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Solitair
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Where modesty's ill manners, 'tis but fit that impudence and malice pass for wit.
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"He is a pimp," said the voice coming out of Roland's television, "and pimps... don't... commit... suicide."

Roland Hayes and Vera Osborne sat on the couch in his living room, the light from the TV illuminating their confused and troubled faces as the credits rolled and the soft melody of Blur did its best to soothe their ears. For a minute or so, neither of them said a word.

Roland tried his best to compose himself, opening his mouth several times, each time pulling back words before he could say them. He furrowed his brow and closed his eyes, took a deep breath and asked, "What did we just watch?"

Vera groaned and shook her head. "I don't know. Bullshit, I guess."

He got up and turned off the TV, taking out the DVD and putting it back in its case. As he walked back to the couch, he chuckled to himself. "Yeah. Pretty funny, though. What was your favorite part?"

She smiled and looked at the ceiling, trying to think back to the parts of the movie she enjoyed. "Well... I got a kick out of Jon Lovitz killing people. That was kinda trippy."

"Yeah, that was fun. I liked... um. Geez." Roland crossed his legs, then uncrossed them again. "I dunno. The stupid dialogue. Can't get narrow it down any more than that." He sighed and shook his head again. "You wanna do something else? Wash the taste out of your mouth or something?"

"Nah," Vera said, getting up out of her seat and holding her hand out for the DVD case. "I gotta get back home and study. You should probably study, too."

Roland frowned and passed the case to her. "Nngh. I got math to do. Wish me luck."

"Good luck. And, um, sorry I subjected you to that," Vera said as she left for the door.

"It's fine," Roland said, laying down on the couch and reaching for a book that most likely had nothing to do with math. "I laughed my ass off. I ought to see more movies like that."

---

The month afterward, Roland felt like he was about to die. His lungs felt like they would never get enough air, his heart swung around in his ribcage like a recently-battered punching bag, he had at least five stitches in his chest, his mouth felt like it was lined with leather, and his vision got blurry from his pounding headache.

"Jesus, Roland, you look awful!" Max yelled from many feet away, hopping to his feet and sprinting towards Roland, leading him to the nearest park bench. "How long have you been running?"

"Dunno," Roland replied, his hand searching blindly for a water bottle. It eventually found one, raising it to Roland's mouth and squirting water inside. "Kinda lost track."

Max blinked and looked around, the expression on his face matching that of a man who just discovered that his house had flipped itself upside-down. "You didn't feel the need to stop at any time?" he asked. "You didn't pack a water bottle to carry with you while you ran, you didn't dress for exercise, and now you're about to pass out because you didn't have the sense to stop when you started to cramp up. Damn, Roland, I really thought you were smarter than this!"

Roland coughed, sputtering on his water. "At least I'm exercising!" he said. "You know how many times I thought about getting into it before, only to chicken out at the last minute?" His eyes met Max's, unwavering and unblinking. "I just decided to get it over with." He took another long gulp of water and wiped his forehead. "But you're right. I probably should have prepared for this more.

Max just sighed and shook his head. "You could have just told me you wanted to get in shape, you know," he said, looking up at Roland and giving him a good-natured smile. "You can run with me whenever you want. Just give me a call, alright?"

Roland nodded. "Yeah, okay." He tried to stretch his arms, only to stop suddenly and wince. "Ow. I'm gonna be sore tomorrow."

---

Weeks later, Roland held back sobs, holding his head in his hands after hearing the third announcement. Both of them were gone. The Activist Club had lost its first member, and though Vera was probably the most distant of the bunch, Roland still considered her a good friend. Then there was Max Neill, probably his best friend in the whole fucking school, and the student body president besides. And now he was gone, like he was nothing special. Max had a bright future ahead of him. Roland once told him he wouldn't be surprised to see Max running the country in forty years. Not anymore.

Memories of the night before still weighed heavily on Roland's mind, the night when Sarah finally spilled her guts and let everyone in on the big secret. Roland drank it all in, more than willing to take a leap of faith for Sarah's sake. Then Kimberly had to piss all over it by walking out on them. He responded by flipping her off; he was sure she saw him do it, but she just stormed out instead of reacting. What really set him off, though, was what he heard Dutchy say in response.

"'Bless Kimmy?'" he shouted. "She threatens you and you bless her? Christ, Dutchy, what's wrong with you?" He glared at another of his friends, a friend afflicted with Stockholm Syndrome. "Yeah, I heard the two of you talk last night. Are you that much of a pushover? Are you that much of a sheep? Fuck Kimmy, we don't need someone like that with us."

He turned his head to the open door that Kimberly used to exit. "Good riddance, bitch!" he yelled, before getting up and slamming the door behind her.

That was the night before. Now Roland's words stung him almost as much as the announcement did. His outburst probably hurt Dutchy quite a bit, and now he needed to mend those wounds. He agreed to sit with Dutchy while Sarah and Bridget searched for supplies.

"Dutchy, I'm sorry about what I said. I know how hard this is on everyone. I shouldn't have blamed you."
WickedIcon: i just launched a baby wearing a denim jacket and a bowler hat across a hospital, through a window, killing several patients, destroying thousands of dollars of equipment, and finally coming to rest on the body of a presumably dead clown
WickedIcon: this is the best dollar i've spent in several years

chitoryu12I have yet to find gay sex that involves the men punching each other. I must not be on the internet enough

Turning Pages: Read some books along with me, why don't you?

V4:
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V5:
Arthur Wells: The Artist ... ... ... ... ?
Rose Matheson: The Sprinter ... ?
Ilya Volkov: The Wrestler ... ... ... ... !
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