If you think about it, Jan’s shitbox apartment is the perfect place to crash. Technically, his parents live here—on paper. But they don’t live here. They’re always away doing whatever it is shifty Czech parents do when neglecting their children. If Theo were around, he’d be bent over the fact that Jan’s parents are MIA. But we all have to lose our parents sometime, whether it’s to our college years, old age, cancer, bad buffet. There’s a point in our lives when Mommy and Daddy are no more. I lost mine in a freak Wal-Mart stampede. Janny Boy lost his to SuperMegaNet. Yet neither of us have completely lost anything so much as we’ve gained the experience of being parentless. When we turn eighteen and are kicked to the curb the very next day, we’ll already know what it’s like to be on our own. We’ll bypass that whole late-teens, early-twenties homesick phase where we move out of our parents’ place, back into our parents’ place, out of, back into, out, in, out in, all shaggy and unshaven and clueless as to how a washing machine or dishwasher or microwave oven works. I feel sorry for Theo and Eva, with their superficial physiques, sprawling homes, bulging bank accounts…they have so much to lose in a crisis. Me and Jan? You can’t lose what you never had.
(No, I’m not crying. That tear trickling down my cheek? That’s sweat brought on by the Kounicovas’ lack of reliable air-conditioning. Fuck you.)
Point is, we have the pad all to ourselves. Hell, if I wanted to, I could probably whip off my jammies and light my farts on fire. If I wanted to.
“Have you blown the case wide open yet?” Jan asks, his flex-pecs gleaming in the light of Theo’s laptop as he settles into bed with me.
“Har-har,” I reply. “You’re so witty.”
“And for your information, I think we need to change our approach.”
Jan closes his eyes, curls up on his side, facing away from me.
“We need to be more preemptive.”
“Become the hunters instead of the hunted.”
I pay his needlessly broad shoulders an irritated glance. “Jan? Jan? are you listening?”
He starts snoring, asleep.
Jesus, it’s a wonder he ever stayed awake long enough to cross the border.