Duncan & Paulette: Taking Shots

This batch of emails skips ahead a little, well into the summer of 2008. Paulette has handed the wedding planning to her mother and Emma, apparently. Duncan and Ralph face each other at a cricket match, on opposing teams. During the game, Ralph loses his temper, gets into an exchange with Duncan with horrible results. Also, Ralph has become much more pre-occupied with his job, and for good reason.

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: August 10, 2008, 8:40 a.m., EST

From: Ralph Simmons

Subject: Off to Cricket

Will you be there? This should be a good game.

To: Ralph Simmons

Sent: August 10, 2008, 8:45 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Off to Cricket

Yep. I won’t be there for the first bowl, but you know how these games drag on. I’ll get there in plenty of time.

To: Emma Billingsley

Sent: August 10, 2008, 10:40 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: What Are You Doing?

I can’t stand cricket. It’s just too long for me. I’m here at Ralph’s game and BORED senseless. I should have brought my laptop, because then I could at least get a head start on next week’s work. But he says it should be good, so I’m here being supportive …

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: August 10, 2008, 10:43 a.m., EST

From: Emma Billingsley

Subject: Re: What Are You Doing?

I’m yelling at florists at the moment. $50 for one nosegay? I don’t think so. Why would you bring your computer to a ballgame? Nerd.

To: Emma Billingsley

Sent: August 10, 2008, 10:45 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: What Are You Doing?

I told Irene’s I’m firm at $35. Hold the phone. I just saw Duncan get out of his car. He’s brought a lady friend. He’s coming over. I’ll catch you in a few minutes.

To: Emma Billingsley

Sent: August 10, 2008, 11:45 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: What Are You Doing?

That wasn’t a ‘long interlude’. Anyway, all the players were on a break, not just Duncan. I was just trying to follow along, and it’s the only reason I took so long to answer. Plus Duncan’s girlfriend asked all these questions about my ring.

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: August 10, 2008, 11:30 a.m., EST

From: Emma Billingsley

Subject: Re: What Are You Doing?

Scouting rings already? She works fast.

To: Emma Billingsley

Sent: August 10, 2008, 11:25 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: What Are You Doing?

Now the guys are arguing about something or other. Both sides have been bickering for a couple minutes now. Ralph is really giving it to Duncan, in his face, barking. There’s a crowd gathering. Duncan just shoved Ralph.

To: Emma Billingsley

Sent: August 10, 2008, 11:30 a.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject:

SH*T!!  I’ll CALL YOU LATER

To: Emma Billingsley

Sent: August 10, 2008, 2:30 p.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Duncan & Ralph …

… are in the emergency room. Fools. Ralph got so mad he started pounding on Duncan. That happened right before my last text. Duncan pounded back, and a little melee started. Next thing you know, my intended pulled a GUN on Duncan!!!  He didn’t fire, thank GOD, but now the both of them are bruised, they’ve been splinted, they’ve dislocated this and that and I just want to kill Ralph!

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: August 10, 2008, 2:40 p.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Duncan & Ralph

Are you really surprised? Your fiancé has been more than his usual ogre self lately, if that’s possible. Remember that he’s a mortgage trader and the markets have been less than kind to that whole ilk lately. I’m just saying. His group is probably losing a lot of money and for a guy like Ralph, that’s a big blow. Plus, he’s been waiting for a while to get that other job he’s been wanting.

To: Emma Billingsley

Sent: August 10, 2008, 2:45 p.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Duncan & Ralph

But everybody is nervous, not just the traders. I always told him to pull back from that job. He let it suck up all his time, to the point where he’s begging me to do this and that for him at his house and I end up neglecting what I have to do. He’ll be lucky if this incident keeps out of the newspaper and the bosses don’t come down on him for making a public *ss out of himself.

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: August 10, 2008, 2:40 p.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Duncan & Ralph

I’m just trying to remind you that your man is not generally a happy camper, and with things being the way they are … you’ll see more behavior like this from him. Is Duncan still there? What about Miss Diamond Ring Envy? If she’s not around, try to quietly make peace with the poor guy, if Ralph won’t.

To: Duncan Hastings

Sent: August 10, 2008, 3:00 p.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Hi

How are you feeling? Do you need anything? Really sorry you’re not feeling well.

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: August 10, 2008, 3:20 p.m., EST

From: Duncan Hastings

Subject: Re: Hi

You’re sorry I’m not feeling well?! Paulette, it’s not like I caught a cold or something. You saw what happened. Your husband-to-be went mad and tried to kill me. I’m damned near lucky I didn’t catch a bullet from your lunatic fiance.

To: Duncan Hastings

Sent: August 10, 2008, 3:30 p.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Hi

I’m very sorry about what Ralph did. I’m just trying to make peace. Since neither of you will deal with each other in a civil way, and I have to see the both of you. Why did you all get into that fight, anyway? No one ever told me.

To: Duncan Hastings

Sent: August 10, 2008, 4:00 p.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Hi

No reply. OK well. I understand if you don’t want to talk to me now. But I’m offering some neighborly help. I do make great fish soup. That should help you recuperate. I can bring some to your building later, if you want.

To: Paulette Barrow

Sent: August 10, 2008, 4:20 p.m., EST

From: Duncan Hastings

Subject: Re: Hi

It’s OK by me. Kelly will be at the apartment from time to time, checking on me. You can leave it with her. But the next time you even think you’re going to see me outside work, leave your Angry Young Man at home. He’s dangerous, Paulette, and that’s all I’m going to say about it.

To: Duncan Hastings

Sent: August 10, 2008, 4:25 p.m., EST

From: Paulette Barrow

Subject: Re: Hi

I know you have a right to be mad, so I’ll let you slide this once with your comments about Ralph. I’m ready to take him home now, so I’m leaving. I’ll bring your soup by your apartment later.

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