Unlacing Strait-laces (Part 1)

A visual clue, for all of you:

Ruby is slung over Ginger’s shoulder, like a sack of potatoes, being carried from a brick building we can safely assume is a billiards hall, based on the large neon sign and, of course, the small round would-be-projectile-if-Ruby-had-her-way in Ruby’s hand.

Ruby: Put me down, put me down, put me down, put me down!

Ginger: Not until you put down the 7 ball!

Ruby: I keep trying to tell you, it’s not the 7 ball, it’s the 8 ball!

Ginger: Whatever, just put it down and I’ll put you down!

Ruby: But–

Ginger: Ruby, it’s not like me to ask this, but someone has to: Do you need a time-out?

Ruby: mumbles…

Ginger: What was that?

Ruby: No.

Ginger: Put the billiard ball down.

Ruby: But you’re not even listening to me! It’s important that–

Ginger: Ruby, if you want me to listen, you have to face me. In order to face me, you have to be standing on your own two feet. In order to accomplish that, you have to PUT DOWN THE BILLIARD BALL.

Ruby: Fine. (she lets billiard ball go)

Ginger: Good. Now, when I put you down, are you going to be a good girl, or are you going to pick up the ball again?

Ruby: I’m going to be good…

Ginger: And by good you mean…

Ruby: I won’t pick up the ball. …At first.

Ginger: What was that last thing?

Ruby: Nothing.

Ginger: I’m going to regret this, but… (she puts Ruby on her own two feet)

Ruby: See? No picking up. Just me right here.

Ginger: Just watch me be impressed. And tell me what happened.

Ruby: Okay, but you’re not going to believe it.

Ginger: Can I be the judge of that?

Ruby: Only if I get to pick up the 8 ball.

Ginger: I see no 8 ball, only a 7 ball in the gutter.

Ruby: Then I can pick that up?

Ginger: Wait, I’m sorry, did I get that tattoo that says ‘Stupid’ across my forehead? Coulda sworn I missed that one.

Ruby: Fine. …I’ll just pick it up later…

Ginger: You know you really shouldn’t mumble.

Ruby: Thanks, I’ll keep that in mind.

Ginger: Okay, so tell me what happened.

Ruby: Well, to start…

Ginger: What are you doing? We’re not having a flashback.

Ruby: Why not?

Ginger: Do we look like flashback-prone characters?

Ruby: Look, it’s just easiest if we use a flashback. Less verb confusion.

Ginger: Yeah…I see your point. Flash us back, then.

Ruby: As I was saying…to start…

(Previously…well, that is to say, 3 hours previous to this moment in time…Ruby and Ginger are in a billiards hall. They are playing pool and the usual friendly amount of passive cheating may be involved…)

Ruby: Hey, don’t make me get out a ruler. I know you moved the cue ball three centimeters to the left to get a better shot.

Ginger: Says the same woman who said “Hey, look over there, it’s a distraction!”

Ruby: That was last year.

Ginger: Still…

Ruby: And I’m reminded why we don’t do this very often.

Ginger: What, go out in public or shoot pool?

Ruby: I prefer ‘play billiards.’ We go out in public often.

Ginger: Yeah, but you never seem to cheat.

Ruby: That’s because you cheat enough for two.

Ginger: I’ll tell you what, if I make this shot–without cheating–you get to cheat and I’ll play nice for the night. I won’t embarrass you and you can just relax.

Ruby: This is me relaxed.

Ginger: But if I make this shot, you can be more relaxed.

Ruby: You’ll behave absolutely and completely? No cheating, no cheekiness and no cheesy puns?

Ginger: I’ll let you be Queen of the Chee-Behavior.

Ruby: Chee-Behavior?

Ginger: Cheating, Cheekiness and Cheesy puns. Chee.

Ruby: But, what will you do?

Ginger: I dunno. I’ll think of something.

Ruby: Well, let’s see you make this shot. And no cheating.

Ginger: Fine. (shoots, watches as the 4 drops into the corner pocket.) You will note I did not cheat.

Ruby: Noted.

Ginger: Well?

Ruby: Well, what? I already told you: I am relaxed. And now, you can’t cheat, be cheeky or make any cheesy puns.

Ginger: What?! Augh! This night is going to be so boring now! I thought you’d go all crazy or something.

Ruby: It’ll take a little bit more than permission and a promise to make me “go all crazy or something.”

Ginger: I shoulda known.

(A cry goes up from the far end of the billiards hall and a man jumps up on the table and starts doing his Victory “Dance.” The man who had been playing opposite him is now staring in disbelief at the table. He throws down the cue and storms out, but only after dropping some bills on the table with disgust. As he passes our heroines, he is heard muttering about someone teaching That Guy a lesson…Ginger and Ruby exchange looks.)

Ginger: How much you wanna bet he’s going to do something terrible to a beautiful car out in the parking lot?

Ruby: He won’t know who belongs to what…

Ginger: Okay, but in the meantime, we should at least check on the Skigh-no.

Ruby: I still say you’re being paranoid, but I’m following.

(back in the present moment…)

Ginger: RUBY! I know all that!! I was there! Or did you not recognize the sunglasses inside a smoky room?

Ruby: I’m just catching you up.

Ginger: But I know what happened then…I need to know what happened after you went back inside the hall.

Ruby: Well, you seemed to be enjoying the conversation with The Hustled…

Ginger: Tom. His name is Tom. And I only enjoyed the in-depth discussion on how it was wrong of Lucas to publish a book with one plot set-up, then produce a movie that changed miniscule bits and pieces 20 years after the books and hope that none of us noticed.

Ruby: Yeah, as you could tell, I was deeply involved in the conversation…

(flashback to the parking lot, previously…)

Tom: Exactly! And what was up with her dying when Leia clearly remembered having a mother–a real mother?

Ginger: Don’t get me started. Some people who shall remain nameless even though she’s standing right here are convinced that the line “Just images, mostly” is a “clear” indication that she only had holograms of her mother.

Tom: Yeah, right. Cause I’d say I remembered someone who died birthing me, then refer to a bunch of moving pictures.

Ginger: THANK YOU!

Ruby: Okay, so as long as you two are otherwise occupied, I’m going to go finish our game and meet you out here in a few minutes. Unless, Ginger, you want to come back in and finish the game with me?

Ginger: Yeah, I’ll be there in a minute – Tom, what was your opinion of Anakin building Threepio?

Tom: Don’t get me STARTED!

(Ruby backs away; Ginger leans into the conversation…Ruby returns to the hall. The Victory “dancer” is now offering a challenge to any who believes he can defeat the “Mighty Donald”…)

Ruby: Mighty Donald? Wow…tell you what. I’ll play you, but not for money.

Mighty Donald: The Mighty Donald needs not an easy conquest of petty female component!

Ruby: “Easy conquest of petty female…component?” Oh, it’s on. If not for the beating you truly deserve, then to inflict pain on you for your lack of vocabulary.

Mighty Donald: Since the fire-lady begs so, The Mighty Donald will play. Once she has been defeated, The Mighty Donald will accept a real challenge.

Ruby: Yeah. Anyway.

(the game begins. Ruby breaks, succeeding in knocking two striped balls into the far corner pockets. With a knowing smile, she continues to dominate the table. When she finally steps back, she sees the mighty freakshow known as Donald has removed his shirt…apparently in a lame attempt to distract her…)

Mighty Donald: The Mighty Donald’s Mighty Chest distracts you, does it not?

Ruby: It does not. It repulses me.

Mighty Donald: The Mighty Donald’s not wearing a shirt does not distract and not bother you?

Ruby: What?

Mighty Donald: The not wearing a shirt of Mighty Donald caliber, not boring or plain, is no reason for you to be weak-kneed.

Ruby: I’m not.

Mighty Donald: Do not hide your true feelings. The Mighty Donald knows these things.

Ruby: If the Mighty Donald doesn’t quit with the freakishly gruesome show of skin, he’s going to know a lot more about my boot heel stepping on his instep.

Mighty Donald: The Mighty Donald is not deferred.

Ruby: Don’t you mean ‘deterred?’

Mighty Donald: The Mighty Donald chooses to go forth with his turn now. You may compense with the staring at the Mighty Tush.

Ruby: ‘Commence,’ you walking 3rd rate 3rd person narrative. And, ew!

(after furrowing his brows in a moment of consternation–not constipation, as he thought the word was–the Mighty Donald turns and scratches on his first attempt at putting the 9 ball in the side pocket. Ruby continues to clean up the table. As she calls the 8 ball in the side pocket, and sinks it, the crowd around them cheers mightily. She turns to the Donald formerly known as ‘Mighty’ and smiles.)

Donald: The Mighty Donald had no desire to make you feel unimportant, therefore allowed you to win.

Ruby: Fine. My friend is still arguing details out in the parking lot. We can play again.

Donald: Yes. But, this time, we play at the table The Mighty Donald has claimed for the night.

Ruby: What’s the difference?

Random Guy in the Crowd: There’s no 8, 2, or 6 ball. They’ve all been replaced with 7’s.

Ruby: So, the only way to win is to either be really good at Memory or to cheat?

Random Guy: Yeah, pretty much.

Ruby: Luckily for me, I was crowned Queen of the Chee-Behavior early tonight. Let’s play.

(back in the present…)

Ginger: I still can’t believe you played pool for 3 hours.

Ruby: Says the woman who spent those same 3 hours arguing movie trivia in the parking lot.

Ginger: Hey, it’s not trivia unless it’s trivial and there’s nothing trivial about events happening long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away!

Ruby: Yeah. Just watch me be impressed.

(to be continued…)

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