Read In the Bag Online

Authors: Kate Klise

Tags: #Fiction, #General

In the Bag (7 page)

BOOK: In the Bag
11.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
P/blouses. Of course!
His next message to me arrived at the same second.
Fr: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your bag
Hey, do you tweet or do FB or any of that crapola? I don’t. Just thought I’d mention it so you don’t waste time looking for me. I did FB for a while. But it was so much work. Seemed too much like a job, y’know?


Fr: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your bag
IKR? It starts to feel like an obligation. Who needs that?
We have a lot in common, Spidey.


Fr: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your bag


Fr: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your bag
Spidey = short for Spiderman = He who spins a Web(b).


Fr: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Your bag
Ah, she’s a witty girl. Me like.
Okay, gotta sign off. My dad wants to go to dinner.
Later, Blouse Girl.

Wow. I needed to digest this back at Solange’s apartment, where I could think.

“Mom, are you ready?” I asked.

“Give me five minutes,” she said. “I’ve got some business to take care of.”



hat a day. The only good news was that Webb told me he’d tracked down his bag, but probably wouldn’t get it until we returned home. It didn’t matter. He could pick out some new clothes in Madrid, if I could ever tear him away from the hotel business center.

I probably shouldn’t have brought him along. He would’ve been happier spending his spring break at home with friends. Just as I was feeling grateful that he’d always managed to make nice friends, my BlackBerry signaled a new message.


Fr: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: Today
Andrew: Thank you for your hard work today. We will have everything perfect by Tuesday, yes?

I was starting to respond when I received another message.


Fr: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: FYI
Seat 13C: I found the note you placed in my bag without my knowledge or permission. Normally I wouldn’t respond to such a sophomoric prank, but I feel compelled to tell you how offensive I found your gesture, given the fact that you were traveling with someone else. I hope for her sake she wasn’t aware of your little note-passing hijinx—or the fact that you were trying to pick up at least one woman (who knows how many other notes you tucked away in women’s purses) on the flight from Chicago to Paris.
You wrote in your note that I am “first class.” I didn’t have the opportunity to see you, but I can tell from your behavior exactly what you are: a first-class ASS. If you contact me again, I will inform the airline of your unwanted, unappreciated, and completely unacceptable behavior.



t felt good to get that off my chest. Nancy was right. Better to express anger at the guilty party than keep it inside and let it fester until it becomes anxiety.

“C’mon, Mom, let’s go,” Coco said.

“Just a sec,” I said.

A new message had arrived from one of my oldest friends in the world, the woman whose apartment Coco and I were borrowing.


Fr: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: A favor, please
Bon soir, Daisy!
I hope by now you and Coco have settled in, yes? Please let me know if you cannot find something you need—or if you have forgotten how the shower works, etc. I stocked the refrig with your favorites (the cheese you call “stinky” is in the green glass container) and left an extra key on the desk for Coco. Did you find it? I wish I could be there to welcome you properly, but I am up to my eyebrows with this Madrid job.
This is why I am writing to you. I called the apartment several times today, but either you are not there (possible) or you are not taking my calls. (You are always the wonderful guest!) But I really need to talk with you. I will not go into details about what a f/ing mess this job has become. But everything has turned to merde in the final moment. I have technical problems, artistic problems, angry board members . . . and just today I learned the caterer I hired for the opening gala (Tuesday night) is cancelling because of a death in the family. Do you see where this is leading?
Daisy, chére, I am begging you (and yes, I know how desperate that sounds, but . . .), yes, BEGGING you to come to Madrid on Tuesday morning and cook. I do not care what you make. I do not care how you make it. I only need to feed 250 of Madrid’s most important art patrons. Can you help me? Not a full meal. Just hors d’oeuvres. Sweet or savory. You decide. Think about this, please, and call my cell phone. The number is on the desk.
Of course the museum will pay for your services, plus travel and hotel expenses for you and Coco. Did I mention that I am desperate?
Hopelessly devoted,
xx Solange

indeed. I was looking forward to a relaxing week in Paris. But Solange was a dear friend. I met her the year I lived in Paris. I was twenty-six and attending culinary school. She was forty, which seemed ancient to me at the time, and studying art.

Solange was the second person, besides me, to know I was pregnant with Coco. When I told her the news over a weepy, two-bottle-of-wine dinner, she gave me three orders:
Stop drinking. Stop smoking. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.
She also told me, as only a forty-year-old childless woman could tell a twenty-six-year-old pregnant and unmarried friend, that she regretted only the things she hadn’t done in her life, not the things she had.

More than anyone else, it was because of Solange that I became a mother. (Well, Solange and Coco’s father, of course.) It was the best decision I ever made—not just having a baby, but raising Coco on my own. I had the luxury of making enough money to do so, of course. But I also had the constitution to be a single parent. It was so much easier this way. No compromises or competing parenting styles. No anger at having to assume more than my share of the parental responsibilities. Only on rare occasions did I envy my married friends. Christmas mornings and Father’s Day. That was it.

I printed Solange’s e-mail. Walking back to the apartment, I read it to Coco.

“I hate to let her down,” I said. “But then again—”

“Mom,” Coco interrupted, “we should
help her out on this.”

“Really? You wouldn’t mind going to Madrid?”

“No!” she said. “Actually, it’s

I let the “actually” go.

“Honey,” I said, “it would cut into our Paris time. We might not have a chance to do all the things you—”

Coco stopped walking. “Mother,” she said, grabbing the e-mail printout from my hand and holding it in front of my face. “You don’t understand. We
to do this.”

Day 2: Monday



hen I woke up the next morning, I found a note from Dad.

Had to get an early start. Call when you wake up.

He left a local number, which I assumed was the Crystal Palace. I dialed the number from the phone on the nightstand.

“Dígame,” said the person on the other end of the line.

“Uh, puedo hablar con Andrew Nelson, por favor?” I asked, feeling like an idiot.


“El americano,” I explained. “Muy grande americano.”

In trying to describe my father, I sounded like I was ordering coffee. But it worked.

“Sí, sí,” replied the voice on the phone.

“Hello,” Dad said a minute later.

“Hey, it’s me.”

“Everything okay?” he asked. “I was beginning to worry.”

“Yeah. I didn’t even hear you leave this morning.”

“Good,” Dad replied. “Do you want me to come back to the hotel and get you? Or you could walk over here. You remember the way, don’t you? Whatever you want to do.”

I wanted to check my e-mail, but I couldn’t tell him that.

“I’ll come over there,” I said.

“Okay, grab some breakfast first at the hotel,” Dad said. “Charge it to the room. And then ask the concierge to draw you a map of how to get here, just in case. Be sure to tip him. I left some euros on the table for you.”

I saw the pile of bills on the table. Then I spotted my dirty clothes in a heap on the floor.

“My clothes are going to get pretty ripe this week,” I said.

“Don’t worry. Everyone’s in work clothes here. But we’ll get the clothes situation sorted out later today. See you when you get here.”

We hung up. I liked that Dad trusted me to get myself to the museum. Then again, there’s a fine line between being trusted and being ignored. I often wondered if Dad planned our vacations around his work schedule so he could avoid spending long stretches of time with me. Then I felt guilty for second-guessing Dad’s motivations. He really did the best he could, which wasn’t half bad, considering how old he was. He was a single dad way back before it was the hipster thing to do. And he never once complained about having to raise me without any help from my mom. But he did manage to see her most Saturdays—without me.

I got dressed and stuck the euros in my pocket. When I got downstairs to the lobby, I saw my concierge
. He greeted me with a hearty “Buenos dias.”

“Hey, buenos dias to you, too,” I said. “So, donde está la . . .”

I couldn’t remember how to say restaurant so I made the universal sign for a person feeding himself with an invisible fork. I’d always felt a weird repulsion to mimes. Now I was becoming one.

“Ah! La restaurante,” the concierge sang, pointing down a hallway. “Está por allí.”

“Gracias,” I said, fully intending to follow Dad’s instructions. But I couldn’t resist stopping first at the business center to check e-mail. I smiled when I saw that I had a message from Coco.


Fr: [email protected]
To: [email protected]
Subject: About your bag
Bon jour, Mssr. Spidey.
Interesting news here. My mom and I are traveling to (wait for it) Madrid tomorrow. It’s a long story, but she’s going to cook for a friend. (My mom’s a chef. Have I already mentioned that?) Anyway, we’ll fly to Madrid early tomorrow morning and return to Paris the next day. So we’ll only be there for one night. But one night is one night, right? I was wondering if you’d like to:
BOOK: In the Bag
11.98Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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