30th of January, 2024 – Tuesday 9:57pm

Hey there, could you please help me settle a bet?

Garrick looks up and smiles, this was his first time in his heroic form and showing up to the Giving Tree. He was wearing new jeans and a nice button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up. The apron had Mallic Robotics embroidered on the front, so he didn’t feel bad about not wearing the company shirt. He’d been trying really hard to just act like nothing had changed. No one had really said anything to him other than, “Wow, the gym has done well for you, great job!” Nathaniel had just gone out to bring more of the food to the families and children in the cafeteria. Now, he was looking at one of the workers he’d seen here before. Panicking he did not remember her name his face broke into a hint of worry, “I’m not really into sports, but I’ll try my best.”

Well then since its not about sports you could say I just saved you, but that means you owe me, right?” Her accent and light, mocha tan skin belied her Cuban heritage. Why was she talking to him? What the hell was her name? This felt like a scam he’d seen in prison but he shoved that thought out of his head because he’d seen her here for over a year. Everyone he’d met here personally was incredibly nice to him. He knew why Patsy spoke to him despite being way out of his league. He knew why Katherine tolerated him despite being interested in Nathaniel. Why was was this rather attractive woman talking to him at all?

Hello, earth to …?

“Look, that’s my fault I started taking an art class and you took my breath away the same way when I saw some of Alicia Leal’s paintings.” When her eyebrows raised he realized she was at least familiar with the Cuban artist from the turn of the century. He had been studying her work that day in an overview of artistic styles chapter. Garrick was super pleased he had avoided looking stupid, “So, yes, what was the bet again?”

Two of the other girls and I saw you have a VERY diverse group of friends, but everyone seems to call you something different. What’s your name?

Someone was fucking trolling him, no way an attractive woman walks up out of the blue and asks for his name, “So, which one did you bet on?”

Well, the director said they’ve called you Garrick, but one of my girlfriends who went to the last Mallic Robotics BBQ said Gary because everyone at your company calls you that, my other girlfriend said that the former graduate and your centaur pal call you Griff or Griffon. So I asked the director how they came by Garrick and they said it was on your driver’s license. So I am going with Garrick.

“You win, quite the detective, so you’re attractive and smart care to take pity on your cook and dishwasher with your name?”

Ramona De La Cova

“Garrick Faulkner, Miss De La Cova”

Please, Ramona…
…Wait, Faulkner? As in William Faulkner, the author?” she seemed surprised, and Garrick was mortified she might know Adeline.

“Yes, direct descendant.”

OMG! I have read all of his stuff!” She went on about every title, even his screenplays and soon Garrick relaxed. Finally believing she to was just being friendly like everyone else. He decided to talk to her to get better at dealing with women.

“Oh really,” he looked at her with mocked sarcasm, “well if you’re the kind of person that wants to suck the marrow of life then you should know this work of my great, great, great grandfather…

…So it is: sleep comes not on my eyelids.
Nor in my eyes, with shaken hair and white
Aloof pale hands, and lips and breasts of iron,
So she beholds me.

And yet though sleep comes not to me, there comes
A vision from the full smooth brow of sleep,
The white Aphrodite moving unbounded
By her own hair.

Ramona looked him washings dishes and reciting the poem clearly committed to memory. He wasn’t the only one who could play such a game and Garrick nearly stumbled when a matching voice joined his,

In the purple beaks of the doves that draw her,
Beaks straight without desire, necks bent backward
Toward Lesbos and the flying feet of Loves
Weeping behind her.

She looks not back, she looks not back to where
The nine crowned muses about Apollo
Stand like nine Corinthian columns singing
In clear evening.

She sees not the Lesbians kissing mouth
To mouth across lute strings, drunken with singing,
Nor the white feet of the Oceanides
Shining and unsandalled.

Garrick stopped and turned to face her with each of them looking into each other’s eyes as they finished the final stanza alternating each line,

Before her go cryings and lamentations
Of barren women, a thunder of wings,
While ghosts of outcast Lethean women, lamenting,
Stiffen the twilight.

A good two feet is all that stood between them before the sound and fury of the Giving Tree’s community cut their moment short like the shears of an angry fate.

“You’re good, Ramona, I was required to learn them, but your love for ‘Sapphics’ outshines my burden of lineage,” Garrick smiled continuing with the workload as they conversed until the last of the dishes went into the tray sliding into the commercial dishwasher. Turning to look at her he wondered what she was starring at as he removed his apron and noticing they had been talking for about an hour at 10:52pm, “Goodness, is there something on my face from the dishes?”

Spoken almost to fast as Ramona was jarred out of an apparent reverie, “Hey,doyouwanttogetdinnerandmaybegoseeamovie?”

“Certainly, aside from bumper cars last month with a co-worker, I don’t get out much. I’m a workaholic! I’d love to! Why don’t you get your things and meet me out front. I have to find out why Trip decided to trot all the way down here. We can exchange contact details then.”

Blushing she nodded and walked away Garrick started damage control in his head, ‘It’s not a date. It is a movie, and maybe dinner…

…yeah, its called courting…’

He began walking out front after gathering his things…

‘…How did you get through this conversation…’

‘…simple, assume they were never going to be interested in him…’

He banished his overdriven thought process as he reached everyone to explain a meeting for 6 a.m. the following day. He sent a text to Katherine, but was unsure how to ask her if she had just lied to him. He knew she was not completely honest with him, but she had promised to reveal everything soon. Then she shared a great deal more with the group and lord knew what in meditation with Nathaniel. About that time before his self-deprecation could rev up out of first gear. Ramona walked up and they exchanged business cards. She smiled at him once more, as she left she winked, turning away letting the street lamps be her spotlight till she passed into shadow of the night. Only when Garrick began to put her card away Alex wagged a finger at it and on the back was her personal cell number and a small heart with a smiley face in it.

Alex walks up to Garrick and shakes his empty hand, “Wow! Two at the same time. Wow you really are SUPER!”

Sliding the card in his pocket with an incredulous look on his face, “I don’t know what you’re talking about these are just really nice people.”

Alex winks, “Oh, so that’s the way, huh. I’m going to have to try that.”

Garrick shakes his head and waves good bye to everyone, as he heads for his truck. Before leaving the parking lot he calls Mrs. Falkenberg so she would know about the training. Figuring Trip would find a way to let Richard know he pulled out and headed home. He decided to review the video footage to see if the cameras picked up Miss Amazing at his house when Alex arrived. Everyone was asleep when he got home.


Art by: AZ_Artisan


13 Replies to “Ramona”

  1. The picture was a timed speed painting of my second pass at the character from scratch. I kept the eyes nose and lips from the first pass I did and this is the model I am using for body reference: Mayra Veronica. I love finally being able to add poetry from my great, great, granduncle. Her reaction to his name was based entirely upon my wife and her family’s reaction to finding out I am related to William Faulkner.

        1. Please don’t, we have enough to deal with…OOC
          In character, Ethel will really miss the simple life….

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