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A Tin Of Beans
Nov 25, 2013

In with Tingo (Pascuense)!


A Tin Of Beans
Nov 25, 2013

Late but posting for posterity.

Tingo - "To gradually steal all the possessions out of a neighbour's house by borrowing and not returning."
1,190 words


Alex doesn’t want to answer the door. She does anyway.

For the third time in two days, Juliette elbows her way in, holding a measuring cup and making a beeline for the kitchen. “Hey, Alex, hope you don’t mind, just need a cup of sugar - totally forgot at the store, you know? For want of a nail; for want of some sugar … you know how it is!”

Alex swipes a hand across her face, then takes a deep breath. “Yeah, of course. What are you making?”

“Oh, just dinner.” Her nose scrunches in a way she probably thinks is endearing. “If I had enough I’d share, but you know.”

“I know,” Alex agrees. Juliette always uses you know how it is as an excuse. Alex lived with her parents until twenty five because she couldn’t afford both rent and food. She can empathize.

“You’re so sweet. You’re my favorite. Craig - you know Craig? Across the hall?” At Alex’s nod, she carries on. “I tried asking him for an egg once, and that was cool, but next time I came by, I was like, ‘hey, can I use your dryer?’ and he said no! Like, I just wanted to use it once, you know?”

Alex and Craig have been dating for a year; Craig knows all about Juliette.

“So anyway, the landlord wants to replace the floorboards in my apartment,” Juliette goes on, oblivious to Alex’s harrowed expression. “And there’s no empty apartments in the building right now or they’d let me crash in one, so like, I can stay on your couch, right? My parents live halfway across the country and -”

“Yeah, fine,” Alex says. “Whatever. gently caress it.”

“Hey.” Finally, for once in her life, Juliette takes pause. “Are, uh, you okay?”

“Yeah.” Alex had to crash on a friend’s couch for three months, once, back in college. They’d been young and stupid and it had worked out okay. Replacing a few floorboards won’t take that long. Karma demands she repay the favor at last. “I’ve got a sleeper sofa. As long as you put it back up when you go to work, then go nuts.”

“You’re so sweet.” Juliette raises the measuring cup in a sad parody of a salute. “I don’t know how I’ll ever make it up to you.”

“Don’t worry about it,” Alex says. In response to her wan attempt at a smile, Juliette beams and all-but prances out the door.

Alex collapses onto the couch, staring up at the ceiling for several minutes. There’s a spot up there that looks like dried blood. It’s been there ever since she moved in. She tried to clean it, once, but when she looks up while standing on a ladder she gets horrible vertigo, so she’d given up.


Two weeks later, Alex wakes up to Juliette rifling through her drawers, and screams. “Hey!”

Juliette shrieks, jumping backwards and tripping over a pile of dirty clothes, knocking her head on the floor. “God, don’t yell at me! What’s wrong with you?”

“You’re in my room! It’s - three in the loving morning, too, what the hell?”

Juliette sniffles, sitting up. She crosses her legs, curling forward on herself. “I can’t do my laundry, I can’t get to the rest of my clothes. I just need to borrow something to wear for work.”

“Jesus.” Alex feels like her heart might crack open her ribcage. “You could have asked me instead of sneaking in. gently caress.”

“I didn’t want to bother you.”

Alex squints at her in the darkness. “Are you - is that my necklace?”

“Why would I wear your necklace?”

Alex doesn’t push it. “Look, just get the gently caress out of my room. What were you thinking? Just ask me!”

“I couldn’t sleep, I don’t know. I’m really tired. This sucks, okay? I know I’m annoying you but this really sucks for me, too, and I’m not thinking straight, and just - whatever, I’m going back to bed. Not that I’m going to sleep after you yelling at me.”

It takes Alex two hours to get back to sleep, and she needs to be up by six.

At seven, Juliette makes pancakes.

“Oh, nice.” Alex forks one onto a plate. The peace offering calms her somewhat. “Hey, about last night -”

“You can’t have that,” Juliette snaps.

Alex freezes. “You’re using my poo poo to cook pancakes and I can’t have any?”

“You’ve got that loving … frozen dogshit in the freezer, eat that.”

“The gently caress is wrong with you? Get out,” Alex says. “Find someplace else to stay.”

Juliette starts sobbing. “God, I’m sorry, just - my boss called and left a message and said the place is shutting down and not to bother coming in, and my mom’s sick, and -”

“gently caress, okay, okay,” Alex says. “I’m sorry. That sucks. Look, it’s gonna be okay. You’re fine, you’ll be fine.”

“I’m not fine!”

“Shh.” Alex hugs Juliette reluctantly, patting her back. Juliette slumps forward, sniffling into her shirt. Alex still has her pajamas on, so at least Juliette’s snot and tears aren’t messing up her work clothes. “There, there.”

“Can you - is your office hiring? Even for like a temp.”

“I’ll ask,” Alex says. “Look, I gotta get to work. You enjoy your pancakes. I’ll text you later -”

“Actually. My phone service got cut off -”

“I’ll e-mail you, then. Just get on the wi-fi.”

“Oh, right,” Juliette says. “Still, uh. I’m - can I get a phone on your line? We could do one of those family plans with shared minutes. I’ll hardly use it, I swear. Since I’m going to be looking for work ...”


Two months later, Juliette’s already been promoted to the same position it took Alex a year and a half to get. She has the next cube over and has stolen half of the little one-a-day calendar pictures Alex has tacked up in her cube.

She takes Alex’s lunch from the office refrigerator, with an, “Oh, haha, I thought it was mine, since it was in my freezer at home -” and no apology. Alex shrugs it off.

She gets home from work after staying let to help finish up some work Juliette couldn’t figure out. Over the months Juliette commandeers the bedroom; Alex’s things stay there, but the items Juliette has no interest in migrate to the living room, leaving Alex with her own cast-offs. Juliette, apparently, has a back problem. Can’t sleep on the sleeper sofa anymore. Her apartment still isn’t finished. Of course not. Nowhere else for her to stay. Sure. Alex nods - fine, fine, fine to each excuse.

The bedroom is off-limits, but Alex wants an old set of earrings that she hasn’t worn in a month. They’re her boyfriend’s favorites. Craig says they make her look like a pirate, or a queen. She opens the door, hoping Juliette won’t be home.

Juliette, in Alex’s bra, Alex’s jeans, with Alex’s earrings on, curls up against Craig’s side. “God, Alex,” he’s telling Juliette. Her hair hides her face like a shroud. “You’re . When are you going to kick that other girl out of your place, anyway?”

“Soon,” she says.

Alex backs out of the room.

A Tin Of Beans
Nov 25, 2013

Thranguy posted:

Week 187 Crits of various size

Bonus Crit

A Tin of Beans: Tingo

Thank you for the crit :shobon:

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