Chapter 2:


the very long and wide ghost swirl

by the time road had dumped his bookbag back at the house, swiped some snacks, swapped his shoes, and emerged onto his lit porch to meet porch again, the sun had given up its strength for the day and relented to the purple sky's approach. "you could've come inside, you know," road reminded, handing a microwave pastry or a pop tart over to his reunited childhood friend. his childhood friend smiled back, accepting the toaster item or a pop tart: "you always came over to my house anyway." road scratched the back of his head again, perhaps in search of a bug or lyme disease carrier. "you really haven't eaten all day?" porch led road across the road, responding with a mouthful: "well, i was holding out for tomorrow's continental breakfast."

"uh huh. so... is today the first you've been in town?"
"wise guess, road. it's the truth!"
"did your folks get a nice hotel or..."
"huh? why do you ask?"
"just gauging if i'll be able to get them to pay for my phone repair or not."

porch whirled around to meet road face to face, the best track off discovery. "i told you, i can get you the cash--and it won't have to come from my parents." road lowered his eyebrows. "so you're a robber after all." porch smiled, turning back around and leading her reunited childhood friend to the other side of the street. "that's not quite true... but i will be becoming a breaking-and-entering-er." the two made it to the other side.

"wait, what?"
"or a breaker-and-enterer?"
"we're not going to break into your old house."
"oh, please... can you really be a b&e when you have.... THIS?"

road looked at what porch flashed in her blueberry pop tart stained smile and in her fist, then folded his arms. "there's zero chance that still works." his skepticism did little to dissuade that smile. "why don't we find out? huh? huh?" her enthusiasm did little to dissuade his folding. "why don't you chew with your mouth closed?" porch trotted along the steps of her old porch and up to her old door, looking back at road with a thumbs up, then jamming the old key into that old door. she turned the knob, and...

"see? look, let's just hang out back at my house. you can meet my new siblings."

porch gazed upon her failed key, enthusiasm and smile drained.

"i never met your old ones."
"then they're all new to you."
"well, i don't want to meet any of them... follow me around back."

porch shambled ahead of road with a face of pathetic dread, like a sad puppy who had just been informed of a lupus diagnosis. they rounded the house and came up to the back, this side absent of a porch save for porch herself. she stopped, so road did, too, so road spoke: "you don't even have a backdoor. neither of our houses do. so what are you looking...?" his words trailed off as he observed what a silent porch did as well: a shattered window. he hadn't even noticed at first given the lack of cartoonish shards sticking out, the base of the window having been ostensibly sanded down somewhat. porch face to faced road once again, although perhaps high life is the best, explaining "i tried my key earlier and it didn't work, so i just smashed a window and sanded it down somewhat!" road backed up, freaked. "y-you what? porch, you don't live here anymore, you can't just..." she closed the growing distance with her face. "but i did. you're saying i can't, but i did do it." road shoved her back. "you can't, as in you're obviously not supposed to, dumbass. did you hit your head a few times in the ten years since you lived here?"

a big smile returned to porch's face. "ten years ago, i remember a certain asphalt named individual smashing a window himself." she brought her face close again, adding "gleefully, even." another shove, another road retort: "you're talking about the baseball thing. the accident. you're talking about when i accidentally broke someone's window?" her smile was undeterred. "someone's? i seem to remember that house being abandoned, too... and i seem to remember someone suggesting we go check out the inside..." a big folding returned to road's arms. "i wanted the baseball back. it was signed by potty thampson." porch laughed in the increasingly growing dark. "i wonder if you'd beat him in a stupid name competition". no smile could be seen on road. "i wonder if you'll get beat in jail when you're arrested for trespassing." despite the night around them, porch's pearly whites were unbelievably undeniable. "hmm... i dunno, why don't you come with me and find out for yourself?"

and with a suddenness, porch was upon road, lifting him up in the air and tossing him straight through the window.

"AUGH... what the... porch, what the hell is your problem?" road yelled through the window, or the sanded down gap in the window, rather. he checked himself for any cuts, and thankfully found nor felt none. porch's head poked out the top of the sanded down gap in the window, and her smile continued with a failed infectiousness against road's annoyance. "what's your problem, huuuuh?" she began to crawl through the window, continuing: "i seem to remember a more adventurous road, a road who'd go down any road. what happened to that road, huh?" road's forehead had never wrinkled so hard. "he grew up, which not everyone is capable of doing, apparently." porch, halfway through the gap, laughed. "i grew up. i just didn't let my curiosity die--ouch!" she winced as her finger sliced open off a rogue shard, the gap in the window losing its ability to be called sanded down, or at least sanded down well. road stood completely up to face a sucking-on-the-side-of-her-index porch.

"you deserved that, you know."

porch lowered her finger, flashed another smile, then continued sucking.

Liber Mercury