The Painted Face

“Yo, check this out.” With a click, Oliver navigated to Youtube and flipped his laptop around on the carpet to show Nan. There were a few videos already up on the Youtube account he’d set up under the alias “lockdaboat” and he’d picked a good one. A sick beat started up on the black screen, courtesy of Nosaj Thing. Fade in, some foundation moves to warm up–

Nan glanced up from the iPhone permanently fused to his hand. “Oh, that’s cool,” he said distractedly.

–a pretty sweet variation on the scooby walk if he did say so himself, wait for it, wait for it, and then the tiny Oliver on the screen tossed his untied sneaker behind his back with a kick, kneeled, and caught it between his legs. Aw, yeah. It had taken him weeks to learn that move, but it still had only 459 views. Nan wasn’t even paying attenion, tapping away one-fingered at his iPhone.

“The fuck, come on, man,” Oliver said, and paused the video.

Nan gave a guilty start, then hunched in his shoulders. “Sorry, sorry, I’m done,” was all he said in reply, and pocketed the iPhone. They watched the rest of the video in silence; when it ended, Oliver shut the lid of the laptop, fuming.


The Makeover, or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying and Love Comic-Con

Jonny Connolly was wearing a long black trench coat, an xkcd T-shirt, a pair of black Vibram FiveFingers, rectangular rimless glasses, and an overgrown ginger neckbeard. But Jonny seemed like a nice guy, if incurably dorky, so Ken averted his eyes and tried not to take any further notice of his… outfit.

Ken uncrossed his legs and shuffled the slipcovered cards again. The deck was ready to go, but Anjali was still in the kitchen helping Tink with the cookies. Bored, he tried out a fancy shuffling move he’d read about; one card flew out of his hands and landed near the Vibram-clad toes he’d been ignoring.

The owner of the Vibram-clad toes cleared his throat. “Hey, Ken, um, I, um–”

Ken turned his head and stared over at the kitchen, studiously pretending not to have heard. Jonny was an amalgam of everything he found irritating about nerd culture, but he didn’t mind so long as he didn’t have to talk to him. That was key.