“Did Eve tell you?” Levi asks.
“I don’t know,” I say. “Tell me what?”
It’s six o’clock in the morning, and Levi’s driver, Simeon, is outside the house with his car engine idling. He’s standing next to the car, exhaling vapor clouds into the cold air. It can’t be much above twelve degrees out there, but Simeon’s shaved head remains uncovered. No ear muffs, no scarf, no cowboy hat.
“Oh god, I hate it when someone tells me something but she doesn’t tell me not to tell anyone else, and then I ask someone if she knows about it and she doesn’t.”
“Does this happen often in your life?”
“Less and less.” Levi gulps down the remainder of the health shake I made him this morning. He and I are trying to clean up our acts—he’s drinking only two bourbons after work, I’m eating thirty percent fewer Milk Duds. Plus, we both start our day with seaweed and kale juice. “The older I get, the less weird stuff I hear. And now that I’m Mayor, people hide things from me so I don’t get mad and fire them.”
“Tell me what Eve told you.”
“Do I have green algae smudges around the corners of my mouth?”
“Yes, but don’t rub it off, it looks cute.”
Levi looks in the front hall mirror and runs the sleeve of his topcoat over his mouth. “I’ve got to run.”
“Tell me first.”
“I can’t.” He opens the door, then stands there for a second while the frigid air wafts in. “Oh, and Jane?”
“Thanks for the pond scum. It was so delicious.”
Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.