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On a Friday after work, Aiden drove from Ameribank to his friend Richard’s house, a shorter trip than his regular commute because Richard’s house was in Redford, a giant suburb in Blanket County that was closer to Ameribank. Richard’s parents were gone on a two week vacation, and he wanted Aiden to come work on his resume because he was trying to submit an application by the following week to a company where one of their mutual friends was working (the week previous, Aiden had emailed some high level edits on Richard’s resume which included: getting it to one page, erasing all nonprofessional jobs, and “maybe rewriting” an entire section whose first bullet point had begun with  “managed large volume of tasks in many facets of small business with high standard of quality and attention to detail in fast-paced environment…”) Richard answered the door wearing his greyish black “Summer Sanitarium” concert t-shirt which seemed to be in his total weekly rotation of possibly four shirts and which had a large cartoonish drawing of a group of forty assumed to be rock band members dressed in straight jackets.

“Good afternoon Mr. Lin,” Aiden said walking into the house in a chipper mood that felt solely derived by which day it was.

“Oh look it’s the fancy business man,” Richard said.

“Well, not all of us can live the high life,” Aiden said, smelling the marijuana smoke halfway through the entry.

The first room Aiden passed—what he figured was originally intended as a study at some point—was barricaded in a square shaped pattern of bags and junk that looked like it was close to two feet tall at its smaller sections and possibly five feet tall in its peaks. The living area had more hoarding attached to the walls, encircling a small area of space Richard had setup in the middle of the room with a leather chair and his Playstation. Most of the junk in the living room, 1950’s looking dolls, golden brown paperback books, and stacks of plastic containers wasn’t coherently organized, and Aiden walked around the room staring at things that seemed like they could merit taking, as if in Aiden’s future there was an antique show he planned to eventually visit that was based around eccentricity rather than value.

“I know,” Richard said, sitting down in the chair and picking up his controller.

“It’s bad,” he said.

“Are there fish in that?” Aiden said looking at a fish tank in the corner. 

“Umm, yeah I believe so.”

“Stop. Just put on blinders,” Richard said.

“I can’t man. The last time I was here it wasn’t nearly as bad,” Aiden said, referring to an indistinct time when Richard’s family had recently moved into their house in Redford from their house in Tannis (which had been equally as cluttered) and when the house had been relatively clean.

“Really?” Richard asked as if he had no timeline against which to judge his current situation.

“Yeah. You’ve got to get out of here. It’s not healthy.”

“Yeah I know. I need a real job first. That’s what you’re here for,” Richard said then stopping, as if his concentration had been permanently broken, “Fuck, let’s smoke a cigarette.”

The outside area was a seven foot wide space of grass in between the side of Richard’s house and the neighbor’s house but which looked relatively well kept.

“How long are your parents gone for?” Aiden asked.

“Two weeks.”

“Why don’t we throw all this shit away, that’s plenty of time.”

“My mom would freak out. That’s the whole point, she doesn’t want to throw anything away.”

“What about storage, do you have a storage facility?”

“Yeah,” Richard said looking away, “I think a lot of that stuff is from storage.”

“Just—”

“Alright, alright,” Aiden said, smoking for a minute without talking.

“What do you want to do later?” Richard asked.

“I’m down with whatever. We don’t have to do anything, I’m still technically broke,” Aiden said.

“Probably better, I need to finish that and get it over to Manny.”

“Do you have any whiskey?”

“Yeah Jim,” Richard said.

“I’ll need some inspiration.”

“You need inspiration for a resume?”

“Dude. Definitely for a resume,” Aiden said as they walked back inside.

The top of Richard’s section for “experience” was a three year long period in which Richard had managed his parents’ investment account, bullet points about how he had grown the account and taught himself high level investment skills— but which was really a loosely based account of a huge swath of time in which had Richard remained mostly unemployed. “I think you should really put your college at the top. It looks good and it distract from….that Devil’s Advocate job,” Aiden said, sitting on the couch with Richard’s MacBook. “With the Portern International—I still can’t tell at all what you did. Walk me through a day.” Two hours later, Aiden had drank somewhere close to half of Richard’s 750ml bottle of Jim Beam and was sitting on the couch watching The Shining while Richard was working at his dining table with what looked like an interested focus.

“I think I’ve only seen this movie once,” Richard said, looking up from his computer.

“I’ve seen it a lot…But I’ve been reading about Kubrick. I feel like I want to watch it again just so I can pay attention to the shots. The cinematography.”

“So is it like the hotel that drives him crazy or is he just crazy?”

“Um, I think it’s both. The place drives him crazy. I think the same thing has happened before at the place,” Aiden said, thinking in his head of the specific scene with the twins and all the blood.

“But also I think he’s just supposed to be crazy. I think he’s supposed to be like every husband who just hates his wife for no reason,” Aiden said, causing Richard to laugh.

“Well yeah,” Richard said grinning, “that makes sense.”

“I think we should go to Waffle House,” Aiden said fifteen minutes later during a commercial break in the movie. 

“I thought you said you already ate on the way over here?”

“Yeah. I did,” Aide said, thinking, “But I drank a lot.”

“Yeah you did,” Richard said, lifting the bottle.

“We could walk?” Aiden asked.

“No we’re not walking.”

At the Waffle House (which was a long enough drive to cause Aiden to say while looking out Richard’s car window, “yeah, I’m glad we didn’t walk”), their waiter was younger guy in a ponytail named Moses who introduced himself when he got to their table with, “Hi my name is Moses. I’ll be your waiter, your entertainment, and your social worker tonight.” Aiden and Richard both ordered “All-Star Specials,” a combination of waffle, eggs, toast, hash browns, sausage—causing Richard to complain about his decision as if he had been backed into a corner on a chess board by Aiden’s decision to order the same absurd portion of food. As they were finishing eating, an older couple sat down at the table behind them and they heard Moses saying, “Hi my name is Moses. I’ll be your waiter, your entertainment, and your social worker tonight.”

“I feel like Moses used us,” Richard said, leaning back in his booth seat with a dejected and tired face that looked like he had just finished some kind of extreme athletic marathon event.

 

Aiden woke up at 3:10 am on Richard’s couch with a lopsided headache—sneezing continuously and reaching for a box of Kleenex that was conveniently located right next to his head, affording him the strange ability to engage in a half sleep-half sneeze rhythmic pattern that went on for about fifteen minutes before he finally got up to get some water from the faucet which he poured into a plastic Lord of the Rings chalice type glass he couldn’t tell was dirty or not, but which after examining the very bottom of the cup repeatedly while tasting the water as vaguely salty, he decided as “dirty” but not dirty enough to get a new glass. Looking through one of the cabinets in the kitchen for pain medicine, Aiden noticed himself growing excessively angry that “with all the shit here, there’s nothing actually useful,” and moved into the bathroom where he found a bottle of Tylenol that looked visibly ancient with an expiration date of 2007 but which after looking inside the bottle and noticing that the type of capsules did not match the picture of the tabs on the bottle—leading him to assume that the bottle had been recycled and that the pills were current— Aiden went ahead and ate three, partly wondering if something like cyanide was dropping into his stomach. Back on the couch, Aiden took a hit from Richard’s chillum, convinced for once that the marijuana would be beneficial because of his headache as opposed to most times when he smoked, in which he became overly introspective and analytical to the point of extreme discomfort and paranoia. For the next several hours, Aiden watched television and surfed the web, consciously deciding to not make an attempt to go back to sleep which felt initially as a choice made from the fact that he had a splitting headache—but eventually felt made from the fact that he was high and in a really weird living space—reminding him of times when he had decided to stay up all night when he was very young with friends, and how it would kind of make him feel high from the intense sleep deprivation. Reading the internet, Aiden found a comment on a forum that seemed especially bleak and depressing but also kind of funny, and started copying and pasting it within itself until it started to form into a life of its own:

 

The only reason I'd forget my apartment is if I wanted to invite people over.

But I work too much to make friends, so it's remained unfurnished.

I make decent money and am typing this in my furnished apartment.

I considered getting a couch once, but didn't see the point.

Just another place to sit.

I already have a chair for the year.

And I've been living in this couch.

Sometimes I get sad that I don't do anything aside from basically work or sleep.

But then I go to sleep or start working and forget to sleep again.

 

 

Around 10am, Aiden and Richard drove to go get donuts and coffee. The overcast and glowing morning sky—with clouds running in a concurrent egg shaped pattern toward a whitish yellow light in the distance— looked to Aiden in his sleep deprived head like it was pasted on to itself, or like if it were from a painter’s perspective who was intentionally trying to make the sky look “far off” but also dramatic and religiously themed.  

“So did you have a period of time that was like that half sleep where you can’t tell if you’re sleeping or not?” Richard asked as they drove.

“No, I closed my eyes for like twenty minutes at one point. But definitely was awake the entire time.”

After the donuts, Aiden and Richard went to a disc golf store and purchased some used discs for twenty dollars at a store that was down the street from a course they had never played which was located in the middle of a suburb north of Tannis that Aiden thought looked exceptionally beige and repetitive except for the inordinate amount of martial arts places and smoothie stores which seemed to occur at a higher than normal frequency. The disc golf course was an amazingly well maintained and pristine curvy field of grass that had a cement creek type river running through the middle filled with a low level brownish green water that looked unsanitary but not excessively littered, unlike most similar type water reservoirs Aiden had seen around Tannis which were always dotted with trash.

“This entire thing is like perfectly mowed,” Aiden said as they walked.

“And no one is out here,” Richard said, “There’s apartments right on this course and nobody uses it. I feel like I’d do this every day if I lived there.”

“It’s nice though right, the wide open space?”

“Yeah, I feel like this is what we use to look at everyday…Back in the—” Richard said, apparently referring to an anonymous set of ancestors.

On the next hole, Aiden stood at the driving spot and paused, staring at the disc in his hand.

“I feel like I’m using a different disc than before.”

“It feels like smaller in my hand now,” Aiden said.

“What?” Richard asked.

I didn’t sleep very much,” Aiden mumbled for the tenth time in the day.

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