Candace sat four floors up at her desk in the offices of the student newspaper. A source in the mayor’s office had failed to call her back, and she was debating whether to call and leave another message.
Adding to her anxiety was that her column was due in two hours, and she wasn’t sure that farting during a class presentation was the inspiration she wanted to pursue this week — especially when everyone in that class would then realize her column wasn’t about an actual experience in which she farted while being eaten out. Candace considered railing against the racism inherent in white men’s Asian fetish but reconsidered because her column was written by Miss Wang. Were she a better writer, she could have argued effectively why fetishism was racist while being called “Miss Wang” was not in 1,000 words. She knew making that distinction — and avoiding an uproar among her readers — was out of her wheelhouse.
She didn’t call her source, and she didn’t write her column. She stared at the blinking cursor of the blank Word document and absentmindedly spun her pen around her thumb.
Then she had an idea, she went online and filled out a form to volunteer at State Senator Bill Baxter’s Chicago office.
Then she called Allison about whether she’d heard anything about Jason Baxter from her father’s friend in the medical examiner’s office. Allison hadn’t, so Candace called the office and left a message. She scribbled out that item on her To Do list and, with renewed sense of purpose, began writing her column. The only candid conversation she had ever had with her mother had been about sex, and it involved her mother’s first time. She had been at university in Macau. And, for reasons that remain unknown to her father, Candace’s mom perks up whenever she hears Billie Jean on the radio, instantly recognizing the hook and reciting the lyrics in near-perfect American English despite an otherwise thick accent.
So Candace was busy when I called. I left her a message to meet me by the elevator in the basement of the student center at the end of my shift.
She texted that she had to get back to Anderson Complex-South for Julian, which didn’t make sense because he was with Sophia and hadn’t answered anyone’s calls for almost 24 hours, and asked if we could meet the next day.
“Fine,” I wrote, “What’s another day to PimpFlyG? Mo’ money, mo’ problems, amiright?”
“ha,” she wrote back.
I didn’t think she meant it.