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He is dressed in plaid pajamas and his fingers make random spastic twitchy movements and he sits cross-legged on the couch. One foot tucked underneath and one foot with it's hairy ankles and white clean toenails exposed. His dark hair was sweat-tousled and hung in lank strands across his similarly dark eyes, bright and strange. Those eyes didn't say much but they said a lot. His ankles are pale like his face, moonpale, the pale of someone who hasn't seen the month in weeks. His eyes are casting shadows.
He glares, clearly and messily, at the overblown candycane queen across from him, and she shifts uneasily and looks in her compact one last time before snapping it shut and pursing her lips in a glitterfrosted 'o'. Her eyes are his eyes, strange, but lighter. They are run through with pink-striped veins and the man in the plaid pajamas knows that once a long time ago he would have found her attractive. She is a teenaged scream queen and dresses messy, dark pink and black and green glitter. She is pale but not the pallid sallow pale he is. Her eyes are still strange. She sits teenaged-like, one leg dangling over the chair arm, one leg ended in a combat boot sprayed with some sort of glittery substance. "Glitter" is her Defining Word and he calls her Glitter, in his mind, when he thinks about how he would want her dead.
His fingers are still twitching and he can't seem to stop, though he tries when his mind catches on them, grits his teeth and forces his fingers into fists tight enough to leave half-moon marks in his palms. But when he thinks elsewhere, lets them go, his fingers are back to moving on their own, not undulating like some sort of soft pale silent sea-creature but like twittery bones moving inside wet flesh. He likes to think that they miss the sweet decay of powdery substances like he does. His fingers are merely flesh and bone but they are people at the same time, a separate union joint-owned from his body.
The man at the front of the room, Suit (for it is his Defining Word, just like Glitter is Glitter and he calls himself 'Plaid' because that's what he was given when he first came here, given these plaid pajamas with no strings and no harm), asks a question and Glitter raises a hand, one long bony arm slowly moving out into the air, fingers knobbly with plastic jewels. She starts to speak and Plaid laughs because her voice is deep and rough and reminds him of when he was a kid, when his mother would scrub dirty dishes with scouring pads. He imagines this happening to her throat and laughs again. She pauses and grinds her teeth, visibly, and then asks if there is a problem.
Plaid starts to nod and shake his head and ends up with a mess. No one has ever been sure how to categorize him other than the doctors, who said he had an addictive personality and was suicidal, suicidal enough that he rips at his wrists with his teeth when he does not take his pills, suicidal enough that he has tried to hang himself with his pants. It is funny, very, very funny, that he cannot die, because dying is something that should come easy. Suit looks at him with pity in his eyes, though perhaps it is mixed with annoyance because Plaid does this a lot, makes Glitter grind her teeth and ask after him.
Glitter looks at Suit with pure annoyance, not the condensation that Suit has for Plaid, the condensation that builds under his skin and makes him itch. She asks why he always has to do this, always has to laugh when she speaks, and her peppermint eyes go darker as mascara tears trickle down her face. Suit frowns gently and the frown distorts his little perfect goatee, and Plaid laughs again. He decides to speak.
This is a small decision, but he has not spoken for three months.
Plaid clears his throat and the room goes silent for a second. He laughs once more and tells Suit that Glitter shouldn't have those rings, because she cuts herself with them, hasn't he noticed. That plastic is sharp, oh boy it is, hasn't he noticed? His voice is crooked-awkward and childish, and he can't keep the envy out because he wants those rings, he wants to feel them pressing against damp flesh and living rivulets. He knows his hands would stop shaking enough to do this act, because his hands would agree for the moment that this was the superb best thing.
Suit looks at Glitter with worried eyes and steps closer to Plaid, placing one hand on the couch's arm carefully wrist turned in as to protect his pale forearms, in care Plaid decides to leap for him. Plaid laughs again and shakes his head and looks down at his shaking fingers and curls them into fists. Suit is asking him a question and he doesn't catch on until he hears his name, no, not his name but the thing his parents always called him, not 'Plaid' at all or anything he's been in the past here in his little safehouse before they gave him the plaid pajamas but stupid slippery Josh, and he really does think about leaping for Suit's wrists or neck or eyes.
Plaid tells him to f off, and the letters click in his throat. He has always been so polite, even when high or popping rainbow tablets like candy. Plaid tells him to f off and give the rings to him, give those f'ing rings to him now, please, please, please, and Glitter is laughing and her eyes are shining and strange parasites are darting under the surface, he can see them coiled in her pupils. Plaid is grabbing Suit by the tie and he can't make any more noises but please, please, please, and Suit is look at him with panicked eyes and Suit's hands are trembling now, one hand hovering over his shoulder, as if he wants to rub it and comfort him but he keeps remembering that Plaid is a wasted addict with suicidal thoughts.
Josh, Plaid, no no no, Plaid, not Josh at all, is shivering like a dog and is laughing at the same time as his vision goes mirage-blurry. Suit acts enough to press fingers gently against his wrists, his wrists marred with white worms, and Plaid lets go and sits back down on the couch. Suit hands him a kleenex and Plaid lets tears fall down his face and wraps his fingers in the tissue, shredding it into little white bits. His fingers are damp and the specks stick and he rubs them against the flannel of his pants and he's not looking at Suit, who's looking down at him and calling him Josh again, and the worry in his voice makes him sick, makes him so sick, and Plaid tells him to shut up, shut the f up. He's so sick of Suit's f'ing bull and he wants to rip off his head and and sh*t down his neck. He tells this to him and his voice is quivering, shaking.
Suit is on the phone and Plaid hears something about isolation, something about increased dosage.
Glitter laughs and throws a ring at him.