Prototype

@ernie

Theo’s standing with one foot lifted off the floor and is scowling like it’s the first time he’s ever accidentally stepped on something sticky upon downloading into my bedroom. “Okay, what’s so important that I had to drop everything and dunk my foot in what I sincerely hope is, uh…fresh oatmeal?”

“Oatmeal, sure,” I say (with no real data to back me up). “Now, we’ve been stuck wearing crotch-rags for so long I think it’s safe to say the Fundoshi Mandate isn’t going away anytime soon. Therefore, to capitalize on the resultant market for Mandate-compliant crotchwear, I give you…the Dulce & Chobani line of motivational loincloths!” I hold up my prototype for Theo to see.

Pretending to be unimpressed, he reads out loud the text printed across the front: “If only hot girls made eye contact with me the way homeless people do, the world would be a better place.” He takes the loincloth in both hands, fingers the fabric. “Did you write this with a Sharpie?”

“It’s a prototype.”

“And did you cut it from an old T-shirt using a house key?”

Prototype!” I yank the loincloth away from him. “Well? What do you think?”

Theo props himself against the side of my bed, unsheathes his toy dagger, uses it to scrape off the gunk from the bottom of his foot. “The fact that hot girls would have to read your crotch for a PSA on lack of eye contact defeats the purpose of such a message in the first place.”

“That’s the point! I’m making an example by creating a self-fulfilling prophecy!”

“Why not something more obvious, then? Like, ‘Watch where you’re going.’ Or, ‘If you can read this, you’re looking the wrong way.’ ‘My eyes are not down here.’ Or even just a giant arrow pointing up—”

I shake my head, frowning. “Remind me why I invited you here?”

“Hey, I figured you wanted an honest opinion,” Theo replies.

“Friends don’t give honest opinions! They smile uncomfortably and nod and give you a bullshit ‘that’s nice’ or ‘mm-hm.’ Would it have killed you to smile uncomfortably and nod and give me a bullshit ‘that’s nice’ or ‘mm-hm,’ jerk?”

Theo glowers at me. “Mm-hm.”

“Lick shaft! Dulce & Chobani is going to be el chingon, and you’re just jealous you didn’t think of it first!”

“That’s nice.”

Love is a little red pixel heart

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