Chapter 3: Him
At long last! The day of the debate!
"So, what is it they are debating?" I ask as a grab my M&Ms from my pocket and rip them open.
"No one knows." Thomas steals a few of them from me. "I've never been to one of these debates before, but I hear that they're fantastic if you're a blogger. They've invited some of the most controversial writers from across the country to come and debate here in New York on a certain topic. Who knows what they may be?"
I haven't seen Miss Eliza yet, but I'm sure she's here.
"Hey, where's your girl?" Thomas elbows me. "I thought she was supposed to be here, and the paper said she was."
"Yeah, I know, but I don't see her."
There's a commotion from behind us as lots of people grab their cellphones and start taking pictures of someone who is hidden from my view.
"Maybe that's her."
"EXCUSE ME!" A loud powerful female voice rings out from in between all the people. "For glory's sake! You'd think I was a celebrity! Now, if you don't mind, I'm trying to make it to the stage in one piece!" and Eliza Rein pushed her way through all of them.
"Wow." Thomas said. "That's Miss Rein?"
I know what he means. She's barely 5' 1" and for that voice to belong to her… it just can't be. I mean, I'm not exactly tall, but she's at least 8 inches smaller than me! This girl can't possibly be the great Eliza Rein. She's supposed to be a very big and powerful blogger with a writing ability that could beat the president into changing his policy. It's not right. This girl couldn't knock over a feather in a windstorm!
"Maybe it's just her escort." Thomas says doubtfully. "There's a girl walking behind her, that could be her!" he pointed at the 5' 7" little girl that walked with a slight twitch in her mouth and her head bowed.
"No way man. That's not her. The strong and confident Eliza Rein wouldn't walk in like she'd been hit by a two-by-four." I waved him off and put a few more M&Ms in my mouth.
"Well, Jack, it looks like both of those girls are getting up on the stage, so either one of them could be." He laughed. "You're the one that's been stalking her all the time, don't you know what she looks like?"
"No. She never posts full pictures of herself. Just little bits and pieces, like her eye, or her mouth."
"Wow. She's gotta be really vain then!"
The host of this little debate, and the mediator as well, stood up in the front. "Ladies and gentlemen, if you would just settle in, we will begin and hopefully get you out before lunch time." There was a soft laugh throughout the crowd. "First up we have Mr. Collins, and Mr. Dahl. Please step forward gentlemen."
Two older gentlemen stood up, and stepped up to their podiums.
"Since this is a debate for the sake of fun, and you are both writers, let's pick a simple topic. Which is a better writing utensil: a pen or a pencil?" the mediator got down and sat on the chair directly in front of the stage, looking up at the gentlemen.
They went back and forth, with Mr. Collins taking the side of the pencil, saying that mistakes could be corrected, and weren't permanent. Mr. Dahl stood on the side of the pen, stating that was exactly why a pen should be used and not a pencil. The point is to make writing timeless.
When their time was up, two women went up, and their topic was on which dogs were better than other dogs, and after them were several other pairs of people. Still no Eliza Rein.
Finally the last two people are up. It was the two women we were having trouble figuring out who they were.
"Last, but not least," the mediator stepped up again, "Mrs. Cindy Cauliflower and Miss Eliza Rein!"
Applause broke out and Mrs. Cauliflower stood and bowed, all 5' 1" of her. The 5' 7" girl stood, her mouth twitched on the right and she marched her way up to the podium.
"Yes, yes, thank you so much, quiet down now." The mediator waved his hands to quiet us down. "Miss Rein, since this holiday has just passed, I would like for you to take a more abstract subject. What is the purpose of Christmas?"
"You have asked the wrong question sir."
The whole room gasped, even Thomas did. No one corrects a mediator. "I beg your pardon?" our host asked sharply.
"You have asked the wrong question." The room fell totally silent, if it wasn't before. "You are making the assumption that Christmas has a purpose, and what that might be. This is incorrect. Christmas has no purpose, but that which we attach to it."
Mrs. Cauliflower burst out laughing. "Of course Christmas has a purpose. For those that are religious, it is the celebration of Jesus' birth, and for those who it is not, it is the tradition of getting and giving gifts. Surely you know that."
"I am aware of how people celebrate the day, Mrs. Cauliflower. However, that is how they choose to spend the day. But for those who may have never heard of the day, it is simply December 25th. For those like me, it is a day celebrated with family and friends, how we show how much we like each other by giving gifts and scoring secrecy points. But Christmas in itself has no purpose, for it is a day, just like any other day. The sun does not know that it's Christmas, which is, in actuality, a pagan holiday we have decided to put a religious spin on."
"You make a lot of assumptions, Miss Rein, in your description."
"What is the tree for? What are the mistletoe for?" Miss Rein cut in, cocking her head and looking innocently at Mrs. Cauliflower. "What is the purpose of keeping poisonous plants around, such as mistletoe and poinsettias during this particular holiday? We as a country have taken this holiday and given it meaning to everyone in the country. Especially people here in New York."
"Excuse me?" Mrs. Cauliflower raised her eyebrows. "What about people in New York makes them set apart?"
"What sets them apart is that they are so big and loud, and unceasing in their consciousness. It is called 'The City that Never Sleeps' for a reason. That reason is that you are restless and are obsessed with the business world it seems." She folded her hands across the podium and raised the left side of her mouth in a snarl. "The business world seems to be the only thing that matters to you people. As if there is no other purpose in the world. The amount of money that changes hands in this city is more than any other in the entire country and no one makes any contribution to their friends and neighbors. It is as if no one cares a wit about anyone but themselves." She paused enough for breath and Mrs. Cauliflower cut in.
"I'm a native New Yorker, do you honestly think that I act like this?"
"Of course! I happen to read your blog on a regular basis and have paid a great deal of attention to your personal goals and have found them to be sincerely lacking in depth and ideals. Your goals are personal alone, and have nothing to do with any other creature in the world. I also happen to know that you attended 3 different hairstylists today, but that you styled your own hair this morning with your husband, hence the excess of hairpins and the extreme lack of hairspray. However, you attended three of the hairstylists, and your hair has not changed. Excuse me, but it seems that you are cheating on your husband." She flew through the words without pausing for breath and without moving her body or her face, all but her mouth. "I am also well aware that your husband knows about it, but this news has somehow not made the local news, although you are not often monitored. There was also an ethics clause in the contract that all of the participants were to sign today, to ensure that no lawsuits would occur, and the truth would be able to be spoken, however, you have denied the part where you have only had one husband!" The room gasped again, even though her tone wasn't more than just conversational. "But we are far from the topic now, and our mediator hasn't told us our time is up, but I am more than certain it is, so I will be on my way."
With that she waltzed off the stage, marched her way through the crowd, who sat still watching her leave in stunned silence, and said just as she pushed the door open, "I'll leave you to your—" her mouth twitched in a cocky smile "—adoring reporters." A wicked glint came into her eyes and her mouth became a wicked and cruel smile, "After all, 'It's like I'm a celebrity!' right?" and she pushed her way out the door as reporters and everyone flew forward, pestering Mrs. Cauliflower with questions.
"Wow." Thomas said. "That went over well." He looked at me with the same shocked look as the one that was probably on my face. "And this is your renowned blogger?"
I looked at him, changing my look from one of shock to one of pride. "Yes. Yes that was my favorite and renowned blogger. And I'm going after her." I ran out of the room.
"Jack! Jack!" Thomas called after me.
"I can't let her leave!" I called over my shoulder. "No one else has the guts to say it!"