STORY: The Big Bamboozle

“What are you doing?” Andrew asks, peering over my shoulder to examine my notebook. I roll my eyes at him and cover up the page so he can’t see.

“I’m trying to separate your characters,” I explain. “I need you to be two completely people.”

“But I can’t,” he says simply. “We’re all the same. I am one but I am many. Like Vishnu, the Hindu god.”

“Yes, darling, that’s all very nice and theoretical, but I need you to be two different people. I need one of you to be real and one of you to be imaginary.”

“But all of me is real,” Andrew argues. “This is me. This is who I am. I like to pretend to be something that I’m not. I do it to people all the time. Playing this game is fun for me. You’re my favourite to play with because you’re a writer so you never get bored with my games. I always feel inspired to play new ones. That’s what makes it really fun.”

“I can’t play with you, Andrew! You’re Sam!”

“That’s definitely one version of me,” Andrew says, pulling out his special edition calendar of himself. He flips the page to the wholesome family photo headlining September. “But just one. I’m also The Turkey, The Rooster, and The Pink Flamingo!”

“And a personal trainer and a compliance officer and Mr. HGTV and a politician and a Belizean drug lord and a cult leader and everything else on this goddamn calendar!”

I snatch the calendar out of his hands and throw it on the ground. I let out a heavy sigh of frustration as Andrew picks it up and hands it back to me with a smile on his face.

“It’s okay,” he says gently. “You don’t have to separate me into two people. I can be all of these things at once. I can be Sam and still come play with you whenever I want.”

“Well, isn’t that just so convenient for you?”

“It comes with a price.”

“A price that I had to pay with my valuable reputation!”

“You didn’t have a reputation. You were already widely disliked and unpopular with many.”

“And you made it worse.”

“But I made you better.”

I fold my arms and turn away from him with a glare on my face. Andrew smiles at me again and puts his fingers under my chin. He turns my face back towards him and looks me in the eyes.

“Betsey… Sometimes in life there are questions that only falling in love can answer. And that’s okay too.”

“I’m not in love with you! I’m in love with an imaginary fictional character I invented in my head!”

“No… you are in love with me.”

I gaze up at him for a moment longer before I turn away again.

“This is a disaster,” I mutter. “And here I thought it couldn’t possibly get any worse.”

“It didn’t,” Andrew says firmly, putting his hands on my shoulders. “It got better, and it’s only going to keep getting better from here.”

Andrew pats me on the head and turns around to leave.

The End

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