“Why are we here, again?” I asked. “Here” being hanging over the skies of Yellowstone National Park with Natalie.
“We’re waiting on Kate.”
“Sounds like the beginning to a bad joke.”
“Maybe she and I are going to surprise you with something really fun.” She raised her eyebrows suggestively.
“Like what?” I grinned stupidly on purpose.
“Do the math Reilly. Me, plus you, plus Kate equals?”
“Twice as many people to tell me I’m wrong.”
“It’s that attitude that keeps us from having fun.”
“We have plenty of fun.”
“I mean new fun.”
“Well, you’ve been teasing me with this kind of new fun since that breakfast in Canada, where Jack had his working girls over for breakfast.”
“I—Nevermind, she’s here,” she pointed to the horizon.
A speck rapidly approached, towing something behind it. In a few more seconds, the speck resolved into Kate and a young man on a line to her harness.
“See,” I pointed. “She’s got a guy with her, there’s no way this was going to be the surprise you were saying.”
Nat rolled her eyes at me again.
Kate followed standard protocol for landing and disconnected her passenger to let him plow into the cloud while Kate landed gracefully. The guy also followed protocol and screamed anew at being disconnected.
Nat and I looked at each other, nodding, “New guy.”
Even after the guy stopped moving, he kept screaming, clawing at the clouds on his hands to get them off. He stood, looked horrified by what he stood on, then tripped over his feet. Was horrified again, and then scrambled our way.
“Shut! Up!” Kate yelled.
“I take it back,” I said under my breath to Nat, “I think Kate would be up for some fun without this guy.”
“Too late, you killed the mood.”
The guy kept screaming, and finally Kate shot him with a lightning bolt. It was a small bolt, barely enough wattage to cross the dozen feet between them, but it shocked him into terrified silence. After another moment, he seemed to regain his composure.
“Sorry,” he said.
“Been like this for two weeks,” Kate blew out her dark bangs.
Nat nodded knowingly. I nodded sympathetically. I hadn’t had to train a new guy yet. Natalie was making sure I knew everything I need to in order to not bring about the end of the world.
“So, how’s things?” I asked.
“I need help.”
“We’re not marriage counselors,” Nat said.
“Fun-nee. He’s not picking up on the basics. Nothing I try is working. Figured it was time for a second opinion.”
Nat held out a fist. I did the same, and then we counted. “1, 2, 3.”
“Ha!” Nat said.