I awoke, the next morning, to find my sinuses filled with various mucus membranes, as those it needed to protect itself, in case I managed to shoot anymore stomach acid through them. My lips had chapped to the point where they resembled the Sahara Desert on a particularly dry day. My muscles ached, for no apparent reason, and my eyes felt like they were on fire. I blinked a few times, to try and cool them, and then arose from my bed. It was far too cold to be walking around the place as normal, so I wrapped the blanket around me. I hate it when spring falsely starts. It just messes up everybody’s internal clocks. I decided to blow my nose and get some soup. Chicken noodle, I thought. That’s what you’re suppose to have when you’re sick, isn’t it? And herbal tea, or some such thing. I wondered if Valeria had gotten me these things when I heard a light knock on the door. It occurred to me that the front of my building was never locked off from the outside, and that anybody who wanted could come in, whether they lived there or not. It seemed kind of dangerous to me. Looking through the peephole, I could see a curly red mop on the other said. The only person I knew who it could have been was Valeria. I opened the door readily. As luck would have it, only not really since it was fairly obvious, she stood on the other side of the door. She said I was a poor baby, and told me to lie down on the couch, while she made me some soup and tea. And maybe orange juice. Basically overdose me with fluids. Why? So I will pee the sickness out of me? After the soup is on, and the kettle is heating she says to me that she saw Len today. He’s the one who told her I was sick. I said I had no idea how Len would know since I just got sick last night, and she informed me that he had apparently come over here earlier this morning, and talked to me for a bit. I had no memory of this, whatsoever. Valeria went on to say how Len was going to get a couple of our mutual friends to have a “Make Timothy Feel Better” party. That was nice of him, I said, then realized the only mutual friends we had were Winter and Bunni, and I’m not sure if he still gets along with Bunni after their assumed break-up.
Valeria sat down and began feeding me soup. It was wonderful not having to do it for myself. Winter was too much of an independent person, and not enough of a nurturer to ever feed me, not that one is better than the other, just that certain people are more equipped to deal with certain tasks. Like take care of my poor, sick little body. There wasn’t really anything else we could do, to be honest. Valeria said we could have made out or something, but she didn’t want to get sick to, what with her big job coming up. I told her I was okay with it if she wanted to get out of here before she caught anything, but she said she’d much rather stay. There was another knock on the door. I assumed Len and company had arrived, since I don’t know anybody else, except maybe the landlord. Valeria got up and answered it. I heard a voice ask for Timothy Arcane, and got up to look.
There was Duncan O’Duncan, looking just the same as he always did, only now he had a smile that stretched from ear to ear. What could make somebody so happy, I wondered. I mean sure I had Valeria, but still, what did Duncan have? A punk rock queen that he could ride into the sunset with, aboard a black ice cream truck? Turns out he was just excited because he had been talking to some guys, and the wanted to commission me to write a novel. An actual one. Not this bull crap, journal slash biography shit I was writing now. Something I might actually care to make good. I haven’t worked on something like that in a while. 18 months, actually, which is certainly a long while for somebody who found writing to be his only joy in life during school, and decided that real jobs were for losers, and he would just write for a living.