Some incomplete short fiction…
‘Greece is totally in Latin America, dude’ Jim had declared to him, all of the sudden. It was an odd statement. Wrong, for starters but also so oddly wrong and impossible as to be hard to believe someone would hold this misstatement as a matter of fact. He began to argue but he was cut off by the blonde girl butting in, quickly, he forgot her name but she’s always hanging around Jim, who agreed. He assumed she did this just to score points with him, she couldn’t possibly believe it to be true.
‘It is not’, he stated, adding ‘All I was saying is that it wouldn’t be hard to confuse a Greek person and a Hispanic person. There is a common skin tone, almost’
‘Yes – because Greek people are Hispanic, Paul.’ – this literally unbelievable sentiment was continuing. It had to be stopped. He demanded Jim look it up on his phone, right now. Jim pulled up Wikipedia. He waited to be proven correct. He knew he was and he almost felt bad for embarrasing the guy like this. Jim normally isn’t this dumb, this seemed terrible out of character.
‘There – see’, Jim declared, pulling up a map showing Greece, couched beside Argentina and dwarfed by Brazil above it . He starred, galled by it. It had to be a Wikipedia prank and this had to be something Jim was just playing along with. It felt odd, though, it had come up in conversation quite naturally – Jim couldn’t have known he’d say it, surely. Odd.
‘I’m going to need to see another site – you can’t trust Wikipedia’
‘Why can’t you just admit you’re wrong?’
‘Oh, I’m sorry, does your phone not GO to other websites’
‘Fine’ he said and then, moments later a variation on the same map was shown to him. He starred, slack jawed at it. It made no sense. Greece was, well it was somewhere in Europe, right? It kinda looked like a boot? This didn’t even look like Greece as he remembered it, it was an awkwardly ridged square. Something about the whole experience had him doubting himself and confused.
‘You know, guys, I think I’ve had a few too many drinks’, he said, suddenly getting up to go.
‘Wow – you really can’t just let this go, huh?’
‘It’s not that, I just feel-‘
‘Confused. And drunk, I guess? I mean… yeah, that must be all. I’m just going to walk it off.’
‘Walk it off? Where to?’
‘Home. It’s only like a block away.’ he said – matter of fact, somewhat confused by the question.
‘Shit, man – how drunk are you? You don’t even know where you live?’
‘What?’ – this was getting out of hand. He lived a block away. 48 Concord Street. He told Jim this. Jim told him that might well be his address but that he knew for a fact that he lived all the way across town.
They both looked at each other, each of them confused and a little taken aback. It was an uncomfortable moment. It felt oddly intimate, in the worst way. They only knew one another from the bar, this moment felt oddly personal. It was especially odd for him, because it had no reason to feel this way. Jim had been right, (maybe? It still seemed impossible) about Greece but this was his home, this was an important detail and even if he was blackout drunk he’d know this, wouldn’t he? Where he was?
‘This… is Gregory’s… right?’ he asked, trying to maybe finger the problem being that perhaps he didn’t know where he was. Perhaps he’d had that much to drink. It hardly felt like he’d pushed himself at all tonight, though. Maybe something was wrong with one of the drinks. Did he get drugged. That was possible, right? But why?
‘Yeah, man, it’s Gregory’s. And Gregory’s is all the way across town from your place. I dropped you off that one time’
‘When?’ he asked, perhaps too demandingly.
‘Like a few weeks ago. A month? You were hammered. It was nothing like this though. What did you have?’
‘God… I… I don’t know. I feel really disoriented. Ever since the whole Greece thing, I guess?’
‘Shit. Well, I can’t drive you home, I’m 3 beers in.’ He looked over to the blonde girl ‘Hey, Jen? Favor?’
She looked up from her drink, a little woozy ‘Anything for yoooou.’ she slurred. He sighed ‘Actually, nevermind’ he told her. She shrugged and went back to her drink.
‘I really don’t think I can let you leave like this, bro. You just seem… off your rocker.’
‘I feel it.’ he said, ignoring that Jim, a man who it appeared was at this moment his intellectual superior had just called him ‘bro’. It seemed safest at that moment to ignore most of his inclinations. His inclination was still that Greek was in Europe and home was a ten minute walk away and, well… you know, actually, maybe he was giving Jim too much of a benefit of the doubt. The internet is often wrong and who’s to say it still wasn’t a prank. Maybe he just felt weird because it was so hard to take something so wrong as the truth. And maybe this whole ‘across town’ business was false too.
‘I’m going to go take a walk to my apartment and it’s going to be fine’, he declared.
‘Man, what the fuck. You can’t walk to your apartment. The. Other. Side. Of. Town.’
‘I’m going to walk where I know it to be and it’s going to be there. And then I’m going to give you a call and we’ll have a laugh about it. It’s fine.’
‘It’s not fine. Shit. You know what? How about we take that walk – you could use the fresh air, I think and for some reason I seem to be the only one that gives a shit around here’ and with that Jim got out of his stool and put his arm around him. It didn’t seem like he was having trouble walking at all. In fact, Jim felt more drunk than he was, with a slight stagger.
‘Where are yooou going?’ asked Jen, drearily.
‘I’m going for a walk with Paul here’
‘We cooould take a walk! To my bed! Ha ha.’
‘I’m gonna pa-‘
‘SEX! HA HA!’
Jim sighed and from all appearances began to ignore her and he started to lightly stagger toward the door, his arm still awkward strewn upon Paul’s shoulder. They exited the bar into a cold alley. This all felt not quite right. He wondered if this wasn’t just a different exit than he was used to.
‘Why did we go out this way’ he asked.
‘This is the only exit, bro – which way to your house’
‘I don’t think I’m where I thought I was’
‘Right. Of course. Well… we’re out here now, we might as well get some air, right, buddy?’
He paused for a moment. He was collecting himself. On some level this made the whole thing make more sense. If he wasn’t where he thought he was then it made sense that his apartment wasn’t where he thought it was. But why was he somewhere else?
‘Air might help’, he concluded.
‘It’s not really the best day for it, though’ said Jim, as an aside.
‘Yeah, it’s a good thing February is short’ he said trying to make small talk.
‘What? What does that even mean?’
Tonight was not Paul’s night. ‘I mean, it’s a short month and that’s good because, I… I don’t know, I guess because it’s a shitty month for weather’
‘What the fuck does ‘it’s a short month’ even mean’
‘It’s like 28 days. Or, well 29 in a Leap Year’
‘A Leap Year’ he said, becoming slightly more distressed. Maybe Jim was just a moron? Maybe he just never noticed. But if so, that still wouldn’t explain where he was. And the internet wasn’t a moron and so it’s hard to argue the Greece point, right? Shit.
‘I still don’t know what that is. You’re not making a lot of sense.
He decided he’d try to explain, though he knew already that it would get him nowhere: ‘February has 28 days…’ he started.
‘No… nope, it has the standard 30. Fuck – did you have a stroke or something? You’re not acting drunk, just… weird’
‘February has 28 days! 29 in a Leap Year!’ he began shouting.
‘What the fuck, bro! I don’t know what a Leap Year is, I don’t know what you’re talking about and YET AGAIN you are wrong. 30 days. 30 days is a month. February is 30. Days. I don’t think I can do this anymore.’
’30 days? What about 31?’
‘What about it? 31 days is one more day than a month.’
‘No! NO! That is NOT right. 30 Day has September, April, June and November. All the rest have 31! 31 days! And February has 28! Or, well 29 every 4 years…’
‘I’m about to just leave you here’, Jim said and Paul realized suddenly that they’d gone a bit of a ways since they started. He felt like he was in a haze still, though, so maybe that’s why he hadn’t noticed. He was very caught up in the conversation. It was beginning to make him feel like he was going a little crazy, actually. He couldn’t possibly be wrong about all of this.
‘Maybe I did have a stroke. Is this what having a stroke feels like?’
‘I don’t know. I’ve never had a stroke, bra. But I mean, isn’t it more like slurred talking and all that. You don’t just start spouting off about the days in a month and all that. I mean, I don’t think?’
‘Yeah, me either. Shit shit shit. What the fuck happened. Am I on drugs? Did someone drug me?’
‘Maybe. You know what, man? I think we should just call you a cab and it’ll take you home.’
‘Only I don’t even know where home is! We’ve established that!’