Stella relaxed at the sidewalk café just across the street from Turvy. She was wearing jeans, a white top, and a Cubs cap and could have been any attractive young woman. Her cell phone rang just as the waiter staggered out with a tray containing two chicken Caesar wraps, a steak quesadilla, two bacon double cheeseburgers, an Italian beef sandwich, a walnut-tuna salad sandwich, a cob salad, and a French dip. As he began arraying the food around her, she pulled the phone from her pocket and slid it open.
“Stella baby! Irving is so flattered that you’ve given him his own ring tone.”
“I didn’t give you your own ring-tone, Irving. I just knew you were going to call me. The Turvy people are pissed that I didn’t wear that suit, aren’t they?”
“Irving is not their people, baby. Irving is your people. Irving cares about what Stella cares about, and what Stella cares about is being on the New York Times list, and guess what?”
Stella waited a beat before asking “What?”
“All American Girl is on the list!”
“No fricking way!”
“Yes baby! You are on the list my sassy mega-girl, and not at one hundred either. No, you debuted at number ninety eight!”
“You’re fricking kidding me! Wait, did somebody die?”
“Nobody died. Well yes, some people did die, but that’s not why you made the list. You made the list because you kicked the crap out of some power-suited baddies and saved America!”
“Did Skygirl make the list too?”
“Yes, Skygirl did make the list and that is what Irving really called about.”
“Where did she debut?”
“Skygirl is not important. At least she should not be important, but you are making her important by letting her in on your turf. Chicago is All American Girl’s territory. Why are you letting her steal your thunder, my girl?”
Stella was silent for a moment.
“Did you hear me, Baby? Are you still there? Is Irving talking to a dead line?”
“Yes, I’m still here. Where is she?”
“She’s number ninety seven.”
“Irving feels your pain, baby. So why are you letting this chick hang out with you?”
“It’s just… well, it just kind of happened, Irving. She sort of saved my life and then she was all nice and stuff, and the next thing I know I’m living with her.”
“Irving understands baby. That’s how it was with his second wife. But you cannot let her steal your thunder. The thunder is yours. It’s All American Girl brand thunder, with all the legal rights and privileges there-of.”
“Yeah, I get it.”
“You’ve got to get rid of…”
Stella closed her phone and then accidently crushed it in her hand. Tossing the pieces down on the table, she looked at the vast array of food. She really didn’t feel all that hungry now—maybe just the two cheeseburgers.