"I’m going to find whoever threw that and get you money for a new rug." Eli says as he stomps out the door. Someone has been throwing fruit and horse turds through the window of his favorite salon.
I mean, to be honest, this isn’t usually the kind of national-importance missions he undertakes, but Eli hasn’t been doing well as of late. The stress is beginning to wear on him and it’s easy for all to tell.
Going off on a punky urchin, impertinent docker or a mischievous and slightly unambiguous devil is just what Eli needs to level his nerves. Call it street Justice, call it an uneven temper, Eli will call it therapy.
After several moments of scouring the rooftops and finding several old election posters smeared with feces, Eli finds the culprit brown-handed.
The culprit isn’t too hard to find. Flesh-Stick appears to have lost his senses completely and is standing at the window screaming “MINE MINE MINE MINE MINE!!!” at someone inside.
“What the fu-” Eli lowers himself back down off the roof and stands behind The Bandit. “Fleshy, calm down. What’s happened?”
Flesh-Stick: I’M ANGRY!!!
“Wow, what a coincidence, me too.” Eli approaches slowly with both of his hands held out in front of him, reading to dodge anymore projectiles that might be thrown his way. “Why don’t you calm down a little and we’ll have a nice talk?”
Flesh-Stick: I DON’T WANNA TALK TO YOU! I’M MAD AT YOU! I DUNNO WHY BUT I AM! I’M MAD AT YOU! AND THAT IRISH LADY! AND THAT GUY FROM MY DREAM! THE ONE WITH NO EYES! AND…AND ME TOO!
the fight goes out of him and he crumples to the ground, huddling against the wall of the building, knees drawn up to his chest
Flesh-Stick: me most of all. i’m really bad. i’m really really bad. i don’t remember why…but…i know that i am.
“We’re all bad here.” Eli says blankly, leaning against the wall, arms crossed. “None of us really would be here if it weren’t for the bad things we have to do to one another. Out of survival, out of passion, sometimes just out pure feckin’ meanness.”
He lights up a cigarette and stares hard at the wall for a short while. “You know. Things are difficult here. They just are. But you can’t keep running. You’re going to have to make a decision eventually, for good or for ill.”
Flesh-Stick: how can i make a decision when i don’t remember what i’m supposed to decide?
*he thinks of the black stuff he always drinks before bed. Maybe he should not drink it tonight. The thought fills him with unease, but…
The black stuff doesn’t seem to be working anyway. It was suppose to make him stop hurting, but he hurts anyway. All it has done is make him unable to remember WHY he hurts. Suffering without purpose seems far worse than the alternative, whatever that may be.
He looks back up at the Friend Whose Name Starts With An E and is startled to find him looking troubled. Has the Friend been worried? He knows the Friend is important, and he can tell the Friend has been suffering through trials of his own. Have Flesh-Stick’s own problems been making those worries worse? The Friend Whose Name Starts With An E doesn’t deserve that.
Flesh-Stick makes a decision. Not THE decision, but A decision. He will not drink the black stuff tonight.
He considers telling the Friend Whose Name Starts With An E this, but decides there’s something more pressing he needs to tell him first.
“i’m sorry i threw poop at you,” he says softly.
Eli picks him up by the shoulders and straightens him up. Giving him a long hard look, he rests his forehead against that of the mask. He sighs.
“I need to know that you aren’t going to keep doing things like this. You’re tough, but you aren’t even close to invincible. I worry about you a lot.” Eli leans back against the wall and takes a drag from his cigarette. “But I have things I need to be doing other than keeping you from trouble. What’s going on here, Stick?”
Flesh-Stick feels a surge of irritation at the Friend Whose Name Starts With An E. How can he tell him what’s going on when he doesn’t know or remember himself?
But if he acts on that irritation, he’ll only upset the Friend more. So he tries to remember why he threw the poop, so he can at least tell the Friend something.
He threw it because he was angry. He remembers that much. But WHY was he angry? Did the Friend do something bad?
More trying to remember. He’d been throwing things at the people in the Salon because they were telling terrible jokes. Did the Friend tell a terrible joke?
Flesh-Stick doesn’t remember him telling one. All he can remember is the Friend smiling
at someone ELSE.
All of a sudden it hits him what made him mad…and how absolutely petty he was being.
“i’m sorry,” he finally tells the worried Friend. “i’m not good at…sharing.” He looks away in shame for a moment, before meeting the Friend’s eyes once more. “i know that isn’t nice and i’m sorry. it’s just that…sometimes when i get mad…i…can’t control myself. that was okay back on pandora 'cause everybody was always fighting and killing and smashing things anyway. but here, it’s different. here i can’t do that. here i don’t always WANT to do it…at least, not to some people.” He looks down at his feet, clearly ashamed. “so i try, but…but…sometimes trying just isn’t good enough. but that doesn’t make it okay, and i’m sorry. it’s okay that you like the irish lady, and i’ll write that on one of my eyepieces if that’s what it takes for me to remember it. i promise-” Here he ventures another guess as to the Friend’s name “Ezra.”
The tiny scowl on the Friend’s face tells him that guess wasn’t correct either. Damn it. He’ll have to remember to cross that one off the list later.
Eli looks taken aback. “What does The Irish Lady have to do with anything? You and her haven’t even met before, I don’t think.”
Flesh-Stick: 'cause i don’t…'cause…'cause you’re MY friend and i don’t have any others. except maybe that polish math nun who writes me drunken letters. she can’t spell my name. she calls me flewi. but that’s okay. i have trouble with names too sometimes.
anyway, i saw you smiling at the irish lady and i got jealous 'cause i i didn’t like you liking somebody else. i want you to like ME. but you do like me. you can like the irish lady and still like me. i gotta try to remember that. after all, you wouldn’t throw poop at me if i smiled at another friend. you’re not bad like me.
can…can you forgive me for being bad, Esteban?
[i]nope. That one wasn’t right either
[/i]edited by Kukapetal on 7/24/2016
edited by Kukapetal on 7/24/2016
“I can.” Eli says. “But… If you’re jealous over me and Siobhan being together does that mean you have a ‘thing’ with me?” Eli uncrosses his arms and peers at Stick curiously
Flesh-Stick turns and walks a few paces away, keeping his back to the Friend Whose Name Starts With An E. Not looking at him makes this easier.
"i dunno. it’s hard to remember. i think i’m just jealous cause you’re my friend and i’m not good at sharing. but even if i did have a thing for you, it doesn’t matter cause you’ve got a girlfriend." Flesh-Stick remembers how the Friend smiled at her, how his face lit up in a way that seemed to suggest it didn’t do that often.
"and she makes you happy and that’s good and i think you need it. i wouldn’t wanna wreck that." He shakes his head vehemently.
"besides, even if you didn’t have a girlfriend, i’d be a really bad partner. i’m way too messed up. that’s why nobody likes me. heck, even other bandits don’t like psychos. we’re mainly just cannon fodder."
He finally turns and looks at the Friend Whose Name Starts With An E. "i’m just glad you’re still my friend. that’s all i need."
edited by Kukapetal on 7/25/2016
edited by Kukapetal on 7/25/2016
Eli’s face softens. “On the condition that you stop throwing shit, then I can be your friend. You’ve got goodness in you, whether you accept it or not.” Eli reaches out and hugs Flesh-Stick. “Whatever is happening to your memory, you need to fight it. Depression is the enemy, Flesh.”
Suddenly, there are tears, and Flesh-Stick is at a loss to explain where they came from. They aren’t sad tears…at least, not exactly. They are the same kind of tears he’d cry if he’d finally found his mommy. or if he’d found out the candle hadn’t spilled or the deer had escaped or the dogs hadn’t drowned or the cheese had not been eaten by bats.
With the tears also comes uncertainly. He thinks that the candle might not REALLY be a candle…that the deer might really be a man…that the tea party he keeps dreaming he gets invitations to might be something REALLY bad. He does not know for sure, but he feels if he were to look at these ideas, to examine and delve into them…and of course, to stop drinking the black stuff…he might find the truth.
A part of him doesn’t really want to do this…it seems to know he will only find sadness, and fear, and misery. But perhaps Eli is right, and he needs to understand.
He’s found it!
Flesh-Stick finally looks up from his friend’s chest, and if Eli Lowe could see past those dark round eyepieces to the wide, blue, tear filled eyes behind them, he would see long-awaited recognition in them.
"Eli." The Psycho says the name almost reverently.
edited by Kukapetal on 7/25/2016
"Oh thank the Lord." Eli lets out a sigh of relief. He’s back.
edited by The Absurd Rogue on 7/25/2016