Free short stories about Generation End

Posts Tagged ‘Vail’

THE PURPOSE OF VAIL

the purpose of Vail

The scene started off like this: Vail and I were on Jude’s balcony, and the sun had been down for a while and Vail, wearing something black, was humming something I didn’t recognise.

“It’s so, so easy to do what’s easy,” she said.

“That’s why it’s called easy.”

Vail said nothing to that. She looked out, at the traffic. I hadn’t seen her in months.

She lit a cigarette and exhaled in silence. She checked her phone, typed something, then glanced up at me. “What’s the difference between love, and fog?”

“There are a lot of differences between love and fog.”

She giggled, shrugged. “Someone sent me text asking me that.”

“And what did they say? What is the difference?”

“The difference is in the spelling,” she said. She looked me up and down and scowled a little. “You seem different,” she said. “You don’t look as angry.”

“I blame Christie for that.”

“All that dreaded contentment. It won’t hurt your writing, will it?”

“I don’t know if I should aim for being a better writer, or being a happier person.”

Vail poured herself another glass of wine. But instead of taking a sip she stole another puff from her cigarette. “Definitely a better writer.”

“You’re a great friend.”

“You know,” she smiled slightly, starting to say something but then stopping – her mind drifted somewhere, to some man or drama maybe. I suddenly remembered a road trip we did once, to the north somewhere.

“Do I know what?”

“The afterlife, eternity… like, even when people talk about afterlife and eternity. It scares me.”

“It scares me too. And Christie tells me a lot about heaven. I mean, what would it be like to live forever?”

Vail exhaled smoke from her nostrils as she killed her cigarette for good. She texted someone something and then put down her phone, leaning it against the bowl of coins in the middle of Jude’s table. “You know it’s not good when the only two people in a room are scared.”

“Good, because we’re on a balcony.”

“You know what I mean.”

“I never know what you mean.”

She slapped my shoulder. “One person always has to be the brave one. Shouldn’t you be the brave one? You’re like, the only man on this balcony. You need to protect us.”

“That’s sexist.”

I watched her phone glow, then vibrate, then topple off the edge of the bowl. She picked it up, glanced at it, muttered “Instagram,” then put it back down. “You see my post about Mick? It got three hundred likes for some reason. It wasn’t even that funny. My other posts were funnier.”

“I’m brave, but not all the time.”

“You need to be brave all the time.”

“No one is brave all the time.”

I loved and despised Vail. She’s the type who would ditch her friends for her man. She’s the type who wouldn’t speak to you for months, but would drive fifteen hours for you if it was truly urgent. I watched the view from Jude’s balcony for a moment before picking up an iPad from the chair between us and playing some folk song on Spotify that sounded like it had a point about something.

Vail poured some more wine into my glass. “Somewhere along the line I’ve forgotten who I was supposed to be. Did I ever know who I was supposed to be? I’m sure I did know who I was supposed to be, at some point in time. Maybe I was six years old. Maybe I was twenty years old. But I’m sure it was there, somewhere. I mean, there are so many things wrong in the world, and here I am, like, looking out of a balcony.”

I watched the skyline, imagining God speaking to a six-year-old Vail, telling her who she was supposed to be.

 

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Book I’m reading: Saga

HAPPINESS AND ARMPIT PLUCKING

happiness and armpits“You know what I’ve realised?” Vail asked me.

“What?”

“I like the idea of doing charity work more so than actually doing it.” Vail had just finished an afternoon of volunteer work with troubled kids. “It’s a lot of work.” She sighed, sipping on her latte or whatever the hell it was. “It’s so much work.”

“You know what I’ve realised?”

“What?”

“That I have no idea what I want or what’s going on. I mean, I have goals, but…” I began mumbling, trying to figure out what I was trying to say.

She giggled. “I have no idea what you’re saying.”

“I mean, all it takes is one emotional speech to persuade a group of people to completely change what they stand for… I don’t think people really know what they want. It’s like we’re driving cars in vast open spaces, looking for anyone to tell us where to go.”

“I guess that’s the cost of freedom.”

“What do you long for?” I asked Vail.

“I don’t know.” Her phone vibrated and she quickly picked it up. She texted someone, then put it aside. “What do I long for? A cold shower. What do you long for, Dean?”

“Constant sex. Constant reassurance that I’m doing the right thing. Constant wealth. Constant happiness. Like some escape somewhere but I don’t know where. I mean, we can escape to somewhere better, but for how long will it be better for, right? Happiness is always something temporary? I don’t know, I think I need help.”

“Yeah I suppose…” Vail’s mind was back on her phone. She texted someone again, a selfie this time. Eventually: “My mum makes me pluck her armpits.”

“How often?”

“Not too often.”

“Does she pluck your armpits?” I asked her.

“Sometimes.”

“How often?”

“Not too often.”

Vail finished her drink and I did too. We drove to the shopping mall, looked at a few things; I helped her choose a few Christmas presents for her relatives and friends. Afterwards, we smiled and hugged and said bye to each other and walked towards our cars, which were parked in two completely different car parks.

When I arrived home I saw it. It was a tiny creature, about the size of a ruler. It stood on two legs and had the face of a good luck troll. It horrified me, but it only moved once: it turned its head and it smiled at me. I watched it for a while until I went to bed and fell asleep. It was gone the next day.

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Book I’m currently reading: Here I Am.

INSTAGRAM

Instagram - short story

The sun wasn’t rising and it wasn’t setting, either – it was about three in the afternoon and time was what it was. Jude was smoking and Vail was typing something on her phone. “We’ve changed, but we really haven’t, if you think about it,” Jude said. “Want to go to Alfred & Constance?” Vail asked without looking up from her phone. I wondered what the both of them would be like thirty years from now. Uglier, obviously, but I wondered what kind of things they’d say. Would they both still be single? We drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we didn’t end up going to Alfred & Constance but instead went to this hipster-looking café in Newstead or New Farm or something, and I ordered something with salmon and Vail ordered something with a lot of prosciutto and Jude ordered something I don’t remember. Vail took a photo of everything we ordered and put it on Instagram and made us like the photo. Vail then took a selfie on Snapchat and sent it to her friends. Afterwards, she took a series of photos and uploaded them all to her Facebook. Jude picked up a piece of prosciutto and pegged it at Vail’s face. She swore at him and began to cry. Jude didn’t apologise, so she ran to the toilet. I walked after her and spent the next half hour listening to her complain about Jude and about her work and about the world in general. We walked back, and Jude looked bored and drunk. We drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we ended up in West End, at this dance hall, dancing slowly to strange music. When the novelty of it all evaporated we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we ended up at Jude’s apartment. He played a track by Drake (Buried Alive Interlude) on his expensive looking sound system, and he brought out drinks and just like before, Vail Instragrammed, Facebooked and Snapchatted various photos and videos of the drinks. We drank, and at some point I walked out to the balcony. This whole scene, this whole experience, this moment: the drinking and the laughing and the gossip and the voicing of opinions and the photos – they were good things, but they were things that had happened before, and they would probably be things that would happen again, and again, and again. I was lucky, and I wouldn’t trade my life in to be in a war-torn country or anything like that, but I was still bored of it all. I looked out at the view. My eyes were taking it all in but my mind was elsewhere. Vail joined me, and I said something witty to her and she giggled. I missed looking at her naked. She mumbled something before checking her phone, and Jude yelled for us to see something inside, and she yelled, “Okay,” and she walked back inside. I stayed outside for a while longer.