Objective 21

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Chapter 15

Kristen had been mistaken. Phil’s address hadn’t been nine Central Bay Drive. His house number was eleven, but even with the wrong information, the house was difficult to overlook when there was one boy on the roof and another with the upper half of his torso hanging out the window.

The sound of doors shutting went one after the other as Macon and I scrambled out of the car. “Will, what the hell are you doing?” I yelled, running up to the side of the house. I put my hands helplessly on the white shingles and looked for a way up to the roof from here, possibly a shed to step on or something, but there was nothing.

As he sauntered happily around the roof, he pointed to the boy who was now stuck between the glass and the windowsill. “Phil’s idea,” he blurted. I looked over at Phil. He waved, the massive grin on his face matching Will’s.

“Will. I need you to go back inside. Right now.”

His shoulders slumped. “But it feels like a helicopter out here.”

“I don’t know what that means,” I said. “Go back inside.”

“Okay,” Will agreed. He walked toward me and sat down at the edge of the roof, as though he was preparing to jump off. He’d just recently gotten his cast off, too; probably no more than a few days ago.

“Through the window, you asshole!”

“No-o.” He whined like a four year old throwing a tantrum in a super market. “I can land on my feet!”

“William O’Hanson, go back into that house through that window and wait for me in Phil’s room,” I demanded. I was shocked at how much I sounded like my mother when presented with situations such as these. “You too,” I spat at Phil, regardless of the fact that I barely knew him.

“Alright. God. I’m going, Mao Zeadong.”

“And would you quit calling me that?!”

Neither was listening, though. The two of them were in fits of giggles while Will tried to disengage his best friend from the half-opened window.

The door was ajar when Macon and I walked around to the front of the house. There was a thin screen covering the entrance way, and when the two of us approached the stoop, an elderly woman stood up from her spot in front of the TV and came to the door.

The first thing I noticed about her was her height; she was shorter than me by a few inches. Macon practically had to look down at her at a ninety degree angle. Her silver hair was pulled up into a tight bun on top of her head. The dress she wore matched her blue eyes–dull and washed out.

“You must be here to see the two imbeciles.” Her voice was hoarse-sounding. Still, although she said the words with enough meaning, she forced a tense smile. I assumed she knew.

Macon and I didn’t exactly affirm her question, but she opened the screen for us anyway. “They’re upstairs in Philip’s room. It’s the second door on the left,” the old woman told us, motioning to the stairs next to the worn piano.

“The two imbeciles,” as they had so-accurately been named, had managed to crawl their way back into Phil’s room by the time Macon and I got there.

Phil had an Xbox controller in his hand while he swiveled around in a computer chair. Will was lying on the bed, reaching up as if he was trying to touch the ceiling, but he was about six feet off target. There was a Monopoly board open next to him, money stacked in neat piles and game pieces placed on the “start” box, but Will had seemingly forgotten all about it.

“Andy,” he sang. His face lit up when he caught sight of me, as though I hadn’t just been yelling at him two minutes ago.

“Hi, Will,” I droned. I turned to the other boy. “Hey, Phil.”

Phil waved at me from the chair he sat in. Despite the fact that he and Will had been best friends since seventh grade, I didn’t know much about the kid. All I knew was that they must’ve had similar personalities in order to get along so well. The only difference I sensed between the two was the notion that Phil had more of a verbal filter than Will did. Whatever the case, their names rhymed, and if two peoples’ names rhyme, they’re destined to be best friends.

“This is my room,” Phil told me, as if I wasn’t capable of finding out such information on my own. “You can sit and stuff.”

“Thanks,” I said. There was some room on the edge of the bed where Will was, but I didn’t want to get too close to him while he was in this state. Instead, I sat cross legged on the blue rug spread over the floor. Macon sat beside me.

“Phil,” I said.

The boy made a “hmm?” noise, but he didn’t tear his eyes away from the video game. While Will seemingly tried to catch imaginary fireflies in his hands, there was a song playing through the stereo. I thought I recognized the voice as the lead singer from Radiohead, but I wasn’t sure.

“I think your grandmother knows you guys are on something.”

“Oh,” Phil said. He seemed to be much more alert than William right now, and I appreciated that. “Yeah, I know. I told her.”

“You told her?”

“Yeah. I was bugging out really bad when me and Will split up, and I came home, and I thought I was gonna die, so I told her.”

I sighed and pressed the heels of my hands into the concaves right above my eyes. “Oh my God, that poor woman.”

“Yeah,” Phil agreed. “She wanted to take me to the hospital, but I talked her out of it. She was kind of scared at first, but I think she’s good now.”

“You can’t put that kind of stress on an old lady, you guys,” I mused. “Is she going to tell your parents?”

“I don’t know,” Phil said. His words were spacey, but he seemed to know what was going on. “Hopefully not. Yeah, maybe not,” he said.

With a lot of perseverance and the use of repetitive questions, Macon and I were able to get a bit of information out of the pair of them. They’d apparently taken the shrooms sometime around twelve thirty that afternoon, so it was only a matter of minutes before they started to come down. Macon and I didn’t have to stay the entire time–just until these two entirely-grown guys no longer needed a fucking babysitter. That one Radiohead song played over and over again, permanently on loop in the background.

Within the hour, Phil was completely sensible. He was still in that happy stage, though, and he kept saying things like, “When this is over, I am totally fucked,” and, “I do not want to deal with the repercussions of this situation,” but he said such things with a colossal smile on his face.

Will, however, didn’t seem like he was anywhere near normal perception. His catchphrase had changed from, “I don’t know,” to, “I don’t know what’s going on.” Those three extra words were his only improvement.

He kept rubbing his face against anything and everything in the room, declaring that anything and everything “felt really cool.” When Will had facially-molested Phil’s entire furniture set, as well as his drapes, mattress, cork board, radiator, alarm clock, and doorknob, he moved on to me.

“Will. No, get away from me. Quit doing that.”

He was nuzzling his cheek against my shoulder, his eyes closed and a moronic smile on his face. “This feels so cool.”

“Stop it!” I said, shoving him off of me.

Will blinked stupidly in my direction, looking almost hurt. Then he broke out into another beaming grin, opened his mouth, and began to lick me.

“Ew, dude! Get the hell off me!”

“Oh my God, your shirt feels like sandpaper on my tongue.”

“Will!” I yelled.

Macon sat beside me, offering no help whatsoever as he laughed openly in my face. This went on until I managed to wriggle out of Will’s grasp and he was lured away with the promise of a first-person-shooter game.

“Thanks, Phil,” I murmured, trying to readjust my t-shirt so it wasn’t twisted around my waist. Macon, however, was still laughing. “Would you shut up? This isn’t funny.”

“It is, kind of.”

“No,” I spat. “It’s not.”

“Would you lighten up?” Macon said, shoving his elbow into me. “The two of them are fine. They’re safe, we’ve got tabs on them, they’re in a contained room. It’s no big deal.”

I inhaled sharply, my jaw clenching as I did so. “I’m not sure if you know what it’s like to be slobbered all over by a six-foot-four human being with the brain of a seven year old,” I growled, “but I assure you, it’s none too pleasant, Macon Prindall.”

“I thought the event was more than amusing.”

“Don’t encourage him.”

“Ah, lighten up, Mao Zedong,” Macon repeated. He grinned at the way my face darkened with the nickname. “You know, you’d think a girl who macks on complete strangers would be slightly more laid back.”

Will suddenly turned to face us. He let out another one of his “I-just-made-an-earth-shattering-realization” gasps. “You!” he declared, pointing three inches from Macon’s face.

“Me.”

“I remember you,” Will mumbled.

“I remember you too, dude.”

“Hi.” His head tilted skeptically, as though he wasn’t sure if Macon could be trusted or not.

“Hey, man,” Macon replied. “How’s it going?”

Will didn’t answer, though. He slowly got to his feet, balanced himself, and wandered back over to Phil’s bed. He continued on with his first person shooter game, but he kept his eyes on Macon as he pressed the buttons, as though the virtual M4 Carbine would shoot at Macon’s head rather than the guys on screen.

“Will?” I drawled. “You okay?”

When he again didn’t respond, I glanced at Phil, then over to Macon. The two both shrugged.

The controller in Will’s hand suddenly caught his attention, and whatever angry thoughts had been circulating in his mind just got pushed elsewhere. He stared down at the controller and played with the buttons and joystick as if he’d never seen something so intricate in his entire life.

Then Will brought the controller up to his face, rubbed his cheek against it, and declared, “Oh my God, this feels so cool.”

It was around ten thirty when Macon and I got back to my house. The television screen was still dancing between the two frames, the air conditioner was still spitting out sixty-degree oxygen, and the living room was still the last place on earth I wanted to be.

Still, Macon and I resumed our head-on-lap position with my legs tossed over the arm rest. We pressed the play button and watched the rest of the movie, and when it was over, Macon got up on my command and switched the DVDs. He put in the tenth and final disk of this godforsaken movie marathon (ranked by the American Film Institute, an organization that I now wanted to write a very strongly-worded letter to) and the film started.

My brain was more than fried as I stared at the last one hundred and three minutes of moving frames on the screen. As if I hadn’t been exhausted enough, the diversion with Will had completely drained me. Macon and I were able to keep our eyes open just until the credits started rolling. By the time the movie stopped spinning in the DVD player, we were out cold.


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