I missed Monday this week, and nearly missed today too. I don't have anything coherent or clever to say today, so you're getting flash-fic, and probably not all that Well Written flash fic. It will also be without the accompanying picture, because it is a)inappropriate and b)of an actual person and that makes me feel vaguely creepy even if it is a publicity shot.
I'll explain the title after the fic, bear with me.
Well, any number of things are Kate's fault. The creepy doll in Jenna's closet. The hole in her entryway wall. The perpetual poisoning of her streaming video cue. Most of college, if either of them are being honest.
This particular bit of Kate's fault is...
See, it started as something simple and fun. They both use the same pin-board program online, and when it starts letting you send people things...well. Jenna sent Kate something Kate would be interested in (a heard of starfish devouring a dead animal) and Kate sent Jenna a half-naked man sprawled over a car. And Jenna didn't mind that. It was a publicity still from a program she rather liked, and he was a decent looking guy (shush it) and it was a nice car. She maybe felt a little strange opening it in public, but despite the fact it was...racy, it wasn't actually bad.
Jenna sent her back a baby octopus wearing a top-hat and let it go.
But Kate is Kate, and she knows. So the next week there's another picture. Same actor, different still. He seems to consistently lose his shirt when he's around a camera. Jenna sends her back a picture of some vaguely creepy sea-creature.
It goes on like this for so long Jenna stops thinking of it as a thing. It's not every week. They're both busy--Kate is a research biologist this year (some people are too smart for their own good) and Jenna is steadily crawling her way up the ladder of tv-writers. It's not as glamorous as people assume.
It's maybe a year after the random sending of pictures when she meets Kate's favorite subject. There's a really awkward three seconds where she has to strenuously remind herself that is not an appropriate opening anecdote when meeting someone you may have to work with someday (she's gotten on the writing board at a studio he's currently working with). She settles for an easy smile and a hand-shake.
Kate has a glorious amount of fun, with the whole 'my best friend is actually working in Hollywood' thing over the next couple of years. Jenna doesn't mind. There was a point in their lives where she had a sort of glorious amount of fun with the details of Kate's life. It's why they're friends.
Men of Nature is when it becomes a problem.
It's not the best show she's ever worked on. The lines are frequently ridiculous, and the actors are...well. They're actors. There's probably a reason writers have a low opinion of people who are paid to be pretty. And Jenna doesn't. Or she tries not to. It's one of those manly looking program that basically floats on the fact the main actors are stupidly attractive and have very little shame about crying on camera.
It's a steady paycheck and while it may not be Shakespeare it's certainly not the worst thing on TV.
They're three seasons in when they shake everything up, replace half the show regulars(one of them with Kate's favorite subject) and tell the whole world they're taking it in a new direction. And maybe the new direction was her idea, and she's just been handed a head-writer credit on a silver platter...none of that was supposed to mean she had to do interviews with the actors. But she does them without complaint because the studio thinks it makes them look better to have a young woman on stage as their lead writer.
If she sort of constantly sticks it to them because she's the only one that's nobodies business but hers.
They're on a talk-show this time. Jenna, and the twelve-year-old who plays the damaged kid brother (alright, he's twenty, and she's only ten years older than he is, but he acts like an infant) named Micah, and Joe. His name's not actually Joe, but she calls him Joe in her head (which is also Kate's fault and she's not ever explaining that to anyone ever). The Green Room is nice, all stuffed couches and pretty lights. Micah sprawls like he's waiting for his adoring public to find him, clear across the other couch with one arm thrown over his head in careful disarray.
Joe doesn't particularly like being on camera as himself, so he's pacing around the room like a caged lion. She gave up on trying to make him feel better ages ago. It didn't help, and she avoids talking to him when she can. He's nice, and professional, and she's got a crush the size of a Aussie football field (she's assuming that's bigger than an American one because it's Australian and...anyway).
The three of them have fallen into a routine, where she and Joe ignore Micah just to twit him, and Joe paces, and Jenna dicks around on her tablet until it's time for them to go on. So when the program message pops up saying she's got a notification from Kate, she doesn't think before she taps it to bring it to the front.
She's still calling that Kate's fault.
Because Kate hasn't sent her the car picture in...probably six months. Lately it's been a string of weird internet comics about the Mantis Shrimp. So of course the one day she clicks on it without thinking her screen blinks for a second and then it's...Joe. Half naked, pants undone, sprawled out across the car from three shows ago.
He chokes, and stumbles, and Jenna feels his hand land on the back of the couch, right next to her left shoulder.
She fumbles, and nearly drops her tablet before she can turn it off. "Shit. Sorry." She is going to kill Kate.
Micah is utterly uninterested in them. Or he's pretending anyway, for the moment she's going to take back every uncharitable thing she's ever said about him. This is embarrassing enough without witnesses.
Made slightly worse when Joe drops onto the couch, a full cushion away from her--which is unusual for him, he's not good at personal boundaries generally--face the brightest red she's ever seen it when he wasn't pretending to be someone else. "So...Um..."
Jenna dropped her head forward. "My best friend has a really horrible sense of humor."
He quirked a smile at her. "That's not a normal thing, then?"
"No, it is." She flushed, and made herself look up. She worked with him, and this was going to be awkward enough all on it's own without her pretending it was a thing. Even if it was a thing, maybe just not... Jenna huffed out a breath. "But also she knew we were doing an interview together today."
"Well." He gave her an awkward smiled. "As long as she doesn't usually send you half-naked men."
"It's better if it's just you?" Jenna asked, before her brain thought through the question. "Oh my god just pretend I didn't ask that. That was a conversation killer line and we were supposed to go back to pretending that had never happened."
Joe laughed, like he couldn't help himself. "I think you've been writing too much TV. The scene breaks don't really happen in real life."
"They should." Jenna flushed. "It would make it much easier to work my way out of conversations."
"But if you got to edit think about all the fun things we'd miss." He smiled, secretive and sideways without actually looking at her.
"Hey," the aide popped in the room then, looking around them, panting--they were always at a run, she remembered those days--and holding onto the door. "You guys are on next. It's time."
Joe stood up and pushed a hand through his hair, settling in to be professional, while Micah bounded out of the room, excited to be on camera.
"I feel like we should have to draw straws to see who goes last," Jenna muttered.
Joe cocked a brow at her.
"Well, I'd be all for slipping out the back, but if we let him on stage by himself he'll start trying to hump the microphone stand again." Jenna shrugged. "I don't dislike him that much."
He smiled, holding the door open for her. "Yeah. Have to keep him around, otherwise I'll wind up doing the car photo shoot."
She huffed, cheeks flushing. "I hate you."
"No you don't."
He laughed. "So when do I get to meet this friend?"
I'm on the fence between telling you where this came from and not. Not sure which is better.
I suppose I have to now.
Kate really has more than once (probably more than three or four times) sent me that picture. And I've opened it in public more than once stupidly, once in front of my mother, which as a bit of the inspiration for this. The rest is just so much whole cloth, but it was fun for a minute. If you exist on the internets I'm sure you've seen the picture, and know who I'm talking about.
The only person's name I used was Kate's. Because it's her fault. As things so often are. ;)