The Big C
Taking Lumps

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Jacob Clifton: A+ | Grade It Now!
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Unhealthy Competition

Doesn't it make you feel cold, and awful, to imagine the ways it reasons it isn't? Sean has more control over his life than anyone she's ever met. He decides when, and how, and for what purpose. If he hasn't found a way to fight, then there's no sense in fighting. She wants to tell him everything; how she was innocently sleeping, and the world crashed in. How Paul sleeps on a couch in his sister's house, innocent.

"I mean otherwise, what kind of rules do we have to live by? Do you believe in karma?"

Do you want to learn about history? Sean believes we are all linked, cosmically. Sean believes most of all that if you screw with the earth she'll screw you right back. Sean knows that this is coming to pass; he is a prophet of disaster and he has seen the signs. He knows he can't stop it, because shit happens and life isn't fair, but he refuses to take part. Bourgeois morals being a bookshelf of dinosaurs, a story nobody reads anymore. His contribution to the chaos is to step back away from it all, and watch it all go by, circling the drain.

"I want to try and make us a real family again. Not like the old family, but a new, better family."

Sean makes fun of his sister's bathtub-race hard-on; Cathy asks only that he be kinder to Paul.

"That's gonna be hard," he says. "We have so little in common."

What Sean means is that he loves his sister. He didn't mean to say it so loud. He is beautiful for a moment; this will never do. Sean reaches into his salad, to distract her, comes out with a worm. Laughing madly, he drops it into his mouth, and chews, as she screams in her delight.

"My brother's dating a white girl," Andrea says. Lenny wonders what she thinks about that. Lenny has no idea, even now, of how much Andrea thinks about that.

"What do you think about that," she presses, and he gets a little nervous. They are behind the scenes, and it's over anyway. She's not going to be that woman.

"Do you prefer white women or black women?"

When every part of her is crying out for him, how can he be so blind? Not to see the girl in front of him. He shakes his head and asks her to talk about the weather, or algebra, but she can't, because he is beautiful. Because he is beautiful, she says, he can get both. Anything he wanted, he could have.

"It's just a matter of whether you want to betray the race or not."

So loaded, so dangerous to touch from any angle, that he nearly flees into the rafters, above the acoustic tile, just to get away. "It's warmer today than it was yesterday," the painter nearly stutters, but she knows she's got him on the ropes.

"Things are heating up," Andrea agrees. He's scared. He doesn't know what she wants, or how much she knows, or how close she is to getting him into trouble, and she knows all of these things. He's scared, now. It feels good.

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The Big C

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