Fuck, said Bernie. Fuckwinky eyeballhead. No, Bernie. We don’t use those words. Which words? You know which words. You used them, Daddy. I made a mistake. I am sorry I said that word. It isn’t helping with our problem. What’s our problem? There may be no school today. That’s okay, said Bernie. It’ll be okay. We weren’t sure where he had picked up that becalming phrase, probably from us, as we tried to talk ourselves out of the awful lucidity certain days afforded. The whole mirthless dwindle of things would suddenly pull into focus, the crabbed, moneyless exhaustion that stood in for our lives and Maura and I would both start the chatter, the cheap pep: It’s okay, it’s going to be okay, we’ll get through this. When Bernie repeated these bromides, he sounded seventy years old. It broke your heart, as did about forty-three percent of the things Bernie said and did. About twenty-seven percent of the things he said and did made you want to scream and banish him to his childproofed room, or do much more heinous and ingenious things, just so he’d get the point, whatever the point could be with an almost-four-year-old, but still, to bury him alive and then save him at the last minute, or tell him that the state had passed a law against ice cream and he would go to prison if he even thought about it, because they now had the technology to detect illegal mint-chocolate-chip cogitation, had, in fact, the chips for it, seemed, if not conducive to his development, at least on some level deserved. Thirty percent of what Bernie said and did was either on the bubble or else utterly inscrutable, just the jolts and stutters of a factory-fresh brain working out the kinks.
Sam Lipsyte
An awfulness was deep inside me and I couldn't fight it; forced into submission and taken hostage by it, I could only just lie there, let it wash over me and let myself be consumed by it. If I cooperate, maybe it won't stay too long; maybe it'll let me go free. But if I fight it, it might stay longer just to spite me. So I decided to let The Feeling inhabit me as long as it desired, while I lay still, cautious not to incite me, secretly hoping it would leave me soon and bother someone else, but outwardly, pretending to be its gracious host. The most discouraging element of what I felt was my inability to understand it. Usually when I was filled with an unpleasant feeling, I could make it go away, or at least tame it, by watching a light-hearted film or reading a good book or listening to a feel good album. But this feeling was different. I knew non of those distractions could rid me of it. But I knew nothing else. I couldn't even describe it. Is this depression? Maybe once you ask someone to describe depression, he can't find the words. Maybe I am part of the official club now. I imagined myself in a room full of people where someone in the crowd, also suffering from depression, immediately noticed me-as if he detected the scent of his own kind-walked over and looked into my eyes. He knew that I had The Feeling inside me because he, too, da The Feeling inside him. He didn't ask me to talk about it, because he understood that our type of suffering was ineffable. He only nodded at me and I nodded back; and then, during our moment of silence, we both shared a sad smile of recognition, knowing that we only had each other in a room filled with people who would never understand us, because they didn't have The Feeling inside them.'t It Pretty To Think So?
Nick Miller
Excuse me, sir. One the young officers put his hand up to stop them. Are you Furious Barkley?Maybe. Maybe not. Is there a problem, officers? Doug stepped in front of Furi.Damn straight there’s a problem. Syn stepped inside the door, yanking his dark aviator glasses off his face. The scowl he wore told Furi this was not a pleasant coincidence. Thanks guys, you can go.Furi stood with his mouth hanging open while Syn dismissed the officers.Seriously, Starsky. You gonna track my boy down every time he leaves the house? Doug said angrily, still blocking Furi.He’s not your boy. And what I do regarding Furi is none of your goddamn business. Syn’s clenched jaw made his words sound like an evil hiss. He shouldered past Doug and got directly in Furi’s face. When I’ve been calling him for over six hours and he hasn’t picked up or returned any of my calls, I’ll send a fuckin’ SWAT team to find him if I want to.Syn spun and pointed his finger in Doug’s face, That’s my say, not yours. Syn’s voice was rising with his growing temper and all eyes were on them.Okay, let’s get out of here. Furi pushed at both men, urging them out the door.As soon as they were out in the brisk fall air, Syn rounded on Furi, pushing their chest together. Where have you been, Furious? I’ve been going crazy trying to check on you and you’re sitting here casually eating pancakes, Syn growled.Hey, back up, man. Doug tried to wedge in between Furi and Syn.Syn looked up in annoyance. Doug, I swear, if you touch me, I’m gonna ensure that you never regain the use of that hand.Okay, okay. Furi put both hands flat on Syn’s chest, feeling his rapid heartbeat underneath all that muscle. Fuck. He really was scared. What was I thinking turning off my phone with everything that’s going on? Syn. I’m so sorry. I turned my phone off because–You don’t owe him an explanation. You’re a grown man, Furious. You were having a business meeting; he has no right to demand you be available to him at all times, just like Patrick.Furi and Syn both snapped at Doug. But Furi took control. Hey! Don’t you ever say that again. This man is nothing like that asshole. Furi shook his head at the absurdity of Doug’s accusation. Don’t even say his name in the same sentence as Patrick’s.Doug looked at Furi as if he were a stranger.Doug, you don’t know everything that’s been going on. But I promise I’ll catch you up, okay? Then you’re going to feel pretty shitty about what you just said about Syn. Furi nodded his head. Go home. I’ll call you when I’m back at Syn’s place.You’re staying with him? Doug yelled.Doug. You know it’s not safe at my place, Furi said softly, his eyes pleading with his friend for him to understand.Then you should come to stay with me. I don’t trust this guy!This is fuckin’ crazy, Syn snarled. I know you’re his friend, but you’re sounding more pissed than a friend should be.Don’t try to read me, Detective. Furi is my best friend and I’ve had his back since the first day he got here. Doug wasn’t backing down from Syn’s intimidating posture. Syn’s dark glasses were back on, creating a perfectly badass look with his black leather coat and boots. All the hardware Syn had tucked under his arms and the shiny badge hanging around his neck was a sight right out of a sexy cop porno.
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