“I feel weird,” Lawrence said.
“What do you mean? Does your stomach hurt?”
“Light headed?” James laughed.
James was messing around. And that is just the thing that Lawrence hated. He was sincere in his statement; he did feel weird. But not the physical, my-body-aches weird. It was a feeling he couldn’t describe using any word besides ‘weird.’ Of course, James had to crack a joke about it.
“No man. Seriously.”
Lawrence looked at the ground.
“Alright man, sorry. I was just messin’ around,” said James. “What’s up?”
“I dunno. I feel lightheaded. But it’s more than just-”
“Why don’t you go lie down?”
“I don’t want to.”
“Well, what do you want me to do?”
Lawrence thought about how much he hated James that very minute.
“I want you to tell me it’s okay, dude.”
James moved from the kitchen to sit next to Lawrence on the sofa. He thought it was a good idea. It seemed right to be there for his friend. But he didn’t know how to handle seriousness the way Lawrence did so he looked straight ahead towards the television and tried to change the subject.
“Is anything good on TV?” was the only thing he could spit out.
Lawrence smirked and said, “Wedding Crashers.”
James was lucky that his friend recognized the effort. Both men paused and knew what was coming next. They bro-hugged and Lawrence took it as a signal to begin explaining himself.
“I don’t get it, man. I need money, a job, a life, so bad and I do everything I can to try to find work but I can’t. No one will hire me.”
“It’s no biggie, man. I don’t have a job either.”
“Yeah but you have money and a father who isn’t addicted to heroin.” He paused. “Like how does Lady Gaga become famous for singing words someone else wrote and grunting, but I can’t even get a job pumping gas because of my last name?”
“Beats me,” said James. “All I know is you can’t think about that kind of stuff too much or you’ll go crazy.”
“Yeah, I know,” said Lawrence. “It’s just hard once you’ve already started thinking like that. I mean, right now I’m feelin’ like there’s really no reason for me to be here.”
James eyes widened. This conversation was quickly turning in a direction that he did not want to head. A advertisement came on and interrupted the movie. Lawrence looked as if he were about to break down: bloodshot eyes, swollen flesh around the sockets of his skull.
“Dude. Listen. You definitely can’t go negative here. The second you start bein’ a pessimistic dick clown is the second you will slip off that slope and never come back. You gotta get out of this gutter, man.”
James placed a hand on shoulder. A bro-touch.
“Let’s get tattoos,” sprung Lawrence.
Lawrence’s face lit up, the swollen flesh sunk back to normal.
“Come on, man. It’ll be cool.”
“But I don’t want a tattoo.”
Lawrence went into his room and started shuffling things; most likely putting on a jacket. James was left, stunned on the couch. He was in a predicament, indeed. The way he saw it, he had two options. 1 – he could go and get some random tattoo in order to get his friend out of whatever depressing state he was suffering from or 2 – he could blow this out of proportion , refuse, and, most likely cause his best friend to open his wrists in the darkness of a lonesome weekend.
Lawrence reappeared wearing a coat and looked at James. “You ready?”
James sat still. This decision was going to change the level of friendship between the two men in the room. He looked at the TV, the movie had resumed from the commercial break.
James broke the silence. “Hm, you know what, Lawrence,” he paused and stood up. His pulse grew thick. “Let’s get out of here.”