Shady Grove Ch. 13
Twenty-four hours later, Quinn attended another emergency T&A meeting, with Abigail sitting on one side, and Clint on the other. All three were nodding off, not having slept much the night before. Marty banging his gavel snapped them to attention.
The bickering that ensued was a free-for-all. Quinn and Clint kept perfectly straight faces as people clamored about the ruckus that had come from Clint’s building; Quinn and Abigail maintained straight faces when others insisted it came from Abigail’s building. As usual, Gerald had left the meeting.
So when Walt Palmer stormed into the room holding his Bible, crying, “Fornication! Fornication!” neither Quinn nor Abigail batted an eye.
“Yes, Walt,” Marty said with a sigh, “that’s why we’re all here.”
“No!” Walt shouted. “There’s fornicating happening right now!”
Marty’s eyes lighted as he picked up his walkie-talkie. “General Marty calling all team captains. Please report at once. Over.” Then he called to the audience, “Captain Glenn Chalmers?”
“Captain Embers?…Where is Madeleine Embers?” Everyone but Quinn and Abigail looked around the room. “I’ll need someone to stand in for Captain Embers—”
“I’ll do it!” Quinn shouted. “My boyfriend Clint can join me!” Clint's eyes shrunk upon hearing his name.
“I hereby deputize Quinn McMurphy and 'boyfriend' as captains of Team Four,” Marty announced, banging his gavel for no apparent reason.
Quinn dragged her very confused boyfriend to the front of the room, where they were equipped with walkie-talkies, binoculars, and a recording device with an attached shoulder strap and microphone. “Captain McMurphy and you, boyfriend, take buildings seven and eight…”
“I thought you hated all this spy shit,” Clint said, as they rushed out of the room.
“We’re not going to spy. We’re going to fuck with them.” She stood on her toes and whispered in his ear, “I’m about to blow your mind.” When he looked at her with even more confusion, she whispered, “And not just your mind.”
“Oh,” he said. “Ohhh…”
Abigail made her way to the front of the room as Marty strapped on his gear. She picked up his gavel and thumped her open hand. “I’ll be waiting,” she purred, stroking the gavel’s handle. “Good luck, General.” She leaned in and whispered words in Marty’s ear that only the two of them would ever know. Marty stood frozen, watching Abigail strut out of the room like she was thirty years old.
Quinn and Clint listened to the commotion over the walkie-talkies as team captains took up positions throughout Shady Grove. They’d stripped each other of every shred of clothing before even making it to Quinn’s bedroom, simultaneously arriving at the conclusion that the floor was good enough. They took turns pounding each other into it, while ten feet below, Abigail lifted her eyes to her ceiling. Through the walkie-talkie, Quinn and Clint heard: “Captain Chalmers? Please report. Over.”
“This is Chalmers. I have buildings one and two covered. Locked and loaded. Over.”
“Deputy Captain McMurphy? Please report. Over.”
Quinn pressed the TALK button. “Uh! Uh! Uh-uh-uh!”
Hysteria came across the airwaves as if an actual army platoon were taking heavy fire. “McMurphy! Report immediately!” Marty’s voice crackled.
“Oh yes! Oh! Oh! Oh god!” Quinn squealed.
“We’ve lost McMurphy! Chalmers! Do you have a visual on McMurphy? Over.”
“No sir. Last seen near Building Four. Over.”
“Oh my god! Yes, yes, right there!…Oh my…ohhhh!”
“Team captains…I think we have men down. I repeat. Men down. Captain McMurphy is M-I-A…”
“Ah! Ah! I’m coming! I’m coming!” Quinn cried into her walkie-talkie.
“Be on the lookout for McMurphy, last seen with her boyfriend entering Building Four. I repeat..Building Fo—…oh no…oh wow...oh, Jesus—”
Quinn and Clint lay gasping for air on her apartment floor, listening to frantic calls back and forth between the Night Watch. “I have never,” Clint said, searching the ceiling for words, “ever…”
Marty was not heard from again that night, at least not via walkie-talkies. Quinn mistakenly thought his last words—“Oh, Jesus”—were his reaction to the realization that it was his newly deputized captain who was moaning over the airwaves; but she was wrong: he was looking down at his hard-on, stretching his khakis.
As Quinn and Clint held each other, feeling a fall breeze pass over their sweaty bodies, their heads turned toward each other in unison. “Did you hear that?” Clint whispered, and they both turned their ears down against the floor.
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