Cast of Characters
KATY, thirtysomething, still doing copyediting for an overslick San Francisco magazine whose guiding principles she finds objectionable but whose dental plan she can't dismiss. When we first see KATY she is late for a bus.
BEN, KATY's sometime boyfriend, currently getting in touch with his inner rhythm guitarist as a member of the Cater Waiters, a punk-ska-'80s-cover band with a regular Tuesday night gig at a bar called Goggles. In exchange for playing two sets, the Cater Waiters get two pints each of MGD and all the cheddar-flavored Goldfish they can eat. BEN and KATY are on hiatus, largely because of KATY's inability to appreciate the unique opportunity presented by the Goggles arrangement.
WYATT, drummer for the Cater Waiters who grows, bags, and deals his own blend of marijuana. WYATT sneaks the manager of Goggles half an ounce a week. Is thinking about asking BEN whether he'd mind very much if WYATT asked KATY out for dinner and a movie. By this WYATT means a Cancun burrito and a brisk walk back to his apartment to watch "The Search for Animal Chin" from his roommate's futon.
SIMON, lead singer and driving creative force behind the Cater Waiters, who is pressuring the Goggles management to up the arrangement to three pints each, and possibly to an import or at least a microbrew. SIMON is getting impatient with BEN's ongoing drama with KATY, which he feels to be a distraction from the music.
COLLEEN, KATY's sister, despite being only thirteen months older than KATY, is on an entirely different plane of maturity. In fact, KATY is currently waiting for a bus that will take her out to Sea Cliff, for a baby shower being thrown for COLLEEN. The woman throwing the shower is a particular irritant for KATY, which may be the reason she has subconsciously made herself late for the bus. COLLEEN increasingly uses phrases like "passive-aggressive" when discussing her sister KATY.
TED, COLLEEN's husband, wants only the best for KATY and is emphatically sure that BEN is not it. TED thinks of KATY as a fixer-upper, and knows that with a fresh coat of paint and a little TLC she would be somebody's Cozy Dream-Come-True. TED is in the Million Dollar Club at his real estate agency, and has the small glass pyramid-shaped award sitting on the mantel.
SANJAY, a pedestrian with a small folding bicycle, loans KATY his cellular phone when the bus has not come after she's waited twenty minutes. SANJAY offers that the Yellow Taxi Company is set as autodial 5, but instead KATY calls up WYATT, who lives a few blocks away from the bus stop.
CHAD, 19, a sophomore at SF State, lives downstairs from WYATT and is watching skateboarding videos in WYATT's living room, bathed in violet hydroponic light, when KATY's call comes in. CHAD goes along with WYATT and SIMON to pick up KATY.
HANNAH, the self-actualized hostess of COLLEEN's baby shower, is unsurprised by KATY's late, somewhat windblown arrival. KATY's skirt is twisted so that the backslit shows off her left knee, and she smells like marijuana and Taco Bell, which HANNAH chalks up as yet another indication that COLLEEN is the only stable member of her family. HANNAH is extremely surprised when WYATT, the young man who has driven KATY to her home [and who HANNAH notes is not KATY's intermittent boyfriend, BEN], follows KATY into the foyer and asks to use HANNAH's "john."
BART, HANNAH's Samoyed, encounters WYATT on his way upstairs and begins to lick some Taco Bell hot sauce off WYATT's pants leg.
AMY, a pastry chef also attending COLLEEN's baby shower, who compliments KATY on her funky skirt, and next to whom on the couch KATY gratefully collapses: AMY also finds HANNAH a bit oppressive, and is glad to have KATY with whom to exchange raised-eyebrows.
DR. FONG, a veterinarian, is called when BART the Samoyed has an adverse reaction to WYATT's spilled hot sauce and finds himself accepting KATY's invitation to check out the Cater Waiters the following Tuesday. In accepting, DR. FONG tells KATY he has never been to a bar called Goggles, and she says, "Good."
LUCINDA, another guest at COLLEEN's baby shower, asks COLLEEN to wait to open her next gift until KATY returns from propositioning the semi-handsome veterinarian DR. FONG. "I thought you were seeing that musician," LUCINDA says. "Not the guy who went to the john, that other guy."
PAULINE, the guest sitting next to LUCINDA, elbows her sharply and says KATY is a grown-up, and can date anyone she wants to. When she says, "grown-up," HANNAH begins to choke on a cucumber roll.
MAXWELL, the caterer, looks alarmed at HANNAH's choking but quickly ascertains that this is no fault of the cucumber roll. He has been given a Cater Waiters bumper sticker by WYATT, and plans to check them out next Tuesday.
BRUCE, keyboardist for the Cater Waiters, who knows as soon as he sees KATY flirting boldly with some Asian dude that KATY and BEN are still entangled. After "Mirror in the Bathroom," he shoots a sympathetic look at WYATT, who will have to forget his own interest in KATY and focus on dealing with that guy MAXWELL leering at him from the bar. BRUCE's last three bands all broke up over girls. He counts off "Bed and Breakfast Man," hoping that its infectious beat will be enough to send KATY and BEN skanking happily toward each other. If not, he will call the number on the ad he took from the Tower bulletin board that said "Rush/Yes/Crimson Covers. KB needed. Call MIKE after 11 AM."
About the author:
Jenn Stroud Rossmann is a professor of engineering at Harvey Mudd College in southern California. Her stories have appeared in Readymade, Red Rock Review, and The MacGuffin, and she is completing a novel. She throws right, bats left.