Turnstyle aimed carefully, took into account the drift from the barely oscillating fan, and hit his brother Alphonse in the back of the head with a cigarette butt.
“Quit that,” Ingram said. Watching this is why she never liked being at Turnstyle’s place, but it beat staying at school.
“Why? He ain’t gonna notice. Fucking walltalker.” Turnstyle lit another cigarette and offered one to Ingram. She shook her head violently. “I think I still got some nanites left from the other night. I know for a fact there’s soy sauce in the kitchen.”
“Not on your life. My stomach still hasn’t recovered from the cooking oil wine you made last time.” Ingram started absent-mindedly picking at the exposed foam that blistered through a hole in the sofa.
“That was good shit,” Turnstyle said. “Good shit. You’re crazy. We could go see if we could find Al’s Roulette stash.”
“Oh, hell no!” Ingram said. “You do know why they call it ‘Roulette’ right? ‘Cause every time you take it there’s a chance your brain’s gonna explode! You wanna be a walltalker?”
“Maybe. Least Al’s never bored.” Turnstyle looked at his brother releasing a steady stream of words toward the wallpaper. Alphonse’s voice was barely above a whisper, and his face was blank. But he never stopped talking.
“I invented Roulette,” Turnstyle said, abruptly.
“No, seriously. Somebody had to turn grandpa’s stroke medicine into a rec drug. Why couldn’t it have been me? You’re saying I don’t see the entertainment value of something that connects your neurons in new ways?”
“First off, you don’t even know what a neuron is–”
“Secondly, if you had, you could afford some proper alcohol, and you wouldn’t have to reprogram the decontamination nanites.”
“Well, yeah…but…” Turnstyle scrunched down into the sofa. He took what was left of his cigarette and flicked it–still lit–at Alphonse. He missed by a good three feet.
“Was that lit? You’re going to burn the walls down, you are. What would your Pa say, you did that?”
“Same thing he always says: ‘Fuck! Why aren’t you in school?’ ” Tunrstyle stared at his 14-year-old older brother, who was staring at the wall. “Goddamn walltalker.”
“Ah, don’t be like that. Go get your soy sauce.”
“Why not?” Ingram said. “Nothing else to do.”