Note: This is the previous scene... continued.
The kicking grew louder and louder, until Zach irritably tossed the red furball a piece of cornbread.
“Are they supposed to eat that?” asked Mikey, as the guinea pig bolted after the morsel and wolfed it down, “Cornbread isn’t their natural food.”
“It hasn’t killed it yet.”
“Hah. And I thought you liked animals.”
“Did I ever tell you why I don’t like guinea pigs?”
“When I was back in Estonia, one bit my face.”
“Oh.” Mikey leaned forward to kiss the side of his lips, “Poor baby.”
Zach pulled away, “I’m not dead, right? Well. If this thing wouldn’t die in the wild or be killed in a shelter, I’d throw it out. Really, nothing scares me more than guinea pigs. And you might think that’s weird, but I’m afraid of getting hurt. Though even if it does bite me, I can’t throw it away because that isn’t right. It didn’t ask to be anyone’s pet. And now someone has to care for it…” his voice wound down into a hushed murmur. That was how conversations went with Mikey: At some point a word limit was reached, and Mikey would stop responding. Due to this, Zach had learned to mentally cut himself off and reduce his statements to the painful, bare essentials. It was like tearing a body limb from limb, though, because Zach’s words fed his meager existence. They filled out the confusing countours of his existance with satisfying reasoning and pinpointed logic. Without words, what else was there? The appeal of silence didn’t extend to him, yet he kept it because talking too much only left you talking to yourself. And that was worse than any kind of silence.
As for Mikey, Zach concluded that there were people you could talk to and people you couldn’t. That was probability.
So, after a calculated sixty-three second talking-break, he put down the book and reached into his knapsack.
“I got something for you.” he said, knowing that would get a reply.
Zach gave a curt nod and nonchalantly handed him a giftbag, which Mikey eagerly reached into.
“You gave me something, so it’s only fair.”
It was a singing hippo. Zach couldn’t find anything better for $35 plus tax. Actually, this had cost $36 plus tax, but the one dollar was worth NOT having to spend any more time doing the despicable activity known as “shopping.” Now they were equal.
Mikey eyed it, keeping a dignified silence, when suddenly the purple-colored beast started to gyrate its hips and buzz through a stirring rendition of “That’s Amore.”
“What is this?”
Zach shrugged.“If you press the nose, it goes I love you.”