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Dec 10, 2019 9:40 PM
jean and imrainai in the good place
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"OK. Thank you, then."

Aaaah.

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"But of course. I'll be back before you know it."

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She thanks him again and waves goodbye and waits until she's pretty sure he's actually, genuinely out of earshot. Assuming Jean is, like, a person, and not some kind of construct. Man, that would be super annoying.

She grabs her notebook and pen, locks herself in the bathroom - she's pretty sure Michael isn't going to ambush her in the bathroom - sits on the toilet, and puts her pen to paper. Any afterlife worth its salt is probably already capable of watching all of her movements and reading her mind (she really should've thought about this before, but oh well), so writing things down shouldn't give them any more information than they already have on her, and if it does, well - she'll be nice about it, then, but she has to be able to think.

Dear God, she scrawls at the top of the page. I'm not sure I've ever been mad at you, but I'm getting pretty close. I hope this is intentional on your part.

She makes a list of the things she knows (Michael is lying to her about various things, Jean isn't her soulmate because that would be dumb, this place isn't hell and it definitely isn't heaven, Michael can arbitrarily alter the environment and at the very least respond to people talking about him, something has to be monitoring them at all times for the translation thing to work, Jean thinks they're really dead - she's not a hundred percent sure she trusts him on that, but she trusts him more than Michael) and things she doesn't (whether this place is purgatory, what it is if it's not, how she died, whether she's actually dead, how Jean was selected to share a house with her, why the house doesn't have walls, why the heck purgatory would lie about the existence of God, whether there actually is a God, what's going to happen to her niece and nephew, what exactly she's planning on doing).

She doesn't cry after this. She does rest her head in her hands and really struggle to care about whether she's still going to be locked in the bathroom by the time Jean comes back.

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Jean investigates the neighborhood and talks to people and smiles a lot and makes himself endearing. He ascertains that if he speaks deliberately accented English, people hear his accent regardless of what language they're hearing him in, and proceeds to do that. He finds a burger joint eventually -- burgers and fries are American, right, maybe his supposed soulmate will like those -- and obtains two paper bags of food from them; on reflection, he stops by the pie place he noticed earlier and picks up an apple pie. (He smiles extra at the woman running the pie store; he thinks he might be able to convince her to teach him how to cook.)

He does not break down and curl up into a ball of despair and cry his heart out. Not even a little bit. He is so good at this.

When he returns -- "home" -- he's smiling and whistling.

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She hears whistling and picks her head up out of her hands. Tries to immediately decide whether to leave the notes in the bathroom or take them with her; she's not actually sure how much of her thought process she wants to keep secret, or how much of it she could if she wanted to. She can't immediately decide, so she decides to go to the bathroom and wash her hands like a normal person who is locked in a bathroom for normal reasons. She ends up keeping the notebook with her, more out of momentum than out of principled choice.

"Hi! Uh, the bathroom works and does not seem to be explosive. So that's good."

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"The restaurants were also non-explosive! Do you want to be fancy and set the table, or eat from the bags and call it a picnic?"

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She contemplates setting foot in the kitchen again.

"Picnics are good."

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Jean finds a spare quilt and lays it out on the floor under a potted tree. And then there can be burgers and fries and apple pie and carefully internal despair.

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She sits on the quilt and eats. She notes that the burgers and fries and apple pie are all really good, thanks him for getting them, and then internally reflects that she still has absolutely no idea how to exist in this place.

"Did you ever, like, think about the afterlife before you died?"

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What do normal people say to this. "Not much. I was never particularly religious. Did you?"

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"Yeah. Probably an excessive amount. I knew all these kids who were, like, mildly freaked out by the idea of hell after reading one too many Great Awakening sermons. Which, you know, makes sense. But for some reason I was always way more scared of heaven."

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"Of heaven?"

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"Yeah! I mean, it's dumb, right? But if you're in hell then at least you can know that the place around you isn't good. You can, like, recognize that and shake your fist at it or beg God to take mercy on you. But if you get to heaven, and you find that being there doesn't fix everything - maybe that it isn't even very good, not the way you need it to be - then that's sort of it, right? If there isn't any situation where things could really stop feeling broken, then what exactly could you do about it?"

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"I don't know. Maybe it just means you're broken."

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"--not that you're broken, of course, sorry. I just -- think that's what I would have probably said."

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"Mmm. I think maybe everybody's a little bit broken."

She is not super sure where she's going with this anymore, but it seems like the thing to say.

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He looks thoughtful. "I think there's something to that."

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She is now really unsure where to take this conversation. She nods thoughtfully and eats the rest of her apple pie.

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It's really good pie.

 

When it's gone, Jean contemplates the forks and plates and the lack of a dishwasher and the fact that he has no idea how to wash dishes by hand. Eventually he settles on quietly throwing them in the kitchen trash and hoping Karen either doesn't notice or decides it's a charming Tunisian custom.

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Karen is, in fact, not super focused on noticing things. Awkwardness is terrible and it's been a really long couple hours. She decides to examine the contents of the bookshelves.

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All of the books are charming and leatherbound and completely blank.

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....Oh. OK. Well. Notebooks are always good, she does actually also need notebooks.

"Did you see anything that looked like a library in the rest of the neighborhood?"

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Jean comes over, drying his hands on a dishtowel. "I can't say I did; why?"

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She shows him one of the books. "They're blank. All of them, apparently. Which is fine! It just, uh, leaves something to be desired in terms of reading material."

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This is, Jean reflects, rather adding insult to injury.

"Perhaps it's some kind of oversight," he suggests.

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