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(2) by Jesse Printer Friendly

Let's back up a bit.

It was a crisp, dry day in December. I was home from college for the holidays and bored off my ass. You know how home is. My brother had told me before I made it back to Houston that he'd have this week off. He'd saved up a lot of vacation days from work, and now that the kids were spending Christmas break at their mother's, he'd decided to have a nice long, vegetative holiday. So I gave him a call. The phone barely range before he'd picked up. "Hey Jess. You in town now?"

"Yeah, I got in last night. You alright? You sound...umm... excited."

"Yeah Bro, I'm fine. C'mon over. I've got something to show you."

"Should I bring eggrolls?" But he'd hung up already. So I headed over, stopping to pick up a few eggrolls and made the three minute drive to Sean's house in two minutes... out of curiosity.

Walking in, everything seemed as usual. Sean was sitting at his desk and I handed him the eggrolls as I passed on my way to the kitchen to find some cereal or something... It was too early for eggrolls. But Sean seemed rather pleased with them nonetheless, and nodded appreciatingly as I handed him a Dr. Pepper and sat down with my bowl of Alpha-bits. I didn't even know they still made this stuff.

"What happened to your hand? You alright?" I asked, situating myself comfortably on the couch a few feet from him. A slight trickle of blood was running down from his palm between the fingers of his right hand. He just nodded, blew the steam away from the last half an eggroll, and chewwed savoringly. "So what's up, man?" I asked. My brother turned and looked at me. He had a strange smile on his face; his eyebrow twitched, and we stared at each other for a second. I didn't know what he was playing at, but I thought I'd give him a moment and finish my cereal. I readied my spoon and looked down, and read there before my mind could register the improbability "Have I told you yet today?"

My eyes shot back to Sean's face, which was blank and waiting now. "I didn't know they put question marks in Alpha-bits." I said. "They don't. It's a broken 'S'."

About that time I felt a snap. The world blurred for a second, like everything around me was shaking, and I shut my eyes. In retrospect, I imagine it must be a lot like being a glowstick, Awakening like that. A few seconds later it had passed, leaving little more than a dull ache at the base of my skull - which I thought I'd like very much to go away. And it did. "Huh." I said. "Huh, what?" Sean asked, now with the biggest fuckin' grin I think I've ever seen him issue. "Nothing... How's your hand?" I asked, pointing and issuing the same smile. He looked down; there was no trace of injury, not even a drop of dried blood to tell the tale.

"This is going to be frickin' sweet." I said, rising and setting my bowl on the counter. Sean nodded, pushing out of his chair. He grinned again. "Let's see what Jeff is up to."


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