Madonna was completely back-footed by the four word stories thrown at her by father and son. Her mind scrambled for words, knowing their eyes were on her, waiting for her to say something. Then it came to her, “Stephen, I’m sorry. Don’t get me wrong, yours is beautiful, and you know I love you, too. But your story is a derivative of Lance’s. A brilliant derivative, but derivative nonetheless, so the prize goes to Lance.”

“Agreed,” King smiled. “I bow down, and out. The better writer has won.”

King and Madge applauded the champion, who stood up, took a bow, and said, “I want to thank the members of the Academy. I haven’t had an orthodox career. And I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time, I didn’t feel it. But this time, I feel it. And I can’t deny the fact that you like me! Rigt now, you like me!”

Laughter spilled from the mouths of his audience of two. King grinned and said, “Sally really deserved the Oscar for Norma Rae. But that one should have gone to Sissy.”

Laughing, Lance said, “I think you’d have to recuse yourself from the jury on that occasion.”

“it’s true, I would,” Stephen admitted, “But that doesn’t change my opinion.” After a few seconds, he asked Lance, “Do you wanna dive back into Commonwealth?”

“No,” was the boy’s answer.

“No?” was Madonna’s question.

Lear qualified his answer, “Not until Kitty is with us.”

Madonna smiled, and replied, “That’s fair, but she’s probably figured out the rest of it already.”

“You may be rigt,” Lance agreed. “But she may have done more than that; she may have taken it to places I haven’t thought of, so I want her present.”

Stephen, who wanted Kitty present just so he could look at her, even if she was berating him, announced, “Sure. I’m going for a walk.” Turning to Madge, he asked, “Would you care to join me?”

Madonna signified her acceptance of the offer by rising from her seat, and reaching for Stephen’s hand.

Lance took note that he was not invited, but didn’t care. He was happy to go back to his room, have another go at KILLGOD!, and wait for Kitty to return from her skinny dip, and perhaps favour him with her company, and maybe more than her company, if he were the luckiest person at the table, if not in the world. A boy can dream. Just try to stop him.

Lance’s father looked at him and said, “We shouldn’t be more than an hour, or so, if you and Kitty wanna come around to enlighten our ignorant asses, or just favour us with your sparkling wits.”

Lance nodded, got up, and made his way to his room.

Not seeing Scott in, or around the kitchen, Madonna asked of his whereabouts. A waitress informed her, “I believe he is now at the front desk.” And so he was.

“I’ll meet you outside, please,” the pop star said to the writer. “I have something to take care of.”

“You gonna make sure the tape is erased?”

“If he hasn’t already made a copy for himself, yes. I am going to protect the girl.”

“I don’t think she needs to, or maybe even wants to be protected by either of us.”

“Maybe not. But I’ll do it anyway.”

“Okay, I’ll wait for you outside.” Madonna gave King a quick kiss. He moved to the exit, she to the front desk, where she found Scott staring at his phone.

37 – SORRY?



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