Reactants

Before I landed on the Moon, I’d been in my room. Before that, I’d been downstairs with friends.

On the kitchen table, unnoticed, a phone buzzed.

“David, what’s the capital of Indiana?”

“Uh—”

“Fuck off, Thomas,” Henry interjected, just as David was answering:

“Baton Rouge?”

I laughed, and Henry shook his head.

“Was that not right? What?”

“No, no, don’t worry about it,” I said.

“He’s been doing it all night,” Mark said from across the room. His face was bleached by the glare of his phone screen.

“He’s been doing what all…” David started, more to himself than anyone, as someone else picked up the conversation.

“Can we go outside?” Moaned Sam from the hallway opening, “It smells like smoke in here.”

“Because we were smoking,” replied Adam sardonically, coming out of his bedroom behind Sam, “It smells like smoke, because we were smoking.”

“I knowww,” carried on Sam, drawing out the word like a whiny theremin, “Can we please go outside?”

Henry was all about it, “Let’s go!”  He said, coming down from his perch on the half-wall. As he passed the coffee table in the middle of the room, he swiped a cigarette and one of two lighters. The lighter would never be seen again.

“It’s wet outside,” David offered uselessly.

“I’m coming, too,” Adam filed in behind Sam and Henry. Sam’s friend Alex crawled off the couch to join them. The four of them departed through the glass sliding door, leaving Mark, David, Austin, and myself in the living room.

Mark glanced at me and raised his eyebrows, arching them in that characteristically unsettling, albeit comical, way of his,  “Hey. Thomas. Mobius?”

I stared back at him, “What’s the capital of Indiana?”

“Baton—Shitting-fuck, again?” Mark shook his head, “You bastard.”

I climbed the steps, chuckling to myself as I went to retrieve the Mobius.

“I still don’t get it,” David stated blandly.

Austin piped up, “Is Will coming by?”

“I didn’t know that he was supposed to, why?” Mark said, his eyes darkening with the shadow that passed over half the room.

“I needed to buy something from him, but-“

“He’s coming by around eleven, I think,” I said, coming back down the stairs. The Mobius was cradled in my arms, light reflecting off the glass, illuminating the dirty, smoke stained interior.

“Ah,” exhaled David, “What time is it now? Ten? I’ll probs head out in like thirty.”

“I’ll come with,” added Mark, “I’ve got a write-up for analytical to do by Monday—Shit, Thomas, do you ever clean that piece?”

“I’m pretty sure I did last week, but…” I looked at the grime and residue clinging to the chambers, “I guess it’s gotten some pretty heavy usage since then.”

“Lol. Lol, lol, lol,” David muttered as he got up and moved for the kitchen, “I’m getting water, anyone else?”

“Sure,” said Austin, “Hey, uh, Thomas, you think you could smoke weed on the Moon?”

“You’re an idiot, and no, there’s no oxygen.”

“What if there was oxygen?”

“Then sure, why not.”

“But it would be less potent than on Earth,” said Mark, who had taken the first rip, and now spoke in a deep smoky baritone through the billowing, white cloud tumbling out from his mouth.

“Why?”

I took this one, “Gravity would affect the density of the cloud you’re taking in. Moon rips would be less potent than Earth ones.”

“Why do you want to smoke weed on the Moon anyway?” David asked, coming back with water.

“Isn’t it obvious?”

David shrugged and starting mumbling something like, “I guess,” but Austin blurted out.

“To get high with moon bears!”

I smiled, trying not to laugh while inhaling smoke from the Mobius. Mark barked out a laugh, but it was a mostly weed-induced laugh.

“You’ve never heard of moon bears, Mark?” Austin was feigning seriousness now.

“No, never.”

“Oh, they’re everywhere up there. The government keeps it on the DL, but they’re out there. They roam the Moon in packs, and above all else, they love getting high.”

“Would it be herds or packs…?”

“Bears are pretty solitary animals. They don’t roam the wild in herds or packs,” quipped David.

“That? Really, that was the part you found fault with?” I said, and Mark half coughed, half laughed from the other couch, “David, you’re up next,” I said, passing him the piece.

“It’ll just make me tired, and I’ve gotta drive back soon, anyway,” he replied, passing it to Austin instead. Austin grabbed the piece, latched on to the mouthpiece, and sucked in while the ember was still lit. When he finished he passed it on to Mark and reclined back on the sofa.

“Well, moon bears do.”

“Do what?”

“Roam in packs.”

The sliding door opened again, and Sam stuck her head through, “It smells like smoke.”

“Goddammit,” David laugh-mumbled under his breath.

From outside, we could make out Adam’s voice from the tire swing, “Hey, Sam, you wanna know why?”

“Ugh,” groaned Sam, “Anyway, we’re going to grab Cook Out, anyone else trying to come with?”

“Yeah, sure,” I said, moving to get up, “I’m hungry.”

“And I’m Henry,” said Henry, standing in the doorway behind Sam.

“Every time. Every fucking time…” I shook my head, then froze. I heard a buzzing sound from the kitchen.

“I think I’m going to head out,” Mark announced once Austin vouched that he’d be going as well.

“Yeah, I’ll go too,” put in David. I wasn’t really listening anymore; I’d already reached the kitchen, and was starting to go through the texts on my phone, “Thomas, I’ll see you later!”

David and Mark had already left. The others had come inside and were collecting their things, readying for departure.

“Hey, everyone, I’ll see you when you get back,” I called to the living room, “I’m not hungry anymore.”

Alex was about to ask me why, but Henry saw I was on my phone and distracted her, picking her up and carrying her out to the car. As he passed by, he tried to catch my eye, but I didn’t look up.

“I’ll see you in a bit,” I mumbled as the door shut behind Austin and Sam.

Next Chapter

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