comainterrupted
The Beginning
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The Raven



Jeanette and Michael
A line-by-line dialog

“Jeanette, I could use a drink.”
“What mix, sir?”
“You don’t have to call me sir.”
“I understand, sir - your choice of cocktail?”
“What do I usually like?”
“Ten and tonic, sir.”
“Fine. A tall glass, please.”
“Yes, sir. And you need not be so overly courteous.”
“Jesus, why must you be such a pain in the ass?”
“Tall ten and tonic. Fine. Lime?”
“Whatever.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Don’t- Oh, never mind.”

* * *

“Your drinkie, sir.”
“Don’t be a wiseass.”
“Yes, sir. Will there be anything else?”
“Not now. Go shopping or something.”
“What would I be picking up, sir?”
“I don’t know. Get some lamb or something.”
“Chops?”
“Fine.”
“Loin or rib?”
“Whatever. Just pick up what you think looks good.”
“Yes, sir.”
“One more ‘sir’ and you’re fired.”
“But then who will get your lamb, sir?”
“Damn it, anyway.”

* * *

“I hired her because she excels at assisting with my affairs, and I enjoy looking at her.”
“Well, she is lovely.”
“Yes, quite. And wonderfully discrete.”
“Have you considered asking her to dress down a bit? I mean, she might be more comfortable and not so… uptight. Besides, you already know what she looks like underneath.”
“Don’t bring that up.”
“Sorry.”
“You know how I feel.”
“Does Jeanette?”
“What are you talking about? Of course!”
“Look, it’s not my fault the conversation has gone in this direction.”
“So, what are you saying?”
“I’m saying, you have become a little too dependent upon the time you spend with her. I mean, have you noticed how hostile you’ve been to outsiders lately?”
“I’m sure I haven’t the slightest idea to what you are referring.”
“Whatever.”

* * *

“Jeanette?”
“Yes, sir?”
“Stand by the fireplace.”
“How would you like me to pose?”
“It is not a pose.”
“How would you like me?”
“Just face to the port slightly, and extend one leg toward the chair.”
“Thus?”
“Yes, that will be fine.”
“Alright.”
“Maybe ten minutes.”
“Alright.”

* * *

“Are you getting tired?”
“I am fine.”
“Just finishing.”

* * *

“You may return to your work now.”
“I’ll be in the galley.”
“Thank you, Jeanette.”
“You’re welcome, sir.”

* * *

“Mr. Trinidad, sir?”
“Call me Michael, and what is it?”
“Please don’t make my ass appear too large, sir.”
“Your ass is far too small to appear large.”
“Yes, sir, but with respect…”
“What is it?”
“It’s just that your drawings are not necessarily true to life, sir.”
“I realize that. I’m trying to do your beauty justice, and you have to understand that it is difficult.”
“Yes, sir. Would you like a drink?”
“You seem to know me pretty well, what do you think?”
“Coming up, sir.”
“Jeanette, I have asked you repeatedly not to call me sir. You need not be so formal.”
“Yes, sir, but it’s in my nature.”
“We’ll have to work on that. Are you feeling a need for professional detachment?”
“Not at all, sir. I enjoy being a part of this.”
“That’s good. I enjoy your being here. Very much, in fact.”
“I know that, sir. I’ll be right back.”
“Alright.”

* * *

“You startled me.”
“I’m sorry Jeanette. I could have sworn the flash was defeated. Go back to sleep.”
“Yes, sir.”

* * *

“Did you draw her again?”
“Of course. You know I did.”
“How does it look?”
“You tell me.”
“Nice work on the chair.”
“You ass.”
“Maybe you should find a less attractive subject. I can’t imaging trying to reproduce her on paper.”
“I’ve had no training, you know.”
“Don’t get testy. I’m just saying.”
“I know.”
“You know you don’t need to tell me how you feel. I can always see it.”

* * *

“One of these days I’m going to put the real you on that paper.”
“Yes, sir.”

* * *

“What is it, Jeanette?”
“Well, I’ve been here for two years, and your nighttime photography is becoming a bit… unnerving.”
“I’m sorry. It’s just that you’re never more natural.”
“I understand. If it’s that important to you, sir…”
“It is.”
“Alright, sir. A drink, perhaps?”
“That would be lovely. Join me?”
“Just one, sir.”
“Alright.”

* * *

“Mr. Trinidad?”
“Yes?”
“What happened this afternoon?”
“You drank too much.”
“Yes, sir. Can you tell me why I am wearing your pajamas?”
“It’s odd, I know, but I have an aversion to going into your things. I put them on you.”
“Yes, sir.”
“You insisted on another drink.”
“I believe you, but it is very unnerving to not realize a loss of control.”
“I understand. I have also experienced such.”
“Yes, sir.”
“And… you can trust me.”
“I do, sir. Completely.”
“I will always take care of you, Jeanette. No matter the circumstances.”
“Thank you, sir.”
“I want you to feel at home here, and to want for nothing.”
“Yes, sir.”
“Do you know how many staff I have here?”
“Forty-one, including myself.”
“That’s correct. And how many of my staff are living in a master stateroom?”
“Just me, sir.”
“With good reason.”
“Yes, sir.”

* * *

“How have you been dealing with such a lack of trips ashore? Is your staff permanent?”
“They are.”
“So how are you coping?”
“I spend quite a bit of time on the aft deck.”
“Any activities there? Do members of the staff visit periodically?”
“Jeanette visits. No one else.”
“I see. Have you been spending time exercising what we discussed?”
“I have attempted it.”
“And…?”
“I prefer to be alone, save for her company.”
“Yes, but you need to make a conscious effort to socialize with others. You need some interaction with people or your withdrawal can deepen.”
“As you’ve told me.”
“Well?”
“I understand that you are looking to improve my situation, but you must also realize how difficult this can be. Please keep in mind that my interaction with her is deeply important to me.”
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