Once and Again

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Reefer Madness

Eli and Lily come through the back door, and Eli announces, "Lily got me a job!" Lily plays it off modestly, claiming, "Eli got himself a job." She gives Rick a quick kiss, and he says, "Do tell." Eli supplies, "With a band that's so edgy!" Lily tells him to shut up, but you know she's loving it. Eli mumbles a few complimentary things about Lily and her, ahem, powers of persuasion. I wish I could tell you exactly what he says, but I can't understand him, even after several rewinds. Anyway, Grace comes in and wants to know what all the excitement's about. Zoe fills her in that Lily got Eli a job. Eli starts relating the scene, blow by blow: "They won't even talk to me at first, right? So she's like all over them just to get us in the front door." "Band guys?" Grace asks incredulously. Lily points out, "They were very sweet." Grace gives her an odd look. Eli mutters, "Dad, they were like asking her for her phone number!" Lily feigns embarrassment and ducks her face into Rick's armpit. "So she starts talking to the manager for like an hour about this band she used to be in," Eli adds. Rick is surprised. Lily clarifies, "Okay, so I used to go out with a guy in a band." Rick protests that she never told him about this old boyfriend, just as the phone rings. Zoe answers it and hands it off to Jessie. It's Karen. Jessie lets her know that Eli got a job, and then is silent for a few seconds as the excitement fades from her face. "Yeah, sure," she says, a little flatly, before passing the phone to Eli. Dun-dun-dunnn...

Karen's actually mild as she asks Eli about the job. He evades giving her the details, but she won't relent. He finally admits that it's in a recording studio. Karen, who's been eating a Lonely Woman's microwave dinner, pauses with her fork in midair as the ass-pole spasms violently. Her face goes stony and she blinks hard for several seconds before stammering, "You got a job in a recording studio after we talked about music?" She struggles to remain somewhat calm and asks whose idea it was. Eli's not picking up the dangerous undercurrents in her voice and says it was Lily's idea. Lily senses the reaction on the other end of the phone, and looks a little less than thrilled to be fingered. She's eating chips again. As if. Karen, meanwhile, looks like the world is falling down around her. She slowly closes her eyes and rubs her forehead as we head to commercials.

After the break, we join Eli, Karen, and Rick in an attorney's office, where they're going over Eli's case. The lawyer, Stephanie Arlyn, tells him that, as a defense attorney, "it's [her] job to believe what [her] clients tell [her], so [she'll] believe the pot wasn't [his]." Wow, what a ringing endorsement. You can totally tell by her voice that she thinks he's lying. I hope she's got a better poker face in the courtroom than she does behind closed doors. She bluntly adds that a judge won't believe him and then launches into the sentence his possession charge can carry -- a maximum of six months. She says that since it's his first offense, she can get the sentence reduced to enrollment in a "drug deferral" program, and as long as he stays clean for two years, his record will be wiped clean. What the hell is a "drug deferral program"? You put the bong on hold for a while? She warns that if there's a second offense, Eli will go to jail. ["See my comments above. Doesn't happen, not for recreational use." -- Sars] He looks disappointed to hear this, which makes me think he probably wasn't planning to cut the smoke cold turkey. Karen is oddly silent for once. No one raises the issue that the search of the car was illegal, which means it either wasn't (since I'm Canadian, I don't really know), or the Sammlers got this lawyer's number off a bus bench. As everyone stands to leave, Arlyn promises that she'll "get [him] out of this" and warns him to "watch what other people drop in [his] car next time."

As they walk down the hallway, Eli promises that he'll "make it up to" them. Rick, following along behind Eli and Karen, says he should "make it up to" himself. Karen instantly starts nagging again, saying they'll "have to talk about this job," and starts in about his appearance for court, and how everyone's perception of the music business is that it's filled with drugs. Eli tries to protest, but Karen cuts him off sharply: "Excuse me! You're not a lawyer. I stand in front of these judges three times a week. I know how they think." In the background, Rick silently presses the button for the elevator. Eli asks what she wants him to do. Rick finally pipes up, saying he'll "at least have to look for another job." Karen immediately vetoes this, shaking her head and saying, "No, you're going to have to find another job. I'm sure there are plenty that don't put you squarely in the path of temptation." Is she serious? The "path of temptation" winds through every workplace. In high school, I worked with these guys at a pizza place, and they'd shut themselves into the walk-in fridge to hot-box. And since that's about the caliber of job Eli can expect to get at the moment, it's a pretty safe bet he'll have coworkers with pot, too. Frustrated, Eli points out again that they weren't his drugs. "So you're saying you never used them?" Karen asks calmly, knowing he's cornered. She nods knowingly at Eli's silence. The elevator finally arrives, and she actually marshals him into it, as if he's going to bolt.

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Once and Again




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