• Eliza Rudalevige and Alexander Aibel

Am I In Trouble?

Negative

by Eliza Rudalevige


No, you’re not in trouble. I mean, that depends on what your definition of “trouble” is. Do your actions practically guarantee that every time I encounter your weaselly little form henceforth, I’ll have the urge to lean over and vom all over my thrifted-vintage-Y2K-officecore patent leather chunky loafers? Yes! But if you get really nitpicky with—


What was that? Okay, fine, I got the loafers at Zara. But really, there is no ethical consumption under capitalism, so I’m in the clear. And anyways, we were talking about YOU.

Illustration by Oonagh Mockler

As I was saying, before I was interrupted by an incompetent rat-person with the reading comprehension level of the Riverside raccoons—although, actually, I think that’s giving too little credit to the raccoons. I once saw a particularly chunky specimen steal Ottessa Moshfegh’s newest novel from a homie with a wolf cut. I bet those fuzzy little nincompoops have a better grasp on the unhinged feminist canon than my Republican ex-boyfriend ever will. And better oral hygiene.


As I was SAYING, you’re not in trouble. Unless you think that me unconditionally ending our friendship is the same thing as being in trouble, which you obviously don’t. That would imply that you had a crumb of esteem for my companionship in the first place. As it stands, I’m getting about as much respect as season-one Paris Geller. I mean, really, how could you? I know that you grew up in Westchester and have never once experienced the consequences of your actions, but this level of maleficence is a new low, even for somebody who owns seven ridiculously small dogs and two ridiculously large horses.


It is a no bones day, and I am not mentally equipped to deal with such betrayal.


What did you do, you ask? What did you do??? It’s more about what you didn’t do— which is consider my feelings at all when you decided to throw our sacred bond to the wolves. And these wolves are being kept on a Greek yogurt-only diet in a zoo in Greenwich, Connecticut, so they’re really fucking hungry. They’re gobbling up our hard-earned friendship like they’re mentally ill and our memories are a bag of Takis—nay, like they’re bisexual and the crystal depot is having a clearance sale. They’re ravaging the hallowed halls of our intimate alliance with the ferocity of a scorned soprano II. How could you throw away the times you sat on my shoulders wearing a trench coat so we could both sneak into EC? Or the time we built an impenetrable, bean-y smelling fort out of all the unwanted veggie burgers at JJ’s? Or the time that we crashed Deantini’s retirement party by bursting out of a three-tiered carrot cake and releasing a live lion cub? Oh shit, you’re right, that hasn’t happened. Yet.


No, you’re not in trouble. I’m just disappointed, really. Jesus fucking Christ—I was confirmed in the eighth grade, so I can say that—I am DISAPPOINTED. We’re talking freshman-getting-their-first-B-on-a-paper disappointed. No, freshman-getting-their-

first-B-on-a-paper-and-quickly-realizing-that-nobody-wants-to-hear-them-whine-about-it disappointed. Oh my god, I am John-Jay-dining-hall-smoothie disappointed. You are my fourth least favorite person in the world right now, after Lil Huddy, Amber Heard, and whoever was responsible for the demise of Club Penguin.


Nope. You’re still not in trouble. I am actually being very reasonable about this, so stop gaslighting me. Honestly, you’re being so crazy right now. Take a chill pill. I have a value-size pack of NyQuil Liqui-Gels in my canvas tote if you need to borrow one. Of course, that will only increase the value of our sizable interpersonal debt. Now that we aren’t friends anymore, you have to start paying for your drugs. And my drugs! Wait, I’m getting carried away. You don’t have to support my ironic budding opium habit, but I am still mad at you.


I have an underwater Peloton/dialectical behavioral therapy session in seven and a half minutes, so I have to go squeeze myself into a purple latex scuba suit. And no, you can’t join, because it’s happening in Dodge, and we all know that you don’t have a green pass. And don’t you DARE do that thing where you write a long poem because you feel butthurt and excluded. An AB rhyme scheme cannot solve all of your problems! Not with that attitude!


No. This is a private lesson with me, myself, and my remaining dignity. Alexa, play “Better Than Revenge.”


Affirmative

by Alexander Aibel


Well, my time has come. My time has come, and I am done, I don’t think I’ll ever see the sun. It’s been a while since I started this run, no pun, it’s not fun, but I am definitely done.


I messed up. I surely did. I can’t even say, “But I’m a kid!” The jig is up, the chase hath ended. I must surrender, and get this situation mended. I’m usually better, and don’t mess up. I never end up being a schmuck.


I have excuses, I really do! That guy in my class inspired me to! Peer pressure did it, ’twas not I. I couldn’t so much as hurt a fly. So why are they after me, Hunting me down? I must be in trouble, they chase me like hounds.


Now let me zoom out, and tell you ’bout myself. Trouble didn’t always find me without much help. “A pleasure in class!” my teachers said, and now they probably wish I was dead! I tried so hard just to mind my business, but now I’m in trouble—so says some witness.


See, I’m just like the rest of those pests who find trouble. I’d finally escaped that goody-two-shoes bubble. Everything was great, even last week. Every living second felt like a treat. There was no cause for worry, nothing made me hurry. I didn’t have scurvy, nor feel unworthy.


But now they’re after me. The chase is on. I definitely fucked up—no help, even from Mom. I hate consequences, I really do! I would rather go to the zoo (and I HATE the zoo). I hate seeing animals locked up in the Zoo; they should definitely be free roaming in their natural habitat. And SeaWorld sucks.


Okay, okay, I might admit it. But when you hear my complaints, you’ll vote to acquit it. “Aibel didn’t do it!” you will chant, so I hope. But, right now, I just don’t know how to cope. For I am in trouble, oh how did I get here. My heart is broken, just like King Lear. What did I do? Why am I screwed? Did I really go out of my way to deserve all this pursuit?


At this point, you’re likely wondering what I did. Did I take my car and hit a kid? Did I rip off a teenager and sell some mids? Did I participate in the Squid Game? (No, this is not a game, and no, I am not doing this for fame, but for sure, I am most definitely lame.)


I need to vent about my troubles. I wish I were still my old self—so lovable! Oh, it’s over, my time is up. I can no longer run amuck. It’s been a good ride, and I’m a youthful 20, but life won’t be the same, though I think I’ll live plenty. For now, I’m tainted, unholy, impure. My heart is aching, I want to stroke my dog’s fur.


I’ve said I’m sorry three or four times—now what do I do? Just sit here and cry? I hate being in trouble, it’s really no fun, but you still don’t know what it is that I’ve done. Okay, I’ll tell you—keep it on the down low, because I’m not looking for any new foes.


You threatened to rat me out! But I always fall on my sword. I don’t get why you’re doing this—will you get an award? Now, I’ll confess, I promise I will, but please don’t judge me, for this is no thrill.


Just kidding, I can’t, I don’t know what I did. I hath not manipulated toys like my name is Syd. I did not repeatedly call you Stupid. You questioned what I didn't do, but what did I do? Because it seems our friendship is over, laid to rest like DJ Screw (RIP).



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