Chapter 17: Meeting the Platypus
"So where did you meet this guy?" asked Greg.
"I was bar hopping in Melbourne," began Carrie.
"You were what?" asked Greg.
"Bar hopping," said Carrie. "May I continue?" Greg shook his head. "Anyway, it was about the fifth bar that we had come to and I was completely wasted."
"Great," said Greg, rolling his eyes.
"I walked in and sat down at the bar and I sat down next to him," said Carrie. "I remember that he didnít try any pick up lines or even ask to buy me a drink."
"Whyís that?" asked Julie.
"Because I immediately passed out in his lap," said Carrie. "When I woke up, I was in my house and he had cooked breakfast for me."
"What?" yelled Greg, wide eyed.
"Relax," said Carrie. "He didnít do anything, but he did spend the night on the couch."
"Right," muttered Greg.
"Oh, hush," said Angie. "Youíve done the same to me."
"Sort of," said Greg. "Except I was the one that passed out on you."
"So how long have you guys know each other?" asked Carrie, picking at her sandwich.
"About a month?" asked Greg.
"How did you guys meet?" asked Carrie. "Is there some big romantic story behind it?"
"Not really," said Greg. "I was in a car accident and Angie was my nurse. Then we picked them up on the turnpike because their car was broken down. And here we are now."
"Thatís a good story," said Carrie. "Makes me all teary eyed." She wiped an imaginary tear from her eye and burst into laughter.
"What are you guys laughing about?" asked Julie, just returning to her seat.
"Just how those two met," said Carrie.
"You think thatís bad?" asked Julie. "You should go see Anne. She went head over heels for the captain of the boat."
"Speaking of which," said Angie, "Where is she?í
"I donít think I like this little boat that much," said Anne.
"Itís fun," said Badge. "You donít have to worry about commanding an entire ship. Just point it and go."
"I was referring to the roughness of the water," said Anne. "It looks like that storm is headed this way." Badge looked up and sniffed the air. He nodded.
"Indeed," said Badge. "Weíd better head into dock." He turned the small boat around and headed back for the mainland, with the storm following behind.
"Hey, thereís a storm coming in," said Bill.
"Obviously," said Jeff. "Where are you supposed to meet your girlfriend anyway?"
"That bar right there," said Bill. "She should be there now."
"How long has it been since you seen her?" asked the kangaroo.
"I dunno," said Bill. "About three months?"
"Absence makes the heart grow fonder?" asked Jeff.
"Yeah," said Bill. "At least Iím not to worried about this visit."
"So you travel around the world to break up with this girl?"
"Not quite," said Bill, nervously. "Iím on vacation from med-school and I always wanted to come here anyway."
"What are your ulterior motives?" asked Jeff.
"What?" asked Bill, fumbling for an answer.
"Donít give me that," said Jeff. "I saw it.í
"Saw what?" asked Bill.
"Nothing," said Jeff. "You think this is the one?"
"Iíd like it to be though." He looked at his pocket. "I would like it to be."
"He should be here shortly," said Carrie, looking about.
"Nervous?" asked Angie.
"Not really," said Carrie. "Well, okay Iím terrified. What if heís coming to say its over? What if heís not coming at all? What if he has another girlfriend?"
"Relax, dearie," said Julie. "You were pretty serious right? Youíll be okay. And if he did do something like that, Greg and I will go beat him up." The door to the bar swung open as a platypus and a kangaroo walked into the bar. The platypus looked around and saw the porcupine sitting at the bar, surrounded by raccoons.
"And what does this tell us?" asked Jeff.
"That sheís surrounded by raccoons?" asked Bill. Jeff shook his head and ordered a drink.
"Thatís your problem," said Jeff. Bill walked up to the surrounding group of raccoons and looked at Carrie, sitting behind the raccoon.
"May I help you?" asked Greg.
"Actually yes," said Bill. "Iíd like to speak with that porcupine sitting next to you. You seem to be really close to her."
"Is that a problem?" asked Greg. "She is my sister, you know."
"Oh, so youíre the infamous Greg," said Bill.
"And you must be Bill," said Greg extending his hand. They shook hands, and Greg crushed his hand in his grip and whispered in his ear.
"You hurt my sister, and just remember that I tend to have this interesting habit of showing up on your doorstep with high powered automatic rifle." He smiled and relaxed his grip.
"Greg, I really wish you wouldnít threaten every male that came around," said Carrie. "You have any idea how hard it was for me to get a date in high school because of you?"
"Sorry," said Greg. "Itís an overprotective instinct."
"It is handy though," said Angie.
"What are you going to do when you have a daughter?" asked Julie.
"Iíd rather not think about that," said Greg. Greg stood up and moved over a seat. "Have a seat, Bill."
Bill pulled up a chair and sat down next to Carrie. Greg looked him over and immediately noticed something wrong.
"Hey, Bill youíre from Australia, right?"
"My parents were," said Bill. "They moved to America when I was two."
"That would explain why you speak like an American," said Greg. "Why did you go back?"
"I always wanted to remember it, plus a college there gave me a full ride," said Bill.
"Greg," said Carrie, "will you stop playing twenty questions with my boyfriend here?"
"Sure," said Greg.
"So sweetie," said Carrie. "Howís school been?"
"Actually, Iíll be getting done early. With out you there to take up most of my time, I was able to take a few more classes." Carrie cuffed him in the back of the head, and laughed.
"You always were work oriented," said Carrie.
"I do try," said Bill. "How about you?"
"Me?" asked Greg.
"Yes, what do you do?" asked Bill.
"Iím a writer," said Greg. "It pays the bills, but only barely."
"You should have more stuff published then. Or write a movie," said Bill. He turned to look at Julie, who was drinking a cocktail. "Speaking of movies," he continued, "wasnít she in Cats Nightmare?"
"Iím impressed," said Julie. "I only had a bit part in that, and almost no one saw it."
"Bill, this is my sister, Julie," said Carrie.
"A pleasure to meet you," said Bill. "You have any other films coming out?"
"Actually, yes. Look for it in October. I actually have a starring role this time," said Julie.
"Good for you," said Bill. "Iíll probably be back in the states by then."
"Iím glad you came," said Carrie. "I wasnít expecting you to be here at all."
"I was half expecting that you wouldnít be here either," said Bill. "Actually, since you are here,í he began. He reached into his pocket and pulled a small black box. Julie nearly choked on her sandwich and Carrie was completely startled.
"Is this what I think it is?" asked Carrie.
"Yes, it is," said Bill. "Weíve been together for a year and 4 months, today. I think itís time."
"I donít know what to say..." said Carrie.
"Say yes, fool!" said Julie. Carrie jumped from her seat and threw her arms around Bill, nearly knocking him backwards.
"Of course Iíll marry you!" said Carrie.
"Nice planning," said Greg. "Couldnít have done it better myself. Bravo."
"Easy there, dear," said Bill. "You do have quills, remember?" They kissed again and Angie poked Greg in the ribs.
"See?" said Angie. "I told you."
"How was I supposed to know?" asked Greg quietly.
"Women just have this sense about this sort of thing," said Angie.
"You could tell when he walked in the door?" asked Greg. "How?"
"The way he fumbled with his pocket, looked about, kept clearing his throat," said Angie. "Youíre not really that observant are you?"
"Itís a trait I guess affects the people in my family," said Greg. "Julie doesnít have it. Carrie does, I do, and my mother does."
"Carrie adopted though," said Angie.
"I think she got it from mom anyway," said Greg.
"Where shall we eat?" asked Badge.
"How about that little place over there?" asked Anne.
"The Wharf?" asked Badge. "Never been there. Letís go." They walked arm in arm into the bar and saw a group of familiar and not so familiar faces sitting about a table.
"Hi, you guys," said Anne.
"Oh, hi Anne," said Julie. "Having fun with Badge?"
"Oh yes," said Anne, "fun by the truckload."
"Well, we wonít keep you," said Julie.
"Just to warn you guys," said Badge, "There is a storm rolling in. You guys might want to find a shelter to weather it out. Iíll take you guys to one after lunch."
"He has his priorities straight," said Bill.
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