Rachel has introduced something delightful and new; something Jenny eloquently coined as a lovechild between Beautiful People and Snippets. It is Chatterbox! The rules for October’s Chatterbox? None; except several of your characters must be doing something which involves coffee. I thought none would be better for this than my lazy wysling Asterope and his outspoken apprentice, Theodora. (Shout-out to Theodora Ashcraft, for whom my Theodora Ashcraft was named!) Most of you have not yet met Theodora and you don’t know Asterope well, but I hope this gives you some fun insight into their personalities.
The wysling’s book plunged from his hands and landed on the floor as he sat up. “The fire extinguisher is under the kitchen sink and the first aid kit is in the broom closet!”
Theodora frowned. “I’m not bleeding, and nothing is on fire. You wanted coffee. I made coffee.”
“Oh,” he said, a pleasant smile settling on his face. “Thank you very much.”
“It was five minutes ago.”
He leaned over the side of the couch and retrieved his book. “Your point being?”
“My point being,” said Theodora, planting her free hand on her hip while her other hand clutched the cup of steaming coffee, “you and your whole narcolepsy thing have gotta quit. Especially since I know it ain’t narcolepsy you’ve got.”
“What have I got?” he inquired, one hand stretched out toward the coffee cup.
“Chronic lazybones,” she said. She began to hand the cup to him, but snatched it back. “And you know what?”
“Oh dear,” he said. “You didn’t make the coffee quite so strong as last time, did you? I had to slice it with a knife.”
She ignored him and blazed on. “I’m sick and tired of doing all the work around here while you drape yourself all over the furniture like some kind of humanoid blanket.”
“Theo,” he said reproachfully, but she held up a hand.
“I’m not finished.” He sank back with a doleful expression on his face while Theodora continued, “It’s about time you did some work around here. And don’t give me all that about being busy on a cellular level.”
“But Theo,” he tried again.
She snapped her fingers. “I’m talking to you!”
He gave her a tired salute. “Please continue.”
She opened her mouth, then shut it again; her face flushed and her lips pinched. After a moment of swollen silence, she blew out a deep sigh. “Forget it,” she said, and held the cup out. “Just drink your stupid coffee.”
He accepted the cup. “You’re a bit of all right, have I told you?”
“A few times,” she said. “It never hurts to hear it again.” She walked away toward the kitchen, but his voice stopped her.
“Where are you going?”
She rolled her eyes. “To get some coffee of my own. No, no; don’t get up.”
He stood anyway and set the coffee down in midair, where it hovered obediently. “Please,” he said, with a gallant bow, “sit down. I think it’s high time I poured you a cup of coffee, after all.”
“Sure it won’t be too much of a strain on the ol’ ticker?” she asked in a tone equal parts dry humor and surprise as she sat down in the worn plush chair.
He pushed open the door and gave her a cocky wink. “I think I can handle it,” he said. “And anyway, if I can’t, I’ll just take a nap and dream about a world in which I can.”