This is an in between season. Something not quite autumn, with sun and crunchy leaves, and not quite winter, with snow and merrymaking. It is the blue season. A cavernous time of darkening and oppression. Cold rain comes down fast and hard. So hard that as drops hit anything they explode and become mist which then travels back up and makes having an umbrella a cruel joke. Storefront windows are fogged, people leave their hats on indoors. Suicides increase.
"Why don't you cheer the fuck up, anyway?" Barry's feet are on the coffee table and his sport socks, clearly worn for days on end, sag around the toes, giving him the look of a limp elf. He has your manuscript in his hands. He is reading it. Fucking douche. Didn’t you tell him not to touch anything?
“I’ll cheer the fuck up when you get a job and get out of my apartment, Barry. That’s when I’ll cheer the fuck up.” You feel good about that one, just a little pressure valve release, to keep you from killing him. From strangling your own brother. Sometimes imagining him slowly turning blue and his lifeless body dangling in your hands, sometimes this is the only thing that can put you to sleep at night. This has become worrisome.
“I never used to want to kill you, Barry.” Barry laughs, but his laugh ends in a little cough when you coolly take the manuscript from him and place one hand on his throat, squeezing gently. Holding on just long enough to make him uncomfortable. Barry’s face changes.
“Hey, cut that out. Fuck, Dale, that shit’s not funny.”
“Get out of the apartment, Barry. Go away for a while. Go to the park, or a movie, or go get drunk. Just leave me in peace.” Barry looks like he might respond, his mouth opens, then closes, like a fish. Barry’s stupid, fishy face stares at you.
“Can I have twenty dollars?” He is sheepish and arrogant at the same time. It equals out to pathetic, but you find twenty dollars and shove it at him. He mutters thank you, and goes. You think maybe you see him crying a little on his way out. It almost softens you, but not quite. You need the breathing room. Time alone. Close your heart, you think to yourself, it’s better for both of you. You hear the door close and Barry’s fading, thudding footsteps.
It is quiet. You realize you are gripping the manuscript so tightly that you have crumpled it. After staring at it for a moment, you frown, then scream, then throw the manuscript at nothing in particular. The pages mock you, drifting in all directions, spreading across the sofa and coffee table, fluttering peacefully to the floor. You hate it when Barry’s right.