We’re together again, three old buds standing in a dark closet at our thirtieth high school reunion. We can hear the eighties music from the auditorium one floor below us. What are we doing? I’d let Larry tell you, but he’s worried he’s having a heart attack. And Justin, he thinks the police will barge in any second. He’s already preparing a legal defense.
We’re still best friends, although we haven’t seen each other since the twentieth reunion. We stayed in touch mostly through Facebook, texts, and drunken phone calls. Now it’s like we’ve never been apart. In fact, they’re probably my only friends, unless I count co-workers and what’s left of my family.
We wanted to smoke a few joints in the same place where we used to get ripped as teenagers. And whoa golly, pot has become much, much stronger since then.
Justin flips on the light. “We’re fucked,” he says. “There’s no way somebody hasn’t smelled it and called the cops.” His glass eye sparkles. His previous eye, the real one, had to be removed after a doctor discovered ocular melanoma. “It was weird,” Justin had said. “It was like a little demon lived behind my pupil, trying to kill me.”
Larry flings open the closet door and hobbles into the empty, unlit hallway lined with gray lockers. His left leg was amputated after a motorcycle accident. Now he has this prosthetic leg, which he named, “Larry, Jr.” In high school, he broke the regional record for stolen bases. Justin and I follow him, a plume of smoke trailing us.
The three of us sit against the wall, breathing heavily. Our butts spill over and press together. I try not to think about my ex-wife. She left eight months ago, after two kids and twenty-four years of marriage. She had stopped laughing at my jokes, stopped undressing in my presence. Truth be told, I didn’t mind no longer seeing the mole on her lower back that resembled a miniature camel.
“I should call an ambulance,” Larry says, his fingers pressing against his neck, measuring his pulse. “My heart’s beating too fast.”
“If you call,” Justin says, “they’ll have us arrested. Pot is still illegal in this state.”
From the auditorium, “The Power of Love” plays. My ex-wife and I danced to that song at our wedding. Before I could propose to her, she had dropped to one knee in our favorite little café during breakfast. “What are we waiting for?” she had asked, offering me a ring.
I, sitting between Larry and Justin, place my arms around their shoulders and pull them close. “You’re not dying, and we’re not going to jail.” I open my mouth to say more, but nothing comes. A squeak escapes from my throat. They erupt in laughter.
I look over Larry’s enormous bald cranium, down the hall. I can almost see our younger selves walking around in sneakers with backpacks slung on our shoulders, chewing watermelon bubble gum, feeling invincible.
Mason Binkley is the author of Familial Disturbances, a flash fiction collection (Ellipsis Zine, 2019). His stories have appeared in Necessary Fiction, Pithead Chapel, The Journal of Compressed Creative Arts, Jellyfish Review, New Flash Fiction Review, and other places. He reads for Pithead Chapel and lives in Tampa, Florida, where he works as an attorney. You can find him online at masonbinkley.com or @Mason_Binkley.