Making a Scene

July 2017

"No."

"But why?"

"Because it's stupid!"

"Aw come on…" Benny looked at Fiona, wrapping his arm around her, laying his head on her shoulder, and giving her the puppy dog eyes. "You're such a-"

"Don't say it!" said Fiona warningly, sticking her pointer finger in her boyfriend's face. "Don't you dare say it!"

Benny grinned devilishly. "You're such a prude." He knew that this word struck a chord with Fiona, who had always been quite happy with her description of happy-go-freaky girl.

Fiona immediately stood up from the couch, declaring, "That's IT!" She smirked broadly, her hands at her hips, and she said, "Let's do it, then." She marched into her bedroom and Benny could hear drawers opening and things being thrown on the floor while Fiona groaned, "Where ARE they?!"

"You know we could just print up a couple more," suggested Benny, getting up and walking to Fiona's room. He leaned against the doorframe, trying not to laugh at the vast mess of books and clothes strewn on the floor. "Get 'em laminated again."

"Out of ink," muttered Fiona, who had half-disappeared into her closet and throwing out various notebooks (some of them look quite dilapidated with old age) and a couple photo albums before she cried, "AHA!" She emerged from her closet holding two laminated signs that read, "Free Hugs."

Benny grinned broadly. "Awesome," he chuckled, reaching for the green sign, but Fiona snatched it away from him, throwing the two signs on her bed. "Whadja do that for?" cried Benny.

Fiona smirked. "We're not going out 'till you help me clear up this mess," she ordered, crossing her arms. "It was nice and clean before you sent me on that hunt." When Benny opened his mouth in protest, Fiona's eyes narrowed. "You're going to help me or I won't get you a birthday present."

Benny mumbled as he acquiesced and started to pick up Fiona's notebooks (making sure they were in chronological order; Fiona was a little OCD that way), "I don't think so… spent a freakin' fortune…"

"What was that?" Fiona had her arms full of shirts and tossed them on her bed as she opened the top drawer to her dresser.

Benny flushed. "Nothing."

--

After about thirty minutes of cleaning, Fiona and Benny walked out of the room wearing a yellow sign and a green sign (correspondingly) that both read, "Free Hugs." Fiona seemed to be somewhat excited about the idea now because it had been a couple years (they were juniors at the University of Illinois at the time) since they walked around the city wearing said signs.

Leah and Caomhe, the only two girls who lived in the apartment since Celia had long moved out since she was married to Joeri (they even had a little girl, Marie), walked back into the apartment, holding Goodwill bags (none of the girls had quite gotten out of that "poor, starving college kid" phase). Leah's eyebrows shot up at the sight of Benny and Fiona and Caomhe grinned. "Haven't seen those for a couple years," she commented lightly.

Benny laughed. "Talked her into raising a scene again," he said, motioning to Fiona, who smiled sheepishly. He turned to Fiona and suggested, "Hey, why don't you start the car?" He tossed her his car keys.

Fiona beamed and went outside.

Leah looked at Benny analytically. "You're up to something…" she murmured suspiciously. "And not just the free hugs…"

Benny smiled just as sheepishly as Fiona had and pulled something out of his pocket that made Leah and Caomhe gasp with delight. "It's about time!" shouted Leah, smacking Benny over the arm. She had been very excited for this day ever since Benny and Fiona had practically fallen in love in high school.

"Oww!" Benny rubbed his arm; Leah hit quite hard. He frowned slightly. "That hurt…"

Caomhe laughed and punched Benny lightly on his other arm. "Go for it, dude."

--

"So shall we divide and conquer?" Fiona smiled at Benny; that was exactly what they had done when they were juniors who had way too much time on their hands.

Benny had a slightly evil look in his eyes as he responded, "Yeah… of course." He winked and gave Fiona a thumb's up. "I'll take the park and you take the main street?" He paused, formulating a diabolical plot. "Meet at the park in an hour?"

Fiona nodded and returned the thumb's up. "See ya, Ben." And with that, she walked away with a grin.

Benny chuckled darkly. "Perfect…" he laughed under his breath. After he made sure Fiona couldn't see him anymore, he approached a lady and her young daughter and asked, "Excuse me, but I need some help with-"

The daughter (Benny figured she was around four years old) pointed at the sign Benny was wearing and said, "That says 'Free Hugs.'" She smiled up at her mother proudly.

Her mother smiled and said, "That's right, Hannah." She looked at Benny skeptically, analyzing him for a moment or so. "I'm not sure I can-"

Before she could finish turning Benny down, he explained, "I'm trying to pull off an elaborate proposal to my girlfriend and I could use as many people as possible." To prove it, he pulled out the ring.

Hannah's eyes widened and she said, "Ooooh… that's pretty." She looked at her mother pleadingly. "Mom, can we please help him?" She gave her mother puppy-dog eyes.

Hannah's mother still hesitated. "I'm not sure if we should…"

"Please, Mrs.…" Benny paused. "Mrs. Lady?"

"Mrs. Lady" couldn't help but laugh. For the first time, she smiled at Benny and said, "My husband is more outgoing about these things than I am." She looked down at Hannah fondly. "That's probably where she gets it from."

"All the more reason why you should help out. You should never go through life without making a scene," said Benny matter-of-factly. He smiled broadly and said in a singsong voice, "It'll be fun…" It was amazing how childlike Benny seemed at that moment.

It didn't take long after that that Benny had convinced "Mrs. Lady" to help him out, and with her and Hannah's help, he recruited a very large amount of people, including a teenager who offered to film the event on her cell phone. Benny gladly accepted this offer.

--

"Free hug, sir?" Fiona smiled warmly at an aging man who frowned at her and went on his way. She had been getting a lot of reactions like that; the only people who actually hugged her were primarily high school and college kids. She checked her watch- she had five minutes before she had to head back.

Deciding to use the five minutes to stop at Wendy's to get a frosty, Fiona took the little cup of joy (chocolate joy, that is, because in Fiona's opinion, the other frosties were total posers) and headed back to the park.

What made her curious was the mass amount of people who were talking amongst themselves.

--

Benny started to smile as he shouted at the mob (over fifty people!), "She's coming! Everybody get ready!" All the people assembled behind Benny and the teenager pulled out her cell phone and started to record, commenting, "July 18, 2017, there's about to be an elaborate musical proposal… so going on YouTube…"

As Fiona came nearer, Benny raised his arms above his head, and just as she walked within ten feet of him, he threw his arms down and the people began to sing, "You are my sunshine…

My only sunshine…"

Fiona stared at the huge choir and then she started staring at Benny in complete shock. "Benny…" she started apprehensively.

"You make me happy when skies are grey…"

Benny walked slowly up to Fiona. "Fiona Aileen O'Malley…"

"You'll never know dear…"

He got down on his knee and pulled out the little velvet box. Fiona gasped and clapped her hands over her mouth, staggering back just a little.

"How much I love you…"

"I love you more than you could ever know…" Give him a break here: he's the emotional artsy type… and he had been planning how he was going to propose for about two weeks before.

"So please don't taaaake…"

"And I couldn't imagine a world without you." He paused for effect. It looked like Fiona was about to start crying from joy.

"My sunshiiiiiiiine…"

"Will you marry me?"

"Awaaaaaaaaaaay…"

The impromptu choir fell silent as they awaited Fiona's response.

Fiona nodded and said quietly, "Yes."

Benny stood up, threw his fists up in the air, and yelled triumphantly, "SHE SAID YES!"

As the people started to cheer loudly and applause broke out, the teenager closed her phone with a broad smile on her face. "It's going on YouTube under 'Musical Proposal' or something like that," she told Benny before turning to Fiona. "I am so incredibly jealous of you."

As the crowd dispersed, passing by Benny and Fiona and saying things like, "Congrats, lovebirds," and "Mazel tov," and "Bow-chicka-bow-wow," Benny slipped the ring on Fiona's finger.

"We're gonna be freakin' famous within the next week, y'know," commented Fiona. "That's what happens to people on YouTube." She grinned as she and Benny threw their arms over each other's shoulders.

Benny nodded. "Yeah…" He smiled and kissed her on the cheek. "Then everybody'll know how much I love you."

Fiona groaned loudly, "You didn't just say that, you dip!" She couldn't help but laugh.

Benny ignored her as he started to sing, "You are my sunshiiiiine

My only sunshiiiiine…"

"Benny, stop-"

"Never! You make me haaaappyyyyyyy when skiiiiiiiiies are greeeeeeeeey…"


Got so caught up in editing Fine Line that I almost abandoned this mini-series.

This was inspired by a group in New York called Improv Everywhere. I highly suggest you check out their site.

Thanks very much to brilliantfusion, IdeasInTheAir, CaveDwellers, and Murphy's Lawyer for the reviews.

As can be expected, have a chocolate frosty, the only true frosty, period. And if you feel so inclined, some french fries to dip in.