A Friend in Need – The Land Without Mosquitos 3A

“I don’t know — I was like, five years old then.” Wings heard the annoyance in her own voice, but given the story that Jane was telling her, sounding a little peeved seemed appropriate. The twetny-two-year-old dancer and Best Buy employee scratched her scalp, ran slender fingers through the tight curls of her brown hair, and followed Jane into the living room. “Think it was Bush.”

Jane Summers was sitting on the couch, opened books arrayed around her on cushions, furniture, the floor, her lap. She turned quickly to Wings. “Which Bush?”

Wings shrugged, her t-shirt wrinkling up her shoulders. “I don’t know — George, maybe.”Jane slammed her right hand hard down hard on one of the open books. “Which George?”

Wings rolled her eyes, turned back to the kitchen of Jane’s apartment. “Look, I don’t know what’s going on with you, but if you want me to help, you’d best chill out.” She opened the refrigerator, grabed a soda can, closed the door, and sighed. She wanted to help Jane, her brother’s friend in college, a surrogate big sister since she’d moved to Chicago three years ago, a scared high school drop-out whose childhood nickname clung to her like a birthmark. Jane had put her up, helped her find her own place, a job, her first show — Wings owed her a lot, so when Jane had called that afternoon to ask (more like plead, which Jane never did) her to come over, she never hesitated. And when she arrived, and saw the wild look on the older woman’s face, Wings had told her to relax (using the same tone that Jane used when she felt desperate), because no matter what was wrong it was all going to work out. Wings had even used her grandmother’s favorite expression — There’s nothing man can do that cannot be undone.

But that was before Jane had said nobody was supposed to own a computer, that only the police and military had phones that worked without wires, that she couldn’t own a car because she hadn’t driven one in over a decade and who knows if she even knew how to drive anymore.

Jane Summers raked her fingernails back across her scalp, the scratching audible to Wings. “I’m sorry, Wings. I’m just trying to make sense out of this.”


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