Daniel O'brien was being led down an unfamiliar hallway by his friend and coworker Michael Swaim. Michael was going on about the reproductive cycle of the smurfs, wearing the stoic face of an ivy league guest lecturer that occasionally broke into an eager grin. Although Dan found his smile unnerving, he made sure to smile back as to not let on that he was too uncomfortable to participate in the conversation.
“…And so the question isn’t why none of the smurfs want to bone smurfette,” Michael proposed a little too loud as he began to rummage through his pockets, “its why hasn’t anyone told smurfette that boning is a thing?” he continued entirely too loud while unlocking the door to his apartment. Dan was prepared for the worst, being familiar with his friend he was expecting a certain musky scent to explode in his face as soon as the door opened, but he was pleasantly surprised. “Im sure that if there was a half decent sex education in the village or even, you know, a school, smurfette might decide she wants to live an entirely different life style. This is me, by the way,” Michael winded down, “welcome.” He proceeded to give a brief tour that wasn’t nearly as in depth as his lecture on smurf genitalia just moments prior. “Kitchens here, living room, couch, thats where you’ll be sleeping, unless you wanna share my bed” he joked with an exaggerated elbow nudge as the door in the living room opened.
“You better not be lending our couch to another drifter Michael” yelled the man now standing in the living room staring Dan up and down, “You look to anxious to be a drifter” he said, noticing his obvious fear in his posture.
“Im not” Dan managed to say as he stared at the couch he would have to put his body on imagining every stranger to have possibly put their bodies on it before him.
Michael had to continue for him “This is my friend Dan from work, i offered to let him stay here while his apartment is being bombed, Dan this is my roommate Greg”
“Bombed?” greg repeated
Dan managed to break his gaze away from the couch to explain “bug bombed, i was given a box of magazines that turned out to be infested with book lice.”
“lice huh, explains the uh...” greg said gesturing awkwardly towards Dan who responded with equally awkward defensive gestures.
Michael smiled in amusement at his friends discomfort before continuing his tour, “anyway, Gregs room is around the corner on the left, bathroom on the right, and I’m at the end of the hall. you can leave your bags anywhere, make yourself at home!” he said warmly, plopping himself down on the couch reaching for the remote.
Dan was standing rigidly in the living room still clutching his bags, trying to find the least intrusive spot to set his things, glancing between his friend, the empty spot on the couch and Greg, who was rummaging through the kitchen.
“So uh, what were you two planning?” Greg asked while sifting through the cupboards.
“Dunno” said Michael, browsing through channels. “Dan, you have anything in mind?”
Dan had finally decided to set his things behind the couch when he was caught off guard by the question, “I uh, was hoping to get some writing done” he said pulling a laptop from his bag, “And i need to call Katie to check on Jackson” he nearly dropped everything while scrambling for his phone.
“Fair enough, sorry bout the strict dog policy here” Michael replied.
“I meant food,” Greg added slightly annoyed, “looks like we only got…cans? none of these are labeled, Michael why aren’t these cans labeled?” he demanded, entirely annoyed.
“Because they were a bargain” Michael replied incredulously, looking to Dan for back up.
“I… Cans?” Dan stuttered, siding with Greg who was shaking cans close to his ear.
Michael sighed then explained “I got some tips on saving money from Soren, and don’t worry, the kindly drifter i bartered with seemed sure these are all edible."
Greg was assured enough to crack open a can “Ohh! Spaghettios!” he said with a child like grin. He grabbed a spoon and proceeded towards the couch, “Soren… He the one i caught you masturbating with?” he asked bluntly getting cozy with his can.
Michael got quiet.
Dans brain that was going a mile a minute trying to process drifters couches and cans suddenly couldn’t feature anything but the image of two of his closest friends sharing an intimate moment. He looked at Michael with an expression that screamed “please get me out of this situation!” Michael, turned his head to his friend as if to reassure him that it was a joke or information was misinterpreted somehow, but before anyone could speak they heard a muffled but familiar cackle.
“Katie?!” Michael yelled looking around in a panic.
Dan had called her before getting distracted, realizing this he put her on speaker and greeted her “Hi Kate, hows Jackson?”
“He’s fine, but what was Michael saying about jerking it with Soren?” she said with a matter of fact curiosity.
“Oh, I said that” Greg said with a mouth half full of cold spaghettios, “Hi Katie!”
“Who is…” Katie asked quietly.
“Thats Greg, my roommate, ignore him.” Michael tried to steer the conversation. “Hows Jackson?”
Katie would not be deterred, “He’s dying to hear the rest of this story.”
“Alright,” said Greg eagerly setting his spaghettios aside. “So I’m in the kitchen when i hear-“
“Not you” Katie dismissed, “Michael. Clarify.”
There was a brief silence, Dan was looking at Michael, Greg was stirring his spaghettios trying not to look too hurt.
Michael resigned himself “fine, ill spill, BUT, its very rude to talk about someones sex life behind their back.”
“Ill get Soren!” Katie said quickly before hanging up.
The three men sat awkwardly for a moment before Dan broke the silence, “I didn’t get to say hi to Jackson."