"We tried to be better, but we aren't. I don't think anyone could last more than a week here if they weren't willing to do bad things." - Alba Reyes

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Cicada Days
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👀 (credit to Kotorikun)
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"Any ideas? You, Spikey?" Hell no. There probably wasn't even a punchline. Maybe if there was one it was the sort of punchline with the emphasis on 'punch'. As in, 'punch Darius for his sins'. Ben couldn't even try to get anything reasonably witty in response before Darius was wildly taking another shot. Pretty much firing blanks, which was probably a particularly mean way to describe the dude's love life. Oh damn, now there was a mean comment Ben would probably do well to never riposte with in civilized conversation. Jury was still out on what this four-car wreckage of a social interaction counted for.

Well okay, things weren't just cruising along. Alvaro seemed to be genuinely upset somehow, his eyes were kinda somehow getting blank. That sort of blankness Ben knew well, the universal distress call tapping out 'please please please stop it' in frantic Morse. Wait, had Darius even really done anything that was that bad? That cinched it, Alvaro definitely had some loose gasket somewhere in his poor innocent brain. Fried as his cafe's grease traps. It all meant... fuck it if Ben knew. Nuance wasn't something Ben felt comfortable with. A bully was a black and white kinda deal, but when it fell along not-so-obvious lines like this situation then it was like: what the heck was Ben supposed to do? Nobody was really clearly the wronged party as far as Ben was concerned...

Okay, there was clearly a distressed party. Really warranted or not Alvaro needed some of the heat taken off his shoulders.

However the hell Ben was going to manage that. Fuck it. He was going to take a shot in the dark. Blind kinda intervention, sans exit plan.

"Yeesh, Darius, you're really flailing for them aren't ya?" Was Ben supposed to actually address Alvaro directly? Would that just set him off further, delicate as he seemed? "Don't think the current audience is really so receptive man." Ben spread his arms, a peace offering in Jesus shilouette. "What is it they say? Pick on someone your own size?" Shit, was that gonna insult Alvaro and Scarlett through proxy? Too fucking late to take it back, whatever. Just keep firing until the clip was emptied, that was the only way now. "Why don't you just leave 'em alone man?" And what about the girl? Like, Ben even got the sense that Scarlett was being overaggressive about it all. Kinda bullish herself. "At least lay out the dumbass punchlines on me, you know? I'd actually enjoy them... Well okay, enjoy is stretching it."

Ben gestured down an aisle. "Leave the innocents alone and fight a real fight for a bit, huh?"
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Sadness Augmentation · Main Street