Reality Check

By: Niki Burnham


To: [email protected]

From: [email protected]

Subject: Things That Are Wacked





Val,

So here's the thing: I know you're having a fabulous time over there in Schwerinborg, going out with a prince and all that. I'm sure Ron Howard is going to call and ask to make a movie of your life someday. In the meantime, I am having a minor crisis here in Virginia and need your help. And no, I can't talk to Christie and Natalie about it because they'll get all judgmental on me. (Yes, I had to spell-check judgmental. Mostly because I knew YOU'D know how to spell it and would mentally be correcting me if I got it wrong. And then you wouldn't be paying attention to what's important here. Namely, me.)

Anyway, as you are aware, I tend to avoid relations with the male species that get any more touchy-feely than one would experience in, say, a pickup basketball game. I like being my independent, boyfriend-free self.

Guys are generally more headache than they're worth, right?

Tell me they are. REMIND ME. I need a list of reasons to keep me from doing something stupid.

Teetering on the edge of oblivion,

Jules





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To: [email protected]

From: [email protected]

Subject: RE: Things That Are Wacked





Jules,

You obviously take me for a fool. (And not just because I know you're full of it with the Ron Howard thing. Five bucks says he can't even find Schwerinborg on a map.)

You KNOW I must have details before I can answer your question. Otherwise, anything I say is going to be used against me at a future date. (Yes, I know you that well. You remember everything I ever say and remind me of it when it's least convenient.)

So what's up? You fall for the fry guy at work or something? What've you been doing at Wendy's when you're not doling out Singles with Cheese or Biggie Drinks to anyone with a spare buck or two?

Val





P.S.—Did I e-mail you yesterday to tell you what Georg did? I had tons and tons of homework last night, and he didn't get mad when I stayed home to do it and ditched our plans to hang out in his family's apartment. He told me he understood and made me promise to see a movie with him on Saturday when he's done with his soccer game. (I think he got his hands on a copy of the newest flick with my Fave Aussie Actor, but he won't tell me for sure. He says it's a surprise.)





P.P.S—My point is not to brag (well, maybe a little) but to prove that it is possible to have a boyfriend and be your independent self. It just has to be the right boyfriend. (And no, that does not apply to the fry guy. Fry Guy is not Right Guy, and therefore not worth the headache.) But you can't have my boyfriend. Sorry.





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To: [email protected]

From: [email protected]

Subject: RE: RE: Things That Are Wacked





Val, Val, Val,

(Sigh.) You know I wanted to be the Future Princess of Schwerinborg, right? It's wrong that you got to Prince Georg first. But then again, you have to live in a country that sounds like a Swedish buffet. Nothanksnotforme. I like Virginia just fine. If having Georg means living with a bunch of people who speak German and eat sauerkraut and live in an unpronounceable country, well, you can have him.

As to my situation: No, it is not the fry guy (Jeffrey? Not if he were the last living male on Earth. Give me some credit.) But it is someone truly inappropriate—which is why I can't tell Christie or Nat—and it is someone at work.

Okay. Sit down. Or brace yourself or whatever it is you're supposed to do for big news.

Did you do it? (Deep breath....)

I have inexplicably developed this complete, total, all-encompassing obsession with the new night manager.

I know, I know. It goes against all logic. He's far more likely to be a toad than a prince. But what can I do? I have it bad. I can't stop thinking about him.

Tell me again that guys are nothing but a headache and that I should stay away.

Tell me that I am much better off without guys, just as I have been for fifteen years now.

Even better, tell me there is a cure so I can make this sickness go away.

Jules, feeling like a Grade A Idiot with hormone poisoning





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To: [email protected]

From: [email protected]

Subject: This and That and Jules





Hi Valerie!

How's everything in Schwerinborg? We're doing WWI in Mrs. Bennett's class, and so she had this big map of Europe out today and I was trying to see Schwerinborg. It was tough to pick out from the back row, but it still made me think of you.