A time to tell



J was busy with his work. Q was busy with hers. Being busy was often associated with success and to not be busy was considered the misfortune of the unemployed and disabled. And based on their research neither J nor Q had any desire to be classified as such. They were busy and they knew it was a good thing. What was it that kept them so busy? Information. J and Q worked in the Department of Common Affairs, a new department that was established by the president after much pressure from the congress. Although the social security department has served well in trying keep a check in the social status of people, this new department would provide information about what people had access to. It was a department whose job was to get information about the information that was available and accessible to people. More importantly it was meant to understand what the average American was exposed to in terms of world news, cultural programs, cop shows, talk shows, Hollywood trivia, scientific discoveries, racial issues, etc. Basically, the department's job was to answer the question: what information do people get? This was not necessarily an easy question to answer. And it kept J and Q busy.


Some people leave their jobs at the office when they return home in the evening; J and Q were occupied by their jobs even when they slept. One evening as they sat at the dining room table filing statistics the door bell rang. Q got up to answer it. I'll get it, J said. No I got it. She opened the door. It was Ernie. Q sighed. Ernie wasn't wearing a shirt-just his beaten sandals and cut-off jeans. "Hello Lena," he said. "Don't call me that," she said. "What?" "Ernie," she said. "What?" "Don't call me that." "Why not?" "I don't go by that name anymore." "Ahh," said Ernie, "You're still into Star Trek" She left Ernie standing at the door and returned to the livingroom. Ernie closed the door behind him and came into the room grinning. "J-dog!" he said, opening his arms.


J stood up from the table and embraced Ernie. It had been several months since he had seen his old friend. After a few slaps on the back, J held Ernie out at arms length.

"Ernie! Well met, old friend. So tell me how is our intrepid explorer?"

Ernie's grin faded from his face, and he nodded toward the table. "Well to tell you the truth, I could be better. You mind if I sit down?" Q glared behind Ernie’s back, but J ignored her and motioned Ernie to sit. Ernie flounced into the chair dislodging a few printouts, spilling them to floor.

“Ernie!” said Q critically, as she stamped over to quickly straighten the mess.

J winced visibly, “Why don’t you leave that for now, dear? Perhaps, you can get us all something cool to drink. What about it, Ernie? Would you like some ice tea?”

“Well as a matter of fact, that sounds great.” Q rolled her eyes and stamped away into the kitchen. Ernie seemed to be oblivious to her reaction.

J leaned forward and lowered his voice. “So, what can I do for you, Ernie? I must say you are being rather mysterious this evening. You haven’t gotten yourself into a bit of trouble again have you? Some irate father or husband isn’t chasing you or anything?”

Ernie chuckled, “No, nothing like that I am afraid. Though, I imagine that I look a bit out of sorts—coming here dressed like this.”

“Well, yes—I must admit, I was wondering about that. But, knowing you as I do, I imagine that you have some interesting story to tell.”

“Indeed, and I will tell it, just as soon as Lena—er—Q comes back.”

A few moments later, Q returned from the kitchen carrying a tray with a pitcher of ice tea and three glasses. J shuffled the sheaves of paper on the table to make room for the refreshment. Q placed the pitcher down and then filled each glass, passing one to Ernie and J, before pulling out a chair and seating herself.

“This is excellent tea, dear, ” said J in the awkward pause that was occurring.

“Thank you, J,” responded Q politely, sensing the discomfiture of their guest. Curiosity, however outweighed tact, “So, Ernie. What is it this time? What hair-brained, crazy idea do want to involve J in this time?”


Well from my swan dress you can tell, obviously that I am over identifying myself with Bjork, as her friends dressed her, for the Oscars. I know I know I am all hairy and she is a beautiful wraith but the costume, it made me think of the poem ::he stopped and stared hard at Q, then looked away red faced:: you know erm "Leda and the Swan" by Yeats...so.

Q: You are not to use that name in describing me, we only had a green card marriage and as for your fidelity to Bjork, you should have been doing your bloody job as a member of the Academy of voters and seeing that she was nominated as BEST ACTRESS which not only did she recieve at Cannes but the woman deserved it, and

J: Q, Can't you tell he has gotten you off on you "lack of art in Hollywood tirade with the tired swan dress, besides Bjork was wearing a stuffed swan tutu and this swan is nearly a Disney Character I'm more interested in knowing what theme parks he's been rampaging...

Ernie crossed his skinny hairy arms over the partly exposed chest, also skinny and hairy and exposed in the places where he cut his "swan theme suit" to look like a "small tutu"..."As a matter of fact, I didn't even'get the thing here it's a long story,

::all roll their eyes::

Ernie continues: La di da...well, it's long and ugly and I got the thing at Eurodisney, you fools!

Q: If that's supposed to be impressive I am only waiting for the banalities to creep into the room, as in wanna cuppa?

J: Thank God, Q let's get the kettle amped up and let the man ponder the stupidity of his sins, it's nearly time for

Q: oh oh wait I can guess, Will and Grace

J: yessssss

Q: Oh, Oh I love

J: It's OUR Show

Ernie: ::Putting on a woman's coat:: I think I will be going now...


J: But that's mine! See? It's pink! See? And besides, where were you last week when I needed a fix?

Ernie: I was in Leeds.

J: No, you were in the bath, along with that harlot from Spain, old what's-her-name. Q: That's right, I saw you. So don't try and wrangle your way out of here! You've got a lot of explaining to do.





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