Like Little Glass Grenades
But The Rage Serenades
-Alcohol and Anger Management
The front door slammed hard, causing Brandi and Raph to jump. Both turning from the sink full of bubbles and dishes, they saw a blonde hurricane storming through the living room. All fury and rage, Mary kicked boxes out of her way and threw her purse against the wall. It flew into one of the FBI's holes, bounced, and dangled from a rip in the sheet rock as Mary yanked open the back door and stomped out to the backyard.
Out of the corner of her eye, Brandi saw Raph's mouth open. Terror ripped through her and she grabbed his wrist tightly. She knew he was about to ask Mary what was wrong but he didn't know. Maybe he had seen the box Mary had been dragging with her but he didn't know what it meant. He didn't understand that talking to Mary was dangerous right now. He didn't know that going anywhere near her meant a trip to the hospital. He didn't know that that particular box in Mary's hands was a ticking time bomb.
Mary had a case of Dos Equis and Brandi knew it was time to hide.
"What the hell was that all about," Raph asked, bewildered. Brandi was gripping his wrist forcefully and shaking as she stared at path of destruction. It was obvious that she was terrified but what wasn't obvious was why. Mary was always pissed off at something. She kicked things and slammed doors like most people breathed.
Brandi let go of Raph's arm and leaned back against the counter. Oblivious to the bubbles soaking into the back of her shirt, she wrapped her arms around herself protectively and tried to choke back a whimper. Shakily, she tried to explain, "When Mary buys herself a case of beer, you need to stay away from her. Don't talk to her, don't look at her and, for the love of god, don't try to take the beer away from her."
Raph stared at the shaking blonde. Gone was the arrogant brat that he had first met. The past year had stripped Brandi of her ballsy attitude but there had to be something more to this than just a fear of a drunken sister. With her arms wrapped around herself and eyes staring at a spot on the floor, she looked like a scared little girl. Normally, Raph would try to talk to her and be sympathetic but aggravation flooded his brain. Apparently, there were even more rules to dealing with Mary than he had thought. He loved her but she was so controlling, so secretive and so damn angry that it was almost impossible to deal with her. And now there was this- her sister shaking in fear from a case of beer- and it irritated him.
"You can't be serious. She buys beer all the time. What's so damn scary about her buying a case instead of a six pack? Am I supposed to run away if she buys a keg?" Raph rolled his eyes and threw up his hands. "Is there a bomb shelter nearby in case she gets a bottle of tequila?"
"You don't understand, Chico. She won't get that drunk off of six bottles. She can't throw a keg. She'd be too drunk after a bottle of tequila to aim right." Brandi's eyes widened as a stream of words flooded out, "A case of beer is twenty four bottles that she can throw when the beer is gone. A case means she's had a really bad day and she can't hit what's pissing her off. And if she can't hit the thing that's bothering her, you know damn well that she'll take it out on the first person that's stupid enough to come within throwing range."
Sighing, Raph sat down at the kitchen table. What other little quirks am I going to have to learn about? What other Mary rules am I going to have to memorize? Why the hell couldn't she just be normal? He waved Brandi over to the table to join him and asked, "So what do we do now?"
Mary had been drinking out by the pool for over two hours and the bottles were starting to stack up. From the window, Brandi could count eight empties and the one in her sister's hand was dangerously close to empty. She had turned off the lights in the living room so she could keep a close eye on the bottle count without Mary seeing her. There had been a scary moment when Jinx had gotten home from one of her meetings and automatically flicked the lights on. Brandi had been trying to figure out if there were four or five bottles at the time and Mary had looked directly at her when the lights turned on. Brandi ducked behind the curtain and hissed at Jinx to hit the lights.
There had been a moment of confusion until Brandi explained the situation with one sentence- "Mary's got a case of beer with her out by the pool."- and Jinx slapped off the lights before joining them on the couch. Since then, Brandi and Jinx had told Raph, in explicit detail, about all the times in the past that Mary had come home with a dreaded box of bottles. He was shown the tiny scar of Jinx's forehead and informed of the extreme violence Mary was capable of when she like this. It was hard to tell how much of it was exaggerated but, even if he believed half of what they were telling him, Raph soon found himself grateful that Brandi had stopped him from trying to talk to Mary. Evidently, this had happened every two or three months back in New Jersey but there had only been one incident in Albuquerque as far as they knew.
Jinx had just gotten done telling them the story from that night when the phone rang. The noise came from the other side of the room and the three of them stared at the purse hanging off the wall in trepidation. It was Mary's phone that was ringing and none of them knew what to do.
"Should one of us answer it," Brandi asked hesitantly. Mary's phone was off limits. No one else used it, no one else answered it and no one else touched it. But, right now, no one was willing to go outside and give Mary her phone. But when it stopped ringing, Raph felt foolish. Mary always answered her phone and there shouldn't be any reason that she would get pissed about someone going outside to give her the phone.
So when the phone rang again, Raph marched across the room and grabbed it out of her purse. The caller ID said 'Boss Man Stan' so he felt safe answering it. "Mary's phone, this is Raphael."
"Hey Raphael, is Mary around?" Stan's voice sounded impatient and annoyed. Raph winced and hoped that this wouldn't be one of those calls that sent Mary running out the door. She would be in no condition to drive and, more importantly, he didn't want to have to give her the phone.
"Um," Raph hesitated for second before answering the question with a phrase that he had heard many time when he had tried to call her at the office, "She's… she's indisposed at the moment. Would you like to leave a message?"
There was an exasperated sigh from the other side of the line. Tersely, Stan said, "Look Raphael, I don't care if she's sleeping or in the shower. I need to talk to her. Now."
Raphael looked out the window and saw Mary slouching in one of the lounge chairs with one arm thrown over her eyes and the other holding onto a bottle. Squaring his shoulders and ignoring Brandi waving her hands and mouthing the word 'NO', Raph headed out the back door as he told Stan, "I'll get her then."
* * *
Stan tapped his fingers impatiently on his desk. He did not like Raph answering Mary's phone and he really didn't like that it was taking this long to get her on said phone. 'What the hell is taking so long,' Stan wondered.
"Mary, you've got a phone call," Stan heard Raph call out. There was a sudden and loud crash and Stan grimaced as Raph yelped, "Damnit Mary! It's your boss."
There was a second crash and Stan sighed as he listened to Raph retreat back into the house and slammed the door shut. In the background he could hear Brandi say, "I told you not to go out there. There's no way anyone is getting near her until she passes out."
Apparently Mary wasn't in the mood to talk to anyone but Stan needed her damn DAF report and Marshall had no idea where the hardcopy was. Her computer files were a clusterfuck of confusion so they couldn't even figure out where she kept her accounting records. Currently, Marshall was checking out everything in the file marked 'SS' in the hopes that SS stood for 'stupid shit'. The file named 'WOMT' had already been searched but apparently the DAF report wasn't a complete waste of her time because it wasn't in there.
"I'm sorry," Raph said, "but I can't get the phone out to her right now. I'll leave a message for her and she can call you in the morning."
Stan rubbed his forehead in annoyance. If Mary had just turned in the damn report before she had left this wouldn't be a problem. But no, she just had to leave early without talking to anyone. She and Marshall were fighting- again- and now she was seemingly incommunicado. HQ was screaming for those reports and, if they weren't faxed in by 8AM, Stan was looking at having one shit-storm of a day.
"Look," Stan said patiently, "I need to talk to Mary now. This can't wait until tomorrow morning."
There was a hesitation and then Raph replied, "I'm sorry but if you want to talk to her then you're going to have to come here. But do yourself a favor- bring a helmet."
"Damn it!" Stan slammed the phone down and stormed out of his office. This whole mess was because his two inspectors couldn't act like adults and talk out their problems. Instead, they sniped at each other until one of them gave the other one the silent treatment. Usually Marshall would give in eventually but evidently Mary had really crossed a line this time because Marshall was refusing to have anything to do with her. The only time Mary had gotten a reaction out of him was when she had pulled her spitball straw out of her drawer. Marshall had glared at her until she stuck some paper in her mouth. The second she took aim, he had gotten up, grabbed his scissors as he walked around his desk and yanked the straw out of her mouth. Marshall had then proceeded to cut up her straw into small pieces as Mary, Eleanor and Stan watched in complete shock. Once the straw was just a pile of plastic, Marshall had returned to work and refused to say a single word to his partner for the rest of the day.
"Children," Stan muttered as he crossed the room to Mary's desk, "I work with children."
"Did you find out where it is," Eleanor asked as she set down a pile of papers. So far, she had checked every scrap of paper on Mary's desk and was now going through the pile of files Mary kept tucked under the fern in the windowsill.
Stan shook his head and tried to figure out what to do. That report had to be here but only Mary could tell them where. Unfortunately, Mary was apparently drunk and throwing things at anyone who came near her. That left Stan with one choice. He had to send someone over there to either get Mary to tell them where the report was or haul her ass back here to find it. Eleanor could probably do it but Stan didn't want to risk missing out on the greatest catfight ever. Plus, one or both of them would probably end up in the hospital and he wouldn't want that. So sending Eleanor was out. He didn't want to go either. And since he was the boss, it was easy to pass it off to the one person left.
"Marshall, I'll go through Mary's files. There's something else I want you to do right now."