Screwmates(62)By: Kayti McGee
I should have shared the crostini.
There were a million things I could have done differently.
On the couch, Scarlet farted in her sleep and it didn’t even make me laugh. No one had ever been as broken as I. I set the bar for brokenness.
“Maybe we should order a pizza,” Lizzie said. “Kick this party up a notch.”
I turned on the TV and ignored everyone. Eventually they would leave and I could crawl back into my hole. For another day, anyway, then it was back to work and begging for overtime so I could try and bulk up my bank account before finding a new place to live.
I really liked this house, too. Just my luck, I’d end up in someone’s basement next. Although at least in a basement I could do some printing.
Printing. I had wanted to hang prints in here. My vision got blurry as I stared at the empty walls, as barren as my heart, but I drifted off before I had a chance to start sniffling again.
The Dream was back, but this time, the ink splotches on my arms were whispering to me as I walked down the halls of my alma mater nude.
“You weren’t good enough for him.”
“Your boobs are too small.”
“Your comic sucks.”
I looked down at my final project, and it had turned into an oil painting of his face on a giant penis. Even in my dream, I was pissed.
A penis? Really? I had worked long and hard (ha ha) on that project. And my boobs were a perfectly acceptable mouthful. And my comic was actually awesome. I’d earned those followers, I’d only screwed up my reactions to everything.
I woke up with a start, and ran for my computer. It wasn’t on my desk where I was certain I’d left it. It wasn’t anywhere in my room. I started to hyperventilate a little. Had I been robbed? Did we all get too drunk and robbers just tiptoed in and grabbed the computer? But no, the television was still there, and so were the assorted vodkas.
“Looking for something?” Lizzie stopped me in the hall, laptop under her arm.
“Give me that.” I wasn’t in the mood for games.
“I’m not giving you shit,” she hissed. Turned out she wasn’t in the games mood either. “I am not going to let you throw away the career you’ve always dreamed of over a man. You aren’t getting this back until you are ready to behave like a grownup, Madison.”
“Okay,” I said.
“What?” I think she was expecting a fight. But it turned out broken just wasn’t really compatible with my natural optimism, and nervous or not—I’d already done the scariest things I could think of when I put my art online for strangers and told my sex thing I loved him.
“I said okay. I’m ready to be a grownup. And I need to accept that agent’s offer before she gets bored of waiting for me.” I hoped she wasn’t already. I had no idea how agents worked, but I bet they didn’t expect to be ignored.
“I, uh. Well, I went ahead and accepted that one for you.” She started to hand over the computer, but I stopped her and grabbed my notebook first. “What now?”
I couldn’t even be mad she’d pretended to be me. She was probably a way better accepter than I would have been. Where I would have used all caps, I bet she used complete sentences and punctuation that wasn’t just strings of exclamation points. Lizzie was a good egg.
“Now, I draw an awesome version of events. And tell the world what I’ve done. And then we get Ava to text Marc and tell him to look online. And then if he still hates me, at least I know I’ve done everything I could. And we drink another gallon of vodka and I sleep on your couch and become your unpaid nanny.”
Lizzie looked suspiciously interested in that last part, but she let me retreat to my room with all my tools anyways.
I worked through the entire night, writing down everything that had happened since I stood on the threshold of this house, rubbing my glasses and gawking at Hot Marc’s Colin Farrell face. Then I drew until I had to put my wrist brace on.
And then—I waited.
“Are you fucking kidding me?”
Those were not exactly the words I expected to hear when my roommate finally came home. Was he my roommate anymore? I stood in the living room, twisting my lips around nervously, waiting to hear if his next step was going to be throwing me out.