Killian returned from the club not tired as he was supposed to, completely proud of what he had accomplished last night. He sold more inventory than he thought possible and all it took was a simple bar hopping trick. His instincts were right, the earlier he went, although not many people were out yet, the more money he made. Keen to put a precise number on his success he laid out all the bank notes and coins on the living room table and began counting. He had gone beyond five grand, not even halfway through when he heard a hastened knock on his door. Usually he would ignore it this early in the morning, but he wasn’t as tired and the knocker was not going away anytime soon. An upbeat knock that could only be from a person who knew about his whereabouts.
He cursed under his breath and shoved all the money into his backpack.
He opened the door, ready to scold whoever it was. “Corklin?” He was surprised.
If someone had told him Corklin would be on his porch one morning he would have dismissed them. He hadn’t seen him since he dated the affluent Erica. After the bruises he had obtained Erica and Corklin were officially dead to the world. They shrank all the world between them, disappeared for a semester and when they reappeared hands were inseparably glued together – no room for friends. Any outside contact was ignored and avoided. He thought in a year it will all be over but that never happened. He had been upset, losing a close friend to a wisp of a girl. The hurt had turned to bitterness and then to an unwavering feeling of betrayal. He had envisioned an encounter like this would be filled with an explosion of suppressed aggression and reproach. But the time had withered all of it to razor slim proportions.
So he checked the porch and the driveway, and there, unbelievably, Corklin stood alone, with a contagious grin on his face.
“You look like Jesus,” said Corklin.
Killian cocked his head to the side, startled by the excitement in Corklin’s voice. It was a sonic embrace of a friend who had gone to the holidays for a month and had just returned, diminishing long stretches of time apart to inconsequential minutes, like nothing ever happened. All the desolation a dream. “I get that a lot. You think I should shave?”
Corklin waved his hand. “No, never. I like it. You look like a psychedelic god.” He paused, trying to pick a glance behind Killian. “So, can I come in?”
Killian found himself puzzled for a moment as if he had just spoken in a language he did not understand. He tried to consult his long list of rules and promises he had made to himself in case Corklin came back to see if it was acceptable, but he found couldn’t retrieve anything that forbid it. He shifted to the side. “Come in.”
Corklin stood at the center of the living room looking around as a prospective buyer would inspect. “How is living off campus treating you?”
“It’s been good,” Killian opted to be concise not knowing on what capacity Corklin had come. He knew how to conduct himself with customers but this was peculiar. “Sit down.”
Corklin took the couch by the porch window, the closest to the door. “Very comfy.” He grabbed a cushion, pinned it on his lap and started tapping his foot.
Killian took the couch facing the television screen. “So, how can I help you?”
“Ah, I just came over to check you out, Killer.” Corklin leaned back into the couch and crossed his legs. “Been a long time. Your room mates sleeping?”
Killian raised an eye brow. “I live alone. This is my house.”
“What? No way. You’re lying!”
Killian released a curt laugh, stupefied by Corklin’s robust confidence in the conviction.
“How is that even possible?” said Corklin, slightly condescending. “I know you.”
Killian shook his head. “It really is my house. I am not kidding,” he replied with a sobering tone.
Corklin shifted in the couch, leaned forward and cocked his head to the side to study Killian’s face for any sign of deception. “Fuck!” he interjected. “How?”
Killian smiled with triumph. It gave him some satisfaction to see the look of surprise on his face. Eyes wide and mouth gaping.
“Are you working? Like you have a job now?”
Killian laughed. “You could say that.”
Killian narrowed his eyes. “So you still with Erica, huh? It makes sense why you wouldn’t know. You too live in your own little world. Surprises me you are even here. Has the snatch began to smell or something?”
“How is that relevant?”
“People who know where I stay know what I do. How’d you even find out where I stay, Corkscrew?”
“I have seen you tons of times when I ride past. You haven’t seen me?” Corklin sniffled. “You have some tissue?”
Killian got up and disappeared into the corridor. When he came back he had roll of toilet paper in his hand. He placed it on the desk in front of Corklin. “You have a cold?”
Corklin chuckled. “Nope . I am fucking high on some powder like we used to do in high school. Couldn’t sleep. Tough nights, Killer.” Corklin studied Killian. “You look clean.”
Killian smiled, taking it as a compliment. “Corkscrew, everyone else in this town except you knows how unclean I am.”
“You been partying untied, huh? I wish I could but I’m on that Erica leash man. Fucking sucks, man. Things are a bit…” His voice trailed off.
Killian waved his hand. “I am responsible for the party.” He grabbed the backpack by the table and poured all the cash in it on the table. “That is how much I made last night.”
Corklin froze in his seat. He had never seen that much cash in person. It was the stuff of films and music videos. He shifted his gaze up to Killian who wore a complacent grin. Hands on his waist, an image of man satisfied with the fruits of his labour and not ashamed of flaunting.Proud. “Wow. Is it all yours?”
Corklin stared emptily, dumbfounded. “What do you do?”
“You still play FIFA?”
“How about I explain everything to you over FIFA?”
“How about some beer?” He walked off the threshold of the living room area and into the kitchen which was situated on the left.
“I don’t drink anymore.” Corklin shouted.
Killian paused at the fridge, finding the fact jarring. The Corklin he knew wouldn’t turn down a beer. It took some restraint not mocking the alcohol-free Corklin. “Well, do you still smoke?”
Killian nodded, walking back into the living room with an opened beer bottle in his hand. “Well, I’ve got some grass.”
Fifth chapter of Pyre of Envy. I hope you enjoyed it, if you are new just read the chapters from before.
A new chapter coming next week.