“And now you put them in the dryer,” Alex was explaining to Josie.

“I know how to use a dryer,” they said defensively.


They audibly swallowed the lump in their throat. “… What button do I press again?”

“Here, it’s the one on the right…”

They both sat down on the concrete flooring and waited for the clothes to dry.

Alex got up at one point to get a snack from the vending machine.

“How on Earth can you stand those?” It was one of those tiny bags of Funyuns.

He shrugged. “I just like ‘em.”

“They have so much… What’s the word… texture. Too much texture.” They were rubbing their forehead.

“Yeah. Crunchy.” Alex was watching them and feeling horrible. They must have been developing a horrible headache after the Jesus-knows-how-many conflicting drugs they were on. “I’ll get you something.”

“I don’t want anything from the vending machine. How much did it even cost?”

“Don’t worry about it. I’ll get you something.” The chips cost $1.99, and anything Josie could stomach would be even more expensive, but he wasn’t going to complain about it.

Josie walked around. Then they noticed that Alex’s bandages were coming undone, so they took them off, cleaned the wounds, and redid them. Alex flinched at first, but in the end, he was impressed by their gentle treatment of him.

“How did you take me to… here, anyway? What was that?” Alex asked.

“I have no idea,” Josie admitted. “My monster helped.”

He put his chin on his hand contemplatively, trying his best to not be judgmental. “Is that, uh, good?”

“I don’t know. We don’t always get along.”

His eyebrows crawled up onto his forehead. Xander, previously distracted by trying not to throw up from adrenaline panic, raised his eyebrows in understanding as well. “Ohhhh.

The dryer buzzer went off.