Henry looked up from his phone. "So?"
"So she wants to start writing scenes, instead of just the dialogue things. You know how that silly picnic thing didn't have any action or setting or dialogue tags and we didn't even know who was saying what? She's realized that she can't write a whole novel that way. So we're in a place this time. You know, a visible one. With walls."
Henry said, "We were in a place that time. With grass. Possibly with a picnic table. I didn't really think it was all that silly. I was just annoyed that we didn't get to eat the tuna salad."
Henry gestured at the bench on the other side of the booth. "Sit. Sit. If we've got props, let's use 'em. It was a burger at the end. It was tuna salad in the first draft."
"That thing had drafts?"
Emily settled into the bench and rummaged through her purse. "Are you sure about the tuna salad? She doesn't even like tuna. I mean, not the canned stuff. She likes it raw."
"She doesn't. I do."
"Eew. Did she decide that or are you just being contrary?" She found her own phone and extracted it from the purse.
Henry said, "If I were being contrary, I'd hate fried chicken."
"No. That's like matter-antimatter. The whole fictional world would explode."
Henry tilted his head, eyebrows rising.
"No." Firmly. Emily shook her head, as she extracted a menu from between the napkin holder and the ketchup. "That is not a valid strategy for your break-into-the-real-world plan." She studied the menu, and then the plate in front of Henry. "Tuna melt?"
He picked up one of the triangular halves. "Yep."
"Eew. Was that here before I got here or did it just appear?"
Mouth full, Henry answered, "Just appeared. I think. Nice and hot."
"That's just creepy."
"It's dinner. Don't knock it." He took another bite.
"What if I just imagined something?"
She looked firmly at the table in front of her. "Caviar and blini, please."
They both waited, Henry munching his way down the other side of the sandwich half. Finally he concluded, "Nope. Maybe it has to be something you'd be able to get in a diner."
"Or something she thinks is funny."
"Don't think about pies. Whatever you do, don't think about cream pies."
Emily picked up one of her chicken wings. "I don't want dessert... dammit!"
"What? You like chicken wings."
"No, I don't. Chicken wings have to be torn apart, and they try to shoot greasy bits on your clothes. I like chicken fingers. She likes chicken wings. Anyway, that's not the point. The point is that they weren't here, and now they are. I didn't even see them appear. They're just a fact."
Henry shrugged. "Chicken's chicken."
She put the wing down and reached across for the second half of his sandwich.
He unsuccessfuly tried to grab it back. "Hey!"
"Oh, stop it. It's not as if you paid for it."
He asked, "How do you know? The money might have disappeared from my wallet at the same time it appeared."
"How much did you tip?"
Emily took a bite from the sandwich, then wrinkled her nose and put the remains back on his plate. "I was sort of hoping it'd be chicken salad when I grabbed it."
"Hot chicken salad?"
"Better than hot tuna."
"You know, it's not as if she's never written scenes. That first thing where you destroyed the marzipan dog, that was a scene. And the spanikopita thing."
"Yeah, but it's been a while. You better grab a dialogue tag there."
Henry shrugged. "Or a beat. So why do we both have phones, if we're not going to do anything with 'em?"
Emily stood, phone in one hand, purse in another. "Don't know. Don't care. I'm going offscreen to find some decent food. You coming with me?"
"Sure." Henry rummaged for his wallet, then pulled the menu over. He ran his finger down the entries.
"Are you seriously going to pay for this?"
"Yep. Yours, too. And tip."
She tucked her phone into her purse and set the purse down, the better to fold her arms disapprovingly. "Why? You don't even believe this universe exists."
He stood, put down a twenty, then put down another one. "The curse for undertipping transcends all universes."
Emily picked up her purse with one hand and grabbed his arm with the other. And pulled him toward the door. "Just don't think about the Sta-Puft Marshmallow Man, OK?"