“Guiding Light” mini-cap 5/1: Lessons in cooking and love

Behind a well placed, large coffee pot, a nervous Natalia is in the farmhouse of puppy-love practicing a phone call to Olivia. “Olivia, how you doin’?” No, that’s not it — OK, OK: “Olivia, I just called to say hi.”

The phone rings and it’s Olivia, of course, with a 911 domestic disturbance — she can’t iron or make a sandwich. Could she ever? And apparently, Wednesday is “wear pink to school day.” I wonder if that includes the boys? If so, Emma is going to lose more play dates!

Olivia worries about making Emma’s special lunch and wants it to be simple like ham and cheese. (Ah, visions of Frank.) Correct me if I’m wrong here, but doesn’t she own a hotel complete with a full kitchen staff?

It’s possible a savvy Olivia has been rehearsing this call as well. Nat states the good things in life are never simple, then there’s the soap opera look-away moment to marinate. Always after a marinade comes the tenderness, as Otalia confess how much they miss each other. Liv asks Nat if she can come over for a little tutelage in sandwich making. There has got to be innuendo in there somewhere.

The seminar in culinary ineptitude involves making peanut butter and banana sandwiches. They banter back and forth about too much banana and not enough peanut butter. At this point I begin to slip into a diabetic coma after consuming all that sweetness. Of course, Natalia gets peanut butter on her face — it’s a ploy she has used before with ice cream, but it works. Olivia chooses to lean in and wipe the unseen Jiff out of Nat’s dimple.

These moments are awkward. Somewhere between “you used to be my roommate and now you are the woman I love” and “I’m not in love with Frank; I’m in love with you,” they lost their sync. Otalia’s gotta get a groove back, so Olivia suggests they get away for a couple of days. Emma has a well timed wander-off planned. Liv doesn’t want to pressure Nat who is still doing the Sapphic tango with her religious beliefs. Nat says priority number one is Liv, and God can sit this one out until she gets back.

The storyline shifts to Springfield’s less-than-civil servant. Doris eyes a sullen Frank drowning his sorrows in non-alcoholic beer. He is in a foul mood and insults Doris. Thinking Frank is in a bad temper because her fantasy girlfriend stole Natalia, Doris understands his loss and tells him to man up and move on — she has. It doesn’t take her long to realize Inspector Clue-doh is still on the case as Frank explains that Nat ran from her vows because of Gus. Doris begins to wonder, as the city’s executive officer, why does she employ someone this dim at detective work? She asks him if Natalia told him this; he says no, it was Olivia.

Doris has had it! Enough! She locks, loads, and levels a smart bomb directly at Frank. “Your ex-fiancé has the hots for Olivia.” Frank has that slow, dazed look on his face. Wait for it, wait for — bullseye! The heavens open up, blazing bright light begins to shine, and a chorus of angels begins to sing. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

Frank runs up behind Doris in the back alley of the bar, and grabs her arm. He begins shouting at her for starting rumors about Natalia. Now, everyone knows that all closeted politicians have a goon squad, or if you are a gay, female politician, a well-muscled lez-beau or two. So, in good goon fashion, they begin to beat the hell out of Frank.

Back at the Little Farmhouse on the Prairie and still in bumbling domestic bliss, Olivia talks about their trip. It’s a timeshare with plenty of shopping. Good, maybe they can buy Doris another suit. Always practical to the point of being a kill joy, Natalia worries about the cost. Nat, remember all the money you are saving Olivia on dry cleaning; it’s not a problem. Anyway, Liv can use a few of those tax loopholes and write it off as a Beacon business expense. This trip could be a stimulus in more ways than one!

Olivia hands her the brochure: Bliss kill. It’s the same place Frank planned their getaway that never happened. Nat says she is not sure how she is going to tell Frank about Otalia. He will be hurt all over again. They have no idea that Doris and her lez-beaus have already taken care of that for her.

As if on cue, Frank just walks in — again. I know you live way out in the corn belt, but jeez, ladies, buy a dead bolt. The girls notice Frank has been in a fight, but apparently the blows were not hard enough to disengage the Nat tracker, because here he is! Natalia looks for her keys to take him to the hospital. While Nat is out of the room, Frank holds the daytime death stare on Liv: “Your ex-fiance has the hots for Olivia.”

At the hospital, Otalia is in the room with Frank. Nat tries to reach out and comfort him, but he is distant. (“Your ex-fiancé has the hots for Olivia.”) He’s fine, just a little banged up.

“It’s the story of my life.” Pity, party of one? Frank goes into a coughing fit and Natalia runs to get a doctor — swine flu? Olivia follows. Natalia is feeling guilty that she is going to have to break his heart again. Don’t worry, Nat. This is the hospital that sedates you to change the batteries in your beeper. Imagine what they do for an actual broken heart.

Olivia comforts Nat with a wide, non-puffy coat, but big purse in the way, embrace. Frank is staring at them from the doorway of his room, in his head is the concussion of that bomb going off: “Your ex-fiancé has the hots for Olivia; your ex-fiancé has the hots for Olivia.”

For updates and in-between Otalia postings go to www.mindschmootz.net.

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