| Lones threw his jacket onto the chair and flopped onto the couch, exasperated.
He exhaled slowly and loudly, the way you exhale when you want someone to
talk to you.
"Tough day at work?" Dan called from the kitchen.
"Fu-mmmb-icheh," Lones muttered, his head buried in the pillow.
"Didn't catch that." Dan went back to chopping up ham. Lones
rolled over and stared blankly at the ceiling.
"What are you cooking?"
"I'm making myself an omelette. You want one?"
"No, it's like nine o' clock man. At night."
"News to me."
"Heh. You off tomorrow?"
"Nah man, I'm working Tuesday through Saturday this week."
"Ahh, that sucks. I wanted to do something. I mean, it's gonna be
another Saturday night. And we'll do nothing. Yet again."
"Working is nothing?" Dan said, feigning puzzlement.
"You know what I mean."
"Well maybe you should get some friends beside me. Or maybe, and
bear with me here, you could do things with women."
"Gasp," Lones responded, playing along half-heartedly.
"I know, I know, it's a controversial topic 'round these parts."
"Dan you know I'm trying to patch things up with Erin."
"Lones, you know I'm trying to invent a cure for cancer. Quit trying
to get me to cure the common cold man, I'm really working on this cancer
"Shut up, I think I've still got a chance with her."
"You've got as much of a chance with her as I do with Marilyn Monroe,
and she's dead."
"Dan shut the fuck up, it's a sensitive subject." Lones sat
up and all the joy died in his voice.
There was an awkward pause, and Dan looked down at his cooking. He wiped
his forehead, knife still in hand. There wasn't really anything for him
to do right now, the omelette was cooking in the pan. He just stood there
and watched it while Lones sat and stared at the wall.
"It's just she's done with you and it seemed Natalie was into you
when I introduced you guys and--"
"I don't need you to set me up with women, Dan!"
"Yeah, I know. Of course. It's just--"
"It's just nothing, Dan. It's just nothing."
Another awkward pause. They'd become common practice recently. Dan's life,
however standard, was a constant in an unsteady world. He enjoyed his
life, even if it was routine. Lones was frequently becoming uncontent
with every facet of his life, and the increasing fluctuations in his love
life, financial standing, and a plethora of other societal worries had
him growing envious of Dan's happiness.
Dan knew it. Lones knew it. Dan could tell Lones was struggling with
it. Lones could see the pity in Dan's eyes. And that's exactly what he
didn't need or want. But you can't help but pity the pitiful. And when
all Lones did was come home and fall into his own little world of seclusion
and despair, it was a rather inevitable conclusion. It was the same thing
everyday, and Dan just stood there, because whatever he said would just
be met with resentment, and he'd already said his whole schpiel a dozen
different ways. So, today would be one of those days where he just changed
the subject, and it was obvious to both of them that it was intentional.
"So... tough day at work then, I trust?" Dan said, trying
to talk in the lighthearted manner he had earlier.
"What tipped you off? Was it me collapsing in exhaustion on the couch?"
"Well it was also you yelling at me, but that might have also been
because I was being an ass."
"Nah man, it's fine. It's just proofreading for a lower tier gaming
magazine is a bit of a step down from writing editorials, in both enjoyment
and paygrade. I dunno, I'm just not really getting much out of life right
"Life is what you make of it, Lones. If you don't spin things the
right way, nothing is good. Work is work, girls are girls, and food is
just food. Unless, of course, if it's an omelette." Dan set a ham
and cheese omelette down on the coffee table in front of Lones.
"You made me an extra one? Even though I said I didn't want any?"
"I knew you were lying."
"Well that's the one thing I'm still good at. So I better work on
being more emphatic, huh?"
"I guess so. Eat your damn omelette."
And so they ate. There was a mildly interesting show on the television,
the air conditioner was buzzing loudly, and the omelette was a bit on
the runny side. But two friends were together, and while they weren't
jubilant, they were content. These moments were too few and far between
for Lones, and he made it his mission, from that moment on, to have more
moments like these. Lones stood up abruptly.
"I'm going to Erin's house." Lones got his jacket and strode
toward the door. Dan, not knowing what to make of the situation, managed
only to get out a 'okay' through a mouth full of ham and egg. Dan decided
to finish Lones's omelette for him, as well.