He’s watching a Korean movie about a sea monster in a mutated irradiated river full of run off and nobody can stop thinking about fishing in the Schuykill. She sends him a text message and he tells her he’s watching a movie but he’d be glad to bother her when it was done. She says sure. He tells her it won’t be done until late, and she tells him she doesn’t care. He can bother her whenever he wants, really. He grins his face off and everyone says “Well who’re you texting there???” He continues to grin and points at the screen so no one missed the monster slapping the guy who’s probably half retarded into a hole where he goes unconscious. Everyone is glad because he was an irresponsible father. Not a bad one. Just probably retarded. And a burden.
He walks home and everything is covered in frost. The streetlights throw shadows around and the trees have no leaves. Just branches that stretch, for different reasons. And the lights are yellow and the shadows are just dark, and all the buildings are made of bricks.
“It’s fucking cold out.”
“Jesus. Allen. What time is it?”
“2? 2:05? Probably. One of those.”
“You were sleeping.”
“Well, since I’ve got you up.”
“How was the movie?” She closes her eyes, stretches her arms. Turns her head to the side.
“The end was great. Everyone was dead. The retarded guy wasn’t retarded anymore, and he and this kid he managed to save lived in a shack they built on the edge of the river, and it was winter, and they were warm. As the kid fell asleep, the dad, the guy who wasn’t really retarded anymore, he knelt by the window with a rifle, and watched. There was a deer somewhere. It was fucking beautiful.”
“You’re kind of a sap sometimes. You know that right?”
“Eat shit, it was still fucking beautiful. Fuck. It’s colder now than it was at 9.”
“I said that to you months ago.”
“It was good, so I kept it. I’m almost home. It is going to be warm. It will be great.”
“It’s cold in here. I have to use like three down comforters. And then I have to use a fan on my face. Or stick my feet out from under.”
“Aren’t you sleeping in like, the sunroom of your parents house.”
“Because you like to go home on weekends.”
“Because I go home on weekends.”
“So next week, let’s hang out.”
“Why? Because you think you can change my feelings about the male gender?”
“Because I think it’s cute that you like to refer to the male gender as the male gender. If you give me a minute, I am going to throw the phone down and take my pants off and get into bed, and then keep going.”
“Are you going to make sound effects when you take your pants off again?”
“Yes. They are my ninja sounds. They are adorable.”
“They’re fucking creepy Allen. It is creepy that you make sound effects when you take off your pants.”
“Hey so tell me about your first kiss.”
“Go make your fucking ninja sounds.”
“Fine.” He does.
“I am back.”
“His name was Namon. Which is a weird name, I guess. I don’t know. I never met anyone else named Namon. I was like 2. Or 3. We were probably infatuated with each other. We played Peter Pan a lot. I tried to fly off of his bed. Tinkerbell was not real and so I landed on the ground, in pain and shocked that it did not work. It was awful. He kissed me. Now he is fat and hairy. Like on his back. I saw it once.”
“My brother did that. He was like 4 maybe. He thought he was Superman. He jumped off a slide and he fell and broke his wrist. These are things Superman never would have done. I did a drawing of Superman telling him to get better when he got back from the hospital.”
“Allen, I am going to go to sleep.”
“Come hang out next weekend.”
“Sure. Maybe. I don’t know. Things with me and boys don’t work out always. Someone always gets weird. We’ll see.”
“Well. Still. Sweet dreams, Ada.”