Chapter Two (Part Three)
It is inevitable, the crash that follows the high. Trip knows that, and yet, every time, she hopes to escape it. She spends the day after the job is finished burrowed under her covers, not moving from her futon except to eat, drink, and shit. If the black isn’t too heavily upon her, she reads, but that’s not always possible. She flips on the television so there is background noise, but she keeps the volume on low so it’s not overwhelming. All the energy and the adrenaline that fuels her while she’s performing dissipates once there’s no need for it to exist. Trip has long since accepted this stage of the job, but that doesn’t mean she has to like it. She is not a woman who is comfortable feeling weak, so for those specific days, she unplugs the phone and refuses to answer the door.
Her best friend, Mowgli—nee, Roberto Esteban—hasn’t stopped trying to jolt her out of her funk on these days, but has yet to succeed. She solves the problem of him dropping by on these days—he has a key—by simply not telling him when she’s finished a job until she’s functioning again. Then she has to suffer through him lecturing her on how friendship is a two-way street and how she shouldn’t be ashamed to admit that she needs to lean on someone once in a while. He towers over her at six-feet six, and was recruited by many prestigious schools to play football and basketball, but his true love was baseball which he excelled at. The few carefully-selected teammates who knew he was gay didn’t two shits about it as long as he never came on to them and he continued to produce—both edicts which Mowgli followed to the letter. He blew out his knee his third year in college and hasn’t played competitive sports since. He’s good-looking with dark skin because of his Filipino blood, dark eyes, and a wide, engaging smile. His tats and piercings, not to mention his swagger, don’t hurt, either. If he were anything but a hundred-percent gay, Trip would be all over him like flies on rice. Where did that horrid expression come from, anyway?
She calls him Mowgli because he loves animals. When he tried to protest, she said it was either that or Dr. Dolittle, so he chose the lesser of two evils. He is the only one of her friends who calls her Del because he can’t stand the name Trip. When he is angry with her, he calls her Delilah. When he’s pissed at her, he calls her Delilah Wire. When he calls her ‘Delilah Esther Wire’, then she knows she’s in big trouble. She met him on the streets one day when she propositioned him, not knowing he was gay. It was her first year in San Francisco, and her gaydar hadn’t been properly installed yet. He had taken one look at her and unofficially adopted her as his sister. She refused to live with him because of her pride, and he couldn’t convince her to go to a shelter, but he made sure her life on the streets was as easy as possible. He’d bring her food from time to time and gave her money when she’d accept it from him. He was the first to cheer when she rented her first apartment, and though he might not like what she did, he never judged. He works in the tech/gaming industry, but wants to write a book some day.