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Half-heard, Chapter 29 

A weekly serial novel

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The same nuclear sundown projected itself against the bell-clear sky outside Myles' bedroom window while long-necked Myles laid in his room, stared up at the full-length mirror above his bed polishing his small-talk and adjusting the parameters of his hand gestures with a needle-point precision. Motions cranked with an awkward rigidity like shoddy ratchets in the dim reflection above him. He hoped that he could lubricate interactions with a six-ring of Mike's Hard Lemonade from the cooler under his mother's bed that she livened up her nightly reality shows and phone conversations with Myley's creepy liplicking uncle-but-not-really-uncle Warren. He thought about how to smoothly high-tail himself out of the party when the shebang's invisible axis shifted feel-good vibrations southward and folks started the obvious but unspoken rifling for a good thing to say to get out of there without seeming phased by the increasing level of discomfort in the room. 

The mirror above the bed thing had been going on since Myles was 11 or so, maybe two years before he realized that people liked mirrors above the bed for something other than talking to yourself. Myles figured out last year from a low-budget erotic thriller on CITV that people, at least in The Sensualist's Showroom IV: Behind Door Number Four, valued the positioning of the mirror above the bed for its enhancing capabilities in extracurricular bedroom activities. He doubted many people had seen that movie, though.

He thought it was funny, that people would want to watch themselves grapple and pin each other in the total buff rather than just being with the person they were rolling around with. He didn't understand wanting to be a fly-on-the-wall when you wanted to be part of it. If they had less conscious knowledge of their character, they could put more of themselves into the things they did or be more open to the things they could feel. He thought, at least. Or maybe, the mirrors lent the mirror-glancing guy or girl the experience of both viewing and participating, with partial control over what you viewed.

He thought he was maybe starting to think about it a little too much so he got back to focusing on how animated he could make his face and practiced his "oh really?" face for a minute or two before he noted that the earth's gravitational force was doing nothing good at all for his jowls that sagged to bulldog-worthy levels when he had to plank himself over his bed to see himself. 

Friday morning, the day of the party. Early morning barrel fever, the kind of wall-clawing clinging-to-sobriety wakeup that has the fluffy deposits of dust that fall on the mantles ring in your ears like the loudest tick-tock you've ever heard, and worse, the sound of Trevor excitedly trotting through the house like a kid on Christmas morning waking everyone up sounding like a dawn's crow megaphoning its squawk right into your eardrum. He had woken everyone up by knocking on every door and then popping his head in whispering "party-time-tonight" in a musical lilt like that of a sadistic clown, too excited to note anything creepy about this himself. While they all dragged themselves out of bed, he readied himself in the kitchen. 

The idle and unwaged Northwood septet roundtabled around Trevor's vaporizer on the cold linoleum floor in the kitchen, Trevor demanding that they sit together before things erupted later in the day. To discuss the particulars, make sure everyone's on the same page and share an early-morning vape. 

Snippets of the conversation which Myles heard through the basement's vents, all statements impaired by Trevor's vape. Sentences floating over top of everyone like static, every one of them hardly related to the other:   

"Let us prepare for the worst tonight."

"Everything breaks, sooner or later, let's not worry about that."

"Things we won't allow this time: No entry for any people wearing jewellery fashioned out of any small birds."

"Let me just say, behind only one of the five doors I opened this morning did I find Alex Stuart bare-naked and ass in the air. So thank you for that, world." 

"I've counted: we've used 'party' as a verb 15 times since Trevor brought down the vaporizer."

"Nothing wrong with verbing."

"How does dry ice work, anyway?"

"I think the downstairs bathroom's been clogged since Welnot's barricade came and went."

"Kinds of Leon are out for the warm-up act. What about Not The Hoople or Fü Fighters?" 

"Could this double as a fundraiser for my IDS program's trip to Ecuador?"\

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