well, Gracie - you seem out of sorts?

Zach: PMS

Gracie: Right, PMS - the answer to everything

Zach: Oh Amy, while you're up, grab me another beer

Gracie: Get your own beer, Eyes

Zach: Hey, she's already up

Amethyst: No problem, another beer for you, Gracie?

Gracie: Sure, why not

Amethyst: How about you, Morri?

Morrigan: I'm fine with my Ginger Ale, thanks

Zach: Why don't you ever drink with us?

Morrigan: I don't like the taste of beer, it makes me gag along with the smell of Tide detergent and cheesy breadsticks

Gracie: Well, there go your Christmas gifts

Amy returns with the beers.

Amethyst: KJ just called looking for you, Morri

Morrigan: I hope you didn't tell him where I was

Amethyst: Nope, I just took the message - he said this is like the 10th message he's left - why don't you call him back?

Morrigan: (Staring at her cards) I've been busy

Gracie and Zach eye each other.

Amethyst: Busy doing what?

Morrigan: Look, I don't feel like dealing with him and his Ona Rosa crush right now - I have other things to... occupy myself with

Amethyst: You do?

Morrigan: For one, the Pacific Coast Oil Cartel story

Zach: Ah, the good old "peacock" boys... have fun

Morrigan: When I was younger, my dad used to rant about them all the time but I never knew or cared about what they did... until now

Gracie: What about the OTHER story we're working on?

Morrigan: Back burner for now, the PCOC conference is next week, I have a lot of research ahead of me

Zach: Here's your research - they love to screw us Californians on gas prices, the end!

Amethyst: Which end?

Morrigan: I suppose this is the Golden State of Screwing

Gracie: Hey, we didn't have it much easier in Washington so knock it off with the territorial whining

Amethyst: What I want to know is what Ona Rosa Sanchez has that makes men like KJ and Captain Phelps so crazy for her - I mean she's very pretty and sweet but Anita is much better looking... if she wasn't so butch

Zach: Kage and Crunch have the mommy thing going, they see Oni cooking and taking care of the kids... they want to be breast fed too, if you know what I mean

Gracie: Aw man, can we just go back to playing cards, please?

Zach: Also, there's the challenge of stealing another man's candy

Gracie: Ugh, I'd rather be listening to Barry Manilow right now

Morrigan: So, does this mean you're after Dr. Sanchez's "Skittles" as well, Zachary?

Zach: EWW, GOD NO - I am NOT attracted to Oni because she IS a wife and mom!

Gracie: Amy, where's the Extra Strength Tylenol?

Amethyst: I have a crystal that will help

Gracie: Is it big enough to bash with?

Morrigan: You have me fascinated, Zach, go on

Zach: She is another man's trophy - he's hunted her, shot her and bagged her - she's now an empty shell after giving birth, her individual life is over, her main purpose now is to service her husband and to make sure the children don't starve

Morrigan and Gracie look at him aghast as Amy tries not to laugh.

Zach: It's true - a man has basted his seed in her oven and she's popped out his turkey - why would you want that used oven when there are brand new ones just waiting to be plucked off of the showroom floor... on sale, no less?

Gracie: You have two seconds to leave this table before I slice off your turkey baster

Zach: HEY - you can't get mad at me for telling the truth, especially under the "Beer Honesty" rule

Morrigan: Beer Honesty?

Gracie: After three beers, our PC editor shuts off and we say how we really feel without fearing repercussions

Morrigan: Huh - the sad thing is, I kind of see Zach's POV, I don't condone or justify it but I understand the twisted rationale

Gracie: You see every point of view, Morri, pick a side and stick with it!

Amethyst: (Looking at the TV screen) Shh, be quiet, I want to hear this story

Gracie: It's my night off, I do not want to hear news

Morrigan: Would you rather hear more of Zach's musings?

Gracie: Turn it up, girl!

There is a short segment about new crop circles in England. It has Amy's complete attention while Zach and Gracie roll their eyes. Morrigan watches in silence.

Amethyst: (Near tears) Beautiful

Zach lets out a loud belch as Gracie hums the theme to Sigma 7.

Amethyst: Go ahead and laugh, you'll see

Zach: C'mon, Amy, it's a bunch of blokes who've had one too many at the pub and they're looking to express their creativity - they probably work for the tourist commission to boot

Amethyst: Have you seen how elaborate the designs are? - you can't even piss straight when you're drunk, Zach

Zach: I can write my name in the snow just fine, thank you

Amethyst: Oh yeah? - try cleaning your toilet after the next party

Gracie: I thought tonight was supposed to be about fun and relaxation... SILLY SILLY ME

Amethyst: Gracie, your profession is based on images, what do you think?

Gracie: I think blue cheese is intriguing but I don't question it nor do I care to, there are more important things to consider like how in the hell am I going to pay my insurance deductible, things like that

Zach: What do you think, M&M?

Still staring at the TV screen.

Morrigan: Oh... I'm sorry - what did you say?

Gracie: Great, now she's flying off to whacko land

Amethyst: (Studying Morrigan) What do you think of the crop circles?

Morrigan: I believe they're the result of an intricate weather phenomenon we haven't figured out yet - just think about snowflakes, before the invention of the microscope, we had no idea how complex and beautiful they were

Everyone is silent for a moment.

Morrigan: Whether these circles are natural or man-made, they're definitely worth trying to solve

Zach: Yet ANOTHER mystery for KCON's fearless field reporter!

Amethyst: (Still watching Morrigan) What if they're not natural or man-made?

Gracie: OH, FOR CHRIST'S SAKE, WOULD YOU ALL JUST SHUT THE FUCK UP AND DEAL THE GOD DAMN CARDS?

Morrigan: (Suddenly getting up) I need to go

Zach: I guess Ginger Ale shoots through quicker than beer

McBride starts to put on her jacket.

Gracie: Wait a minute, where are you going?

Morrigan: Out for a walk

Zach: Alone in the dark?

Morrigan: I'll be fine

Gracie: Yes, we're all aware of how uneventful your life is

Closing the door behind her, the brunette does not respond.

Amethyst: She's been acting weird since her date with KJ

Gracie: More weird than usual?

Zach: Maybe I should have a little talk with Kage

Gracie: Will you be using your trophy deer analogy?

Zach: Hmm... depends

.

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