I put a comforting hand on Diamond’s bare shoulder and she spun around and had her Erasermate a millimeter away from my eye in two breaths.
“I want to do this,” she said.
“I understand,” I said, “but you doing that will give me license to retaliate and I tend to, you know, escalate.”
And she hesitated, motionless, our eyes locked, until finally: “Your counter-threat of escalation only makes me want to do it more. I am now dying to see how you retaliate and dying to show you what I’ll do in response.”
I said: “Well we seem to be at an—” and she stabbed the pen into my eye and I jabbed my thumbnails into her ears and she kicked me just above the groin in a move that didn’t really hurt but did render me sterile for the rest of my life. We toppled down and held each other close.
“Diamond,” I said, uneven blood flowing down my face, “it stops here. But only temporarily. I have the next hit and I’m choosing to hang on to it for a later time. You won’t know where or when but it will happen and there will be an escalation and that tension will add some real intensity to our, to our relationship.”
I sort of mumbled that last word, not entirely sure if she’d be comfortable with the label just yet, but all she said was: “What? Are you saying something?”
The hawk lands upon my outstretched arm. I unroll the message affixed to its leg: did you get the email i sent y/n. I angrily throw the note to the ground and the hawk takes wing with an irritated squawk.
I glower at the slumbering city, fists clenched. Suddenly, the sky explodes in a riot of color. I cower in terror but then slowly stand back up as I see the fireworks spell out HEY DID YOU GET THAT BIRD LETTER ABOUT MY EMAIL???
I turn my back on the garish display, trembling with rage. I do not want to attend your baby shower! my mind shrieks. I find them excruciating!
My shoulders slump as I head inside to find out how much it costs to get a onesie that looks like a little tuxedo.