Happy Hour
by Lassiter

You're on the roof of a shopping mall. This has happened before.

You're on the roof of a shopping mall or Walmart or middle-class apartment. You're there usually when the sun starts to set or happy hour begins. Whichever.

The sun is setting now, stretching shadows against the sky. You think it's pretty, and say so aloud.

Bartleby replies with a non sequitur. "I don't know even know why you even bother with that," and looks at the bottle in your hand.

"It's the other way around," you say. "Why do you even bother waiting for something that's never going to happen?"

You take a demonstrative gulp.

You're sitting on the edge of the roof, staring at the half-empty parking lot below. Bartleby's behind you, slowly pacing, slowly driving you to doubtful irritation. When you speak, the words are familiar.

"Just give it up, man, we're never going to go home anyway. Cast out of Paradise like Adam and Eve... Well, Adam and Steve. We might as well not be angels anymore."

Bartleby reaches inside his shirt, tugs, and winces. He holds something out to you.

A feather.

"Adam and Eve were still human when they were thrown out of Eden," says Bartleby.

You take the feather. "That was why they got thrown out in the first place, wasn't it?"

Bartleby's getting that look again. You don't like the look. The look says, 'It pains me that when I go back home, you won't be with me. I wish you wouldn't make bad choices.'

Fuck that. That's the kind of attitude that gives you guys such a bad rap on Earth.

"But," says Bartleby, "people... things... like you and me, we have no excuse to make mistakes."

"So obviously we're not mistakes," you say. "We're part of the plan."

"We're made to obey His divine will. How the hell could we fuck up?"

"God works in mysterious ways."

"Loki, if you're going to be quoting at me, quote something other than... Christ, I don't know. Whatever."

So you do. "The whole point was that when a human was good or bad it was because they wanted to be. People couldn't become truly holy unless they also had the opportunity to be definitely wicked."

You say, "So how holy are we?"

Bartleby says, "My head hurts."

He swipes your drink and lets it slip out of his hand as he walks away. You watch his retreating form, with his hands raised like a white flag, and you can't bring yourself to protest. You look at the feather in your hand and bring it to your lips. You blow. The wind carries it a few feet, then you turn around and follow Bartleby because you don't want to see it touch the ground.


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