Chapter 5: How do you spell it?
“Ilona?” Collette is trying the name out on her tongue. “Ilona. How do you spell it? One or two L’s? And how many N’s? Is it Scandinavian?” With the name now firmly part of her, she launches questions at light speed.
“She actually looks Gallifreyian,” Clara offers. Madison giggles and presses buttons on her phone with maniacal delight.
“I – I don’t know that other country. And my name is spelled I – L – O – N – A.”
“Great! Something else to catch her up on. Who is gonna loan her their dvd’s?” Clara declares, looking around at everyone. Ilona has no idea what new thing they are talking about.
“I’ll swipe my sisters again. I will distract her with jam, that always works.” Madison has finished her first giggling fit, and quickly shot in a question before starting another. “What’s yer cell number?”
Ilona is completely caught off guard with this moment. She has no cell phone, smart or otherwise, and knew none are forthcoming on the horizon. A world ending turmoil brought the book into her new life, Ilona can not even imagine the stress and anxiety a device like that would harbor. She knows she has to admit this embarrassing fact, since truthfulness is the policy of her new existence, and tries to answer before these forever bits in her mind drag on forever. Ilona forces her mouth to move, scant micro-seconds after Madison’s inquiry but which seems like an infinity internally.
“I don’t have a cell phone.” Ilona pronounces the words like a death sentence. She expects stares to cast her out, but is instead met by a singular voice.
“I don’t have one either.” Collette volunteers. “Maybe some day, who knows?”
“No worries, shout me your home number. Parents can be so unreasonable with all this phone stuff. We can’t use ours on the weekend. Ugh. Life is soooo unfair.” Madison rolls her head and eyes in synchronicity.
During all this interplay, Ilona does not even notice Cynthia pulling her eyes off of her and proceeding to produce a coiled notepad. With careful movement, she rips a blank page out, then tears it into strips, then rips each strip in half. Whether or not she has done this before, Ilona does not know, but this preciseness and sense of mission intrigues and impresses her. Her gaze takes in the non-surprised demeanor of the rest of the girls.
“Ilona is Hungarian. The name is, not necessarily you, Ilona.” Susan holds up her smartphone. “Google.”
Cynthia is writing, very neatly, all over each of her paper bits, flipping very swiftly from one to the other.
“Oh Hungarian! It that in Europe? Could never remember geography. Or history.” Clara interjects.
“Yes. Eastern Europe. Used to be a part of the Soviet Union.” Susan looks up, as she recites this information from memory.
“And freed in the late 1980’s.” Collette pipes in, glancing over at Susan.
“KNOWLEDGE IS POWER!” Both girls high five, in a slap so hard Ilona feels the shockwave. She cannot imagine the pain their hands must be in, which neither girl gives any indication to be experiencing. The explosion of enthusiasm does not register on Cynthia, still busy at work on her pile of little papers.
“Gag with a spoon and save me from the mutual admiration society.” Madison sticks out her tongue while gesturing her finger down her mouth. “I knew Hungary was someplace on Earth.”
“Tracy really has to stop showing you those ancient YouTube videos. I remember that link, and that was weird. Really really weird.” Clara sticks her tongue out as well.
Ilona laughs at the silliness at display, even if she has no clue what injokes and people and concepts are now being referenced in the slightest. Part of her likes this secret code being transmitted between them all, and how they trust her enough, right away, to let her in on it. She desperately takes more mental notes of virtually everything being said, hoping to decipher some of it later. This way, she could fully join their ranks even faster. As Susan and Collette both shouted, knowledge is power.
“Must – stop – watching — old – YouTube — videos!” Madison fake gasps, clutching her hands to her neck. Clara waves both her hands at Madison, miming as if this situation is her causing.
“Would you stop Force-choking her? She still owes me money. And I want real money back this time.” Susan ticks her finger back and forth, coming across slightly motherly.
Cynthia, still not looking up at the merriment around her, is piling through the self generated paperwork before her.
“You have learned your lesson, Rebel Scum, and remember to pay back Princess Susan, or I shall be back!” Clara finishes by lowering her hands, then pumps out two deep breaths, both complete with fake straining in her sounds. Ilona beams with pride as she realizes she gets this reference.
“I wished I had gotten a picture of that face, it would have made a great profile pic of you.” Collette states, while Susan nods in approval.
Cynthia finally finishes her mystery task, than hands the small stack over to Ilona, which causes surprise to shoot through her body.
“The first slip is all our numbers, home and cells. The other slips are for you to write your number down on. If you ever want an insane conversation, call Madison and Clara. If you want an intellectual conversation, try Collette and Susan. And if you just want someone to talk to, about anything, call me.” Cynthia says all this very matter of factly, but with eyes locking onto Ilona again.
“That is us in a nutshell,” she finishes with a warm smile.
Song For This Chapter: The Rainbow Connection by The Muppets.
The Passport To The Wall is Copyright 2013 to Paul Riches
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First serialization started on Friday, June 7th, 2013.