I am a man of some integrity, I suppose. And of some morals. Certainly not all my mother intended, but I'm not entirely despicable.
You know, you tell yourself something long enough, you begin to believe it.

Now, Steven. Steven's a good man. He's my best friend, and ever since that time at the Black Rose I've tried to be his best friend. That's where the "some" comes in. I really did try. It's just not in my nature to wholeheartedly devote myself to a cause. I always feel I'm putting blinders on; like I'll miss something vital to my existence. I think it's good I can recognize this because it's something no one else would be able to see in me. Except if they spent nearly every waking hour with me. Like Steven used to. Oh well. What can you do?

I remember when I met him. Kelly dragged me down to the bar around the corner from our apartment. She wanted me to be exposed to her friends. I wasn't looking forward to it. Kelly annoyed me enough; 1 didn't want to spend the night watching her pals get stupid drunk. I relented, of course, to shut her up.

We played pool while her friends slowly trickled in, which is kind of a pun. Kelly's friend Patsy was on the arm of a very under-the-weather Steven, apparently against his will. As the night wore on, everyone got pretty wasted except Steven, who progressively looked more miserable, and me, who was trying to stay on a budget. Patsy had ditched the dead weight Steven in the first half hour and Kelly was spreading herself thin socially, so I rambled over to the wretch. I asked him if he was taking anything for his cold. He said he would have liked to, but Patsy would surely scold him if he asked to go home. I offered him free reign of my medicine cabinet, and we left the drunkards to their own demise.

After taking a full dose of my extra-strength cold remedy, Steven was out like a light. And after the late night movie, so was I.

I woke early the next morning, and Steven was still asleep. I watched cartoons on mute, wondering who was the lucky guy who got to take Kelly home with him. Steven made little snuffling noises while he slept. A particularly loud snuffle caused him to wake with an expected look of disorientation. After profusely apologizing, he asked if had eaten and offered to make breakfast. Of course I hadn't eaten; Kelly wasn't home to make anything.

So we ate and talked. And laughed and talked. Steven tells the funniest stories! We went to the park and talked. We ate lunch and talked. Sat in his living room and talked until the sun went down. I called my apartment to find out Kelly had her latest man there, so Steven offered to return my favor of the night before. We watched Marx brothers' movies until daybreak, then slept all day. That evening I went home to a very snotty Kelly, locked myself in my room, and left early for work the next morning.

I didn't see or hear from Steven for almost two months after that. I nearly forgot him. Nearly.

I work as a legal secretary at a fairly prominent firm here in my adopted hometown. It's a field dominated, I think, by women. This is probably why I chose it. I'm not exactly sure what my parents wanted me to do with the college education they were giving me. All I know is that I spent the better part of my adolescence seeing their dreams for me fulfilled. I guess I wanted to try disappointing them for a change. The college I attended didn't even have a football team. Unless you count the intramural touch football league. I couldn't escape completely; I was the captain of the top-rated team on campus. (For you, Dad.)

My job could be very rewarding. It is pretty exciting at times. I have lots of opportunities to learn. Lost opportunities, mostly. I put in my forty hours and get the hell out of there. I really love my job, though. It's my chosen field. There's nothing else I'd rather do. But sometimes I really dread going in to the office.

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