Scenes From And Urban Partyscape
"Oh my God, why are you wearing that eye patch, did something happen?" She had the kind of voice that made you just assume she'd had, like, one too many appletinis... okay, maybe, like, three too many appletinis.
"Yeah. Actually, I'm blind in that eye," Marc forced a smile he couldn't imagine was very friendly looking.
"Um," She - whatever her name was, he guessed Brandi or Candi or Mandi - seemed to be struggling with the concept. "But, like, Amanda told me you were blind. Like, blind blind." BrandiCandiMandi made an obvious sipping sound.
"Oh yeah," Marc said, his smile turning genuine "Don't get me wrong, I'm blind in that eye, too. This is kind of a multi-purpose eye patch. See?" He moved the eye patch from one, to the other misted-over blue eye. Carefully he spread both hands out to the side and shook them. Jazz Hands for the win. S
Fingertips dragged gently down his chest. "You're funny." Just listening to her, Marc thought his IQ was dropping. It wasn’t, but he felt it should be. Honestly, BrandiCandiMandi wasn't an unintelligent person, she was just drunk, genuinely confused about the eyepatch, and getting over a recent breakup. Her voice came across as more than a little desperate - a quality that might only have been obvious to him - she was struggling with personal matters, and was actively trying to solve them with booze and sex. Not a bad method, to be fair.
"You're right, I am. If you'll excuse me, I'm gonna go get another beer." Without waiting for a response Marc turned away from her in the hopes that she wouldn’t offer to help. He took a tentative step forward and realized he’d lost track of where he was in the room. Marc knew the keg was straight across the room from the stereo, with a coffee table in between, which would have been useful information were it not for the thumping bass. The noise of it seemed to come from everywhere in the room at once, as if it surrounded... "Surround sound, Jesus. Fucking party. I told him I didn’t want to come. It’s always with the stupid and the drunk.”
"To your left, buddy," Aaron whispered to him, just loud enough that Marc could hear over the sound of the so-called music. "Quarter turn. There you go."
Aaron sounded like he wore that stupid grin on his face. Of course he was. Aaron couldn't be anything but blissfully Happy. During his twenty-first birthday party, nobody had suspected anything; why would they? A man is supposed to be either happy, or soul-crushingly sad, on their birthday. Jokes had passed back and forth that whole day about what his Power would turn out to be, whether he would be supernaturally good at Monopoly, or maybe he would just always be hydrated, no matter the circumstances. (On a related note, Aaron held his beer in one hand, and a bottle of triple-filtered water in the other. Marc couldn't see this, but he knew it was true.) Jake - a friend from high school - joked that Aaron's power would turn out to be that he was just irresistable to men. But no, he's just a happy guy. It's the most irritating thing about him, honestly. Aaron guided Marc around to the keg, taking what he was sure to be a roundabout route. "She was hot, are you sure you don't want me to take you back to her?"
"If she's as skilled as she is dumb, I'm sure she'd be the best in the sack that has ever been."
Aaron whistled. "That's harsh, even for you."
"Look, are you actually having fun? Cuz I gotta be honest with you, this is not the most fun I've ever had." Marc's friends had always joked that Extreme Understatement could have been his Power.
Yeah," Aaron said. "I'm having a great time, but if you want to go, we can totally leave."
Before they stepped out the door, Marc began fishing through his pockets to find cigarettes and his lighter.
"You guys," A voice shouted from inside, "some dude in the back yard just set himself on fire, you gotta check this shit out!"
Marc had heard similar shouts at previous parties, and similar whirlwinds of sound of people clamoring to shove their way outside. Though he struggled to light his cigarette, Aaron offered no assistance. For that, he was grateful. People always wanted to help to make themselves feel better; at best it was demeaning, and at worst . . .
"It sounds like we got out just in time."
"Agreed," Marc said around his finally lit cigarette. "I really don't want to get trampled today. That's one of my least favorite things to do. Just after being hit on by whoever that was in there. Heh. I guess that would have been a welcome reprieve." T
"It's really a beautiful night out tonight," Aaron said. He was listening, but when Marc got himself into one of his moods he tuned out. "You about ready to go?"
"Yeah." The word followed a cloud of smoke.
"Alright, let's get out of here. Watch the -"
" - Step down."
"Thanks. What was that?"
"Chuck threw himself from the window, broke his neck. It was a great jump. It must be so liberating, being him. Not having to really worry about anything." Aaron would admire a tree for rustling in the wind. O
"That idiot is going to get himself killed."
"He can't be killed. Whenever he dies, he just reappears right where he was a few seconds before he died."
"For now. Everything we can do has a downside, Aaron, you just have to open your eyes to see it." Marc took a long drag on his cigarette. "Sooner or later we all have to pay that price."
Another dull thud sounded from their left, this time without the sickening crunch of breaking bones, and was followed by footsteps off to the right. Marc and Aaron turned left without acknowledging the other window-jumper, and continued into the night. Though it Annoyed him, Aaron kept constant physical contact with Marc, thinking it helped guide him through what he imagined was a world of absolute darkness.
"Not everyone's Power has a Downside," Aaron said after a long silence. "Like me, I am always happy."
"Wow, Narcissist much?" R
"Seriously, though, how could there possibly be a downside to happiness?" Aaron tugged at Marc's elbow and turned to cross the street to the right.
Marc took a Long drag on his cigarette before dropping it and grinding it beneath his foot. He lit another before following. "The downside to you always being happy is that I have to deal with it. You're so happy it bums me out."
"You're not as funny as you think you are."
"That's the downside to knowing the truth behind things, nobody else has the perspective to see how funny the world is, or how depressing." A crack in the sidewalk leaped up out of nowhere and snagged Marc's toe, pitching him to the ground. "Fucking city maintenance." He shrugged Aaron off, got to his feet, and continued walking toward their apartment, only half of a block away.
"Okay, who else?"
"You can't really still want to talk about this."
"I think it's fascinating."
Marc sighed. "You think everything is fascinating. The problem with all of us is that we're all stuck in our own ways. We're trapped by our Powers, Aaron, but nobody can see that. Like, think about Beth Zimmerman. Before she Manifested, she was the most forgetful person on the planet, and now? Now, she is still the most forgetful person ever to have lived, her power just compensates for that. Our Powers don't make us any better than anyone else, they just make us more ourselves, to the point where we can't rise above who we are to become something better." Y
Aaron thought about That for the rest of their walk, short though it was. He unlocked their front door, but before opening it he said, "I don't think there is anything wrong with that. Our Powers making is more truly ourselves is a good thing, and I wouldn't want it any other way." _
"You Will," Marc said.
If you're happy, and you know it, give us a share!