“UFOs and Shit”
“Hey, Jared, get a load of this,” my obnoxious best friend says.
“John, I swear to god, if it’s another porn site, I’m putting child blockers on.”
“Just shut up, and come here.” Rolling my eyes heavenward, I drag my ass over and plop down in the chair beside him.
“What is it this time? Another guy getting beamed in the balls? A kid high on laughing gas? Screaming goats?”
“No, this,” John says, pointing at the screen. Following his finger, I see a paused video.
“What is it?”
In answer, John presses play, and the video moves. The scene shows a big brick building and people running out of it. All are wearing grey suits, and some of them are covered in blood. I recognize it from a breaking news report last week. There was a riot at the Cancer Institute, and over a hundred people were killed.
“I already saw this,” I tell him.
“Yeah, but you didn’t see this,” John says, sliding the bar on the bottom of the page to reveal another paused video. Clicking it, I hear someone talking.
‘Whoa, what the fuck?’ A guy asks, and the camera zooms in a bit. The shaky picture shows the people still pouring out of the building. ‘Did she answer yet?’
‘No, it keeps going to the voicemail,’ another guy answers.
‘Keep trying,’ the first one says.
‘She might still be inside,’ the guy says, sounding frantic. The camera dips down a second, and we see a shot of sneakers, but can hear the voices clear enough.
‘You aren’t going in there.’
‘The fuck I’m not,’ the second one retorts, the camera jostles as they struggle.
‘Calm the hell down, she may not even be in there.’
‘You don’t know that.’
‘No, but running in and getting yourself killed solves nothing. Use that goddamned brain of yours and think. Visiting hours ended before the riot broke loose, so she could have gotten out. And she’s smart, so if there was trouble, she’d either get out, or find a safe spot to hole out in.’
‘She might not have had the chance,” the second one insists. ‘She could be dead right now.’
‘How the fuck do you know?’
‘Because my sister doesn’t go down that easy.’ The camera returns to the building. ‘Keep trying her phone.’
Footsteps walk away, but you can hear the guy talking into the phone in the background begging someone named Livi to answer the phone, while the shot swivels to catch the scene in front of him. Spotting more people coming out of the building, it zooms in, and this time instead of focusing on the clothing, it goes to the faces. Red eyes and blood smears around the people’s mouths.
‘We are so fucked.’ The screen goes black, before the replay symbol pops up in the middle.
“What the fuck is that?” I ask.
“That is a low budget sci-fi film,” John answers. “And if that shit wasn’t good enough, they included some B movie synopsis on the bottom.” He scrolls down and reads aloud some of the text in the blog post. “‘What I’m about to tell you might sound crazy, but it’s the truth’…blah blah blah… ‘There was no riot at Cancer Research…’ Where is it, oh here, listen to this peach. ‘Healthy volunteers were murdered in cold blood, while the volunteers who reacted badly to the treatment being administered to them, turned cannibalistic.’ As if someone will believe that crock of shit.” John clicks the comment section and starts typing. “I too have witnessed the goings on at the Cancer Institute. After fighting off droves of cannibalistic creatures with my bare hands, I went and had cocoa with Mr. and Mrs. Clause.” He presses the post button, and his comment pops up under his screen name Snakie10291.
“There, that oughta show them, UFO believing nutcases,” John says, leaning back in his chair.
“I don’t think they were talking about UFOs,” I tell him.
“No, but zombies are no better.” I just nod at him, because obviously something happened that day. Do I think it was zombies, no, but I think it was more than what they’re telling us, which is jack shit. “Don’t tell me you believe this.” He waves a hand at the screen, and I shake my head.
“‘Course not, but don’t you think it’s a little weird that they haven’t said anything else?”
“They did, it was a riot,” he replies.
“But that’s all they said, John.”
“Whatever, these people are douchebags.”
“You don’t think it’s a girl?” I ask, glancing at the screen name. “Jaded Psyche sounds like it would be a chick to me.”
“So? She must be a dog if she sits on her computer all day spouting this psychobabble.” I roll my eyes at him. “Besides, I’m not convinced it’s a girl at all, the voices were definitely male.”
“But they were looking for a woman,” I counter. “Maybe they found her?”
“You’re reading into this too much,” he tells me. “But if it’ll make you feel better, I promise to apologize to this ‘girl’ if I ever come across her.” He holds up a finger to state his conditions. “But only if she’s hot.” There’s John’s logic for ya, oh well, he’s a shallow fuck, but he’s like a brother to me. Shutting the webpage, he spins his chair to face me. “Well, I’m done with this, so we going out or what?”
“Yeah, just give me a minute to get dressed.”
When I hear the door click shut behind him, I reopen the internet icon and check the browsing history. Seeing the blog site, I reopen and star it for future reference. Jaded Psyche may not be telling the truth, but at least they’re talking.
Dressed and sprayed with enough cologne to last, but not suffocate the opposite sex, I leave my room and thoughts of the world’s problems behind. Walking down the hallway, I see my dad’s office light on, and as much as I want to keep walking, I force my feet to pause outside the doorway. It’s not enough to be seen, but enough to silently beg him to invite me in.
“Jared?” Dad asks.
Arranging my face into some sort of mask to contain my excitement, I peer around the door frame, and glance at the man behind the desk. Brown hair in disarray as if he’s run his fingers through it repeatedly in frustration, reading glasses perched low on his nose, and papers in both hands, he lifts his eyes to me.
“Shut the door, please,” he waves a hand. “I can’t focus with all that noise.”
It’s then that I hear the music drifting down from Sarah’s room. Swallowing my disappointment, I nod and pull his office door shut. Squeezing the knob hard, I wish I could crush it along with the conflicting feelings bouncing around inside.
“Jared.” Opening my eyes, I follow the voice to see my mom smiling at me with a basket of laundry in her arms. “John’s waiting for you, honey, aren’t you going out?”
“Yeah,” I say with a smile I don’t feel. “Just checking in with Dad before I go.” Her smile loses some of its shine, but she shakes her head.
“Well, go on then,” she says, tilting her head for me to go by. “The night is young, you still have time to go find her.”
“A good one,” Mom answers. “Once you find her, treat her right, give her all your love, and be happy.”
“No can do,” I tell her, leaning down to kiss her cheek. “Because I already found her.”
“Jared!” John shouts. “Come on, you lazy bast-“
“John,” Mom scolds.
“Lazy bastion,” John revises. “I said bastion.”
“Sure you did,” she says wryly, turning back to me. “Be good.”
“I’ll try,” I say, giving her a grin that belies my response. Joining John in the front entry, I grab a coat and we head out.
“Be good, Jarry,” John mocks when we step into the elevator, and I punch him on the shoulder.
“Please, you’re the one who pretends to be an angel.” I motion at his blonde hair and Hershey chocolate eyes. “It’s the light hair, it convinces them that you’re innocent, while they look at me as if I’m the Antichrist.”
“Maybe if you’d smile for once, they wouldn’t think that.”
“Oh, I smile,” I tell him. “It just happens to come in addition to me cumming.”
“Somehow, I don’t doubt that,” John mutters with a shake of his head. I shrug, when I find something worth smiling about, then maybe my lips will find a purpose for curling upward. Until then, they’ll remain in a perpetual scowl.