Matt and Casey


Note: I actually wrote this some months ago but it runs on the shorter side so I thought it ought to go first.

That had better not be my phone ringing. No, no one would be that stupid, to call me, now, on my cell phone. No, just go back to bed. Fall back asleep.
Shit. That's exactly what it is.
I fall onto my right side, pulling the entire comforter with me, and stretch to grab the bastardly device.
"Hello?"
Whoever is on the other line clears their throat, "It's me."
Well he's about the last person I ever would have pegged to be there. It has been years since we've spoken like this, longer since I've seen him. "Uh, hi."
"I'm sorry to call so-"
"No, no," I sit up, suddenly fueled by nervous energy. I feel my heart beginning to pound a little faster. And heat is finding it's way into my extremities despite the cool air around me. "It's okay."
"Twenty questions?" That was our thing. That's what we did when we were bored, or tired, or just needed to be with each other and no other words could be spoken, we asked questions. I know more useless pieces of information about him than his own wife, probably.
"It's three o'clock in the morning."
"Indulge me." Always. I inhale deeply and I suppose he takes that as a 'go ahead.' "Favorite place for a BLT?"
"Uh, Annie's. There's this place called Annie's on 6th." Silence fills my ear, right. It's my turn. "North Dakota or South Dakota?"
"The Dakota's, really? How can I chose?" I wait, he will, he will chose. He has before. "North, I like those Canadians. Alright, Shakespeare or Dickens?"
"Shakespeare." After all of these years you would think that maybe we would run out questions. You would think that maybe both of us would have moved on. "Best meal you ever had in an airport?"
"Panda Express in Philadelphia."
"Your standards are way too low my friend. L.A. is killing your good taste." I shouldn't have brought that up. I shouldn't have mentioned the move, California. I begin to count the seconds until he speaks again. 30 seconds. 75 seconds. 140 seconds. The silence is settling between us. Here I was thinking that maybe this would help things, maybe this would be the change we needed. So what if we haven't talked in years.
"Favorite underwater sea animal?"
Thank God. "Is there such a thing as an on top of sea animal?"
He makes some sort of noise in the back of his throat that I think is supposed to be a chuckle. "No, no I suppose there isn't."
"Tortoise." I need this. I need this him and I, I need these phone calls again. "Worst movie you ever saw in theaters?"
"Oh, you don't want to get me started on that." How could I forget, I'm talking to the man who has seen every movie.
"Okay, how about the worst movie you've seen in theaters within the last year?" Has he been to the movies in the last year? His mother told me he has a baby now, not a baby really, she must be more than one at this point.
"Well, that does limit it some." He pauses, his breathing isn't heavy but it isn't quiet either. "Quarentine. That was awful. You know, the one with where everyone is locked into an apartment building and-"
"They all start turning into cannibalistic zombies. Yeah, I heard about it."
"Tell me a secret."
That's not a question.
Your mom emails me every three months. I saw your sister last spring and I cried. I never wanted to lose you. I moved here, to New York, out of San Diego, because it's everything California isn't; because it doesn't have you. I still think of you too often.
"I have that Justin Timberlake song from last summer on my iPod. They use to play it every day at the gym, I started liking it. So I ended up buying it." He laughs at me, not really though. It's more like he's laughing because he knows that it is the appropriate response. Because that's really all that is left between us, questions and awkward laughter.
"Your turn." That's fair right? A secret for a secret.
"I'm sorry Case." He is quiet, and the way my name finds it's way out of the deepest part of his voice makes my breath hitch. We learned a few years back not to say each other's names to make things marginally more tolerable
He's sorry though.
"Please Casey, you have to know, I'm sorry."
He's sorry.
"Me too."

Don't forget, I'm entirely too interested in hearing what you think.

3 comments

  1. Is this going beyond just what is posted here? The relationship is very ambiguous, which I think is what you are going for. It may be a little bit too much though.

    I like the stream-of-consciousness quality to the whole piece. Just dialogue and internal monologue, no outside descriptions. It makes it somewhat easier to relate to. Something that seemed slightly awkward was some of the internal thoughts. Example: "30 seconds. 75 seconds. 140 seconds." It might be better to describe what it feels like rather than what it is, because I would say most people don't actually count the seconds.

    Overall I like it, though I wish I knew more about the characters. It's hard to develop in the thoughtstream shell of the story, but that would be great to see.

    Keep it up! Good work.

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  2. I feel like I've read this same situation in a book before.
    Other than that, this is really well written and if you were to continue it, this is a really good set up for a story!

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  3. A1: No, this is a "single shot" sort of thing. And yes, this was intended to be quite ambiguous. Mostly because I knew that I would not have to explain anything (through them) later on.

    I agree with the awkward moment of time counting, but what I was going for was just that. That moment where one begins to stare at the clock or the blank wall and just count in anticipation.

    Lastly, thank you!

    A2: I would love to know of which book you are thinking. And again, another thank you!




    Thank you both, you know I deeply appreciate it.

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