Passion, it lies in all of us, sleeping… waiting… and though unwanted… unbidden… it will stir… open its jaws and howl. It speaks to us… guides us… passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments. The joy of love… the clarity of hatred… and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. If we could live without passion maybe we’d know some kind of peace… but we would be hollow… Empty rooms shuttered and dank. Without passion we’d be truly dead.
– “Passion” Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Season 2, Episode 17
I have never really seen Dave truly lose his shit. Thinking back on it, how often do we ever watch someone lose their shit? When have you seen someone just break down, freak out, yell and then just... crash computer-style, blank-slate BSOD quiet mode? Once, maybe twice in a lifetime? Sure, you get the drama queens, the roid maniacs that scream and yell in jealous rages, but when do you see someone who really cares have what they care about ripped away? You see who a person truly is at that moment, not just the shell they create around them.
When his family made off with the new grant computers, Dave hit the wall in truly spectacular fashion. I left him in the server room at the end of the day after talking to the police. He was still there when I came in this morning. I brought him lunch, but it sat untouched. Then she walked in right before closing.
If I were Raymond Chandler or Dashiell Hammett, I could describe this woman with more elaborate terms. As it stands, I am not, so all I can say is that she was gorgeous from her large white hat to the bright red pumps that clicked as she walked to the circulation desk.
“Is David here?” she said.
I stood silent, watching as the tight dress moved with her every breath.
She smiled, “Hello. I’m sorry, I was asking about David?”
“Dave?” I said.
“Dave. Yes, I guess that would be him. I’m Clara, can you tell me if he is here?”
“Yes. I mean, he was. I’ll go and see if you want to wait right here.”
I walked away from the woman in white. I was fumbling over my words, forgetful even talking to her. That never happened. I have been dealing with every shape and size of person there can be for the last fifteen years and one woman. Damn, but we are silly creatures.
Dave was where I had left him in the server room staring at the empty space where the computers were. I closed the door to the computer lab behind me. Then I stood and looked at him.
He glanced up at me.
“What?” he said.
“Someone’s here to see you. I think you might want to-”
He stared into my eyes, “Did they bring the computers back?”
“Well, no,” I said.
“Well, then tell them to go away or we’ll call the police. I’m not in the mood to deal with any of them right now.”
“She said her name was Clara,” I said.
Dave stood and walked to the door, tucking in his shirt as he went. I followed him through the lab and up the stairs. When we reached the circulation desk, I saw Natalie talking with the mysterious Clara. I walked around the desk while Dave made a line straight for the beautiful woman.
Natalie and Clara turned to us, smiling. Natalie smiled and waved at me from across the desk. Clara flowed toward Dave and their lips met. They hung like that, the angel and the dirty man, suspended. Almost enough to take my breath away. Natalie reached out and put a bag on the desk.
“I brought you dinner,” Natalie said.
“Thanks,” I said.
The two lovers parted and walked away from us. I looked at Natalie. She arched an eyebrow at me. I shrugged. We pretended not to look at the couple and made small talk about weekend plans.
Finally, Dave and Clara both nodded and Clara left.
“Nice to see you,” I said to the closing door.
Natalie hit me in the back of the head with an open palm.
I rubbed my head and gave her a smile. She smiled back.
“So, what’s up with that?” I said.
“She came to tell me my family’s terms about getting the computers back,” Dave said.
“Which are?” Natalie asked.
“I can either go with them, back to the fold and rejoin the family or I can fight them to the death,” he said.
“That’s, uh, what?” I said.
“Tradition,” he said, “Never really to the death. Think it as being beat out of a gang.”
“Huh,” I said, “So, we were wondering. Who’s Clara?”
Natalie and I watched as Dave walked back to the basement steps, his hands in his pockets.
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