Mike, Ash, and Crandall slouched on the sofa with Crandall sitting in the middle.
Ash snickered and gestured at the TV with the joint between his fingers. “This is funny. What’s this show called again?”
“Big Bang Theory,” Crandall said with a giggle. “Mike doesn’t get it.”
“Well, he’s not much of a geek,” Ash said with a flourish of his hand that did nothing more than hypnotize Crandall who had been staring longingly at the joint.
“Not at all,” Crandall said. He held out his hand. “Gimme that.”
“Hey, I get the gaming references,” Mike said.
“Some of them,” Crandall said. “But only the video game shit.” Then he remembered he had his hand out, and it was still empty. He lunged up to a sitting position and made a grab for his weed. Ash swayed, inadvertently swinging away from Crandall. Crandall fell off the couch and hit the floor and coffee table in an ungraceful heap.
“Okay?” Mike asked leaning over. He blinked a couple of times, and then tried again. “Crank?”
Crandall broke into a fit of giggles, before kicking Ash and cursing him out for not sharing. “It’s my fucking giggle weed, you druggie,” Crandall said in between giggles.
Ash was laughing uncontrollably. He pulled his feet up on the cushion to get out of Crandall’s kicking range. He held the joint over Crandall’s head. “I’m no druggie. You’re an enabler. I’ve never smoked this shit before. Never ever. Didn’t even care.”
Crandall sobered and pointed up at Ash. “You fucking swore.” He covered his mouth and started laughing as Ash paused and frowned at him.
“Your fault too. You can’t talk without the F-word.”
“Now you sound like my fucking boss.”
“I wouldn’t want to be your boss.”
Crandall grabbed the cushion, and then Ash’s ankle to pull himself up. Once he flopped back on the sofa, he extended a hand and said, “Stop Bogarting you not-a-drug-user druggie.”
Ash snorted and handed off the joint. “Are you even old enough to understand that term?”
Ash choked out a laugh and then stopped, looking confused, when Crandall asked, “What term?”
“Oh, I remember.” Ash laughed and slapped his thigh. “Bogart! It’s from Humphrey Bogart. He’s before your time.”
“Hey, I’ve heard of him. Besides, I had lots of older brothers. I know a lot of shit from their old asses. How the fuck old are you, Karate Kid?”
“Are you going to eat that cupcake?”
Crandall blinked and shook his head. “What?”
Ash pointed at the coffee table.
“Oh.” Crandall made a face at the almost empty box of Hostess cupcakes. “I had this kickass cupcake today. It ruined those for me.” He shoved Mike. “Hand over the Cheetos, asshat. No dumb girl has ruined those yet.”
“What girl?” Mike asked.
With Crandall distracted, Ash made a grab for the cupcake as if he thought Crandall might change his mind and slap his hand away. He curled into the corner of the couch and unwrapped it, holding it delicately, like Golem admiring the One Ring.
Crandall grabbed the Cheetos bag and shoved a handful of crunchy orange curls his mouth. Once he swallowed, and as he dug out more, he said, “That girl at the fire. She has wet panties for Ash.”
“Me?” Ash dropped the cupcake, but quickly scooped it back up. He brushed it off, though it had only landed in his lap. “No one there liked me.”
Crandall munched another mouthful of Cheetos. With an orange finger, he pointed at Ash but faced Mike. “This chick works at Alt. She brought me a cupcake so I’d tell her about him.”
“Did you?” Mike and Ash asked at the same time.
Crandall slumped against the back of the sofa and shook the bag, peering inside and looking to be deep in thought. He grabbed more, staring at the TV as their show came out of commercial.
“None of her business,” he finally said. He took a long drag off his joint and then stuffed more Cheetos in his mouth, chewing loudly.
“Crank!” Mike said, exasperated.
“Shut up. Show’s on.”
“But…” Ash looked to Mike, and then looked away. “It doesn’t matter really. I mean, I don’t really date.” He shoved half the cupcake in his mouth, and then washed it down with several long gulps of his iced tea.
Mike jumped in. “Go for it, man.” He took the Cheetos back from Crandall and asked, “Was she cute?”
“What do you care?”
Mike turned down the volume of the TV. “I want to know what you’re getting Ash into.” He grinned.
Ash rolled his eyes and finished the cupcake.
“I’m not getting him into anything. I told her to leave me alone.”
“Seriously, man?” Mike threw an arm around Crandall. “Ash deserves to find someone special too.” In a rare moment of uninhibited playfulness, he nuzzled Crandall’s ear and, when Crandall didn’t react, sucked a small spot on his neck.
“Stop it.” Crandall shoved Mike, took a toke, and then passed him the joint to distract him. “Ash doesn’t need someone interfering with his TV schedule.”
Ash snickered, but his eyes reflected something darker. “Thanks a lot man,” Mike said, scowling. He moved his arm off Crandall, and slouched back in his spot on the couch grumbling to no one in particular.