I was having the best dream ever.  Magdalena had rolled onto her back, smiling her “come-hither” smile, and I felt her hand pulling at the back of my neck.  She whispered something I wouldn’t repeat for the world, but that’s fine because it was meant for me, not the aforementioned planet.  I think it had something to do with the blissful sweetness of glazed doughnuts.

And then, of course, I woke.  Huh.  I had set the alarm afterall.

“What is your obsession with pastries?” Doloise asked.

It hadn’t moved all night, so as I could tell.  The community that called itself Doloise (I resolved to look up the meaning of the name later) still sat on the edge of the chair that delineated my bedroom from what lay beyond.  The edge because there was a stack of graphic novels piled up where one’s rump might normally rest.

I rolled off the bed and headed into the small pit of chaos referred to as the place where I drained my lizard.  Choose your euphemism wisely, padawan.  I took my time and brushed my teeth.  I decided not to shave.  I hesitated on the shower for a minute, but then decided I could use the sprayer as a club if I needed, and took the chance.

“My guide and my guardian.”  I spent what was normally my personal time considering methods and means to ditch her.  They weren’t as fun as my normal fantasies, I can tell you.

She was still there as I came out of the bathroom.  I stared back at her while I rubbed the towel over my chest.  She still wore those amber shades.

“I guess you’re welcome to stay,” I decided.  “I have to go to work.”  Because, you know, the phones won’t answer themselves, and, um, the e-mail won’t print itself out.  Oh wait, I know!  Someone needs to listen to the water cooler.

I’m not dissatisfied with my jobs.  I like having them.  The ability to maintain the variety of food, water, warmth, and shelter that makes my life worth living kind of requires them, or at least, the results I get from completing them.

I pulled some blinds down to check in the parking lot.   I’d given it even odds that my simulacrum could drive.  Looks like I’d have to pay myself, ’cause I won and lost the bet.  Um.    At least my car wasn’t in the normal parking place.   I had remembered that briefly from last night, now that the memory was triggered – we’d parked the stolen bike there.

“Are you still contractually obligated to the simulacrum’s position?” Doloise asked.

“Yeah, you could call it that,” I said, sighing.  That was pretty low, actually.  I had to have a day job – I didn’t like ramen.  I thought for a moment of asking my mom for money.  The conversation played out in my head.

“Mom, I have to escort this creature that looks like a girl but really is a whole bunch of different people’s identities and magic stuffed into a woman-shaped suit back to her homeland to get her to stop bothering me.  Could I borrow some rent money?”

No, no, what my mother would have to say would be either on the, “Does she have a real job?” leading to the grandchildren discussion of doom, the, “What happened to Magda?  I liked her,” discussion of doom, or the, “My son should not need to consort with prostitutes,” conversation of, well, doom.

Doom, doom, and doom.

“I’ll buy you a doughnut if you get me back to my car,” I told Doloise.

“Do you not have something more…” she hesitated on the word.

I couldn’t think of one, either.  Really, what’s better than a six-pack of convenience-store powdered doughnuts for a quick breakfast?  “This ain’t the Ritz, babe.  I think I’ve got a couple cans of chili in the cupboard, maybe some microwave dinners.  I am twenty minutes late if I want the bus, so do we move or do you want to stay here after waving your magic wand at the bike so I can get to where I need to go?”

Doloise stood.  I would say she seemed kind of flustered.  “We have not given you your payment,” she said.

“You got me home.  Let’s call it even.”

Her sunshades slipped down and I caught a flash of green.  “That is unacceptable.  A debt of gratitude may exist between us.  I remain your guide and guardian.  If we must partake of these…doughnuts, it shall be sufficient.”

I slipped on some shoes, having dressed in what was still basically clean resting on my bathroom hamper.  “Fine.  I know just the place.”

I glanced at my wall calendar on the way out, and swore.  Tonight was the Russian poetry meet.  I could tell it was going to be a long, long day.