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A short story by Edward Mason

“Dude, the bag’s split.” He gestures towards the slit in the tiny baggie, caressing it in his palm while he carefully ushers it into my bubble.

Obviously. Does he think I don’t take notice of my own things or something? It’s literally three-quarters empty but thank you, captain obvious.

I could open up to him slightly, but maybe only a portion of me. He doesn’t have the developmental maturity to comprehend certain parts of me… but it’s fine.

I’ve never really been good at taking the bad with the good. Usually, it’s just easier to keep moving and not worry. I worry about enough shit already but fuck he’s a solid dude.

Apparently, Italians have loyalty entrenched in their blood. Also apparently, Northerners are supposed to be stuck up. Sometimes I feel like my ego has been impaled by a street pole, but I never really felt it was that obvious to other people.

This guy, on the other hand, isn’t even Italian but he is a fucking flag pole. If pride is the devil, then I feel like an angel visiting hell. Its rocky caverns must’ve split with the plastic.

I find myself peering over the ledge. Down below I see Condescension smirking and sneering, and the cheeky grin of Facetiousness tucked under its arm. Nonetheless, I am Sincerity’s puppet; Her strings may only allow me to descend so far…

…but he’s so cute and so fragile. The fumes from the flames make him flap in the whirlwind, and

I genuinely think he would flap forever if I wasn’t there to steady the weather.

He makes me chuckle. This boy needs me.

“I mean, I guess we could finish it...”

I look at him with a shrug dipped in mischief; my eyes pierce his with suggestion. I can see the numbers calculating behind his eyes, his eyebrows raised.

To this day, I could only guess what goes on behind his closed walls. I could try to envision what sort of time he ticks with, or what he uses to fertilise the garden. I know he thrives on exercise, but I highly doubt running laps around a vault will crack its code.

His face looks legitimately bewildered, petrified in awkwardness. I watch his mind grab at words, a phrase, anything. Perhaps my unpredictability lights a flame under his dormant volcano of comfort, bringing his underground to the surface in a flurry of activity. I can handle his storm; he knows this.

The molten chugs along in stutters, expelling shuffles and twitches. Two beats have passed in all but a second. In my peripheral I see that Sheepish had brought his glass to his lips, Innocence had stood up from the couch, while Determination cast a keen eye on the situation.

I could see that he was eager to respond, however unsure. I could easily have made his decision for him, but fuck that. I hadn’t even really decided for myself.

Perhaps my body language is speaking the same language as his.

“Dude, what do you want to do?”

Wait, is this my choice to make?


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