Brian stood in front of the display case not knowing what to get his friend who was getting dissected. What do you get someone who’s stepping up by stepping out and will be too dead to ever truly appreciate what you give them? A tie, he figured. He could get dissected in it, if he wanted. Maybe keep his head together with his neck. Brian paid ten for the tie and left the store, bumping into Stephanie.
“Oh, hi,” she said, startled.
“Hi. How’s it going?”
“Fine. Yeah. I suppose you heard about Sven,” she said, looking at her plastic see-through shoes.
“I was just getting him a gift,” he said holding up a gift store bag.
“Oh, what’d you get him? I have no clue what to get for a dissection.”
“I got him a tie. A blue one.”
“Blue, huh? A tie?”
“It’s all I could think of. Can never have too many blue ties.”
“So, maybe I could also get him a blue tie and that would be alright?”
“You can get him whatever you want. I think Sven’s going to be dissected in the morning, he probably won’t even notice what we get him.” Brian tried to be encouraging, but, even he heard his tone as sarcastic. Stephanie looked at him, not knowing what to say, so, Brian said more, “I didn’t know you knew Sven.”
“Oh, sure, Sven and we used to hang out all the time. We were even married for awhile, some time ago, I can’t remember, it was at least a couple years ago.”
The thought of Stephanie married to Sven made Brian slightly nauseous. Since their night together he had thought of her as easy, but never so easy as to marry Sven. “You married Sven? Did he have some sort of dark secret on you, or something?” Brian attempted to say jokingly.
“Actually, come to think of it, he did threaten to kill one of us if I didn’t marry him, but, until now, I never thought of that as any more than a coincidence.”
Brian had never thought of Stephanie as an idiot until now. Suddenly her beauty was ugly and her words were paper cuts. He wanted to cut her back but he didn’t know how. “Say, do you have a date or anything to this thing? You want to go together?”
“Actually, I’m going with Sven. I’m seeing him before for supper, and we’re going to try and work out some things that are left over from our marriage. We never did settle who got the kids.”
“You have kids?” Brian was astonished. “With Sven?”
“Just a couple, yeah. But neither of us wanted them, so we put them in one of those, what do you call those places… orphanages. But, we never did agree on which orphanage, so we just tossed one in each. We’re going to try now to get them back together, cause that would probably be better for them, being with family.”
“You have kids with Sven.” Brian was still trying to compute all her information.
“Not any more. I told you, the kids are in an orphanage. Orphanages. I had kids with Sven, but, that’s all over and done with now, just the logistics remain.”
“Kids can be a lot of work.” Brian didn’t know what he was saying, he was just saying the first words that fell out of his mouth, hoping to sound supportive.
“Oh, have you had some?”
“No, but I was one and I was a lot of work.”
“I’m sure you still are,” she winked at him. “I gotta get going. I’m supposed to be monitoring some tests on plutonium right now, I really shouldn’t be here, but, I’ll see you tonight?”
“Great,” she said, inspiring them both to take a Great and feel Great waving goodbye.
Away in warehouse section 85-G and without any notice from anyone, one of the dead stirred. It was a slight stir, a twitch of an index finger, minor, if it hadn’t been the first instance in the dead coming back to life since the myth of Jesus, I wouldn’t have even mentioned it.