by Matt Goldberg
MY BUDDY TOLD me a narrative about his once-cool brother who, after having a child and reaching his mid-thirties, had change into totally uncool. I’ll in all probability by no means meet the man, not that it issues. There’s tons of individuals I’ll in all probability by no means meet, all of them with lives and ideas and inside organs sloshing round. I suppose my buddy’s brother is simply a type of folks. I used to be advised he lived within the suburbs—really not even the suburbs—some townhouses on the outskirts of DC organized in tidy traces, a housing improvement that emulated the suburban aesthetic whereas missing the allure of lawns and cul-de-sacs.
Sooner or later, because the story goes, my buddy’s brother obtained a bundle meant for his neighbor, so he did the neighborly factor and introduced it subsequent door.
The brother’s neighbor, one other man additionally in his mid-thirties, additionally a lawyer with one child, additionally white, appeared amused after studying concerning the mix-up.
‘It have to be the blue denims I ordered!’ the neighbor stated.
My buddy advised me how the subsequent day his brother noticed the neighbor getting his mail. The neighbor was carrying the brand new blue denims, which prompted the brother to name out: ‘Hey, Blue Denims, what’s shaking?’ from his entrance door.
The neighbor smiled and pointed to his pants like: ‘I do know, proper?’
From that time ahead, the brother known as his neighbor Blue Denims. He additionally took to carrying his personal blue denims in order that they’d have one thing to speak about. Generally the 2 males would discover themselves in the identical playground situated inside the improvement. Whereas their kids performed, they’d evaluate denims. They’d speak about denim or the shade of blue they appreciated greatest. The neighbor stated sky blue. He needed to be reborn as a fowl.
I puzzled what sort of fowl and requested my buddy if he knew. My buddy didn’t know. His brother hadn’t talked about something extra concerning the dialog—apparently it wasn’t necessary. The necessary half was that my buddy’s brother invited the neighbor over for a beer in his newly transformed kitchen. He was apparently very pleased with the renovation, having shelled out for the deluxe tile backsplash. The brother wouldn’t cease bringing this as much as the neighbor.
‘Hey, did I let you know we acquired the deluxe backsplash? Oh, I did? Effectively, it’s been completely value it. It’s best to come test it out. Yeah, deliver the child. Let’s make it a playdate.’
So the neighbor introduced his child and, after the 2 youngsters went upstairs to play video video games, the 2 males cracked open some chilly ones.
‘These cans are fairly candy,’ the brother stated. ‘Chilly-activated. See the mountain?’
The neighbor held the can as much as his face. ‘It’s like staring into eternity.’
The brother blinked at him. ‘Say what now?’
To this query, the neighbor went quiet. His hand tremored and a few beer spilled out.
‘Woah there,’ the brother stated. ‘That’s model new hardwood.’
The neighbor apologized, and the brother made a joke about getting his wooden moist. They continued to sip their beers because the mountains grew faint on their cans.
The subsequent time my buddy’s brother noticed the neighbor, he wasn’t carrying the blue denims. And the time after that, too. It was the identical factor that complete month. The neighbor had switched to carrying khakis, shorts, sweatpants—something moreover the denims.
Regardless of this, the brother saved calling his neighbor Blue Denims. He’d really forgotten the neighbor’s actual identify—if he ever knew it in any respect. At first the neighbor saved on smiling at any time when the brother known as out to him, then he’d grimace, and eventually he stopped responding to the nickname in any respect, ignoring the brother at any time when he was out on the playground or getting his mail.
Ultimately, the brother obtained a knock on his door.
‘Blue Denims, my man!’ he stated, upon seeing his neighbor.
The neighbor frowned. ‘Cease calling me that.’
There was a tense silence till the brother shrugged. ‘No hurt, no foul,’ he stated.
The neighbor opened his mouth as if to say one thing, then shut it. He left the entrance stoop with out one other phrase.
Moderately than take this personally, the brother was well mannered concerning the incident. He’d meant no offense. He went again to waving at his neighbor with out talking or, if want be, known as him by a much less particular nickname like “pal” or “chief.”
Per week later, the brother observed his neighbor’s home had a For Sale enroll, adopted shortly thereafter by a Offered signal. When the brother peered by his neighbor’s window, he noticed the home was empty inside. The brother couldn’t keep in mind ever seeing a shifting van.
Evidently, my buddy’s brother appreciated to inform folks this story for example of neighborhood intrigue. My buddy, in the meantime, was retelling me the story now to indicate how boring his brother had change into. ‘Are you able to consider this passes for fascinating?’ he requested.
I didn’t actually have a solution to that query. As an alternative, I puzzled what occurred to the neighbor’s namesake denims. Did he throw them away? Or does he nonetheless put on them wherever he’s now? I’d wish to assume so. Up above the clouds maybe, the place the air is chilly and clear, and the sky stretches eternally. Someplace distant from this humdrum place.
Matt Goldberg’s fiction has appeared or is forthcoming in a bunch of great literary journals together with SmokeLong Quarterly, The Regular Faculty, Coolest American Tales, The Arcanist, Maudlin Home and others. His work has additionally received first place for the 2021 Uncharted Journal Sci-Fi and Fantasy Brief Story Award. He earned his MFA from Temple College and lives in Philadelphia, PA. Discover him on Twitter @mattmgoldberg.