the real and the not-real and it's all palaver anyway

Is it evening? Does a fire in the hearth accompany the action? Yes and no. Schmutzie and Palinode, standing and seated, positioned for comfort, start to talk.

Schmutzie: I'm hungry.

Palinode: Mm-hmm.

Schmutzie: I was going to order out but all I've got is American money.

Palinode: You'd have to order American food then.

Schmutzie: Where's the nearest American food restaurant?

Palinode: North Dakota.

Schmutzie: How long would that take to get here?

Palinode: Assuming there's no holdup in Customs?

Schmutzie: And untroubled roads the whole way?

Palinode: Five hours direct from Minot.

Schmutzie: Add on 45 minutes for preparation -

Palinode: Throw in fifteen minutes for roundess' sake -

Schmutzie: And it's six hours to your door!

Palinode: Six hours or your American pizza's free!

Wait. None of that conversation, beyond the mention of American money, happened. Maybe it went like this.

Palinode: Hey, isn't Lynn awesome?

Schmutzie: She is. She gave me a copy of Billy Collins reading his poetry.

Palinode: She gave me a five American dollar bill with a dirty picture drawn on it.

Schmutzie: What are you going to do with it?

Palinode: Buy me some American sex!

Schmutzie: American sex? What's that like?

Palinode: I'm not sure, but I think it's blonde.

Schmutzie: And oral.

That didn't happen either. We do talk about Lynn's general awesomeness and fine writing stylings, but the real conversation is below.

Schmutzie: I'm hungry.

Palinode: Mm-hmm.

Schmutzie: I was going to order out but all I've got is American money.

Palinode: Yeah, I'm a bit cashless.

Schmutzie: But I get paid on Tuesday.

Palinode: Really. (Pause) I'm getting eaten by a bear on Tuesday.

Schmutzie: Is that so.

Palinode: It's pretty expensive too.

Schmutzie: You're paying a bear to eat you?* It's already gettting a meal. What are you getting out of it?

Palinode: I have to pay for its transportation.

Schmutzie: Where's the bear coming from?

Palinode: Up north. Apparently it's stuck in Prince Albert** and needs to catch a bus.

Schmutzie: It's a P.A. bear, is it?***

Palinode: No, I think he got stuck there? I'm vague on the details.

Schmutzie: I'm not surprised.

Palinode: I also have to spring for the return ticket. Joke's on the bear.

*Note that she assumes instantly that it's the bear receiving payment. Anthropomorphise much? Bears don't need money; like celebrities, they get stuff for free.
**Prince Albert is a small city about five hours' north of where we live.
***This is not a regional reference or inside joke. Or maybe it is. I'm from Nova Scotia, what do I know about the prairies?