Bobby had tracked down Gord, the guy with the mustache who had been the leader of the choir the publishing house had hired for a book launch a couple weeks previously. Well, sort of. She had at least managed to track down who was responsible for hiring him. It turned out to be Janine from Customer Relations and that made a lot of sense to Bobby. No one in their right mind would think to hire a church choir full of elderly Presbyterians as the entertainment for a book launch. Janine, however, was known for being cuckoo-bananas. She and Caleb had dated the year before and, amazingly, even Bobby felt Caleb had been shanghaied. While she would normally never side with Caleb over anything, she could at least agree that Janine was a hurricane of crazy. Caleb had looked dazed for a solid month following the end of their relationship. Supposedly, he had finally managed to end things with her after numerous attempts and an entire weekend of tears. Bobby almost admired his tenacity. Almost.
Bobby was torn. She wanted to ask Janine for Gord’s contact information so that she could see him again. It was perhaps a little bold, but she thought they’d had a nice time together, bonding over German pornos and sausage rolls. On the other hand, she really didn’t want to have to speak to Janine. It was something she’d gone out of her way to avoid ever since her initial run-in. Everybody had one. Janine was astoundingly friendly so she talked to anyone and everyone. The first time this had happened to Bobby, the two of them had been in an elevator together and Janine had relentlessly chatted to her about the weather. That was fine, if not a little annoying. Bobby could clearly tell that it was raining; she hadn’t exactly needed someone to share that with her. It was the second time she’d been trapped with Janine that was the official Run-in.
Janine had been in the bathroom during a book launch. It was the first one Bobby had ever been to. Bobby had gone in to fix her lipstick, only to return forty minutes later, having been trapped by Janine and her emotional downward spiral. Her boyfriend of the time had told her that he liked her pants, which had somehow translated to Janine thinking he thought her hips were fat. Bobby couldn’t even begin to understand that jump in logic. Janine wanted Bobby’s advice on how to handle it. Bobby, who’d had exactly one relationship at the time with a man who had left to join the army, was of little to no use. Still, she stayed until Janine returned to the solace of a stall to weep, at which point Bobby had fled like her life depended on it.
Finally, Bobby decided that she would in fact brave an interaction with Janine in order to ask for Gord’s contact information. At worst, she would be roped into yet another long, drawn out crying jag. That wouldn’t be ideal, but it would at least get her away from her desk. Caleb was chatting to Betty after Betty about his brother’s stag and doe and it was pretty much torturous. Bobby almost welcomed a lengthy, overemotional conversation with Janine. Almost.
Bobby wandered down to the Customer Relations department. It was shoved into one corner of the second floor. People tended to avoid it. Bobby found Janine’s desk, pressed up against a wall in the smallest office Bobby had ever seen. She half-expected to find out it was secretly a supply closet. Janine had decorated it in pastel triangle bunting and framed photos of a particularly wall-eyed pug. Bobby knocked on the door, cleared her throat, and stepped inside. Janine looked up at her with an immense grin splitting her face in half. She had very white teeth.
“Uh, hey,” Bobby greeted her with a small wave. She attempted to enter the office, but it was so small that she ended up pressing herself against the wall and sliding along until she was sort of beside Janine.
“Hi!” Janine’s grin widened amazingly even further. “How can I help you?”
“I was wondering if you knew how I could get ahold of Gord,” Bobby answered. Janine frowned at her. “Uh, he was the leader of the choir you hired for the book launch a couple weeks ago. The one for that children’s book about mittens?”
Janine’s frown deepened even further. She had a remarkable emotional flexibility. It would take Bobby a few seconds longer to switch to such an opposing emotion. Janine achieved this rapidly.
“Why?” She demanded abruptly. It was a severe change in tone. Bobby, taken aback, startled and frowned herself.
“Uh, I was thinking about hiring him for something,” she lied. She couldn’t put her finger on exactly why, but it felt like the right move. Just like that, Janine’s frosty mood lifted and she was grinning again. She reached over and opened her top desk drawer. She began rooting around, still beaming like this was the happiest she’d ever been. Bobby had emotional whiplash. It was hard to keep track of what was happening. Janine turned back to face her, still smiling, and handed her a business card. On it was a thumbnail photo of Gord, mustache and all, next to the words “Gord Kinney, Freelance Musician”. His contact information was at the bottom.
“Thank you,” Bobby said, holding the card up in salute to Janine, who grinned again. Then she quickly darted from the office because it looked like Janine wanted to say something else.
On Sunday morning, Bobby went to the church for the first time in literal decades. She’d done some hefty online stalking of Gord to find the name of the church where he directed the choir. As it turned out, he was also the organist. The last time Bobby had been in a church, it had been for her great-aunts funeral. The time before that, it had been for her great-uncle’s funeral. She’d also gone to church for the funeral of her childhood neighbour. Based on those three experiences, Bobby had dressed entirely in black. Fortunately, that was mostly what her wardrobe consisted of anyway. She sat in a pew near the back of the church next to a seriously threatening guy, who was also dressed entirely in black. He had a shaved head and a nose ring and a scowl that appeared to have deterred everybody else. Later, after the service had already begun, he was joined on the other side by a skinny guy with a black eye and a gold chain.
Bobby focussed primarily on the music for the entire service. The minister said some very encouraging words about peace during his sermon, which was lovely, but Bobby was really only there for Gord. Gord was surprisingly good at playing the organ. Perhaps that wasn’t actually surprising. He seemed to be something of an anomaly. Bobby found him fascinating. Most of the guys she met were boring blowhards, like Caleb. But Gord, on the other hand, owned corduroy bellbottoms and had a mustache. He taught popular disco songs to a church choir full of elderly people. He ate fistfuls of sausage rolls in public, like that was acceptable.
When the service came to a close, Bobby sat in her spot and tried to work out how best to approach Gord. The minister had mentioned there was a coffee hour following the service. Maybe she could casually bump into him there. But then, when he finished the final note of the morning, he got up and sauntered over to her very pew. For a moment, she thought he had seen her in the crowd and was making his way over to her, but she soon realized that he was actually walking over to the scary guy with the shaved head and his wiry friend. He didn’t see her until he’d already been chatting to the two guys for a bit.
“German porno!” He exclaimed when he saw her, raising his arms in the air. Several members of the congregation still in their pews turned to him in horror. He ignored them and walked over to her, sliding his way along the pew in front of her.
“Disappointing lack of Donna Summer this morning,” she told him. He threw his head back and laughed heartily. He gestured to his friends.
“This is my roommate Finch and my friend Joey,” he introduced them. Finch barely grunted in response, but Joey reached across Finch’s body to shake her hand. His hand was cold and clammy and the grin he threw her way was shark-like. Bobby introduced herself, which Finch mostly ignored.
“He seems nice,” she told Gord, pointing to Finch. Gord laughed again.
“Finch is all bark, no bite,” Gord replied.
“That seems like a lie, but alright,” Bobby returned.
The four of them went to coffee hour in the church hall. Bobby learned that Finch was just as menacing as he seemed, but also that she liked him. He scowled at old ladies, but helped them pour their tea nonetheless. Joey, meanwhile, was incredibly interested in how Gord and Bobby knew each other.
“So,” he said, rocking back on his heels and rubbing at the bruise under his right eye. “German porno. Do you watch or are you involved?”
Bobby made a face at him.
“Does it look like I would wear lederhosen?” She returned.
“I’d consider wearing lederhosen,” Gord chimed in thoughtfully. “If the moment was right. Finch? You would make a lovely Von Trapp child.”
“Fuck off,” Finch told him flatly. An elderly couple happened to walk by at that exact moment and the wife audibly gasped. Joey found this particularly hilarious.