The Birthday Sham Pt. 2
Sally did have a point. There was nothing about birthdays, in either practice or theory, that should be considered "gross". Yet here Jimmy was, standing right next to her and spitting on the ground in disgust over the mere mention of the word.
To Sally, her birthday was the day that she went from being a theoretical idea to an actual person. She felt that was an important anniversary to mark. It was the culmination of months of growing. It's a lot of hard work for a baby to go from two cells to a fully formed organism that's able to live on the outside, and she saw nothing wrong with celebrating that day. She especially enjoyed the silly hat part. Jimmy on the other hand, obviously didn't think that way at all.
"Hogwash," Jimmy stated. "The whole thing. Birthdays, getting older, numbers. It's all shit. Every birthday cake wish is a lie, and blowing out those candles doesn't do anything except get spit everywhere."
Even though he had a point about spitting all over cakes and wishes that don't come true, Sally would be damned if she was willing to concede to it. Jimmy stood up straight and extended himself to his full height, all of three feet and eight inches. He clasped his hands behind his back and sort of, just a little bit, puffed out his chest before going on.
"I don't believe in birthdays," He began in such a way that Sally knew it'd be a while before he got to the middle. "I just don't. They aren't real. My soul is immortal and time is an illusion. How could a birthday even exist as anything other than a marketing stunt?"
Sally started to form a few words in her mind, one of which almost made it to her mouth, but then she stopped. She was going to yell at Jimmy in defense of birthdays, but thought better of it. She kinda wished she and Jimmy were still on knife fighting terms. She resolved to not interrupt Jimmy during his madness- she wasn't going to change his mind and interrupting him would just make the whole ordeal last longer. This wasn't the first time she got stuck listening to Jimmy rant about his beliefs. And she knew it wouldn't be the last either. She re-tuned into Jimmy's non-sense and braced herself. He didn't even notice her presence anymore. He just kept talking.
"...I just refuse to accept the white man's numbers having anything to do with my current state of maturity. It doesn't make sense to me and I don't want it to, nor will I let it."
Sally somehow managed to ask (against her better judgment), "Then how do you know how old you are?" without Jimmy seeing her roll her eyes in disgust.
"Easy. I use my Mom as an indicator. Since I made her a mother, every time she has a mother's day I count that as an arbitrary cycle to mark how long I've been on this planet in this body. I don't even believe in that either, but you have to have some stupid number to tell the cops, so that's mine. "
"You get presents on Mother's Day?"
"Because you think that birthdays are a marketing scam and that you deserve presents on account of your Mom wouldn't be a mother or have a Mother's Day without you?"
"And Mother's Day isn't a marketing scam?"
"It's a total fraud. Something invented by big greeting cards to steal money from people's pockets during the Christmas shopping drought."
"So... birthdays are a scam, so you count your age by how many Mother's Days have passed instead, but you think that's a scam too?"
"It's all scams, Sally. All the way to the bottom. Scams and lies and scams within lies and lies within scams. Just how the world works. Hate the game, Sally, not the player."
Sally paused before speaking to consider her options. Pausing before speaking was a new thing to her, something that happened as a by-product of her True Magick training. She was still getting used to it and would sometimes pause too long, or not enough. One time she paused so long when talking to her Mother that her Mom started confessing to all sorts of things she had no business relating to a 6 year old. Sally wrote down everything her Mother said to her in a special notebook she hid underneath her stuffed animal collection at the back of her closet. She wasn't quite sure why she did this, just a feeling that it might come in handy someday.
"I just don't do birthdays." he finished and rubbed his hands together like he was washing the very concept of birthdays off of them.
Sally's pausing intensified and her eyes narrowed while she continued to say nothing.
"I don't have to age if I don't want. I certainly don't have to age in the way the Man tells me. I'll decide how and if I get any older, bigger, or taller."
Sally's eyes were on the verge of shooting lasers when Jimmy finally broke. He looked at his shoes before sheepishly looking up at Sally and saying, "I'm afraid of clowns."
"I knew it."
"However, I put no faith in the white man's numbers."
"Duly noted," Sally answered and turned her attention to her envelope. She turned it this way and that, looking for the spot where you open it. She'd only been opening mail for about a year or so and still had some issues when it came to finding the flap. Having found no luck with turning it this way and that, she tried that way, then this- with a similarly disappointing result. Jimmy was doing no better in his quest to free the contents of his envelope. After turning the envelope over three times and failing to notice any way of opening it, he ripped the whole thing in half, pulled out the contents and held the two pieces together.
"What's it say?" Sally asked.
Jimmy squinted and began to sound out the words quietly to himself.
"It's an invitation." Jimmy looked at Sally and saw a spider about the size of a small dog- or large cat- sneaking up behind her. She didn't seem to notice the spider but she did notice the look of horror on Jimmy's face. She knew it wasn't a joke. After all they'd been through together, she could tell the difference.
Jimmy didn't have time to form a sensible reply. He lunged at Sally, knocking her out of the way, just as the spider was about to bite her. The spider's fangs instead found Jimmy's shoulder. Sally fell backwards and landed with Jimmy on top of her. She could see the spider now. She pushed Jimmy off to the side and sat up, but it was too late, the spider was just about on her. Its fangs sunk into her throat before she could muster a defense. She started to get dizzy and her world faded to black as she slumped onto the ground next to Jimmy.
The spider made strange clicking noises while it busied itself spinning webs around the bodies of Jimmy and Sally. Just when it was about finished a white van pulled up to the curb. Two green skinned creatures with spiky orange hair and yellow fangs jumped out of the back. The spider hopped in the van as the creatures retrieved the still, web-encased bodies of two small children named Jimmy and Sally.
The doors of the van shut with a boom and it sped off. The old lady who lives on every street and always looks out her window to mind everyone else's business saw the entire incident and wrote down the van's license plate "What in the world is a FREEKANDY?" she mumbled before being distracted by her tea kettle whistling at her to let her know her tea was done.