Dylan came over to my room and plopped himself on the bed where I was working on a dj set. I was lying on my stomach stretched straight out so Dylan laid his legs out long across the back of my thighs and got comfortable.
In the lulls between edited tracks and clips, I could hear the distant sounds and dings of Dylan playing his silly Fallout Shelter iPhone game. I swiped aside a headphone, looked at him askance and said, “Why the long face.” “Man,” Dylan sighed. “Poor Knob Gobbler died.” “Oh, one of your guys,” I said, not super closely listening. “No,” Dylan said. “Knob Gobbler’s a girl.” “Knob Gobbler!” I repeated, and gave the conversation more attention. “No wonder the damned girl died,” I said. “She hated her life.” I was offended for Knob Gobbler’s sake at the way she had been named. “No,” Dylan explained. “Knob Gobbler’s a good character. Very valiant. She fought really hard against the Mole Rats.” Rather than fish for the explanation as to what a fucking Mole Rat was, I slipped my headphones back on and returned to the music.
Later I went out and brought back some coconut milk ice cream and a fresh plump and delicious tasty vegan pumpkin pie. Dylan’s eyes turned to saucers for excitement. He emitted a jacked up keening sound, clapped his hands, and hopped up and down twice. If a whole head and entire face and body could water with anticipation, his did. “I’m leaving for work soon,” I said. “Don’t eat all the pie.” “I won’t!” said Dylan.
While I was working, Dylan tended to his Fallout Shelter with great and renewed concern. He didn’t know that the characters languished, suffered, and died whenever he stopped playing, apparently the game continued on in the background, Dylan only lately learned that his tiny digital fallout world does not pause, whether or not he is actively playing the game.
Dylan paid some money in the form of resources and brought Knob Gobbler back. He also dove with unheeding heartiness into the ice cream and the pie. Finally there remained just a single slice. As Dylan played his silly shelter game, he kept shaving knife slim slivers along one edge of the remaining piece of pie and abstractedly enjoyed these final thin illicit cuttings. The deliciousness of the pie and the intensity of the shelter game made it hard for him to stop. The triangle shape of the remaining slice was all the while reassuringly and pleasingly preserved, but the actual overall size of the final pie piece grew progressively smaller to an extreme. Finally, what remained was the tiniest bit of pie about half the size of an infant’s fist. A magnifying glass was all but required to still spot a triangular shape. At this point, Dylan stopped. There was no going either forward or back.
When I later came clamouring home from work, Dylan greeted me at the door with much fanfare. He was all loud embraces and a drama of attempted kissing. “Well, shit,” I said suspiciously, waving his ardour aside. “Did you save me a piece of pie?” Dylan gazed at me for about ten too many extra beats. “Did you save me a piece of pie?” I asked again, as I tossed off my handbag and outdoor accoutrements. Dylan spent some energy contorting his face to his own approximation of chart-toppingly cute and maximum fun. “It’s—pie-shaped,” Dylan said. He was at his most magnanimous. Dylan pressed his four front fingers and two thumbs together to create the hypnotizing shape of a triangle. I rushed over to the pie box to see. “Pie-shaped!” Dylan, hot on my heels, shouted desperately.
When I arrived at the pie box and flung the lid open, I spied with effort the microscopically triangular piece of pie that remained. “Pie-shaped,” Dylan repeated lamely. “THANKS FOR SAVING ME A PIECE OF PIE!” I roared. Dylan widened his eyes and nodded a little, clinging to the shadowy hope that he had done nothing extraordinarily wrong, and that our love could sally forth strong as before. I made low rumbling and growling sounds that were deliberately unencouraging.
Once my angst and furor died eventually down, and I was through with hearing Dylan’s convoluted explanations and appeals for mercy, I said in a flat voice, “I’m glad Knob Gobbler died.” “I, ah, brought her back to life,” Dylan said. “Well motherfucking good for you,” I replied.
And I ate my minuscule piece of ravaged pie, or at least I think I did, it was too goddamned tiny for me to be sure any eating happened. “Pie-shaped,” Dylan whispered, and he stood around aimlessly nearby waiting for the kiss he neither deserved nor got while I glared at him.