Daydreams – Teddy Burnette

Here’s something for you, she said, handing G a drink of some mixture, which he downed immediately upon holding the glass. Here’s something for you, he said, handing the drink back to her. That’s for you S, he said, and she walked away, hating him. G stood up and followed her through the party of people, the people of the party, to the kitchen where she placed down the glass and eyed the cocaine on the counter, the joint next to it, like a movie scene. Let’s be less obvious people, she said. Here’s something for you, he said, handing her a baggie of coke that he had tucked behind his ear like a magician, I bet you didn’t expect that, he said. She hated him. She liked what he had done though, at least it wasn’t just sitting out on the table, a twenty-dollar bill and a credit card next to it. He had set up his little drug station on the top of the fridge; he stood on a footstool he had found and was peering over the top of the fridge onto the dusty surface that he had cleaned away with his arm sleeve. He used a business card, superior material clearly; it didn’t bend as he organized two lines in front of him, a bit long, she thought, but now on her tippy-toes looking up at his process. He reached behind his other ear and pulled out a Euro of unclear worth, but it added to the moment, she thought, and she climbed up on the counter next to the fridge and looked down at him and the coke and smiled, and he reached behind her knee and extracted a couple of Canadian coins—he shook his head, like he had made a mistake—and then rooted around behind her other knee and pulled out another Euro, and handed it to her with a smile on his face. They did their lines, and smiled, and commenced to speaking to one another until they didn’t hate each other anymore, until they had bonded over their shared love of being inane for the sake of being human. A man walked by, one they didn’t know, and told them that was bullshit, all of it, and they knew that too. But it felt good to say words like that: inane, superfluous, meaningless, nihilism, Tumblr, late-stage capitalism. By the last of these topics, no one would sit near them, and they did more lines with their foreign money and S laid her head on his lap while he balanced a bump of coke on her earlobe that he supported from underneath while he inhaled with his nose. She said it tickled, and laughed, and a little bit dusted her cheek. It’s like snow! He yelled, and everyone else laughed, because they were back to talking about drugs, not life.

She smoked a joint on the patio outside the apartment, whose was it? She asked G, who said he didn’t know. He smoked and turned to her and asked her, if when she saw a needle on the ground, did that make her want to try heroin, or something of the kind, or move faster away, imagining the needle in a trash can, or in someone else’s arm, because he wanted to try them, G said, not the ones on the ground, the ones he hadn’t seen yet. I’m intrigued by the ones that have fallen there, G said, fallen exactly where I then see them. I want to let one fall too, to be found the next day by someone else, he finished. She smoked and said that everyone hated them again, that no one wanted to listen to them talk about this. She did a line of coke off of the railing, one leg over the side, G yelling at her not to fall, not to fall, not to fall, laughing in between his urging, and everyone joined them back on the patio, because of the hilarity of it all.

I haven’t had a single thought today, S said, except for that one, and one I had earlier, but now I’m back to nothing. Except for that one, she said. G sat next to her on the couch; they are surrounded and people are discussing and drinking, cheering each other and crowning their friends as their best friends, as the person they needed to see that night, that they must take a picture, for posterity! Don’t repeat that word, G says, reading her mind. What are you thinking about now? G asks. Her eyes dart around the room; she can’t tell if she should say anything. No, let’s drink and do more lines, let’s continue to be a part of this, she says. So they continued.

And continued. But she couldn’t resist commenting on how comedy that isn’t immediate doesn’t really land anymore. She’s heard every single joke in existence, she says, and everyone leaves again, and G mockingly looks at her, reminding her they used to hate each other for that very reason. And look at them now! Will they join us one day? G asks. They both have a little blood coming out of their left nostrils, and they dab each other’s stain away, and rail a line with the other nostril. That’s better, she says, as people crowd around them again and the music gets louder and the people whisper in their ears, whisper things like let’s get out of here, or let’s go do some lines in my room, or the bathroom, do you want a drink, I’m going to the kitchen, and so on. S moves closer to G and whispers in his ear, pushing away others trying to get to hers, and tells him that she wants to read The Stranger in French because everyone is learning French these days, and reading in French, and sitting in the park, and she’d like to do that too. G says to keep her voice down. This is what people had been telling her, how could she go on ignoring them? That, what’s her name, and who’s that one with the orange hair? She’s learning French now too. S said she wanted to read L’etranger, she really wanted to be able to tell people that. I thought we didn’t care about these sorts of things? G said, as he drank down a shot of clear liquid. We don’t, but they do. She told G she was going to walk to a library and check it out, and the deadline for return of the book is what would make her learn French, and then read the book, and that even if she didn’t care about French really or the book at all, she did care about that very real deadline at least. No one else does, they’re all so cynical, G whispers in her ear. They both take a shot with the people surrounding them, to remind them that they’re a part of this! That we’re all here together, drinking and schmoozing, loving and living life! They yelled this, and other things, and hated people, and tried to hate others, but forgot what that actually felt like.

Later, S and G looked at each other and both made their way out of the apartment. The next day, she receives a text from G. He tells her to check Twitter. People are talking about last night’s party. Saying yes! People were discussing and arguing, that we missed this sort of thing! That we missed real conversation, hearing genuine opinions, ones alternate to our own point of view, things of that nature! Yes! People were tweeting and excited, because they had heard inane shit and stupid takes, and they had seen people do a line and look up and say that this is actually post-post-post-capitalism, and laugh because they just wanted to see how many times they could say post with their mouth going numb, and this was all very exciting. She texted saying she had gone to the library and they didn’t have any late fees, that there wasn’t a deadline, so what was the point? She cared about the deadline. That was risky of you, G texted back. She asked if people from the party had really used the word inane in their tweets, and he answered back, of course not. Of course not S, they just like watching! We all like to watch sometimes, or be watched. And she said, it’s like porn, conversational porn. Everything’s porn when you haven’t seen it in a while, he responded, and she hated him again for saying that. I hate you, she texted him.