There was a new masked vigilante in the town of Litchfield that everyone was clamoring about. In just a week, they’d assisted in tens of arrests and prevented dozens of crimes.
“They call themselves the Thorn. Your job is to get an interview with them,” said Caputo, the editor of Litchfield Times and her new boss.
“And how am I supposed to do that?” Taystee asked, eyebrow raised.
Caputo shrugged. “I don’t care, so long as I have a neat copy on my desk Thursday morning. Don’t disappoint me.”
Taystee sighed boredly as she drummed her fingers against the wheel of her car. Her vigilante should be there in three, two, one-
The sound of something (most likely someone) hitting a nearby wall fit perfectly with her vision. She hopped out of her car and slammed the door shut before running to the action, locking the car behind her as she approached what she assumed was a fight.
Sure enough, the Thorn was there, fighting three people in ski masks. A fourth was lying crumpled against the wall.
A quick evaluation of the situation told Taystee that the best way she could help was to stay out of it and get an interview afterwards. She leaned back against the wall and waited patiently for the vigilante to finish their work.
“You could’ve helped, you know,” the Thorn said. Judging by their voice and their lean physique, Taystee was pretty sure they were a woman.
“Not my mess, and you were doing just fine on your own,” Taystee replied, standing upright and pulling out her notebook and pen.
The other woman groaned. “You’re a reporter.”
“Now, Thorn, I’d like to ask you a few questions…”
But the Thorn was gone. Taystee sighed and headed back to her car. It was so annoying when people did that. She sat down in her car and locked it before she closed her eyes and concentrated. The visions were clearer that way- eyes closed, mind focused.
She left a note outside the Thorn’s residence. Blackmail wasn’t fun, but she’d be damned if she let another superhero get her fired for their sake.
“Thank you for joining me, Poussey Washington.”
“What makes you think I won’t kill you for this?” The Thorn asked, standing behind her in a way that would have intimidated most people.
“I know your type,” Taystee replied casually.
“My type?” At this, the Thorn sat down next to Taystee, as if it was too difficult to process standing up.
“Young, righteous, self-ruling, yada, yada, yada.” Taystee waved a hand flippantly in the air. “You, Poussey- can I call you Poussey?- you fit the bill.”
“You know other superheros,” Poussey said slowly.
“Oh, yeah! Couture, Lightspeed, Angry Saint- the whole lot of them.”
“And...how did you find my address again?”
“Ah, ah, ah. This is my interview, and I ask the questions.”
“How many more interviews do I have to do?”
“As many as it takes for me to keep my job.”
Poussey smirked. “What, you can’t keep it on your own?”
“I can and I am. Thing is, you’re the hottest thing in the news right now, and I’m still the new girl who’s only been there two weeks, and no, I’m not telling you my superpower after only our second interview.”
“You mean your second interview,” Poussey muttered bitterly.
“Don’t worry. The time will come when you can ask the questions. Just not today.”
“You know, there are certain people who are starting to think they know who I am. I don’t want to give them enough puzzle pieces for them to figure it out.”
“Don’t worry, I didn’t bring you here for an interview.”
“Oh?” Poussey’s changed quickly from one of anger to one of confusion- this was a variation from their past five rooftop meetings.
“Happy birthday!” Taystee shouted, handing Poussey a cupcake with one candle in the middle.
“It’s not lit.”
“Well, of course it’s not lit,” Taystee retorted, pulling out her lighter and lighting the candle. “That’d be a fire hazard. Now it’s lit. Make a wish.”
Poussey blew out the candle before eating the cupcake. “Thanks.”
“I got you two birthday presents, excepting the cupcake. One,” Taystee said as she bit into her own cupcake, “you no longer have to do any interviews with me, unless you pull a big stunt that gets you back into the limelight. Two...I’m going to tell you my superpower.”
Taystee paused for dramatic effect, and so that she could swallow the bit of cupcake she’d eaten.
“I can see the future.”
Poussey’s eyes widened. “You’re Miss Psychic?”
“Was, but yes.”
“And no more interviews?”
Their conversation devolved into small talk as they watched the sun set over the horizon of the city of Litchfield.
“Happy birthday, T.”
Poussey smiled. “Of course I remembered. Now, quick, make a wish.”
She thought about the last several months she’d been in Litchfield. She thought about Poussey. She closed her eyes and blew out the candle.
“Why you’d call me up here again?”
“Oh, come on, T, can’t you remember?”
Taystee shook her head.
“Today is the one-year anniversary of the publication of your first interview with the Thorn.” Poussey said her alter-ego name dramatically, and then laughed.
“Well, that’s a bit self-centered of you.”
“A year ago, you began your successful writing career in Litchfield and I became a celebrity. It’s a celebration for the both of us.” Poussey handed Taystee a beer bottle and clinked them together. “To us.”
Taystee clinked, but didn’t drink. She wanted to savor this moment with a clear head. The setting sun was illuminating the town that was spread out before them like a painting. She wondered why she’d never brought a camera up to this rooftop before.
“Hey, T, are you alright?”
She turned to look at Poussey. Stubborn, brave, naive, strong, beautiful Poussey.
“Can I kiss you?”
Poussey looked stunned. “Did you drink before you got here?”
Taystee punched her lightly in the arm. “No.”
“Well, then, yeah, a kiss would be nice.”
Taystee leaned over to press her lips to Poussey, unsure and scared. It wasn’t like she’d had a lot of experience in this area.
When Poussey kissed back, Taystee felt like she was falling in the best possible way, the way you do on a slide or a bungee. But you can’t fall forever, and soon enough, Taystee had to move away to breathe.
“So...um...was that…” In that moment, Poussey seemed more unsure of herself than Taystee had ever seen her.
“Can we do that again?”