Sara Corris

Not Normal

“Mom! Brian’s sitting on the penis end of my seatbelt, and he won’t move!”

“Brian, please give your sister her seatbelt. Kelly, stop saying ‘penis.’”

“‘Penis’ isn’t cursing, mom–”

“No one likes to hear it, all the same.”

Kelly turned back to her brother. “Give. Me. My. Penis. End, jerkface!” she grunted, shoving him all the while.

Brian giggled and kept his bottom planted over the seatbelt. “What’s your problem? Just tie the two vagina ends together, like in Jurassic Park. Why do you hate vaginas so much, Kells?”

“Brian, stop saying ‘vagina.’”

“Oh my god! MOM! ‘Vagina’ isn’t a dirty word! Seriously, what do all the women in this family have against vaginas–OW!”

“Get off my penis end, Bri!”

“Mom, Kelly’s pushing me!”

“MOVE!”

“Jeez, why are you so obsessed with penises, Kells?”

I’m obsessed?! You’re the one hoarding all the penis ends, because you like to feel them on your butt–”

“MOM, Kelly’s being homophobic in public!”

“Enough, both of you. Buckle your seatbelts before we get kicked off this plane, and SHUT. UP. No more talk about penises and vaginas–”

“But you just said ‘penis’ and ‘vagina’, so why can’t we?”

“That’s so dumb, mom. They’re not even bad words.” Brian began to sing: 

penispenisPEE-NISS, 

vaginavaginava-JIII-na …” 

Kelly joined in:  

penispenisPEE-NISS, 

vaginavaginava-JIII-na …” 

Five rows up, their father watched whilst simultaneously attempting to cram their things into an overhead compartment.

penispenisPEE-NISS, 

vaginavaginava-JIII-na …” 

He succeeded in closing the compartment door, and turned to abandon his family.

penispenisPEE-NISS, 

vaginavaginava-JIII-na …” 

A flight attendant blocked his way. “Sir, everyone must get to their seats now.”

“It’s okay, I don’t want to go anymore. I want to get off the plane.”

penispenisPEE-NISS, 

vaginavaginava-JIII-na …” 

Through the din of her childrens’ singing, the mother suddenly heard her husband’s voice raised in anger:

“MOVE! I’m starting a new life–”

Her prescription sedative kicking in at last, she didn’t hear the rest.

When she awoke seven hours later, the plane hadn’t left New York, her husband was gone, and the children were still singing:

penispenisPEE-NISS, 

vaginavaginava-JIII-na …” 

Neither she nor the children ever saw him again.

***

“YES!”

“Fuck!”

“Language,” their mother called out from upstairs. Brian and Kelly ignored her.

“You suck ass at this game, Bri. I’m crushing you–”

“Yeah right! The first time in your whole life you ever won at Goldeneye was this week. Big deal. It’s just a lucky streak–”

“Yeah right! I’ve finally figured out the game, is what happened. And now I’m better than you, and I’m gonna beat you–”

I’m gonna curbstomp you, like in that movie, until all your teeth come out and your neck snaps and your head comes off–”

“Big deal. I’m gonna gouge out your eyes with my thumbs, like in that movie, and then I’m gonna get a strap-on, and I’m going to Fuck. Your. Empty. Eye. Sockets–” 

Ew, what’s wrong with you, Kells?! Who says that to their brother?! Pervert.”

***

My brother is one of those people who gets insanely sweaty when on drugs. We’re talking Bikram levels. 

This one time, post-uni, we were out clubbing together. Brian is on some mix of MDMA, coke, ket, booze, and who knows what else. Sweat is pouring off him, soaking his clothes and hair, forming a puddle at his feet. I’m on the same mix of shit, so I’m disgusted, but in a detached sort of way. 

Suddenly Brian leans in, his pupils crazy dilated.

“They keep checking me out.” 

“Who?” 

“Those two. At the bar.” 

I look. Two of the most beautiful girls I’ve ever seen IRL are whispering together and looking over at my brother. 

Idiot

I turn back to Brian. “They want drugs.” 

“Gimme some space, Kells. You’re the reason they aren’t coming over here.” 

“You are obviously, visibly on a fuckton of drugs, you idiot. They know it. Every person here knows it. That’s what they want: your drugs. Not your penis.” 

“One of them is coming over!” 

“That girl wouldn’t touch your dick to set fire to it.” 

“Fuck off, Kells. You’re cockblocking me.” 

I turned and made for the bar. Before I’d gone three steps, I heard her behind me, asking Brian if he knew where they could score some drugs.

***

He’s not really a dickhead, my brother. 

I remember this one time, I was 25 or 26. I’d gone out drinking with friends and then, I don’t know what happened. To this day I don’t. I wake up on a bench in some bar. I look around, but I’ve got no idea where I am, and I don’t see any of my supposed friends. I start freaking out. I call Brian blubbering, not making any sense, begging him to come get me:

“But where the fuck are you, Kells?”

“I don’t know, some bar, it’s really gross … wait. Hold on a sec.” 

I stop crying long enough to listen in on a nearby table:

“Gimme this sick fuck’s address, a cylinder of lighter fluid, and twenty minutes. I’ll take care of it.” 

I turn back to the phone. “I’m somewhere in Jersey,” I whimper. “Oh, fuck. Oh, Christ.”

And Brian came to get me. At 2 a.m., out in deepest Jersey.

***

Kelly answered on the second ring.

“Whassup?”

Brian leaned back against the headboard. “Hey. Do you remember when I caught you fapping to the Raphael-Leonardo bathtub scene in the Ninja Turtles movie?” 

“Girls don’t fap.” 

“Some do. It depends on the labial situation.” 

“Yeah, fair enough. If there’s like, abundant billowy labia, I guess it could make a fapping sound.” 

“Depending too on the vigor of the self-pleasuring, I suppose. But with the right labia and the right vigor? It could conceivably create a reverberating labial clap, not unlike the classic fapping sound.” 

“I happen to have very demure labia though. You’ve seen me in bikinis. Zero labial bulge. Nada.” 

“No disrespect to ladies with more of a fleshy cabbage sitch goin’ on.” 

“Of course. It’s just not me. Honestly? It’s friggin’ gorgeous down there, Bri. I spread my legs and it’s like opening Marsellus’s briefcase–” 

“Ahem.” 

Brian looked up at his wife. 

She frowned back at him. “Will you be much longer? I’m turning in and I want to get to sleep.”

Later, when Lindsay had settled in beside him, she brought it up again.

“It was your sister on the phone, wasn’t it.”

“Yeah.”

“Normal siblings don’t talk like that.” 

“You don’t like ANY talk like that.” Lindsay blushed and flinched at anything remotely gynecological. 

“Still. Siblings don’t talk about things like that. It’s not normal.”

***

And this other time, when we were both still in high school. 

I was fighting with our mom. I said something about dad, deliberately, to hurt her. And then she retorts that he’s got a whole new family, has for years. A wife and three kids, way out in California. So I can stop waiting for him to walk back into our lives at any moment, because it’s never going to happen.

This was the first news I’d had about dad since he’d left us. And she was right. I had been waiting to hear from him, to see him again, eventually. 

I was gutted. Mom was pleased. 

“Bitch,” I choked out. I ran to my room, collapsed onto my bed, and sobbed.

I was still crying hours later when Brian came in and sat down beside me. It was dark; I could barely see him. But he kept whispering “ssh, it’s ok, it’s going to be ok,” over and over as he stroked my hair and patted my shoulder.

I rolled over and looked up at him.

***

He called me once in the middle of the night, all upset. This was when the first kid was due. He wanted to talk about the dumb dream he’d just had.

“You know how my ultimate fantasy has always been the anonymous train handjob? Some hot chick–either real or a ghost–sits down next to me on the train, and without saying anything, just undoes my pants and jerks me off? Then wordlessly walks away?” 

“Yup.” 

“Ok, so I was dreaming about that. The girl comes over, she’s super hot–” 

I doubted it. Brian’s got shit taste in women. Dream chick was probably some big fat bitch. 

“–and it’s super hot, but then I notice … there’s a baby in a stroller. Directly opposite. And he’s watching at eye level with my crotch. I try to get the girl to stop but she won’t stop, and I can’t stop … I come all over the place. It’s a huge, massive load. And the baby … this little, innocent baby imitates my face. My O face, you know? And it’s like the kid’s face is broken or something, because he’s still making that face a bunch of stops later when his mom gets up and exits the train are you laughing?!”

“Yes.”

Brian sighed. “It’s all those fucking baby books Linds is forcing on me. I’d been reading how babies mirror facial expressions. But still. I’m gonna be a terrible father, Kells.” 

“You really are.” 

“I’ve got no business having a kid.” 

“Agreed. 100%.”

Brian thought I was joking, I knew. People always think I’m joking when I’m not.

***

Mom never got over dad leaving. She never really tried to build something new after, even as years and years passed. She’d never been a beauty. And she was too tall and big-boned to pass for “cute,” even when she was young. And by the time dad left she wasn’t young. And she was busy raising the two kids he’d stuck her with. I get that it wouldn’t have been easy, but still. She didn’t even try. She just gave up. 

I’m not suggesting that’s why she got cancer, but she could have tried to fight it harder than she did. I don’t think it bothered her much, the diagnosis. She wasn’t even sixty yet. I don’t know if she actively welcomed dying; more like she didn’t care, one way or the other. 

Brian took it personally, like we hadn’t been worth living for. To me that had been obvious for a long time. Mom went through all the motions of parenting. She fed us and went to our graduations and stuff. I don’t mean to sound too ungrateful. But that was all. It had been very clear, without her ever saying it, that we weren’t enough. It wasn’t a good life.

***

“Nice, you finally had one with hair! HUGE improvement. Bald white babies are the worst. But you’re a cutie, aren’t you? Yaaas–” I halted as I saw Brian across the room with what was obviously his latest issue, bald and ugly as ever. I looked back up at my sister-in-law.

Lindsay glared back. “This is my cousin’s baby.” 

“Oh, how nice,” was all I could think to say. “I’m gonna … bathroom …” I wandered off in Brian’s direction.

There were too many people in my way. I hated them all. This was the worst fucking party ever. Not that I like any parties, but still. Who has a party for baby #3?! Who even has a baby #3 anymore, unless you’re Amish or Hasidic.

Brian and Lindsay had rented out a corner of floor space by the bar, and the restaurant staff barked at anyone who accidentally spilled over into the regular dining space. I checked to make sure the sweat wasn’t causing my tube top to slip, then elbowed my way to the bar.

A couple of moms joined me.

“Kelly, hi! You look great! So toned!” said one of them–apparently, someone I’d met before?

“Jeez, your abs. I’d kill for those,” said the other as she eyed my midriff.

“Thanks. When you do as much navel-gazing as I do, you want your navel to at least be hot.”

No one laughed. 

I cleared my throat. “But, please! I’d kill to have your boobs.” 

A lie. It’s my go-to fake compliment for women I consider fat. My tits are perky perfection. 

Mom #1 introduced me to Mom #2. “This is Kelly. Lindsay’s husband’s sister.”

She fake-smiled at me. “Oh, Kelly. I’ve heard so much about you. You and Brian are super close, right?”

“I guess.”

“That’s nice. Are you two twins?”

“Irish twins.” She stared back blankly. I explained:

“It’s when two siblings are born less than a year apart. Basically the man jacks off into the gaping wreckage of his beloved’s lady parts.”

Brian joined us, baby in tow. The moms commenced cooing.

“He’s the spitting image of you, Bri! Kelly, isn’t he the spitting image of your brother?”

“No. He doesn’t look like anyone real yet. He looks exactly like every other bald white baby: like an oversized maggot, with eyes.”

The moms quickly glanced Brian’s way but I knew he wouldn’t give a shit. He’d told me many times with the first two, that he did not get the babyhood phase At. All.

Of course, he’d also told me that it had been a huge mistake, having the second kid. And that he and Linds weren’t having sex at all anymore. And yet, here we were celebrating the arrival of kid #3. So who knows.

“You wanna hold him, Kells?” Brian asked.

“Hell, no. Not if he’s anything like his predecessors. The other two were tits-obsessed perverts,” I told the moms. “Always groping and yanking down tops like they were on spring break.”

They stared back at me in silence. Kid #3 spit up all over my brother’s shirt.

***

“Your sister is drunk,” Lindsay hissed.

Brian shrugged. “So? It’s a party, Linds. She isn’t driving.”

Lindsay started to reply, but the baby spit up on her dress, then began howling. She hurried away.

Kelly lurched over. She was exceedingly drunk.

She held up a finger in front of her face and stared uncomprehendingly. “It’s blood,” she determined at last. “But where … is it … am I …?”

She began inspecting all over her body, up and down. Then she hinged at her hips, letting her legs bow out until she was staring between her own legs. Brian cringed and looked around to make sure Lindsay wasn’t seeing this.

Kelly straightened back up, staggering a little as she did so. “It isn’t that,” she concluded. She leaned in. “Hey. You see that guy at the bar?”

“Which guy, Kells?”

“C’mon, which guy. The hot one, with the shoulders! You think he’s straight?”

Brian squinted. “I mean, he doesn’t scream not-straight.”

Kelly nodded emphatically. “Right?! And he’s tall too, I think maybe he’s crazy tall! Like, 6’4”, or something.” She stared. “Gonna make it happen.”

Lindsay returned with the baby. “Kelly, hi–”

“Gimme that,” Kelly said as she lifted the baby from Lindsay’s arms. She gave Brian a grotesque wink, turned, and made for the bar.

She hadn’t gone five paces before the baby yanked her top down.

***

Six hours into the pandemic, I started calling every guy I’d ever gone out with.

“Can I ask you something? What made you come up to me, that night at the party?”

“Honestly? I wanted to know what you were thinking. You were hanging back a bit from everyone; I guessed you were only pretending to follow the conversation. You had this mysterious, inscrutable quality. A little serious, a little melancholy, but … I wanted to know what was going on in that pretty, sad head of yours.”

“Ah.” I remembered the night well. I’d been trying really, really hard to hold in a fart. That’s what was on my mind, when he approached me. That’s what had my brow oh-so-bewitchingly furrowed.

I rang another ex, asked him the same question about a different night.

“You were seated off by yourself, lost in your own world. You had this faraway look in your eyes; they were roving around the room, but not taking anything in. Where were you, really? What could possibly be troubling a girl like that? I had to know. To find out where you went, in those moments.”

Ugh, no. I can’t even, with this garbage.

“And did you?” I whispered breathlessly.

“No.”

“Would you like to know, now? Do you want me to let you in?” 

“Sure.” But he didn’t sound at all sure. 

“It was July, as you may recall. I was wondering if my shorts felt wet because my butt was swampy, or because I’d perioded through the fabric. Of course, I had to be wearing WHITE shorts that day. So you can imagine my distress.”

I paused; nothing. Carried on: “Turned out I just had serious swamp ass.”

I tried another one, asked him the same question:

“You approached me, actually. Asked me to help detach an infant from your nipple.” 

“Oh, right.” 

“And once you explained that the kid wasn’t yours, I was definitely interested. You’ve got adorable boobs.” 

“Yeah. I know.”

***

“I’ll be right down,” Brian shouts into the intercom.

“Why? Just buzz me in, dude. It’s freezing out here.” But he must be on his way already. I shiver impatiently on the steps outside.

“Hey.” Brian opens the front door.

Finally. Is the buzzer broken? So, it turns out every guy I ever dated was a cliche-chasing douche who thinks–what are we doing?” I ask, because Brian has stepped out onto the stoop with me, letting the door close behind him. “Do you want to go somewhere? Nothing’s open.”

“Yeah. About that, Kells.” Brian stuffs his hands into the pockets of his old man cardigan and looks down at his feet; my stomach starts twisting. “Lindsay thinks we should follow the rules. Not let anyone over.”

I swallow and play dumb. “What?! Why? Is this because I didn’t go to her stupid Super Bowl party? I’ve tried explaining to you both, hearing sports noises on TV is physically painful for me–”

“It isn’t that.”

“So it’s the laptop thing, still.” 

A few weeks ago they were all over at mine, and the oldest kid asked to play on my laptop. Asked his mom, not me. And of course Lindsay–without consulting me–says ok baby, sure. And so the kid opens my laptop, and my last search results are up on the screen. For “female squirt bukkake dudes faces.” 

The kid didn’t even understand what he was seeing. Christ, Lindsay didn’t even understand what she was seeing. I tried explaining it to her later, but she didn’t want to hear.

“I shouldn’t have to apologize for what I do with my private–”

“Kells. You know it’s not about that. Linds isn’t mad at you over that.”

That’s definitely a lie, but I don’t push it. I’m looking down now too, trying not to cry.

“So, what? I’m just fucked, completely on my own, for however long this bullshit lasts?” I glance up, but Brian won’t look at me. I start crying for real. “Can you at least come over to my place?”

“I don’t think so Kells. At least not for now. Let’s give it a week or two, let Lindsay chill out a bit–”

“You pathetic fucking pussy,” I spit out. “You just do whatever your bitch wife tells you. God, she sucks. What the actual fuck do you see in that boring–”

“C’mon Kells, cut it out. We can still meet up for walks–”

“Go fuck yourself, Bri.” I storm off slowly, because of the icy steps.

***

With me effectively banned from seeing Brian, there was no point staying in the city anymore. I rented a place up in Maine, lying to myself that I can afford it now. I’ve had some unexpected success with my film scripts in the last few years; I’m kinda-sorta a low-budget horror indie darling in a post-Me Too world. 

It’s bullshit. Critics think my last two films were “stinging, subversive criticisms of contemporary society,” or something. The Spatchcock Killer was lauded as “an incendiary attack on industrial farming,” because the titular homicidal maniac is revealed to be a Purdue employee. PETA even gave me an award. I was just trying to write a decent slasher with inventive kills. Then there was A Haunted House. I wanted to do a straightforward haunted house flick with zero subtext. That one got praised as a “searing domestic violence parable.” 

With this next project I want to break into the maple-horror scene. Up to now the subgenre’s been a Canadian sausagefest. I’d received a grant to work out of Canada, but then the borders shut down. Hence, Maine. It’s basically Canada, except better.

My working title is Murder Moose. Pitch: He’s a moose. And he fucking hates cyclists. 

The titular character is a legendary moose of the forest, whose lands are invaded to make mountain biking trails. The developers assure everyone that cyclists will stay on the designated paths. You can guess how well that goes. The cyclists being cyclists, they fundamentally reject the concept of rules applying to them. It’s an outrage–the entire planet should be thanking them, the cyclists, for all the cycling they’re doing. Within one week of the trails opening, a mountain biker goes off-course and runs over our hero moose’s pregnant moose-wife, who was preparing to give birth to his moose-baby. They die slow, agonizing deaths; our main moose can only watch helplessly, making moose sounds and swearing vengeance upon all cyclists. 

[Jimmy concludes his tale and gazes around the campfire at the frightened faces of his mountain cyclist friends. No one makes a sound.]

[Suddenly there’s a rustling from the nearby forest.]

STACKED BABE #1:W-what was that noise?

JIMMY: Relax, it’s probably Billy fooling around. Haha Billy, very a-moose-ing, man.

[Jimmy rises to his feet, takes a few steps towards the forest, and pretends to be concerned.]

JIMMY: Hold on a minute– 

STACKED BABE #1:Jimmy, what is it? 

JIMMY: I think you might be right; I see something out there. An enormous rack– 

[Stacked Babe #2 emerges from the trees. Jimmy giggles as his equally-stacked girlfriend, Stacked Babe #1, fake-slaps him.] 

JIMMY: Ow, cut–

[Moose sounds]

STACKED BABE #2:What IS that?!

JIMMY: Oh c’mon ladies, it’s just Billy goofing around.

[Further moose sounds] 

STACKED BABE #1:That is clearly, obviously, not human. 

[Jimmy snorts, leers, and cops a feel.]

[Malevolent moose sounds. Louder. Angrier. Closer.]

STACKED BABE #2:That is plainly the sound of a large animal, not at all a human voice sound. 

[Jimmy snorts, leers, and cops a feel.] 

JIMMY: Chill out; Billy’s just sore cuz I didn’t compliment his rack too. Hey Billy, nice raaaaack–AAAAAHHHHH!!!!

[Murder Moose emerges from the shadows, bellowing lustily. He’s easily fifteen feet tall. The remains of a dozen cyclists are impaled on his rack, bicycles and all. The oldest corpses are just skeletons with bicycle helmets; the newer ones are in various stages of rot and decay. The most recent one doesn’t look like he’s been dead long at all … the cyclists shriek with horror as he lifts his head: it’s Billy. And he’s alive.]

BILLY: Kill … meeee. Kill [groan] meeee. Pleaaaase–

[Murder Moose sets about goring Jimmy.]

[Stacked Babe #1 turns and runs for the bicycles. She jumps on and starts pedaling with all her might, but she’s going nowhere. She looks down: the wheels are stuck in maple sap–]

And that’s when Brian showed up.

***

Idiot

“What the hell were you thinking?! Why would you ever tell that to anyone, Lindsay of all people–”

“She’s my wife, Kells. What the hell do you know about marriage?”

“What, so married people have zero secrets from each other?! You’ve been with Lindsay for over a decade. Why tell her now?”

“She’s been nagging me about it for years. You have no idea what it’s been like. She’s always suspected something. At first I thought she was joking, then I thought eventually she’d stop. But she didn’t. It got worse. I guess I thought the truth would be better than whatever crazy shit she was imagining. It was just the one time in high school, we were basically kids–”

Idiot Idiot Idiot

***

That one time, in high school. It was night, it was dark, I was crying. Brian came in and sat down on the bed; I could barely see him. 

“Ssh, it’s ok, it’s going to be ok.” 

He stroked my hair, patted my shoulder. I rolled over and looked up at him. I pulled him down onto me. We kissed, then we fucked. It was all over in maybe five minutes and there was no foreplay, we didn’t fully undress and it was dark anyway so we never saw each other. We didn’t say anything during, then Brian went back to his room and we never said anything about it after, ever, until now. We were just comforting each other, or something.

***

“Lindsay will never forgive you. Never. How can you not see that?! You know she’s got a freakishly good memory.” 

“So?” 

Idiot

I did my best not to sound angry. “So a person with a good memory, is a person who is good at holding grudges.”

Brian wasn’t listening, not really. He sat hunched on the couch, head in his hands, shaking.

I handed him my whisky. “Drink this, and I’m gonna get some Nyquil from the bathroom. You need sleep. You must be exhausted, driving eight hours straight …” I hesitated. “Uh, does Lindsay know you came here? Maybe that wasn’t the best idea–”

“I had nowhere else to go, Kells.” His voice cracked. “She threw me out, wouldn’t even let me grab some things. And she was screaming the whole time. I didn’t want the kids seeing that; I wasn’t going to stay and argue with her. But I … I didn’t know what else to do, I don’t even know if any hotels are open right now, with everything …” He started crying. 

“My marriage is over, Kells.”

“Oh c’mon, you don’t know that–”

“YOU said the same thing, a minute ago!”

I said she won’t ever forgive you; that’s different.”

“She said she never wanted to see me again, and that she’d never let me near my kids again. That she’d go to court, if she had to. Have me declared an unfit parent.”

“That’s a load of horseshit. Even if she tried, there’s no way it’s grounds for having your parental rights terminated.” I hoped this was true; I had no idea.

“You have no idea if that’s true,” Brian mumbled.

“It’s got to be! One time of … consensual incest, when we were both minors, long before you had kids–”

“Linds doesn’t believe it was just the one time,” he muttered.

“Well, that’s crazy.” But I knew Lindsay would think that, and there’d be no convincing her otherwise. Not now. I began realizing just how fucked my brother was. 

I panicked, and resorted to humor. “We’re not even each other’s type! I only fuck guys over six feet. If Lindsay had ever tried to get to know me, she would know that. And you, you’ve always gone for saggy banana tits with freaky huge areolas, over exquisitely shaped, perky little boobs with nips that jut heavenwards–”

“Just shut the fuck up, Kells! I’m going to lose my kids. Do you even care?”

“C’mon, you didn’t really like those kids. No one likes those kids. Only your wife and pedos with low self-esteem like those kids–”

“Fuck you, Kelly.” Brian was on his feet, shouting at me. “This is all your fault. I should have dropped you years ago–”

“Don’t say that.” Suddenly my chest felt like it was exploding. I couldn’t swallow.

“–but I felt sorry for you. Because you’re all alone. You’ve always been a freak, a born loser. You can’t keep anyone in your life. Not guys, not friends … no one likes you, ever. I’m the only one dumb enough … you don’t have anyone, besides me. You’re going on 40, and you’ve got zero people. Don’t you think at some point, the reason has got to be you?”

I punched him in the face. It was the first time I’d ever punched someone. It felt like I’d shattered every bone in my hand.

“Why did you say that? Why’d you have to do that? I would never have said that to you. Never.” I continued staring at him, tears and snot streaming down my face.

Brian stared back at me, crying, not saying anything. 

***

Later, the crying had stopped and we’d settled back into our respective seats and had a few more drinks, but we still hadn’t really said anything. 

Finally I can’t take it anymore.

“I had to get an abortion after, you know.” 

Brian lowers the ice pack and stares out of his one good eye. “Jesus, Kells–”

I gaze down into my glass. “Yup. Had to get our unholy incest-monster vacuumed out of me.”

“Are you joking around?!”

“Yeah.”

“Fuck you, Kells.” But he says it the way he normally does, and I know he’s not really mad at me anymore. 

“Hey, Bri. You know what I’ve got up here? A fully functioning Nintendo 64.” I pause for dramatic effect. “And Goldeneye. Wanna play?”

“Heck yeah. Lemme just top up my drink–”

“I’ll get it.” As I’m filling his glass, Brian looks up at me. “Hey. Kells.”

“Yeah?”

He hesitates, looks away. “That night. It, uh … it was my first time.” 

My jaw drops; I slosh booze on the ground. “Wow. Bri, I–” 

Brian grins. “Doesn’t feel so good, does it?” 

It takes me a moment, but then: “That’s what you said.” 

“Ouch.” 

“That’s what I said.” 

We play Goldeneye and drink in silence. A long time later, I say to him: 

“You can stay here as long as you want, Bri. We’ll wait out the apocalypse, and we’ll figure something out. The kids are yours, they’re not going anywhere. I’ll never let that happen. We’ll sort it out together. Don’t worry.”

And the whole time I’m talking, I’m still playing, I’m still kicking his ass.

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