Two men. Sat at the kitchen table above two laptops. Not typing. Not sipping at two pallid cups of tea.
A silence forms, brittle and sickening as brighton rock.
Brendan speaks. ”I wish I could just get skull-duggery drunk.”
It is 1pm. Tonight is his nightshift, down in The Guardian’s word-mines.
“Then why don’t you,” I hiss.
I hate him in that moment. I look at his eyes, which are as flat and sharp and grey as broken windows. I hate him hard enough to stop hearts. I hate him like the non-combatant hates the bomb. Worst, I hate him with a writer’s hate, which is always as impressive on paper as it is thin and reedy in life.
I take a sip of tea. It is mouse piss.
A terrible thing happens when you’re 20. What happens is that somebody gives you a bottle. They spin you a lie. Tell you a joke. They give you some money. They spit in your coat. And in the morning, when you wake up, you’re 26.
I look for those lost years, sometimes. Beneath the sofa. At the bottom of my backpack. They can’t have just gone.
Brendan watches as I take a second sip of horror-tea. He experimentally holds down the Shift key on his laptop, then thinks better of it, lifting his finger again. My eyes drifting, I notice a dark crack in the corner. There’s one in every room. And they are widening.
Welcome to Journo House.
“Do you want to play Max Payne 3,” asks Brendan.
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