Meeting Charlie Madagan: Part 1, Chapter 3

Saturday mornings at the student union were always quiet. Between most people not wanting to get out of bed before 11 and the fact that half of campus was hungover, it meant a peaceful breakfast for anyone who wanted to partake. While being up and dressed at 9:30 on a Saturday wasn’t Kyler’s idea of a great time, Riza’s insistence on getting him and Troy to do something productive was persuasive, if not frustrating.

“The best part of any breakfast is the food,” Riza said. “It’s not the most important part, but it is the best.”

“Pretty sure you’re also the only person patient enough for the make your own omelet bar on a Saturday morning,” Troy grumbled.

“How are you not hungover?” Kyler replied, his voice equally somber.

“Because unlike the two of you, I cut myself off,” she answered.

“We’re not drinking tonight,” said Kyler.

“Well, not heavily,” Troy interjected. “You can’t game well if you’re too drunk.”

“So we had to make up for it in advance,” continued Kyler.

“You know that sentence doesn’t make any logical sense, right?” replied Riza.

“Neither does your face,” replied Troy.

Riza stuck her tongue out at him, then went back to eating her omelet. A chunk of bell pepper tumbled off her fork and onto the floor.

“You’re awful messy for being sober,” said Troy.

“Listen, bitch,” Riza said. “I bought you coffee. The least you can do is ignore the fact that I’m trying to feed the ants while I’m here.”

“I would never make fun of your generosity, oh giver of overly sweet cappuccino,” Troy snarked back.

“How’s your dad doing?” Kyler asked.

“He’s good,” Riza replied. “I’ll go home and see him in a couple of weeks. I think he gets lonely without me.”

“Doesn’t he have dogs?” Troy asked.

“He does, but they’re shitlords,” said Riza. “The little one tries to eat anything that she can get her mouth on and the big one thinks she needs to be on your lap constantly.”

“I’d love a lap dog,” Troy said.

“It’s all fun and games until a dog that outweighs you by 100 pounds sprints across the room to snuggle,” replied Riza. “I think I still have bruises.”

“Say hi to him when you see him,” Kyler said.

“I will,” stated Riza. “I’m sure you’ll see him at Thanksgiving or something.”

“Dude!” exclaimed Troy. “Is he who you got the candied sweet potatoes you had last year from?”

“That was my grandma,” said Kyler.

“Oh,” replied Troy. “Well then I guess you don’t need to say hi for me then.”

“Wow. Dick.”

Riza followed her response by grabbing Troy’s cappuccino and taking a long drink.

“Hey!” he exclaimed. “You’ve got your own!”

Riza nodded as she continued to drink Troy’s coffee.

“You should really know better than to rile her up when you’re not awake enough to defend your stuff,” Kyler said.

“But it’s English toffee!” Troy whined.

Riza set the cup back down in front of Troy.

“And it’s delicious,” she said. “Thank you for sharing.”

“You stole it!” Troy replied.

“I purchased it and then reclaimed some of my expenses via a coffee tax.”

Troy groaned.

“I’m going to go buy another one,” he stated. “As I’m clearly going to need it. Anyone need anything?”

Riza quickly fished a dollar out of her purse and handed it to Troy.

“Bring me back some kind of fruit,” she said.

“What kind?”

“Literally anything other than a banana. I don’t need you getting a hard-on while I try to eat.”

Troy rolled his eyes and walked away. Kyler laughed and went back to his pancakes while Riza started talking.

“Is Sloane coming back tonight or tomorrow?” she asked.

“Tomorrow,” Kyler mumbled between bites.

“So what are we doing until tonight?”

Kyler shrugged. “Dunno. Troy goes to work at 11. He’ll be back to play Rock Band later. We could game if you want.”

“Maybe a little,” Riza replied. “But I’ll save most of that for later. I’ll get burnt out otherwise.”

“I don’t have much to do,” Kyler said. “Other than the English project, nothing’s really started at this point.”

“When do you meet with that guy?”

“Monday afternoon. I’m surprised he could do it so quickly. He seems like a pretty important guy to suddenly have time for college kids.”

“Ever heard the term fuck you money?” Riza asked.

“Yeah,” replied Kyler. “It’s when you have so much money that you can buy something because fuck you, that’s why.”

“Right. But it also means you can cut out on work whenever. Because fuck you, that’s why.”

“So he’s only going to be there because he’s blowing off work?”

“Not necessarily. I’m just saying that he’s probably not going to value your time as much as his own.”

“Dr. Torrence said he’s a nice guy,” replied Kyler. “Maybe he’s one of those kind billionaires looking for a benefactor.”

“Or his round of golf got canceled and he doesn’t feel like working,” Riza snarked back.

“Ooo!” said Troy as he walked back up to the table. “Are we playing reasons why Scrooge McDuck is going to blow off talking to Kyler? Because my money is on that he’s got a conflicting appointment to pose for a marble statue to be made of him. Naked.”

“How big do you think he’ll ask the sculptor to make his horn?” asked Riza, as she caught the plum Troy brought back with him.

“He’s a billionaire,” replied Troy. “So I’ll be shocked if the tip isn’t below the knee.”

“It’ll be like a stone Pringles can,” added Riza.

“The Colossus of Choads,” said Troy.

“Add a light to it and it could guide ships into port,” Riza stated.

“They could display it at the Mausoleum at Halicocknassus,” Troy added.

“I bet he calls it the hypotenuse,” said Riza, “because just when you think it’s going to end, it keeps going.”

“I wonder if he’ll surround the statue with a moat just so he can call it the Bangkor Wat,” Troy thought aloud.

“Why are you two assuming he’s going to be a prick?” asked Kyler.

“That’s the spirit!” shouted Troy.

Kyler shook his head and went back to eating his breakfast while Troy and Riza continued to unleash a stream of penis puns. He was hoping Charlie Madagan wouldn’t actually blow off their Monday meeting, especially considering Dr. Torrence’s high praise for the man. Still, Kyler didn’t know him. And there was just as good of a chance that he’d show as not.

After Troy went to work, Kyler and Riza had the apartment to themselves. Riza sat at the dining room table, typing up the start of a paper for one of her classes while Kyler played video games in the living room.

“I’m not bothering you with the noise, am I?” Kyler asked.

“That’s the fourth time you’ve asked me,” said Riza.

“And it’s the fourth time I’ve wanted to know.”

“You’re playing sports games. Not only is it not bothering me, it’s easy to tune out.”

Kyler nodded, satisfied with Riza’s answer. He unpaused his game and went back to playing.

“Does it bother Sloane or something?” Riza asked. “I can’t think of any question you’ve asked me that often.”

“She’s not a fan of me playing with her around,” Kyler answered. “She’s more okay with it if both Troy and I are playing, but if it’s just us, she gets annoyed by it.”

“Even if she’s doing homework or something?”

“Yep.”

“Kyler,” Riza said, turning away from her computer and staring at him. “What do you see in her? Besides tits that look good in a push-up bra?”

“She treats me good,” said Kyler.

“Is that your final answer?”

“She does!” Kyler insisted. “I’m not saying she’s perfect. Just because someone doesn’t like your hobbies doesn’t mean they’re a bad person.”

“Totally fair,” said Riza. “But it’s more that she tries to talk you out of your hobbies. Especially while she’s around.”

“We won’t get to see each other that much this semester. I think she just wants to enjoy our time together.”

“Except that I bet that’s been going on much longer than this semester.”

“It…um…,” stammered Kyler.

“It’s not like you don’t do what she asks you,” continued Riza. “How was Puerto Vallarta?”

“It was fun.”

“Glad you had a good time. Has your bank account recovered yet?”

“I’ve been trying to find a campus job all summer,” said Kyler. “Hopefully I’ll have better luck now that the school year is started.”

“And where does she want to go this spring?” Riza asked. “Because I know she’s already made spring break plans.”

“How do you know that?”

“Because she’s the kind of girl who does that.”

Kyler stayed silent, focusing on his video game.

“Cabo?” probed Riza. “San Juan? Fort Lauderdale? San Diego? Destin?”

“Barcelona,” mumbled Kyler.

“Where the fuck are you getting Europe money?” asked Riza. “Your parents don’t like Sloane THAT much.”

“How would you know?”

“Do I really talk to your mom more than you do? Because that’s just sad.”

“It’s not my fault she calls you the daughter she never had,” replied Kyler.

“Yeah,” said Riza. “Really wish she wouldn’t do that. It’s super awkward. And stop dodging my questions.”

“I’ll figure something out. I just…”

Kyler trailed off, pausing his game as he thought. His silence when on much longer than expected, leading Riza to interject.

“You just what?” she said.

“I get that she’s super busy,” said Kyler. “I just wish I saw her more when we weren’t partying. I mean, it’s fun and all. But I like the other side of her more. When it comes out.”

“I get it. It’s why I swore off dating. At least until I’m done with college.”

“Too many drunk guys trying to get into your pants?”

“Too many that acted completely different sober and drunk,” replied Riza. “Weirdly the better dates were the drunk ones. At least they didn’t pretend to care about me for anything other than sex.”

“Sorry,” replied Kyler.

Riza shrugged.

“I’m not the one with the problem here,” said Riza. “If I really want to get laid, I’m sure all I have to do is ask. You, however, need to have a heart-to-heart with Sloane. Clearly she can’t change her internship. And you have to deal with that. But I’m sure there’s more you two can work on.”

Kyler nodded and unpaused his game. Riza stared at him for a few moments, then went back to working on her paper, leaving the room silent, save for the sounds of digitally-generated cheers.


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