by T. Sean Steele
I was morose because no one remembered my girlfriend but me. Not even her brother Cody knew who she was.
“But Cody,” I said, “Why do you think we’re even roommates?”
He looked at me like I was stupid. “Because of the organization.”
“I created an organization and then made you join.”
“Yes. You and I, we’re the Meatheads.”
“Uh-oh,” I said.
He towered over me, a behemoth.
“The Meatheads. We made a pact, remember? ‘All for one, one for all, plus you have to wear my hand-me-downs.'”
“Nice sweater,” Devon said.
“Thanks,” I said.
We were at the shop. Devon didn’t know who my girlfriend was either. I decided that later I would ask Hannah and if she didn’t remember I would drop the whole thing. You had to pick and choose your battles especially with regard to memory. Maybe a memory was real, maybe it wasn’t, but it would probably stay with me in some way. That would have to be enough.
“I think we both need to quit the shop,” Devon said. “It’s giving us cancer.”
I asked why and they explained the receipt paper had chemicals on it which had finally given each of us cancer. “Look at my face. It’s puffy and my sinuses are clogged. And you, your eyes are getting farther and farther apart.”
But the thought of finding a new job, let alone a new job that had two open positions, was demoralizing. Finally we agreed to do our best to stop touching our faces. Hands weren’t porous so if we could contain the chemicals to our hands, we might hold off the cancer long enough to live a natural lifespan.
“That’s smart, real smart,” said a customer.
“Uh-oh,” Devon said.
We didn’t look at the customer but he kept talking. “You two seem deeply intelligent so I’m going to chew on your ear about something. Hello, I’m Peter Hills, as in, run for the hills…” His voice warbled not with nervousness but confidence. He pitched us an idea for a movie. “It’s the Brotherhood of Immaculate Conception. Basically, we steal babies and put them in women and take them out again. Presto. Make your own miracle, you know?”
“No, thanks, I’m already in a cult,” I said.
“Not a cult, a movie. I’m going to make you movie stars.”
Outside the early evening moon scraped against the treetops. A prison work crew was picking up trash on the boulevard. I was sleepy with a full stomach. Before I left for the shop Cody had made me a protein shake with too many chia seeds. They had been expanding all day and it was making my eyes water.
“We’re content with our lot in life,” Devon told Peter.