Symptoms

I’m sitting here with one leg crossed over the other, a steno pad on my lap where a pen is moving in a way that would certainly imply I’m writing something down.

Thomas is talking about how he couldn’t buy something that was on the counter at a convenience store. See, he didn’t know it was there when he’d gone in and so he’d picked up something else. By the time he saw it, he was near the register. He couldn’t get it because he was only going to get one thing. He couldn’t put the thing back that he had because then he’d have to get out of line, put it back, get back in line and then actually get the item at the register.

Thomas’s issue – if I’m being entirely honest – has nothing to do with the problem he’s explaining because Thomas’s issue is not doing, but being seen doing.

Had the same item been somewhere on route to the counter, he would have had no issue. The problem has nothing to do with his idea of rules or restraint. He isn’t obsessive-compulsive but some people probably think he is.

He doesn’t want to be seen being who he is because he doesn’t want to see himself being who he is.

He mentally measures what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. He pays attention to how he might come off to others by way of aesthetic – the way he walks and carries his weight. He applies extra thought to what he’s purchasing and why so that the fictional narrative that strangers aren’t even having about him might hopefully conform to the fictional identity he’s crafted for himself.

Thomas is irrational.

He’s talking about how he knows it’s irrational. Problem is, he’s talking about the problem he doesn’t have instead of talking about the one he does have because he still doesn’t know what the problem is.

Even if he did, the irrational is hard to repair.

It’s right there in the name.

It can’t be easily rationalized. The person can’t be easily reasoned with even if they’re paying you to help them reason with it until it becomes rational.

See, if someone believes that we’re all living in a snowglobe, there’s not a lot to be done. Your explanations will never seem like enough and your inability to resolve every question in life will give them an infinite number of unrelated, manufactured fail points to use as the equivalent of “you didn’t actually prove me to be absolutely and unequivocally wrong within the constraints of what I’ve decided must be proved for me to be absolutely and unequivocally wrong.”

The only real option, if we’re being honest – and I’d like to think that we can be honest here – is to somehow pull the person out of the snowglobe. Even then, we’d likely just be dealing with another Tobias Jenkins situation.

But you probably don’t know about Tobias because I haven’t told you and that’s a shame.

It’s a real shame.

For all intents and purposes, I’d like to believe that your mind – clever as I’d like to believe it is – can follow the context to the conclusion that it needs to find.

It would be the reasonable conclusion.

The rational one.

Even if the metrics aren’t exact, I think that if we could assign a number or a color to the narrative denouement in this moment we would all be thinking of relatively similar things even if we would all feel a bit too sheepish to voice them so casually.

Thomas is done explaining the way he likes to explain so that other people understand what it was he’d like to pretend he was doing because Thomas has learned to talk about his symptoms for so long that he has mostly mistaken them for the underlying condition.

I’ve seen it often enough.

He is, however, like a man trying to take cough syrup because all he knows is that he has a persistent cough while having no idea that he has emphysema.

There was a man three years ago in North Carolina.

Roger Arlington.

Roger Arlington went to a doctor at 9:37 AM on a Tuesday morning on a regular spring day. He left the building at 11:13 AM with a prescription for medication because he thought he might have the flu and the tests didn’t seem to find anything terribly worrying but what symptoms he did have seemed to be in line with what one would see from the flu.

Roger Arlington died at 6:22 PM three days later.

See, around two months before that, Roger had started taking a supplement that he heard was really helpful for something. It seemed like something that would be good to have. He was, after all, not getting any younger.

Supplements, unlike drugs, don’t have to be cleared by the FDA to prove that they do (or do not) do anything at all. They mostly just have to not cause enough harm to get in trouble. Most supplements disappear not because tests are being done and people are making sure things are safe, but because they end up being unsafe enough that it causes enough problems for enough people that tests are done and the product is found to be unsafe.

Essentially – supplement users are the beta testers for the supplements they’re using because the alpha testers didn’t die of anything.

And because this wasn’t a drug, it didn’t say that it could reduce blood pressure.

Had Roger known this, he might have mentioned it to his doctor.

See, Roger had something else, and the “something else” he had should have presented with elevated blood pressure. That blood pressure – which would have been an irregular spike on poor Roger’s record – would have likely caused concern and more questions. Had they asked those questions, they might have run some more tests.

They might have found out that Roger did not have the flu.

Roger would not have purchased prescription antibiotics that shouldn’t have been mixed with the “something else” he had. But then again – in all the ways that mattered to anyone who was paying attention, Roger just had the flu.

They call things like that a perfect storm.

A confluence of variables.

The point I’m trying to make – if you can believe that there is one – is that Roger was trying to treat a symptom he didn’t even have which created a symptom.

That symptom hid a real symptom he was actually having from an underlying condition far more consequential than the one he was trying to treat.

This made his most identifiable symptoms look like a problem he wasn’t actually having which led him to take medication for a problem he didn’t have.

The symptom of having done so is that Roger Arlington died at 6:22 PM on a rather unremarkable spring day.

There’s a lot to be said about that word: Symptom.

What it is.

What it isn’t.

Right now Thomas isn’t saying very much.

It’s to be expected. No one can talk forever, after all.

I’m still sitting here. I’m certain I look like I’m writing.

You, well…you’re just wondering where it goes, right?

You’re waiting for me to take the ribbon and tie the bow.

As Thomas is leaving, I can hear him speaking to a woman. I know there’s a part of him that’s still rationalizing the act of what he did and didn’t buy on a random Wednesday at 3:16 PM even if his mouth has moved on to some other story where he doesn’t sound like someone who worries that the world will see him.

The interesting thing about when people believe they’re living in a snow globe is that they believe that they’re in a snowglobe.

This might seem to be less of a revelation than I’m making it out to be, but I assure you that it’s deeper than it seems. A little Atacama Trench in the center of your teaspoon.

See this is important because they have to actually believe that that’s the case.

You might be nodding to this as though you’re already breaking the surface, having risen from the pretentious depths of my previous assessment while you’re resting comfortably within your snowglobe.

There’s a lot to be said about what is said.

What is not.

It only takes water falling by one window to make a man think it’s raining, after all.

The rest of the customers have mostly been doing what customers do. They’ve been there as set dressing. Little pictures on the wall that weren’t really instrumental to the song that I was playing. Even now, their only function is to be revealed.

Melissa always seems to think it’s funny when Thomas explains why he is the way he is.

She’s with him mostly because he’s a little bit broken. He’s broken in that way which will allow him to gladly determine that it’s all much better if she’s there to make it just a little bit better. He’s decided that if he can make the broken part of him fit the shape of her, then everything will line up.

Still trying to treat a symptom. Still not aware of the underlying condition or that there is one to be aware of.

She likes that he needs her even if he doesn’t really love her.

See, Melissa’s problem is that she wants to be needed. Feeling needed feels like love and she wants to feel that more than anything. If she can’t feel loved, then she’ll feel needed because as long as she’s known how to breathe she’s never known those to be two different things because she’s only ever known one of them.

I feel certain that if you had to guess which one, you’d guess correctly even if you weren’t really paying attention.

At the end of the day, none of this probably matters.

After all, I haven’t been writing anything and as far as I can tell everyone’s snowglobe is still giving the gift of swirling white because it’s easier that way.

If I had to guess, Thomas won’t be getting better anytime soon.

See, Thomas doesn’t have anything else going on in his life to make him fearful and he’s likely to see minor discrepancies in the variegations of life as largely inconsequential. It’s never a problem until the bone is outside of the skin, so the saying goes.

As a result, Thomas probably won’t notice anything as a symptom that needs treatment. Likely, he’ll mention it to Melissa and go from there. After all, even if he’s not sure if he loves her, he feels like he needs her.

He won’t go to a doctor and no one will notice the increase in blood pressure. They won’t run more tests and well – you don’t need to know everything to know that we’ve got another Tobias Jenkins.

Melissa – well, she won’t be needed much longer. In the long run, she never seems to be.

But she’ll be okay.

She was after North Carolina.

Still treating a symptom. Still not aware of the underlying condition because she’s not aware that there’s an underlying condition to be aware of.

And me? I’m leaving the mini-restaurant that sits next to the building that used to be a record store back when those were a thing but is now a store displaying oversized hubcaps in the window and I’m wondering where it goes from here.

I’m like everyone else, after all.

Just a different set of symptoms.

Demolitionist

I’m sitting in a coffee shop, and I’m dressed as a wrecking ball.

I didn’t plan to be but that’s how things play out sometimes.

You wouldn’t be able to tell – no one would. All you would see is a pair of jeans and a business casual shirt on shirt ensemble with the top button undone. I suppose I could try to say that not all wrecking balls look like wrecking balls but that would belie the truth.

The truth is that I look exactly like what I am, but no one ever sees it because no one wants to see it.

It’s the peculiar line of logic that leads people to say things like, “But if you could do that then why don’t you…”

And I say that that’s not how it works.

And they say, “Okay, so how’s it work then?”

And I say that it’s like when you see a bit of light that looks like a rainbow.

See, the light isn’t trying to make a rainbow. The drop of water, the piece of glass. The time of day and the position of the earth. The sun and the stars don’t care. No one is building a rainbow. It’s several variables that don’t care about the other variables because they don’t know they’re variables at all and so they don’t know there are other variables to know about. And then there’s you – sitting there and watching and not adding anything but voyeurism.

And I say that maybe that’s worth more than you think it is and not just in that old “if a tree falls in a forest and no one’s there, does it make a sound?” kind of way.

And I say, “There are things that behave differently when they’re being observed that have no reason to act any different because they shouldn’t have any way of knowing that they’re being observed.”

And I say that that’s maybe a great or terrible indicator of the idea of god and what it is to be made in something’s image. All of us – even down to the atomic level – unable to be ourselves if anyone is watching. All of us turning into actors and singers or else those who avert their eyes and try to say without saying, “If I don’t see you for long enough can you stop seeing me?”

And I say, “It’s more like that.”

And sometimes someone will nod, I suppose, or else they just assume the logical assumption: I’m just someone saying things because things are fun to say. What would conversation be without it?

I suppose the problem is that, by the time I explain what “that” is there seems to be very little “that” left for the listener to turn into a “this”.

It’s for that reason why I don’t often waste the time explaining.

In truth, there’s very little to explain when everything works as expected and there’s no way to explain anything when it doesn’t.

And one time someone asked if it mattered what the words were, and I told them that it only mattered because it had to matter because it’s like a sort of bootstrap paradox where the end result is partially the cause of the end result.

I suppose that, in the end, it never really matters much – and that’s exactly what I tell people when I choose to tell them these things.

I didn’t need to tell anyone this today. Not here. Not while sitting in a coffee shop.

I’ve just been sitting here quietly. Building momentum. That’s what I call it.

No one asks about that. I don’t find this surprising for exactly two reasons.

The first is that is seems largely straightforward and undeserving of an explanation.

The second is that I’ve never told anyone that because no one ever asks me anything that would require me to tell them.

“Give me an example.”

That’s the big one.

Everyone wants an example, don’t they?

Funny voices, is it? Let’s hear your best accent.

Comedian? Tell us a joke.

Superman? Leap a tall building.

If Jesus is real and Jesus returns and he can’t walk on water, that guy’s gonna have a bad day. That’s all I’m saying.

I don’t need to sidestep the answer but then there’s no way not to.

I say that there’s a man that says he can always guess a winning lottery number, but it won’t win if those numbers are submitted.

Right there, everyone is a theorist. Everyone knows what they would do if they were Batman.
Everyone has a gameplan when they don’t have to play the game.

Critics on a couch talking about how borderline Olympians aren’t doing it right.

They say the man should write down the numbers and…

There’s always a loophole, right?

But the man says there isn’t. The numbers are guaranteed – but only if no one plays them.

He says he has proof.

In his wallet is an old lottery ticket and he unfolds it and shows you the faded bubbles that are filled out and there’s a section of a newspaper with a date and the winning numbers and they match his.

But you say that proves nothing.

Who’s to say when he filled those bubbles out?

How do you fact check the past when it has no timestamp?

How do you confirm the reality of a memory?

And people say, “That’s not an answer.”

And I say that it is, but it’s not the one they wanted because they wanted to see magic and I’m telling them that sometimes magic is just saying that it’s known that somewhere, someone is pulling some kind of rabbit out of some kind of hat, and I can only tell you that I know it’s true in a way that’s infallible even if you don’t understand why.

And people say, “So you’re just full of shit.”

See, people don’t say that because they immediately believe I’m full of shit.

This is the alpha-male, “What are you, some kinda pussy or somethin?” call to arms to let someone know that they’ve gauged the size of their testicles to be several sizes smaller than nature intended. But don’t worry, there’s a cure. The cure is to pull your balls out and slap them under a projector so everyone sees how big they are.

It’s an attack meant to provoke a response of, “Oh yeah!? I’ll show you by giving you EXACTLY what you want!”

I suppose they think that that’s how it works.

I tell them, “That’s not how it works.”

And they nod and say, “Mmmhmm…” all judgey while silently thinking, “but what if it’s true?” and they go home and they wonder it too. And they try it themselves and they go, “Did it work? Would I know?”

And if they’d ask me that, I’d tell them that they would – if they could – but they can’t. And if they asked me why I’d just stare at them like someone who’s incredibly short asking me why they can’t learn how to be tall.

But no one is asking me that today.

Not here while I sit in the coffee shop.

My momentum is as good as it can be.

I take the receipt and fill in the spot for a tip. It’s exactly 20.04%. I could tell you why that matters but it would never really tell you why it matters. It would only tell you what I think you want to hear. Or maybe it’s what I think I want to hear. Sometimes I can’t tell the difference.

I write in the total that could have easily been a very clean number had the tip not been 20.04% and I sign my name.

I sign it slowly and deliberately. It’s the signature of someone who writes all the letters. It’s the signature of someone who never stopped writing cursive the way they were taught in school and so every curve and divot and dash and dot is in its place to such a degree that the whole thing looks distinctly out of place in a world where names start with capital something and wind into a scattering of ink-line origami.

At the very bottom, I write, “Thank you” – I do not write “thanks” – I could tell you why this matters but you already wouldn’t believe it should matter at all and I suppose that’s the reason why I keep having to explain so many things.

I place the receipt upside down and set a saltshaker on top of it.

Some will probably say, and quite sarcastically, “Let me guess, the saltshaker is also…”

But no. Why would a saltshaker matter?

This is the problem with reality. Once it doesn’t match up to what people want, they dive into absurdity. If you can bend a simple law of physics, why can’t you eat the color blue and turn your pores into seagulls?

And I say that if that’s what that means to them then I suppose that’s what that means to them.

And people don’t like answers that don’t say what they want them to say. They like answers that they already decided they want to hear.

But that doesn’t matter at the moment. Not here while the momentum is released, and I see the light – totally unaware – as it moves through a drop of water – lost in its own little world – turn into a tiny dot of multicolored light that only shows up for a moment because I’m at just the right angle to see it flicker by.

I know that as the momentum strikes the world has shifted and I don’t entirely know what that means but I know exactly what it doesn’t mean, and I suppose that that’s probably the best thing for any of us.

After so much effort, there’s little else to do but take a walk.

After all, I feel so underdressed now, down to little more than jeans a t-shirt and a button up with the top button undone and some sneakers that should have been replaced last year but they don’t matter so much.

They only matter during the points between.

I suppose someone might ask, “Then why not just focus on those instead?”

And I tell them that that’s not what wrecking balls do.

People don’t like that answer.

It’s the only one I have to give them.

Directory pt.2

Part 1


“You can keep going with this woo-woo mystical bullshit if you want, but no one’s buying it.”

“Well that’s handy, ‘cuz I ain’t fucking sellin’ it. It’s a fuckin’ fact. Snatch. Guy Ritchie. No?”

“You think this is some kind of game?”

“I do.”

“Yeah, well, it isn’t.”

“Sure it is. You’re just pissed because you’re losing. And you’re losing because you don’t know the rules. And you don’t know the rules because you won’t accept that it’s a game.”

“Yeah, well, looks like we fuckin’ gotcha doesn’t it? Or you just biding your time? Planning your great escape?”

“Says the guard with a wooden baton to Magneto in the plastic prison.”

“Keep it up, tough guy.”

“Notice you’re not wearing your badge. Must have forgotten it, huh?”

“How’s this for a fucking badge?”

“Looks more like a gun. And you look like too big a pussy to use it.”


The rain is a meteor shower. Life is a tidal wave of red and white and green and yellow.

The world is streaks of color that yell out like angry geese with megaphones.

He’s screaming, “Fuck. Fuck. Fuck.” in his mind while his lips are silent – hands gripping the steering wheel like a gun-lobbyist on Christian morals. He’s frantic. The world a blur. Letters zip by, half-obscured by rain and dark, by the glare of street lamps where the insects of the night flock like Johns to brothels – like prayers to God…like rain to the pavement.

The rotation of blue and red and white like the star-spangled banner is playing in color – like a floating apparition in his world. It’s screaming at him like a harpy that’s being gutted. It’s a cat with a bullhorn in its mouth. It’s the exclamation at the end of the sentence that once said, “Shit always goes sideways. You can’t plan for it. All you can do is adapt.”

He’s thinking back to that night. The night she brought him the list.

“The fuck is this?” he asked.

“You need…” she looked so sad and he didn’t understand why. Maybe he never really did. Maybe he never really would. “There’s a lot that you need to have right and…” she looked away and sighed. She looked so tired but he was the one that felt like he needed a small coma. “Just memorize it, okay? Just…you need to know the words.”

“I don’t even believe in this shit. You know that, right?” he said.

“It doesn’t…” she started to say.

“I swear,” he interrupted, “if you say some shit that’s akin to ‘Even if you don’t believe in God, he believes in you’ line, I’m gonna vomit. Like…seriously. I’ll fucking vomit.”

She looked so sad. Why did she look like that?

She shoved the paper into his hand and looked up with those doleful eyes. Those eyes that said they’d seen too much and yet never seen half of what they’d wanted. Those eyes that were begging him to do what he needed to do and yet seemed to say, “I’m sorry. I’m so…so…sorry…”

He took it with a shrug and said, “What the fuck ever…”

It rained blood that night.

At least that’s what he saw.


“You’ll do things you never imagined.”

“You’ll do things that you wish you never had to do.”

“You’ll do things that, right now…in this moment…you would say you’d never do. But you’ll find yourself facing them like a broken mirror. You’ll have to choose which shard of glass to use as your truth.”


Letters and numbers flashed by like hieroglyphics in warp speed. He could hear the wail of America’s finest in pursuit while he tried to get his bearings.

He needed time to focus. He needed time to sort things out.

He needed time.

He needed time.

He swerved by a car that was taxi yellow, whether by mistake or by occupation, he couldn’t tell in a world where speed limits were suggestions and repercussions were theories. He saw it with clarity then. He almost grinned as he did.

Metal met with metal. Fiberglass warped and cracked. Glass erupted like a volcano of bad endings in every daydreamer’s worst nightmare.

His head moved forward with the urgency of life running from death and landing squarely in its embrace. His head like a melon as it struck the steering wheel, warping his skull and face like putty wrapped around a stick-figure frame of popsicle sticks.

In his eyes, he saw starlight even as the impact made the passersby suddenly shift backward like a bomb had gone off at their very feet.

He almost laughed at the irony.

Directory pt.1

“The thing you gotta understand is just how…unremarkable he was. You know? Like…he was one of those guys that you could talk to ten times in two years and none of it like…none of it really stuck. You know?”


“So wait,” Jim said. His bottle of beer hovered so close to his lips he probably felt the chill of the glass. The trajectory of a drink put on pause as he set the bottle back down. “You think you guys broke up?”

“Yeah,” Adam said as he took a drink of a rum and coke that had already devoured a single ice cube and was now working its way toward a room temperature consolation prize.

“The fuck does that even mean? I mean…” Jim chuckled and took a drink that seemed intent on making up for the one he’d previously put on pause. Like a print queue after a paper jam has been cleared. “Dude, that’s some shit you should probably know as a definitive yes or no.”

Adam knew the answer in black and white terms the way a person knows when they see a car wrapped around a telephone pole that the person inside is dead. Their head and the steering wheel unceremoniously joined in unholy matrimony. But sometimes people lived through those sort of things. There was always that lingering percent. That trail of zeroes that leads to some seemingly erroneous non-zero digit.

“I think it was a sneak attack,” he finally said. Humor didn’t make it seem less absurd, but it was a lovely bandaid for the moment.

“She dress up in black garb like a ninja and leave a throwing star lodged in the wall with a red tassel and some obscure fortune cookie note or something?”

“Not quite,” Adam said. “That would have been more straightforward.”

Jim took another drink and gave Adam “the look”. Eyebrows seemingly both down and up at the same time. That sort of half-pursed expression that just said, “Dude. Duuude. Duuuuude.”

“So, you remember,” Adam began…

“Hold on, hold on,” Jim said as he flagged down a waitress.

She didn’t wear a name tag – it wasn’t that kind of place. She looked like a Sarah. Sarah? Maybe a Susan.

“Can I get another one, and uh…yeah…a long island for Captain Lonely Heart over here.”

Possibly Sarah or Susan smiled at that. She didn’t ask. That was something.

“Sure thing,” she said. “Both on your ticket?”

“Yup.”

“Alright.”

“Okay,” Jim said as she exited stage left, “so walk me through this. It might literally be the most interesting thing I’ve ever heard you say.”

“So, you remember when I moved?”

Jim sat with a bottle frozen at his lips for a moment – not drinking, but not setting the bottle down. “Not ringing a lot of bells,” he said behind his surgeon’s mask of brown glass.

“I don’t know that I talked about it much. Not like it was a huge deal,” Adam said. “Lease was up, found something else. Whatever.” He paused and finished his room-temperature rum and coke as the waitress returned and set their drinks down.

“Beer,” she said as she placed another bottle in front of Jim, “and a long island iced tea for Captain Lonely Heart,” she said with a bit of a smile. Sticking out of the top was a wedge of pineapple and, from the interior, – like some plastic Lochness monster – was a red straw that was shaped like a heart near the top and then swirled around and up so that you could actually drink out of it.

“Don’t officially get my Captain’s License until Monday,” Adam said jokingly.

“I won’t tell if you don’t,” possibly-Sarah or Susan said with a hint of a smile.

“So,” Adam continued as she exited stage right, “anyway, I moved. Or, I was in the process of moving. Standard stuff. She comes over and she’s helping me go through things.” He paused and took a drink and immediately clenched his teeth as the sweetened turpentine concoction that is a made-too-strong long island iced tea has the potential to be hit his tongue. “Anyway,” he said, trying not to cough, “she’s helping me go through things. I don’t really pay too much attention. Some stuff is going with me, some stuff with her.

“I unpack stuff at the new place. I get things put away. It doesn’t really occur to me that anything is out of sorts. I put her toothbrush there, deodorant, hair stuff. Whatever. But then, she’s not really texting very much, but she’s busy. I’m busy. We’re busy.

“But then I notice it one day. No shoes. No clothes. All the stuff that’s hers is the stuff that you could get at a Target on Tuesday. Like the remainder of a person who stayed at a motel for too long and was living on takeout. It was all random shit.”

“That’s…” Jim began, his word hanging in the air like cigarette smoke might have in the days before it wasn’t okay to smoke inside buildings – bar or not.

“Fucking brilliant,” Adam finished.

“Not exactly where I was gonna go with that,” Jim said with a quizzical look that he punctuated with another drink from his beer.

“Oh, don’t get me wrong,” Adam said. “It’s messed up. It’s cold. But you gotta admit – it’s fucking brilliant. She hit the eject button right in front of me. I literally watched her grab her shit and leave and was like, ‘Makes perfect sense to me.'”

“You think she was cheating on you?”

“Nah,” Adam replied honestly, “not her style.”

“Man, that’s…” Jim started to say. “Actually,” he said suddenly, “You know what? I know…uh…oh it’s…” he pulled his phone out and started to scroll through it.

“Not really looking for a hooker tonight, but…I mean…maybe after this drink…”

“Ha-ha,” Jim said, “I’m looking for… … …Kim. I don’t know her that well,”

“Didn’t think you were that kinda guy,” Adam quipped.

“But she knows her,” Jim said.

“And,” Adam said, “that’s helpful because…?”

“Women talk,” Jim said – clearly he was having a Matlock moment.

“Ok…”

“I wanna see if maybe she said something to Kim,” he said as his fingers tapped out a message.

“Because…?”

“Because…I…” he held his finger up in that ‘uno momento, por favor’ type of way.

Adam waited quietly and took another drink of his long island. Either he was getting drunk enough for it to not feel like he was sipping on diluted napalm, or his initial assessment had been off the mark.

He was betting squarely on the former.

“Huh,” Jim said.

“Has she ruined the moment? Do ladies not, in fact, talk?”

“She says she hasn’t heard from her for a few weeks.”

“I dare say that context is going to be a factor here. Like, are they ‘we talk on holidays’ acquaintance or are they ‘we talk on the phone while we watch the same Netflix episode’ friends?”

“No clue, man,” Jim said. “I mean, she doesn’t sound worried about it.”

Adam shrugged and took another drink.

“Shit’s cold, man,” Jim said.

“Yeah,” Adam said flatly. “Cold, man.”