"Liz Castelo, from high school. Look, if this is a bad time I can call back."
"No." And disappear again? "No, it's good. How are you? Hey, I saw you on the news recently."
"Oh yeah, that clip with the python. A lot of people saw that." Liz didn't sound too thrilled about being on prime time news. "Anyhow, I'm okay and you're like a celebrity."
"Not really." Mattie had a queasy feeling in her stomach. This wouldn't be the first call she'd had from "friends", most of them she couldn't remember, since she'd been associated with Bodine. They all started by saying how happy they were for her and ended by asking for something - an endorsement, a meeting with Bodine, to co-sign a car loan. She hoped Liz was not going to be another one.
"How's Pickles?" Liz said
Mattie felt tears come to her eyes. Evidently she was important to Liz. Important enough that she remembered the name of her bird. "She's got a boyfriend."
"That's great, the two of you, hooked up."
"Do you still have Iggy?" Mattie said.
"Yeah, I do, and he's about three and a half feet long now and really fat."
There was silence. Here it comes Mattie thought. She waited. Nothing.
"Is everything okay, Liz? I mean, you're not in any trouble? I mean with what happened at The Reptile Refuge."
"Me? I'm great. That had nothing to do with me. It's just that I had to rescue some of the animals from the refuge and they're not doing so well."
"I thought the SPCA was going to take care of–"
"Would you let those clowns look after your birds? Look, you must think this is bizarre. How long has it been since we hung out in high school, five years?"
"Nearly six. You disappeared half way through senior year," Mattie said. "What happened? You were there and then you weren't."
"Right. It was kind of a bad time and I had some personal stuff going on. Anyhow... So here I am calling you out of the blue, asking for help with some orphaned reptiles, you must think... "
"Where are they now?"
"In my basement suite, but it's like, not cool."
"How can I help, Liz?"
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