Vick couldn’t keep his mouth shut, and for some reason, no one ever said they cared that he couldn’t. When you thought about him, he’s the sort you “love to hate” (whatever that means). Tall, handsome, smart, and well-chinned. When he spoke about something you could all but see the light of the world shining a little brighter around him. Women wanted him, and boyfriends never got jealous since they sort of wanted him too. Maybe directly, maybe by proxy, or maybe because they could not see loosing affection to Vick as any sort of loss.
I mean, it was VICK for fraksake. It would be like saying of COURSE Eric Clapton schooled you in that guitar duel. Just Vick was like that at everything.
He always had to point it out too. Not for rubbing it in, or to prove he was superior, just matter of fact advice. This made it worse, somehow. A braggart or know – it – all you can dismiss. Vick was just RIGHT.
People are flawed, it’s how they are, and when you get down to it, it’s comforting. Even heroes, big, epic and grand, NEED flaws. Gilgamesh was a tyrant before he chilled out, Kennedy was all about the women, Churchill just wanted to smoke and drink, you get the idea.
The flaw of being flawless doesn’t count for this. It’s still a flaw, don’t get me wrong, but it’s a flaw that does NOTHING to humanize its owner. It just makes them seem inhuman, unapproachable. Friends, family, lovers, they were just in awe most of Vick all the time. Could be lonely, could change a person, but Vick just took it with the same quiet grace. He didn’t even HAVE to be stoic.
Of course, this prenatural winning – at – everythingness got Vick into a lot of odd situations. When something NEEDED to happen, better get Vick. Like the town champion syndrome on steroids. So when he offered the Discordian ascetic PentaYak help if he ever needed it, PentaYak immediately called him out on it.
“Eris is running around the local shopping mall.”
“Why is Eris running around a shopping mall?” Vick asked.
“It’s Eris. She might be blowing nitrous up raver kid’s pants, or scrounging change off the floor until she can afford some Cinnabon. Anybody’s guess.”
“It’s not good for gods to be running around the mall.” Vick asserted.
“Correct as usual. Regardless of modus OR operandi, she’s out there. You going to stand for that shit?”
Vick was already halfway out the door.
PentaYak wasn’t worried about him. Strange to say, but if Vick was Vick he’d be fine. He lost all his limbs in a car crash once, and spent three months working as a quality assurance gimp in a paper factory. Every time he saw a nonstandard roll of TP, he’d scream. Then his shit grew back and he went on with life. He’d be fine.
“’Sup fucker?” Eris greeted him at the mall.
She was lounging on a bench, putting her feet up In defiance of a nearby sign. (In a layered sort of frustration for any nearby security guards, and a display of abdominal muscle control, she was actually holding them about half an inch OFF the bench.
“I heard you were causing trouble around here and..”
“It’s a known fact. You’re Er….”
“OF COURSE I’M CAUSING TROUBLE!”
Vick had to pause for a moment. Being interrupted in a conversation was new to him.
“So you’re here to kick me out?” Eris asked, before his thoughts were quite assembled.
“Hmmmmm…” Eris eyed him, eared him, nosed him at uncomfortable distance, and generally applied other sensory testing to get an idea what he was about. Details up to your perverted interpretation.
Vick looked like a high school quarterback (Which he had been), and smelled like hamburgers and ovaltine at a 50’s diner on a clean, cool night.
“Will you give a lady a sporting chance?” Eris asked, while applying a truly unnecessary amount of hand-sanitizer.
“What do you me…”
“I’ll ask you a question. A riddle. A conundrum if you will. If you can answer, I go free for another day. If you can’t, then I’ll leave.”
“Are you sure you don’t have that backwards?” Vick asked. He’d been on debate team, and that logic was working the wrong way around.”
“Nope, I’m sure of it. You’ll answer. It’s your nature. Hell, your head would explode if you didn’t.”
“I accept,” Vick said formally, “I don’t think it will..”
“Two plus two?”
Vick blinked, realizing what had just happened. He felt ill, like some essential function of his body had been held back. He thought about swearing out loud. He really wanted to, even though he knew it wasn’t a very righteous thing to do.
“Catch you tomorrow, V-day.” Eris said, pulling a paper carton of fries from inside a pocket of her leather jacket, and beginning to eat.
Vick walked away sincerely puzzled.
A nearby security guard once again, eyed the altitude of Eris’s boots off the surface of the bench. Eris clumped them satisfyingly into contact as soon as his back was turned, and dashed off sniggering to hide as a dummy in Hot Topic until he lost interest.
The next month was a daily repeat of this. Eris would ask a question, Vick had to answer. He actually changed color trying NOT to answer “When did Abraham Lincoln decide to stop fucking dogs?”, but relented in the end, indignant over such treatment of a notable and known President.
Then one day, Eris dropped the bombshell.
“Suppose you’ve got a father and son going out for hookers..”
“That would be illegal” said Vick, who was getting used to interruption himself.
“Sure, but not as gross as them going out for a singular strumpet.” She said as Vick began to look queasy, ”So they find these two ho’s, a mother and daughter…”
“And they BUY them. They purchase their sultry strumpet services. The father takes the daughter, and the son goes with the mom…”
Vick stared, agog.
“…and each of them knock up their respective prostitute. “
Vick was closer than he had been in his entire life to drooling in bewilderment.
“With me here? What would the relation of the two bastards be?”
“I don’t know.”
Eris grinned like a cat who just got the canary. She leaned forwards beside herself, and almost jumped up and down in glee. She bounced up and down a bit and dropped a cup of Orange Julius down the pants of a passing plumber. Complete accident of course. Vick clapped his hand over his mouth. It was like he said a dirty word.
“Cool, let’s go!” Eris said.
“You won. Congratulations. I will leave the mall. Mission Successful. Quest complete.”
“You agreed to play this game.” Eris said. “Just in the process, you lost a lot harder than you won.”
Eris jammed her hand in her pocket and walked off whistle the ‘Andy Dick’ theme song, intent collecting the beer she had bet PentaYak about how long this would take. Vick left having learned something he could never quite nail down, but was pretty sure he’d be practicing in the future.