I like Gloria. I like her a lot.
I’m not saying she’s my favorite. For one, I can’t imagine ranking my characters. It seems like a cruel thing to do. I mean, it’s not like they don’t have feelings. And besides, I’ve only just met her. I don’t know how I’ll feel about her over the long haul.
Still, there’s something about her filterless way of talking. It’s charming in a weird kind of way–fun to read about, but you know you’d want to slap her if you had to have a long conversation with her. She’s a lot of fun to write.
I say all of that by way of introduction. I have (get ready for something you’ve never heard me say before) no idea where this is going, but I’m just going to roll with it for now. It might not be more than a long story, or it might be the beginning of a novel. We’ll see.
Either way, I’d love to hear your thoughts on Gloria. Does she do anything for you? Give me your opinion in the comments.
further consideration of Persian
rugs, Harvell Devin, and
the true nature of friendship
“He’s too serious,” she said, not for the first time.
“Well, it is kind of a big deal.”
“Nonsense. The city’s not on the verge of imploding. He had time for dessert.”
Hyun was a smart girl. Smart enough, in fact, to know better than to fight a losing battle. There would be no convincing Gloria. She was loath to eat alone in public, particularly if the meal began in the company of another.
“What would people think, Hyun?” she asked. “If he left and I stayed, stuffing my face like some sweet-toothed cow?”
“I know,” Hyun said.
“I’ll tell you,” Gloria continued. “You know how people fill in the blanks. They don’t know half of what’s going on, but that doesn’t stop them. The world is full of idiots who think they’re clever. An entire restaurant full of people would think he’d stormed out because of me. They don’t know anything about Fiore.”
Hyun nodded. “That’s true.”
“That asshole didn’t even pay the bill. He just took off.”
“A disgrace, no doubt,” Hyun said. “But nothing can be done about it now. Why don’t you sit, and I’ll make us some tea?”
Gloria took a deep breath, the sort one takes when setting things right inwardly. She squared her shoulders and nodded.
“That would be nice,” she said. Hyun put the kettle on.
They were at Hyun’s apartment, a spacious studio on the south side of downtown. She’d been expecting Gloria, and, knowing her friend, a dramatic account of some sort of social disaster, as well. In fact, two ceramic mugs were already set out on the counter top.
If music tames the savage beast, chamomile might as well be Gloria’s Mozart.
A less self-aware person might wonder, in a moment such as this, why she was even friends with the likes of Gloria Morein. But Hyun knew full well why. To someone like Harvell, a pragmatist to the core, Gloria was chaos incarnate. She loved to gossip, rarely considered the value of tact, and often chased down conversational rabbit trails as though she expected to find pots of gold at the end.
But she was also perhaps the most gifted cottage witch alive.
Funny term, that–cottage witch. Sometimes also called a ‘kitchen witch’, a cottage witch is one who uses whatever is at hand, be it an elaborate spell, potions, religious artifacts associated with any faith, or even household supplies, to work his or her magick, (note the ‘k’). Hyun had witnessed Gloria in several truly remarkable moments, including an instance in which she fended off an entire pack of lycan with nothing more than the contents of the average cupboard.
But it was not her talent alone that drew Hyun to Gloria. It was her personhood, as well. For hidden beneath, or perhaps behind or above her trivially verbose tenancies was a rich understanding of the world around her. In plain terms, she might seem like a bimbo bitch, but she was actually quite cunning.
And loyal. Hyun would never forget Gloria’s loyalty.
In the time it took to heat the water and allow the tea to steep, Gloria found herself. She’d forgotten all about the tragically abrupt end of her luncheon date and moved on to more immediate matters. Namely, an assessment of Hyun’s interior decorating skills.
“Do you really think this rug goes?” Gloria asked as Hyun delivered her tea. “I mean, the colors match. God, I don’t think we could be friends if you couldn’t manage that. But there’s something about the feel of it. Your place has this sort of zen feng shui to it, and this thing,” she motioned to the rug, “is incredibly busy. It almost gives me a headache to look at it.”
“It’s Persian,” Hyun said.
“It’s a mess,” Gloria countered. “Let me take you shopping. You can do better.”
“Sure. But first, drink your tea and tell me what we’re going to do about Fiore.”
Gloria smirked. “You make me laugh. For the moment, we’re not going to do a damn thing. Why do you think I insisted on seeing Harvey in person?”
Hyun sighed. “Really, Gloria? He’ll probably get himself killed.”
Gloria shrugged. “Maybe. But regardless, we can’t get close to Fiore or his South American squeeze without a distraction. Enter Harvey, stage right.”
“Did you just make a Snagglepuss reference?”
Gloria furrowed her brow. “What are you talking about?”
“Snagglepuss,” Hyun said. “You know, Snagglepuss. He was a cartoon cat or panther or something. Pink.”
“The Pink Panther?”
“No,” Hyun said with indignation. “Snagglepuss. Are you even listening to me?”
“God, Hyun, I’m trying to, I swear, but I have no clue what you’re talking about.”
“He was always saying, ‘Exit, stage left.’ Like, when there was trouble he’d say that before he took off.”
“I said ‘Enter, stage right.'”
Hyun rolled her eyes. “It’s the same damn thing.”
“Right,” Gloria said. “And this rug is looks great.”
Hyun huffed. They drank their tea.
“Seriously, do you think Harvell will be okay?” Hyun asked after some minutes had passed.
Gloria gave the query serious consideration before answering.
“I think so,” she said at last. “He’s more resourceful than he looks, and he’s not stupid enough to just charge in. He’ll ask around, and that’s really all we need. It’ll be enough to get Fiore’s attention, and that’s the opening we’re looking for.”
“I hope you’re right,” Hyun said. “I don’t like Harvell, but I don’t like the idea of us getting him killed, either.”
Gloria shrugged once more. “He’s a big boy, and we’re not his babysitters. You stick with me. We have more than enough to worry about all on our own.”
Hyun had no choice but to concede. “That’s the truth if you’ve ever spoken it.”