Beth

There was a knock at the door. Charlie groaned a couple of times, lying on his back, sweating profusely on the leather couch in his living room. The ceiling fan was playing its usual soundtrack in the summer heat, whizzing and clicking every two turns, all day and night. Knock at the door. Charlie groaned again and got up.

He unlocked the door and flung it open.

“Sam,” he said.

“Hey, buddy,” said Sam, lifting a six pack of beer, “Did I wake you?”

Charlie turned around and walked back to the couch, muttering, “Piece of shit…”

Sam walked in and closed the door. “Beautiful day!” he said.

“Is it?” said Charlie, rubbing his eyes, clearing his throat.

“Smells like death in here,” said Sam, dropping himself on the couch, cracking a beer and offering it to Charlie. “Did you lose your phone or something?”

Charlie took the beer and chugged about half of it. He burped, “What do you want, Sam?”

“I have the day off,” said Sam, sipping his beer, crossing his left leg over his right. “Called you a bunch of times,” he added.

“Everything’s dead,” said Charlie as he chugged the rest of his beer and let out a violent burp.

“How’s Beth?”

“I wouldn’t know,” said Charlie.

“Has something happened?” Sam looked around the living room. Charlie said nothing. “You know what we should do?” he said, turning on the couch and facing Charlie, “We should go play some pool. You know, for old time’s sake,” he added.

“Old times,” Charlie muttered, shaking his head.

“It’ll do you good,” said Sam, “You know, to get outta this shithole.”

“Do me good,” said Charlie, holding his hand out, asking for another beer.

Sam handed him another bottle. “I don’t get it,” he said, “What’s the point of staying in like this? People go crazy, all cooped up.”

“To each their own,” said Charlie, closing his eyes and sipping his beer.

“Listen, buddy,” said Sam, leaning forward, putting his beer down on the coffee table, “I’m not sure what’s going on, but you need to focus on yourself. You know what I’m saying?”

“I love her,” Charlie whispered, “I really love her.”

“I get that,” said Sam, “You love her. Great; what has it done for you, though? This love…I mean, every once in a while we all have to go back. We have to let go and forget, you know?”

Charlie lay down again, this time in the fetal position. “Beth is seeing someone,” he said.

“Well, that’s not surprising,” said Sam, “I’m sorry to tell you, but I never trusted her. A whore will be a whore.”

“She hasn’t come home in three days,” Charlie whispered, closing his eyes.

“So?”

“I just want to know where she is,” said Charlie.

“Does it matter?”

“I just wanna know!”

Sam sighed, running his fingers through his hair. “It doesn’t matter,” he said, “None of it matters.”

“You don’t give a shit about anything. You don’t understand. Just fuck off…”

“The world doesn’t care!” Sam exclaimed, taking a breath and yelling, “I’m here, aren’t I? How long have we known each other? You think it’s easy seeing you like this? It’s exhausting. Some people just can’t be together,” he said, shouting still, “You’re an idiot if you think she loves you. Jesus, you’ll move on,” he sighed, “You’ll find someone else. Exactly what I told her…”

“Told her what?” said Charlie, opening his eyes and sitting up. Sam leaned back, looking away. “You motherfucker!” Charlie shouted as he got up in one swift motion, grabbing his beer bottle and lunging at Sam.

 

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