FatLand: The Early Days – 21

The next day Bill said to Charla, “I’m going to be out of town for a few days, sweetheart.”

“I guess you have to go,” she said.  “I’ll try to get Angela to give me something interesting to do while you’re gone so I don’t think about missing you too much.”

“Oh, but I want you to miss me,” he said. “I want you to miss me a lot.”

“You got it,” she said. “Come back safely and soon.”

“I will,” he said.

When Charla told Angela that Bill was going out of town for a few days, she said, “Do you think he’s a spy?”

“For whom?” Charla said.

“Stark.”

“I doubt it,” Charla said. “He’s too amused by him. He doesn’t think of him well or badly. Just sort of takes him, and that’s that.”

“I wish we could have sent someone with him,” Angela said. “To make sure he was safe, if nothing else.”

“He would hate that,” Charla said. “He likes to show how independent he can be.”

“I do understand that,” Angela agreed. “Want to go to the nudies and play jiggle?”

 Charla laughed. “Have you done that?”

“No, but I thought maybe if someone else came with me, I would.”

“Since when are you so shy?”

“We’re getting to be a much bigger, more impersonal place,,” Angela said. “It’s not the way it was. Not that it should be, I mean. But- ”

“Everything has to grow or change to survive,” Charla said.

“Yep.” They both sighed.

“Come and help me with afternoon tea,” Angela said. “We’re featuring it now.”

“I could do worse,” Charla said. She followed Angela into the Dining Hall. As she entered, she saw a sign that read “Fatly Fine – The First and Best Restaurant in Fatland.”

“So,” she said. “You’re a restaurant now.”

“Yeah,” Angela said. “We couldn’t stay as we were. And we had to start paying for ourselves to justify our existence. People here eat in their houses now. We’re official. So we had to change our entire approach.”

“Even this,” Charla said.

“Yes.”

But when she saw the layout for afternoon tea, she was impressed. “It looks scrumptious.”

“Two kinds of cucumber sandwiches,” Angela saidl “Three kinds of scones. Five kinds of jam. Three kinds of cream. Three kinds of butter.”

“I’m happy again,”Charla said. “Sort of.” She started to put sandwiches on plates.

“Afternoon tea is a happy time,” Angela said.

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