Chapter 1: Alternate Timeline- Ranger
“So there I am trying to explain to this lady that yes, yes that is still poison Ivy, and that poison ivy has a few variations and stuff and she’s insisting no it can’t be. I think she tried to argue that it was secretly a wild strawberry. Can you imagine if poison ivy made fruit? This lady would be having an even worse day.”
Seifer ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. The semi tame racoon that liked to visit the ranger shack didn’t seem phased, but then it was probably smart enough not to go romp through poison ivy, unlike the parents that had been positive that he was trying to stop them from enjoying the park when he’d tried to explain the problem with their ideal picnic spot.
“You’re right, I probably shoulda just let it go but I don’t wanna loose my job when they call back to complain that I let them all get a wicked rash.” He sighed, breaking off a piece of his banana and tossing it to the racoon.
The racoon scrambled for the treat, climbed back up on an folding chair and ate it carefully, watching him to see if he would perhaps be interested in donating the rest. Perhaps that clearly unloved peanut butter sandwich as well.
“Don’t tell Carol, by the way.” He added, pointing at the Racoon.
The Racoon blinked, which he decided to take as confirmation that it wouldn’t tell Carol he’d been feeding it again.
“Oh no I agree.” He nodded sagely, taking a bite out of the banana, which earned a sad look from the racoon. Possibly it was just considering its odds of winning in a fight over the slightly overripe fruit. He chose to think it was sad. “Carol is a full killjoy. I mean you’re albino. And to be fair you guys can go rabid, but I think we’re good while you’re still invested in my lunch. And hey, we’ve had a standing lunch date for a while and you… you’re good company. You don’t stand me up or pretend we’ve never met. Although maybe we should work on that with Carol.”
He let silence fall for a few minutes, peeling the rest of the peel off the banana and tossing it gently to the Racoon, who caught it neatly in nimble paws and eating it. The small smacking sounds of an animal chewing.
“Still haven’t heard anything from Rich.” He admitted, patting the railing with rough palms. “I mean I guess I didn’t really… no that’s not true. I did think he’d stay in contact. I thought this whole thing was going to blow over and he’d stay in touch but I guess I…” He cleared his throat again, fighting an prickle of emotion. “I guess I’m the dirty secret someone’s going to try and dig up on the campaign trail. I mean I guess I’m great smear material. He’s got an pretty wife who can say the whole ass rosary, turning up a grungy, tattooed pan ex probably looks bad on the resume.”
The peanut butter sandwich really looped increasingly unappetizing now, and he surrendered it as well, knowing full well he’d regret the choice later.