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|Storycodes: FF/f; MFF/f; bond; rope; gag; tape; suitcase; store; transport; delivery; discovery; hotel; cart; room; cartrunk; rescue; babywear; pacifier; public; hum; cons; X||
|Discontinued Item 64Fordman FF/f; MFF/f; bond; rope; gag; tape; suitcase; store; transport; delivery; discovery; hotel; cart; room; cartrunk; rescue; babywear; pacifier; public; hum; cons; X|
A Sequel to Surprise Inspection
“Come on in.” Marisa said.
“Look at you, evening gown. Nails. Hair.” Stacy said.
“You look amazing. I thought you needed our help getting ready?” Kayla said.
“I do, for the game.” Marisa said.
“Now what?” Stacy said.
“Mission Impossible is Dean’s favorite movie. You’re going to help him live it.” Marisa said.
“For the innocent one you’re becoming diabolical.” Stacy said.
“I learned from the best.” Marisa said.
“You talkin’ to me?” Stacy said in a bad De Nero imitation.
“Okay, what do we have to do?” Kayla said.
“Put this in your pocket.” Marisa said, and handed a small plastic shopping bag to Kayla. “We’re going to Midtown Department Store, by cab. My treat.”
BREAK ROOM, MIDTOWN DEPARTMENT STORE
Marketing Vice President Brenner addresses a group of employees.
“You have all done a great job during this difficult time. Hopefully the situation at the docks will be resolved permanently, but we did receive merchandise today from our Asian distributor.
“Accessories, the new handbags are in. Next week’s FSI will feature forty to sixty percent off existing stock. You will get a pricing guide tomorrow.
“Kitchen and Bath, two words. Copper cookware, POP material is right here.
“Home and Leisure, we have new luggage from the Safari Collection. The World Traveler line is now exclusive to the manufacturer’s European retailer, so pull everything this afternoon. Thank you, enjoy your lunch.”
The girls arrive by cab and enter the department store.
“It’s quiet today.” Stacy said.
“Most of the staff are on a break at this time, I’ve done surveillance.” Marisa said.
They get on the escalator.
“We’re passing all the good stuff.” Stacy said.
“Never mind the shoes, we’re going up to four.” Marisa said.
“Home decor? Bedding?” Kayla said.
“Luggage.” Marisa said.
Marisa leads her friends to a display area.
“Its’ part of the World Traveler collection, hard sided with sturdy locks and designed to protect your belongings by jet, caravan or jungle guide.” Marisa said.
Marisa uses Stacy’s phone to take a picture of the suitcase and surrounding display rack then pulls the case from the shelf, opens it on the floor and removes the keys inside.
“In your pocket are two pieces of rope and a white scarf. Tie me up, lock me inside taking the keys and put the case back on the shelf. Send Dean the first text and wait in the coffee shop across the street. When he enters the store send the second text telling him he’ll have to buy the suitcase to get the keys, then just have some fun.” Marisa said.
“A lot of trouble to go through just to have dinner.” Kayla said.
“This is an overnight date, we’re going to the Ritz.” Marisa said.
“What if someone tries to buy you before Dean gets here?” Kayla said.
“It’s been here over two weeks, what are the odds someone will buy it in the next two hours? Besides, no one would buy a suitcase without opening it.” Marisa said.
“That’s right, they would call a clerk who would have you arrested.” Stacy said.
“I know I’m in good hands. Now let’s do this before we get caught.” Marisa said.
Marisa slides her stocking feet out of her heels and puts them and her purse in the pocket along the inside edge of the suitcase.
Kayla ties her wrists behind her back. She sits down in the case with her legs over the side and Stacy ties her ankles.
Marisa opens her mouth and Kayla pulls the rolled up scarf between Marisa’s teeth and knots it behind her head. Kayla and Stacy help Marisa curl up in the case with her back along the hinged side, make sure her hair is clear of the edge and close the case. Stacy closes the latches, snaps the locking tabs into place and slips the keys into her pocket, then lifts the case upright sliding it back onto the display shelf.
They order coffee and take a sidewalk table facing the store. Stacy sends the first message.
“Maybe all this will give Dean grey hair like the guy from TV.” Kayla said.
“He’s taking her games in his stride. Where she comes up with this stuff though.” Stacy said.
“I walk in her place the other day and she’s handcuffed to the radiator trying to reach the key with her toes.” Kayla said.
“So she was glad to see you?” Stacy said.
“At first, but I was like oh, you almost got it, if that toe were just a little longer. I’m getting coffee you want one. Right your busy, I’ll be right back. Don’t give up.” Kayla said.
“You gotta do that with her.” Stacy said.
“Is that Dean?” Kayla said.
“Yeah, guess he rented an SUV for the date.” Kayla said.
“Hopefully he’ll have enough money left to buy our little hostage an appetizer.” Stacy said.
“We were just following orders.” Kayla said.
“Famous last words. I’m sending the next text, when he comes out I’ll send him down Main, traffic will slow him down while we grab the subway to Market Street.” Kayla said.
Stacy’s phone chimes.
“Something’s wrong.” Stacy said.
The girls dodge traffic in a mad dash across the street. Dean steps onto the sidewalk.
“Where’s the suitcase?” Stacy said.
“There is no suitcase.” Dean said.
They return to the fourth floor and find a sales clerk.
“We’re interested in the luggage that was here earlier.” Stacy said.
“World Traveler.” Kayla said.
“That line is discontinued, but I would be happy to show you our new . . .” Clerk said.
“No.” Stacy said.
“She means is the luggage still here, like in the back room?” Kayla said.
“It’s in receiving but it’s not available for sale.” Clerk said.
“I suggest you make it available.” Stacy said.
“Let me call my supervisor, perhaps we can make an exception.” Clerk said.
“Another plan where she ends up in a basement.” Stacy said.
“Whatever, if we have to we’ll just come clean and get her out of here.” Dean said.
“I guess this evening is over.” Kayla said.
“It ain’t over till the hostage eats.” Stacy said.
The clerk returns, “I’m sorry, that merchandise is being returned to the manufacturer, it’s on a truck to the docks as we speak. I can show you . . .”
Dean, Stacy and Kayla jump in the SUV.
“Head south, I’m bringing up my traffic app.” Stacy said.
DELIVERY TRUCK, 3 BLOCKS FROM SEAPORT ENTRANCE
The company issued cell phone rings in the cab. Benny answers since Ray is driving. After a number of “uh-huhs”, “Okays”, and one “you don’t say” Benny ends the call.
“The docks are closed.” Benny said.
“Again, they just reopened?” Ray said.
“Strike is back on. Boss says it looks bad this time, anyway the boat is sailing.” Benny said.
“So we’re taking this stuff back to the store?” Ray said.
“Nope, manufacturer doesn’t want to pay storage and we’re no longer authorized to sell it. We’re supposed to dump it.” Benny said.
“You sure?” Ray said.
“Boss says City docks are open, dump the whole pallet onto a garbage barge.” Benny said.
“No wonder we never get a raise.” Ray said.
SECURITY GUARD CHECKPOINT, SEAPORT ENTRANCE
“I’m telling you lady the docks are closed, nothings come in here. Now I’ll have to ask you to leave.” Guard said.
“Who are you calling?” Kayla said.
Stacy raises a finger as she waits for her call to connect. “Receiving please . . . Yes, I’m calling about the World Traveler luggage . . . Yes, I’m the crazy woman . . . I don’t care what the clerk said, I’m at the docks right now . . . Oh my God . . . Drive!”
“Where?” Dean said.
“I don’t know, I’m looking . . . River Street one mile west of the ferry terminal.” Stacy said.
“What happened?” Kayla said.
“She said they dumped it at the bulk collection terminal. Turn here, take the Church Street Bridge across the river. Go!” Stacy said.
“I can’t go, the bridge is going up.” Dean said.
“Oh my God, look!” Stacy said.
Stacy jumps from the back seat and runs toward the bridge. Kayla and Dean run after her. The three arrive at the bridge railing together. Kayla spots the circling seagulls, her eyes follow one down to the moving trash. The tug sounds two toots to signal it’s clear and pushes the loaded garbage barge down river toward the sea.
“Oh my God.” Kayla said.
“Come on, we can catch it down river.” Stacy said as they run back to the car.
DELIVERY TRUCK, 865 PULASKI STREET
Ray pulls up to the curb in front of St. Stanislaus Church and sets the brake.
“You gotta light a candle or something Ray?” Benny said.
“My kid goes to school here. The nuns are making one of those pilgrimage, you know, see the Pope, and we’re making a donation.” Ray said.
“That’s nice Ray, but I’m a little short this week.” Benny said.
“You idiot, we’re giving them the luggage.” Ray said.
“But Ray, it ain’t ours.” Benny said.
“They told us to throw it away, right? You take stuff out of the trash and you don’t consider it stealing. Well we’re going to pretend we threw it in the trash and then got it out, thus making it ours. Kapeesh?” Ray said.
“While you’re straining yourself thinking about it, put the lift gate down.” Ray said.
Ray walks to the convent next to the church and rings the bell.
FRONT SITTING ROOM, ST. STANISLAUS CONVENT
“It’s a shame the other sisters aren’t here to see this, such a generous gift.” Sister Theresa said.
“Yes it is, we won’t have to draw from the travel funds to buy luggage.” Sister Sofia said.
“It still doesn’t fund your visit to San Galgano Sister.” Sister Theresa said.
“Our visit, I promised to show you the Tuscany village where I was born. We have the Bishop’s permission, we’re going to stay at my family’s home, and all we need is our own bus fare. Look at the blessing we’ve already received, He is surely smiling on us Sister, have faith that something is about to turn up. Now let’s put these bags in the storage room.” Sister Sofia said.
“This one is heavier than the others Sister, it appears to be full.” Sister Theresa said.
“Of money! Open it, there could be a reward.” Sister Sofia said.
“It believe it’s locked.” Sister Theresa said.
“The bags are matching, maybe they use the same key, try this one.” Sister Sofia said.
Sister Theresa unlocks the case and flips the top over. Marisa sits up and stares at the nuns.
“Oh my!” Sister Theresa said and pulls the gag from Marisa’s mouth.
“Hello Sister Sofia, it’s me, Marisa Daly.” Marisa said.
“I remember you, still a devil, just not so little.” Sister Sofia said.
“You know this woman?” Sister Theresa said.
“From my history and Religion classes. She tried to sneak out of detention by hiding in a book bag. Fortunately it’s not hard to spot a kid having a hernia carrying a book bag. What is it this time, not enough frequent flier miles?” Sister Sofia said.
“I’m playing a game with my boyfriend. I couldn’t help hearing the conversation about funds for your trip home. Perhaps we can help each other?” Marisa said.
Sister Theresa said, “I don’t think the Good Lord . . .”
“Would want us to pass up an opportunity to help the faithful.” Sister Sofia said.
“Sister Sofia!” Sister Theresa said.
“What! We can’t hear what she has to say?” Sister Sofia said.
RIVER STREET AT OCEAN VIEW DRIVE
“It’s no use, the barge is leaving the channel and heading out to sea.” Kayla said.
“What are we going to do?” Stacy said.
“We’re calling the police.” Dean said.
“He’s right, we have to save Marisa whatever happens.” Kayla said.
Stacy pulls her phone from her pocket. “There’s a message from Marisa’s phone.”
“What’s it say?” Dean said.
“You’re not going to believe this.”
RITZ HOTEL, UNDERGROUND PARKING LEVEL 3
Kayla, Stacy and Dean approach two nuns next to a Volvo wagon.
“You two! I should have known, still three peas in a pod.” Sister Sofia said.
“Did you bring my girlfriend?” Dean said.
“You don’t trust two nuns in a station wagon?” Sister Sofia said, raises the lift gate on the Volvo and opens the suitcase.
Marisa lifts her head and Dean steps up to the car. The ropes from her wrists and ankles are in the bottom of the case and the gag hangs around her neck.
“Well, did you bring the money?” Marisa said.
Dean pulls a folded wad of bills out of his pocket.
“It’s not ransom, it’s a donation for a very worthy cause.” Marisa said.
“Bless you child.” Sister Sofia said and yanks the bills from Dean’s fingers.
“Now I’m hungry, I hope you have . . .”
Dean shoves Marisa’s head down, closes the case and hauls it out of the tailgate by the handle.
“You take good care of her.” Sister Sofia said.
“Thank you sisters.” Kayla and Stacy said together as the three walk toward the elevators with Dean carrying the suitcase.
“She was one of my favorite students, never let getting in some trouble stand in the way of having fun. Though I think those other two talked her into it.” Sister Sofia said, getting her cell phone from the glove box.
Kayla, Stacy and Dean get on the elevator and Dean pushes the button for the main lobby.
“I need to calm my nerves, can I buy you girls a drink?” Dean said.
“I’ll get you a drink.” Stacy said.
“What about our hostage?” Kayla said.
“No problem.” Stacy said.
They get off the elevator and walk to the registration desk. Stacy motions for Dean to put the suitcase on the luggage stand.
“Hi, we’re planning a very special evening for my best friend and her soon to be fiancé here, and we have a few more details to discuss in the bar. If you could have this bag brought to the room that would be awesome.” Stacy said.
“The Ritz is a wonderful place to begin an engagement, and host a wedding. What name is the room under?” Desk Clerk said.
“Marisa Daly.” Stacy said.
The desk clerk uses the computer, “And you’re Mr. Fowler?”
“Yes.” Dean said.
“Room eleven twenty seven, here is you’re key card, and I’ll see to the bag. Please enjoy a complimentary beverage in our bar, congratulations and thank you for choosing the Ritz.” Desk Clerk said handing Dean some coupons.
“Thank you.” Dean said and they head toward the bar, “soon to be fiancé?”
“I said I’d get you a drink. Woman don’t pay for alcohol, it’s a union thing.” Stacy said.
The desk clerk attaches a tag to the handle of the suitcase and places it on a luggage cart with six other bags. A bell hop arrives to deliver the bags to the rooms.
“This one is heavy, probably champagne bottles. It’s an engagement.” Desk Clerk said.
Inside the suitcase Marisa feels for her purse, gets her phone and texts ‘plan B.’
Kayla, Stacy and Dean use their free drink coupons at the bar and take a table.
“Another game that’s taken on a life of its own.” Kayla said.
“That’s part of the fun for her, the unexpected.” Stacy said.
“And part of the horror for us.” Dean said.
“Like spending the night in a box locked in Dean’s storage locker.” Kayla said.
“Exactly, it wasn’t our fault the super chose that day to start locking the basement at night. We got her out first thing the next morning.” Stacy said.
“You wanted to get coffee.” Kayla said.
“Second thing. Her bondage angel was watching over anyway.” Stacy said.
“What angel?” Dean said.
“Stacy thinks Marisa has a bondage angel on her shoulder.” Kayla said.
“How did she end up with nuns from our school? How do you explain that?” Stacy said.
“Bondage angel?” Kayla said.
“Exactly.” Stacy said.
“So what’s the new plan?” Kayla said.
“Let her enjoy herself a while longer and you two can go up and help her put herself together. Then you can take the rental and pick us up in the morning.” Dean said.
HALLWAY OUTSIDE ROOM 1127
“What are you shushing me for, she knows we’re coming she texted us.” Sister Sofia said.
“I got carried away, this is becoming quite fun.” Sister Theresa said.
Sister Sofia slides Marisa’s key card into the lock and opens the door.
“It’s a suite, you search the sitting room and I’ll take the bedroom.” Sister Theresa said.
“Or we could just start with the luggage table.” Sister Sofia said.
Sister Sofia pops the latches of the suitcase and throws the top open.
“Hello Sisters, did you have any trouble?” Marisa said.
“Nobody saw us, what do you want us to do?” Sister Sofia said.
“Here’s the plan.” Marisa said.
RITZ HOTEL BAR
“We better go up and get the hostage primped for dinner.” Stacy said.
“Here’s the room and car keys, you can go straight to the garage.” Dean said.
Kayla and Stacy walk across the lobby and board the elevator.
“What do you want to do tonight, any good movies playing?” Kayla said.
“Our favorite comedian is headlining tonight, we could catch the second show.” Stacy said.
“Where?” Kayla said.
“The comedy club in Brookdale.” Stacy said.
“Brookdale! The train will take . . .”
Stacy rattles the car keys in Kayla’s face.
“We can’t put that many miles . . . okay, but I tried to talk you out of it.” Kayla said.
The elevator door opens on the eleventh floor. A short walk and Stacy slides the key card into the lock and opens the room. As they walk past the bathroom and closet into the sitting room a hand clamps over each of their mouths from behind.
“Slight change of plans girls.” Marisa said stepping in front of them.
Marisa ties Stacy’s hands behind her back, then relieves Sister Theresa of her captive and pushes her onto the sofa. Marisa repeats the process with Kayla.
“Thank you Sisters, I can take it from here.” Marisa said.
“Are you sure? We could do more.” Sister Theresa said.
“Let’s go before evening prayer becomes confession.” Sister Sofia said.
Marisa sees the Sisters out and locks the door. She uses another piece of rope to lash Kayla’s ankles together then pulls Stacy to her feet and walks her into the bedroom.
Stacy is led to one of the full size beds and pushed on. She scoots across the royal blue bedspread to the center and sits with her legs straight.
Marisa pulls off Stacy’s shoes, drags her left ankle to the corner of the mattress and brings a leather cuff attached to a rope from under the bed to secure her leg. Stacy’s right ankle is cuffed to the opposite corner.
“Did the sisters help with the bondage equipment too?” Stacy said.
“Funny, I rigged the room last night so everything would be ready for tonight.” Marisa said.
“So you already had a room key.” Stacy said.
“I see a night light glowing in that brain of yours.” Marisa said.
Marisa unties Stacy’s hands and brings her left hand to the top corner of the mattress pulling another cuff from under the bed.
“That’s not fair, you had a secret plan.” Stacy said.
“Not true,” Marisa said, now cuffing Stacy’s right wrist, “this was all for me and Dean, but you two couldn’t manage to keep a girl locked in a suitcase.”
Marisa brings Kayla into the bedroom and uses the same process to cuff her spread-eagle to the second bed.
“The responsible villain has a plan for everything.” Marisa said.
“We were following your plan.” Kayla said.
Marisa shoves her hand under Stacy’s butt to get the car keys from her back pocket.
“Talk it over amongst yourselves, I’m on a schedule, ta-ta girls.” Marisa said, picks up her purse and the the suitcase and leaves the room.
In the hall Marisa checks that the room door is locked and walks down the hall toward the elevator. She knows from the sisters the car is on parking level 3 and pushes the button. She steps off and chirps the security system several times with the key fob to locate the car.
She opens the lift gate, puts the suitcase on the rear deck and gets her cell phone out. She puts her purse in the suitcase and places the suitcase in the cargo hold under the rear deck, then lowers the lift gate. Marisa gets in the front seat, puts the key under the floor mat and creates a message for Dean on her phone.
‘Good evening Mr. Fowler. Your date has been recaptured and awaits rescue. Use the car to return home, you will receive further instructions. The key is under the floor mat.’
Marisa hits send then climbs into the back seat and lays on the floor. It’s not long before she sees movement through the tinted rear window.
Dean gets behind the wheel, finds the key and starts the engine. He backs out of the parking space and heads for the exit ramp.
Marisa prepares another message. ‘Find a store to buy a roll of duct tape then go up to your apartment. Walk.’
Dean finds a spot in front of the apartment building and pulls up to the curb. Marisa hits send and instantly hears Dean’s phone chime. He gets out and locks the car with the key fob.
Marisa waits a minute, climbs into the front, unlocks the car with the door switch and pops the lift gate. She goes to the back, gets the suitcase, closes the lift gate then hits the lock switch on the open front door, slams it shut and enters the building.
In Dean’s apartment Marisa puts the suitcase on the bed. She strips out of her dress, bra, shoes, hose and panties and puts them in the clothes hamper she bought for him. He won’t see them in there because he never uses it. She uses the toilet, sets the alarm clock on the bedside table, opens the suitcase, climbs in and lowers the lid.
Marisa hears Dean come in and move around the apartment. Soon the case is flipped open.
“Thank God you found me, it was horrible.” Marisa said.
“Why did we leave the hotel?” Dean said.
“Change of plans, we’ll go back again. It’s time to ravish the rescued damsel.” Marisa said.
“What’s the duct tape for?” Dean said.
“I’m sure you’ll think of something.” Marisa said.
“I’m going to get out of these clothes and take a shower first.” Dean said. He closes and latches the suitcase, lowers it to the floor and slides it under the bed with his foot.
Relaxed after a hot shower, Dean lays down for a few minutes before getting Marisa out to play.
RITZ HOTEL, ROOM 1127
“Weren’t we the ones who use to talk her into things?” Kayla said.
“Those were the days,” Stacy said, “hey, remember at camp when we hid her in a cooler to prank the counselors and she got loaded onto a bus.”
“She almost had a free trip to Philly in her swim suit.” Kayla said.
“They have a lot of fountains there, don’t they?” Stacy said.
“Yeah, so it would have been fine.” Kayla said.
“Do you think she’s trying to tell us something?” Stacy said.
“Once she’s locked in whatever it doesn’t matter what we do. She’s having her fantasy and we can make the rules.” Kayla said.
“Just what I was thinking,” Stacy said, “do you think she’s coming back for us?”
“I’m sure we’re included somewhere in her stupendously crafted evil plan.” Kayla said.
“She’s just winging it, isn’t she?” Stacy said.
“Pretty sure,” Kayla said, “Stacy, do you think we have a bondage angel?”
“I think our angel is Marisa’s angel.” Stacy said.
“We’re going to be here all night, aren’t we?” Kayla said.
“Pretty sure.” Stacy said.
Dean is startled awake by the alarm. He looks at the clock and remembers Marisa is still under the bed, then he remembers he didn’t set the alarm. He pulls the suitcase from under the bed and opens it.
“Hey wake up, what was the alarm for?” Dean said.
“The girls.” Marisa said brushing Dean’s hand from her shoulder and going back to sleep.
“Wake up, what about the girls?” Dean said.
“Go get them before the maid service comes.” Marisa said.
“I gave my room key to Stacy.” Dean said.
“In my purse in the hamper,” Marisa said, “don’t forget my stuff, I’ll be right here.”
“I don’t think so.” Dean said, closing and latching the suitcase.
Dean throws on some clothes, picks up the case and heads for the car. He raises the lift gate with the key fob and puts the case in, then gets behind the wheel and heads for the hotel.
Dean leaves the suitcase in the car and goes up to the room. Stacy and Kayla run to the toilet as they’re released, then the room is scoured for Marisa’s toys, packing them in a canvas bag left in the dresser drawer.
Dean checks out at the front desk and they all go to the car. Stacy gets in the back seat, reaches over and pats the top of the case.
“It’s like Deja vu all over again.” Stacy said.
“Let’s get you two home.” Dean said.
“Wait! Has anybody in this car eaten in the last twelve hours?” Kayla said.
“I could eat.” Stacy said.
“Then we’re all going to breakfast.” Kayla said.
“Sounds good, but Marisa is only wearing a suitcase,” Dean said.
“Then we’re going to Mama San’s Cafe, stop at my place on the way.” Stacy said.
“Why there?” Dean said.
“Because her food is good, because she’s a single mom and small business owner and we support her, but mostly because she knows us and won’t call the cops.” Stacy said.
“What are you planning?” Kayla said.
“I’m taking control.” Stacy said.
Dean parks in front of Stacy’s building. She jumps out and returns with a two handle shopping bag. Dean drives the two blocks to the restaurant and parks around the corner in the ally. Kayla gets in the back seat.
Stacy opens the suitcase, “I have clothes for you.”
Marisa climbs over the seat between Stacy and Kayla. Stacy pulls the top item from the bag.
“What is that?” Kayla and Marisa say in unison.
“My Halloween costume from that sorority fundraiser.” Stacy said.
“You were a baby.” Marisa said.
“I added some extras, you’ll be even more adorable.” Stacy said.
“I am not putting that on.” Marisa said.
“Or we kick you out naked with a subway token,” Stacy said, “well?”
“I’m thinking it over.” Marisa said.
“Ask yourself one question, do you feel hungry?” Stacy said in a bad Eastwood imitation.
The girls get out of the car. Marisa is wearing a white one piece sleeper printed with multicolored rattles, blocks and booties. A pink pacifier gag is kept in place with clear straps partially hidden by the hoodie held snug around her face by a pink ribbon draw string tied in a bow under her chin. On her feet are bunny slippers.
“Almost ready.” Stacy said and takes a web harness from the bag. She guides Marisa’s arms through from the front and steps behind her to buckle it.
“Baby reins?” Kayla said.
“Safety first.” Stacy said, then draws Marisa’s arms behind her and connects her wrists with handcuffs. She clips a leash to a D-ring on Marisa’s chest harness. “All set.”
“I love this.” Kayla said, takes the leash from Stacy and leads Marisa around the corner toward the entrance door of the restaurant.
Mama San’s seats about fifty, one third at a counter and the rest divided between tables and booths. The restaurant is half full and goes completely silent when the group walks in with Marisa in tow.
“She lost a bet.” Stacy said. A collective Oh from the patrons and everyone returns to their own business.
They decide on a booth along the front window. Stacy makes Marisa get in first and sits next to her. A server brings menus.
“I think we know what we want.” Stacy said.
“What about her?” Dean said nodding toward Marisa.
“Order for her, consider it dad training.” Stacy said.
“Well, I guess . . .”
“Four Qi’a, three coffee, and milk with a straw,” Stacy said and hands the menus back, “you gotta be quick with kids,” snapping her fingers at Dean.
The server brings four bowls of Asian style oatmeal and the beverages. Stacy unties the pink ribbon, pulls the hoodie down and unbuckles the gag. The ball makes a soft pop as it exits Marisa’s mouth. Stacy uses a napkin to wipe drool from Marisa’s chin. Marisa leans forward and holds her wrists toward Stacy.
“Babies don’t feed themselves.” Stacy said.
Defeated Marisa sits back and waits to be spoon fed. A plastic bib descends over Marisa’s head. Mama San is kneeling on the seat behind Marisa knotting the ties.
“She real cute, this keep baby clean.”
“Thank you Mama San, we love you.” Stacy said.
They finish eating and Dean goes up to pay the check while Stacy puts Marisa’s pacifier back in and reties the hoodie. Stacy helps Marisa out of the booth. She and Kayla meet Dean at the door with Marisa shuffling behind and they all step out to the sidewalk.
“It’s a beautiful day,” Kayla said, “We haven’t been all together for ages, we should do something.”
“The art and music festival in the park?” Stacy said.
“Yes, we should go.” Kayla said.
“Parking down there though.” Dean said.
“We’ll take the subway, we’ll be back in a few hours to get the car.” Stacy said.
“It’s a plan,” Kayla said, “come on baby, we go bye-bye on the train.”
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