“I’m not going to do that man,” Mansour says to my request. He doesn’t even look at me to stay it, just keeps his eyes on the ceiling, scratching his faint beard.
BR order: Large green apple chiller
Current job: Makes electronics
“Come ooon,” I drone. “It’s just a prop.”
BR order: surprise me
Current job: Writes for the Interwebs
I’ve just asked Mansour to write and sign a letter reading “I, Mansour Bonakdarian, as a physics and math major, have determined using my powers of Science and Logic that you, the recipient of this letter, should probably be making out with Ali.” He’s not digging my idea, even though I think that the appeal to science might help me in the dating front.
“This is gay,” Roger says, also not bothering to look at either of us. “You guys are gay.”
BR order: n/a
Current job: packaging designer
“It’s weird. I’m not doing it,” Mansour finishes. “Just make something up.”
“If it’s not authentic I’m not using it,” I say. “That would be a lie.”
It’s ten minutes to two on an August Wednesday, and Mansour, Roger and I lie sprawled across Roger’s living room. The air conditioner in the corner, mounted against the window, blasts out cold noisy air. On Roger’s plasma television, CP 24 runs a news program about water on the moon while the weather shows sunny days and high temperatures for the next week.
“So where are we going?” Roger says. He’s fully reclined in one of the black leather sofas, dressed in dark blue track pants and his blue Maple Leafs socks. Mansour and I are a bit better dressed in jeans and ultra-cool hoodies.
“Hey, paper,” Mansour says from the floor. He reaches under the other sofa, and pulls out a pad of foolscap. “You have a pen?”
I always have a pen. I pull a blue Bic from my pocket and lob it at Mansour. I aimed for his head but he catches it easily. Damn him. He starts drawing over the foolscap. The pen scratches the paper in long strokes as the AC hums and the television babbles.
“You wanna go to Square One?” Roger asks. “Ali, do you want to buy a book or something?”
“Actually if we go I wanna see if they have this thing called Transmetropolitan.” I say. “It’s this comic book. Looks cool.”
“Manga?” Mansour asks, still doodling on the foolscap.
“I don’t read manga,” I say.
“Ali, don’t lie to us,” Roger says.
“Hey, I watch anime, but I don’t read manga,” I say. As a skinny, nerdy white guy, I know that I can’t get too far into the anime subculture. If I did I’d end up shouting “kawaii desu ne?” and awkwardly courting Asian girls more interested in Ouran Host Club than a wierd fuck like me.
“I don’t believe that,” Roger says.
“I’m not that into anime,” I say.
“Yes you are,” Mansour says. “Ali, you should stop anime, actually. People will think you’re close-minded and junk. And that you only like other anime people. You are limiting your options for socialization.”
Mansour holds out the picture he’s been working on. It’s a detailed, but hurried, sketch of a nude woman. He’s pressed hard into the foolscap and there are indents from the lines he’s drawn. The woman’s funbags are each the size of her head.
“Look,” he says, “boobies!”
“Very nice, Mansour,” I say.
“Misogynist,” Roger says. He rolls over onto his stomach and inspects the floor.
“Shut up, I have a girlfriend,” Mansour says. He’s the only one of us currently seeing someone.
“Yeah, does Shruti know?” I ask. “About the misogyny?”
“Shut uuuup,” Mansour says.
“So let’s go get Ali’s comic book,” Roger says.
“No, I wanna stay here,” Mansour says. “It’s cool and I can draw forever.”
“But it’s so boring,” Roger says.
“Boring isn’t a bad thing,” I say. “Let’s play Halo.”
“Dude, my Xbox hasn’t worked for a year,” Roger says.
“Rent a movie,” I say.
“We have to go out to do that anyway,” Roger says.
“BR,” Mansour says.
“Hell no.” Roger says. Roger went to Bubble Republic with Jon once, and neither have been back since. Mansour and I don’t understand it; we go there so often with An that the waitresses know our orders.
“It’s awesome man. Crap,” Mansour says. “I drew too many this time.”
“I don’t wanna know,” I say.
“I do,” Roger holds out his hand. Mansour flings the pad of paper at him. He spends a few seconds surveying the new sketch. “Heh, awesome.”