“If I don’t understand then maybe it’s all in my head. It doesn’t make sense, and if I’m this dumbfounded by how it would happen, maybe it didn’t. Maybe you’re not,” Kota said.
“So, you mean maybe you were wrong,” Bama contended.
Kota replied “Maybe.” And Bama nodded. He thought it was settled. But Kota was not satisfied. “Still,” he said, “I think you did. Honestly I do. Maybe you’re not pathetic, at least not all of the time, but yeah, I think you did what I said you did. Maybe you are,” he said.
The dryer buzzed. Bama grabbed his basket. “Well, I didn’t,” he said, and turned to retrieve his clothes. “Mhm,” Kota said. Bama continued, his back turned to Kota, “If it doesn’t make sense to you, maybe why, is simple as that.” Piling clothes in his basket. He swung the dryer door. Hard enough to slam it ajar.
Bama wanted to say something more. Something that began with nar and ended with sist. Kota, though, was unable to contain himself and robbed it from his mouth. “Don’t say the N word, now, Bama.”
Kota had been called it before. On more than one occasion by Bama. The dryer door creaked. Bama spoke. “I won’t,” he said. “Pretty sure I said it enough last night.”
“I’m a super narcissist, anyway,” Kota said as remembrance. “I’m not just some, dime-a-dozen, every day, selfie-sticking narcissist. No.” Kota said this to be funny. Bama laughed. He did to be polite.
“You honestly are pathetic at times, though. But aren’t we all.”
Bama was annoyed, but didn’t disagree. “Yes,” he said, “Even you.”
Kota nodded. “Yeah, sometimes,” he said. “Even me.”
Kota glanced around the small, unfinished basement. “Got any bleach in this bitch,” he asked Bama. Bama shook his head, “I don’t use bleach,” he said, “Bad for nature.” Kota nodded. Bama wondered. “What do you need bleach for anyway?”
“I don’t,” Kota said, “Just asking.”
Momentary silence. And Kota spoke. “You mean bad for nature as in, the environment, right?”
Bama responded “Sure.” Becoming increasingly annoyed. “Haven’t we talked about this before,” he asked, “I’m pretty sure that we talked about this.”
“Yeah, we did,” Kota answered. “Last night.”
Bama laughed. It sounded almost painful. “You really are a super narcissist!” He said.
Kota could not smile wider. “Yes I am,” he said. Triumphantly. “There you go, buddy. I told you there’s a difference.”
Bama nodded aggressively. “Uh-huh, uh-huh, most definitely,” he said. “A super narcissist. I bet other narcissists have to admit it, that you’re the best narcissist. I bet they can’t help it, you’re just too good. They say Look! It’s a bird! It’s–”
Kota interrupted. “It’s sort of like guilt and shame,” he said. Derailing Bama off his rant, putting him in disbelief. “What,” Bama asked, “What do you mean?”
Kota shrugged. “Remember,” he began almost asking. But quickly found point. “Jealousy. Envy. Guilt and shame. Two words mean two different things but people use them interchangeably. We talked about this.”
Bama reached his hand for his head. He seemed in pain. “Wow,” he muttered.
“Well,” Kota responded, “Don’t be envious, Bama.”
Bama had no expression for this. Kota huffed, “It was a joke,” he insisted.
“It is true, though,” he went on. “Don’t be jealous sounds better there. Even if you’re not and you’re not but just saying. You know?”
Bama stared blankly. “Yeah I don’t got time for this,” he said.
“But you’re right. And you’re jealous. And I mean that, as in, what that means. You’re right, though.”