74. A penchant for causal nostaglia (per DJD)

Most humans involved with Sixers would have argued, with passionate elaboration, that they knew what they were doing, what they were getting into, and what the risks were.

Jesse was more simple-minded about it. There was no way in hell he could know what the risks were. Whatever happened, it was still better than living with his mother. He chose not to claim a higher purpose; in his experience, that shit never works out. Instead, he took the position that he was being loyal to a person – George – and an idea – that sentient (language-using) creatures are created equal. He figured that no matter how smart anyone sent to argue with him was, he could defend those choices. He knew he was taking any notion of a reward for loyalty on faith; George had promised that he’d never spend a day in jail, and yet he’d publicly repudiated Jesse when he’d been called on it.

Jesse still believed. He didn’t tell anyone about it, and when conversation slid, as it always did, toward the miraculous post-coming-out party, he always took the darkest view. “Act like you’re already dead. Humans are crazy and violent when they’re afraid, and never more crazy and violent than after they’ve calmed down from being afraid. Maybe the Yanks’ll nuke Vancouver from orbit, or send in the drones.”

Everyone in earshot would groan and roll their eyes. 

He also thought he could argue that the coming of the Sixers was a nail in the coffin of the nation state, but that contention was going to be tougher to prove, and he’d need to do more research, and the business was, well, busy.  He thought November would be the slowest month ever but they did ten moves, every last one of them in the rain.

A couple of days after Halloween, he and Colin, subbing for the unavailable Michel, did their saddest move thus far.  The woman was moving out for cause because her male partner had taken to his bed. They literally had to move around him.

The plan had been to send him to his mother’s place, the last place bar the doctor’s office and the ER you could still get him to go, and then move overnight so it would all be over when he came home in the morning. 

Their client, Abbie, got the worst of both worlds.  Her soon to be ex was in the house, not helping, and she had to move in the middle of the night.

His name was Cary, and he was so depressed that his expression never changed and he moved with extreme sluggishness.  Michel was right to have skipped this one, Jesse couldn’t imagine what kind of hostile mischief he’d play on a poor guy like Cary. Colin, waspish as always, had volunteered.  “God,” he’d said, “It’ll be good to do something with you that doesn’t involve drinking,” to which Jesse concurred.

“Pro-social, too,” Jesse said. He was trying to stay upbeat. Lark had finally called back. As he’d suspected, he was now too holy to have sex with. Or something. None of it had been welcome, and even less of it had been coherent.

He tried to reframe it. All of his problems were ordinary problems. Trouble with boss, trouble with coworkers, trouble with health, trouble with family, trouble with friends and lovers.

He had to admit that since they’d moved to Vancouver  Raven had been everything she promised and then some. There was some family not worth complaining about. His mother still walked next to him through almost everything he did. He counted as part of the memorableness of any event her departure from his thoughts.

The problems were ordinary. Their contexts were not. Sometimes he experienced it with a kind of spastic grandeur, thinking that he was moving boxes as part of a criminal conspiracy with the potential to both yield and destroy trillions of dollars of assets across the global economy.  Then he’d think of Kima whispering in his ear, and he’d shiver, and say to himself, ‘I thought she asked me to volunteer to carry her, and so I did.’

Though capable of figurative speech, George had said once, it’s quite an effort for her.

Jesse had taken her literally — the horror on everyone’s face but the Sixers had been worth the risk of asking to pick her up and learning he was taking liberties. He thought afterward that he was lucky George had been telling the truth about her comment when she’d seen his picture.  

He had watched her with her two lovers — George, who did everything he could to not physically touch people, and Michel, who never met a boundary he could respect, and determined that for whatever reason it was the handsy (tentacle-y?) Michel that seemed to have her true affection.

For that whisper in his ear, that personal connection, for her cold and slithering form, miraculously dry, held briefly in his arms, it had all been worth it. 

After that, he thought Kima would come and get him, if George didn’t.  It might take a while and she’d be brusque about it, but she’d do it. Let the others mock him for being so gauche.

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Born when atmospheric carbon was 316 PPM. Settled on MST country since 1997. Parent, grandparent.

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