Kind of a Big Question

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  The hot summer evening and Dalton enter the room at the same time, and it’s immediately as if there hadn’t been nearly three years separation between myself and the latter. He’s wearing a thin, floral button up shirt – almost Hawaiian in it’s design – and three quarter length swim shorts. He’s holding a plastic carrier bag in his hand, the plastic handles slowly stretching with the weight of the contents; I can see the distinctive shape of a six pack pressed up against the sides. The geta on his feet click-clack across the floor before he kicks them off. 

  “Damn it,” he says, looking at Libby in her uncomfortable sprawl, then – in a lowered tone – “I’m sorry man, the boss rode me hard today, I couldn’t get out any earlier.”

  “No problem,” I say, waving the apology aside, “she’ll still be here tomorrow. It’s not like we’re going anywhere.”

  He smiles and nods and I beckon him over to the other side of the room, sliding open the screen door and stepping out onto the balcony, suburban Japan stretching out before us in a flurry of warm squares of lights. Once he joins me on the patio I slide closed the window once more.

  “I can’t believe you’re here!” Dalton exclaims suddenly, as if only now realizing that we’re hanging out once more.

  “I know, it’s kind of crazy,” I reply, sitting down on a wicker chair and motioning for him to do the same. He puts his bag down on the floor beside the glass-topped table and then delves inside it, pulling out the six pack first and setting it on the surface and then reaching once more for two wrapped cones that turn out to be combini ice creams. He throws me one and takes one for himself, setting the last – presumably Libby’s – next to the beers.

  “So,” he begins.

  “Yeah,” I say, focusing on unwrapping my Super Soft. I’m suddenly annoyed at Libby for falling asleep. If she were awake I wouldn’t be about to get heavy over ice cream. There’d be some moment of respite before the obvious question.

  “What happened, man?

  Where to begin?

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~ by Joseph Blame on November 8, 2010.

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