“Two-Minute Tuesdays” are a series of micro-stories written in
two five minutes or less. Consider them “public practice,” like shooting free throws in the park.
I take the bottle from Chad, hiding my thirst, looking cool, with what I hope is an air of detached diffidence.
It won’t do for the rest of the team to know how thirsty I am. My dealer said that this might happen, that I would probably see some side effects, the increased thirst, above-average body temperature, racing pulse, light-headedness. He was right, he was beyond right but it’s worth it. I chug the entire bottle in the hallway where not too many can see me. Does it have a flavor? I can’t take the time to notice. The only thing I feel is a splitting headache as the icy electrolyte slush swirls past the bottom of my brain stem. Even that passes quickly, more quickly than is natural. I think the stimulant blocks it.
Which reminds me. I go down the hall and lock myself in the bathroom. First, I drink straight from the sink for a minute or two. Chug, chug, chug. This water is the opposite, warm, with a hint of plastic and fluoride, the finest city tap water. Not that it stops me. When I can finally think straight again, I pull off my shirt and look in the mirror.
A stranger stares back. He could be the brother I never had, I think. “He’s the sporty one,” I hear my dad say in my imagination, introducing us to extended family by reducing each of us to a single flat characteristic. That’s how he would’ve done it. He doesn’t understand that anyone can be more complex than himself.
But that’s not what I’m after. I want to see: are the bruises gone?
I took a nasty tackle, my whole side should be purple. It isn’t, it’s as fresh as a newborn baby’s skin, and I know I have to leave. This was not something I had prepared for. The stimulant is too good, it’s transformed me too completely. I have to leave before the others notice. They’re bleeding, bruised, reveling in pain the way I always wanted to be able to. I think Chad lost a tooth in the second half.
I want to laugh at myself, but I can’t yet. Here I wanted to blend in with the team, and it wasn’t copying their strength that was too difficult. It was copying their weakness that’s eluded me.