Threshold Trials Whale

   I saw him hit – the point of contract – my eyelids kind of followed him down because that’s when I’d closed my eyes.
  “God damn it.” He still struggles. Writhing on the ground. Rolls onto his back. It was only three floors. There’s about zero I can do until he stops fighting himself, but I’m holding my breath for the shouting and screaming to start, so I start over. “God damn you, Wilbur.”
   Bloodied face, some smears on his chest. The rest of him looks, maybe surprisingly, just as filthy as always, that same dun colour, getting redder. He begins to bellow.
  “God damn you, Wilbur. Are you drunk?” The top floor is a tiny bar. He must have been inside to get onto the roof. Owners are away, I guess. “Willy, stop fucking moving!”
   On his back, elbows tucked into his side, hands in rigid fists at his waist, he arches his back and says hnng through a clenched jaw. Hnng, hnng. Goes into a convulsion.

  “You can’t go back there.”
   I’m astounded by this kid. I’m back there already. “Official business,” I say.
   The whole store wants to know what I’m up to now. They’d piled out to see Wilbur. All followed.
   Back here back here is not very attractive. I must have learned once about discipline and health code, but “Where’s the phone?” is what I say.
   He’s defiant. “Yes!” he says.
  “What?”
   I have to back up. Everyone, me included, has a phone of their own, but for a call like this, no one wants their number attached.
   But wouldn’t you know it, there’s Wilbur anyway. Now, I have my banger, and it’s a toy like everyone else’s, will throw a steel spike a short distance, but I have never used it, not on a person. So, lucky I suppose, everyone’s turned their backs on me now. They are that way an essential barrier. Then they all want to come back into the room with me. Goddamn Wilbur, up and growling. Like no one knew this was going to happen.
   They all start yelling.

The Ultimate Boon

   Hell no, I says.
   I grabs up me banger, can’t be without one, and gets to my feet. What fool does sit around in the dark with some girl these days. The compound has gates but it doesn’t have lights worth a damn. I’d offer her my hand because we had been sitting shoulder to shoulder, but she’d asked that damn question.
  “Look,” I says. “It’s not—well it is personal, I guess, but it’s really not.” But you know when you stabs someone and they’re all abouts the keeping its to themselves?
  “It’s just, I’ve just seen all this before, that’s all,” I say. I’m waving my hands already, frustrated with how she won’t get it. Because she won’t. I have seen all this before.
  “I have to get back,” I say.
  “Sure,” she says, and gets herself upright, watching the ground, but not really. More like watching the space just above the ground. That’s what I’ve seen before. That detachment. Neither one of us is any good for the other.
  “I’ll see you later,” I say.