Chapter 9: Week 2, Sunday
Debbie wants to write. She wants to paint. On Sunday afternoon she goes to the library and starts working on her first novel. Sebastian is at work. Pippa is home alone playing the guitar she found in the yard when an unexpected visitor arrives.
Pippa can't believe Mr Payne would have the gall to turn up here and stroll into the yard as if he owns the place! Well, in a sense he does own the place - or at least, the estate does - but Pippa is in no mood to be reasonable. She blames Mr Payne for foisting this shack on her and her brother. She is convinced that he could have helped them find a way to break the will if he had wanted to - isn't that what lawyers are for? So when Mr Payne draws near, Pippa is spoiling for a fight.
Pippa: What do you
Mr Payne: I was in the neighbourhood and thought I'd pay a friendly visit. (looking around) I see you've cleaned up the brambles. That looks much better.
Pippa: Yeah, now the cockroaches can enjoy the sun.
Mr Payne: Hmm, yes ...
Notice in the picture above what Pippa is thinking about. Do you think maybe she's scheming to find some way of getting money out of the lawyer?)
Pippa: If you came to see Sebastian, he's at work.
Mr Payne: Yes, I know. I understand he's had a couple of promotions already. Please give him my congratulations. I was hoping to meet Debbie, but she's out also? No matter, I'll see her next time. Let's go inside.
Next time? Pippa doesn't like the sound of that. She really doesn't want Mr Payne in the house, but he steps past her and walks inside.
Mr Payne notices the unwashed plate on the table and says: Haven't cleaned the table yet, I see.
Pippa: But I cleaned the walls! See how much better they look! Sebastian found those sketches at the Consignment store. They were free.
Mr Payne inspects Debbie's room. He says: You've fixed this up very nicely, indeed. But is that the best bed you could find? That's not really a very good bed, you know.
Pippa has had enough. She yells: It was all we could afford! You come here in your fancy suit snooping and criticizing, what do you know of our lives? Sebastian hardly makes any money at the diner, and I can't go to work because I have to spend all my time cleaning and repairing and looking after the kid!
Mr Payne responds mildly: Yes, I see. And have you donated any money to charity this week?
Pippa, sullenly: No.
Mr Payne: Well, don't worry. I understand money's been tight this week, but I'm sure things will improve. Now, about Debbie -
Pippa interrupts, shouting: I spend all my time looking after her! We spend all our money buying stuff for her! Now she wants an easel!
Mr Payne: An easel? That sounds like a very good idea. Go ahead and get one for her.
Pippa: We Can't Afford It!!!
We've barely got enough money to pay the bills. Oh, I can't bear this. I feel like I'm a prisoner and I've been locked up in the worst jail cell on the planet. All I do is work, and this place is awful, and my feet hurt!
Mr Payne: Your feet? What's wrong with your feet?
Pippa: It's these horrible rubber boots. They make my feet sweat and the skin gets irritated.
Mr Payne: Why not take them off?
Pippa: And go around barefoot? You saw the size of those cockroaches! How long do you think it would be before those things bit off my toes?
Mr Payne: Ah, I see. Well, I think the estate could allow enough money for you to pick up a pair of secondhand shoes. Why don't you check the Consignment store - they're bound to have a pair of sensible shoes. Now, about Debbie's bed and that easel. We really can't have the little tyke doing without. I'll send over an easel and a better bed. I'll also find someone to deal with those cockroaches. We can't have Debbie getting bit, that wouldn't do at all.
He waits for Pippa to thank him, but she just stands looking sullen.
Mr Payne concludes: Now that Debbie is in school, you're ready to take in another orphan. And it'll be easier for you since you already have the crib and some toys. Yes, that's quite satisfactory. See you next week.
He walks off.
After Sebastian comes home from work that evening, as he and Pippa are eating pancakes left over from breakfast:
Pippa: Mr Payne came today.
Sebastian: Payne-in-the-Neck? What did he want?
Pippa: To snoop and criticize. The man is absolutely insufferable! He found fault with everything! He said Debbie's bed wasn't good enough!
Sebastian is tired and really doesn't want to buy into Pippa's histrionics. He says: Did you tell Payne that we couldn't afford a better bed?
Pippa: Of course.
Pippa: He said (her tone becomes very sarcastic), 'we can't have the little tyke doing without.' Debbie this, Debbie that! What about me? What about what I have to go through?
Sebastian: What did he say about Debbie's bed?
Pippa, resentfully: He's going to send over a new bed and an easel.
Sebastian: That's ok, then.
Pippa, disappointed with Sebastian's reaction, continues trying to goad him into sharing her indignation: He said we have to take another orphan and next time you have to do it.
Sebastian: Whatever. Fine. On my next day off.