Chapter 2. Amateur Woodcarving

“Uh, Zell, why is the fridge full of Capri Sun pouches?”

“Capri Suns?” shouted Zell from the living room. “No, that’s my plasm- uh, I mean yes, the ‘fruit juice pouches’ are mine. Don’t drink them!”

I didn’t want to say anything ’cause I had just moved in with the guy, but… yikes. My roommate had some odd habits, that’s for sure.

I decided to check out the neighborhood on my morning run.

The streets are peppered with ancient Gothic buildings, each more decrepit and gloomy than the last. At the end of the road lies the largest and most ominous of them all, cradled in a bed of gravestones. I turned around before I got there, feeling spooked, secretly hoping I’d never have to get closer to that creepy building and whoever lived there.

So, what was I doing here, in this sinister, rundown neighborhood?

Believe it or not, I wanted to be a professional woodworker! In the backyard, I set up the only piece of furniture I had brought along- my woodworking table. This was my chance to be the person I always wanted to be.

Heck, maybe I’d even check out the romance festival Zell had mentioned! I usually hated crowds, and festivals, and romance, and I’d never even been on a date before, but I was feeling like maybe this could be my time to meet someone. There was just one problem…

As soon as I got to the romance festival, it happened: my heart rate rose, my hands grew clammy, my senses dulled, and I got tunnel vision. I looked for Zell, but he wasn’t there yet.

C’mon, Benji, I told myself. You can do it. It was so simple, all I had to do was walk over and introduce myself to someone. I could do it, right? I took a deep breath.

I got maybe ten feet away when the panic attack hit.

I couldn’t do it. I ran out of there. I’d have to find love some other way.

I finally glimpsed Zell as I was leaving. He effortlessly walked up to someone and started chatting them up-

-and soon, they walked off together.

I walked home alone.

Zell was out all night. Sigh. At least one of us was having a good time.

After dinner, I went straight to work. I might’ve been a failure at romance, but I was determined not to be a failure at woodcarving.

I worked straight until the early hours of the morning, when Zell finally came home.

“Hey, roomie, just checking in,” Zell said, surprised to see me out so late. “You left the festival early, and then you… worked all night? Is everything ok?”

“It’s just that-,” I hesitated, deciding whether I should tell my new roommate the truth about my personality. “…I’m no good with dating. Or flirting. Or even meeting people, really.”

“Hmm,” said Zell. “Oh, I know!”

“Why don’t I introduce you to my friend?” he said. “She’s nice, she’s single, but, quick question- how do you feel about uncontrollable hissing?”

“Uh, what?” I said. “Oh, that’s nice of you to offer, but I’m not into women-“


“-but, thanks.”

“Sure thing, roomie.”

Zell was mumbling something behind me.

“Hmmm, not into women… I’ll remember that.”

And sure, my roommate had his weird habits, but it was nice of him to check up on me like that.

So, I left one of my wood carvings outside of his door. Just as a token of gratitude to my roommate.

4 thoughts on “Chapter 2. Amateur Woodcarving

  1. Interesting. Benji should be grateful for the “Capri Suns” in the refrigerator. They’re a happy discovery and mean that Zell has something to snack on (besides Benji) if he gets hungry. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Finally, someone else who agrees that plasma packs are just evil Capri Suns. Does the word ‘neckfast’ appear in a later chapter? This is a question my brain had.

    Noted: if you wear the same outfit Zell does to an outing, they’re getting seduced posthaste & then not seen for the rest of the chapter. Clearly the chapter wants me to think they were hanging out at the other guy’s place, but I wouldn’t be opposed to a jump-scare if Benji decides to rummage through a coat closet.


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