Fluorescent lights of multi-mart only serve to illuminate gaping hollowness at centre of shoppers’ lives. Lost souls struggling to make pointless choices. Twenty seven kinds of cereal. All of them wrong. Also a woman with straggly hair blocks end of aisle with cart. Probably a whore. I see the-
Daniel’s hand is firm on his arm. “Rorschach? I said, do we need more beans?”
“Need cereal. Need eggs. Okay for beans.”
“Well then. Let’s get the cereal first.
“Not there. Need Fruity-Os. Gone. All gone, Daniel.”
Daniel buys extra jam instead.
“But Daniel. Is past sell-by date. Breach of food safety regulations. Illegal!”
“C’mon. It’s only been the 4th for fifteen minutes. Can’t we just let it go?”
Rorschach reached to the back of the shelf and lifted another container of yoghurt. Turning he held it out to Daniel with a gloved hand that shook slightly with carefully controlled fury.
“This one. Expired on the second. What else shall we ignore, Daniel?”
Dan pushed up his glasses and pinched the bridge of his nose. This was the last store within a ten block radius that they were welcome in. Desperate times, he decided.
“You know, from Jon’s perspective, it still is the second,” he began…
“—I just thought that maybe it would help you, to, well. Sleep better?”
Rorschach sat hunched miserably over the cooling mug.
“Nk,” he said
“Look, I’m sorry. Do you want a painkiller? As soon as the store opens I’ll get some more—“
“Am fine. Know you did not mean to cause harm. Pain is not so great, drugs not necessary.”
Daniel winced guiltily and went to throw the rest of the decaffeinated coffee in the trash. After a short pause he quietly slipped the Sweet N Low in after it.
Daniel was idly rubbing his big toe along the faint stain below the hot water faucet when the bathroom door crunched open. He sat up with a startled splash.
Rorschach avoided looking at him from behind his mask. “Not very secure door. Would be unsafe to fall asleep in tub.” Turning away, he opened the cabinet above the sink.
Dan started to ask what was going on, and then stopped as Rorschach put a razor down on the sink and rolled his mask up to sit on the bridge of his nose.
“Uhm. That’s my razor.”
“How long—have you been using it all this time?”
“Beards sign of moral and ethical degeneracy. Also interfere with my face.”
“Yes, but – that’s my –”
Rorschach turned to stare at him, and Dan was suddenly very aware that he was in the bath, and there were no bubbles to provide a veneer of modesty. He fumbled for the washcloth.
“Well,” he said with forced cheer as he casually held the cloth over his crotch, “it’s not like you’re using my toothbrush, I suppose!”
Rorschach twitched and mumbled something then went back to covering the sink with dark ginger stubble.
It was only later that Daniel wondered why, all things considered, Rorschach still seemed to have pretty good teeth.
On Wednesday, he bought a purple toothbrush and left it next to his razor.
[probably not the end, i am afraid...]