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LIFE TRADE

Adam Bender

The two of us arrived at the bar around six, the same time we always did on Friday nights. But by the time I had finished my first beer, Joey hadn’t even touched his Budweiser.

Bro!” I gasped. “What the hell is your problem, bro?”

Joey looked more unshaven than usual and his black hair was an absolute mess of curls. Shaking his head morosely, he said, “I guess I don’t feel much like drinking.”

Don’t feel like—wait, you don’t feel like drinking?”

In all my years knowing him, Joey never once turned down a beer. We’d been drinking buddies since we were five years under the legal drinking age. But there was no explanation I could come up with as to what was bringing on Joey’s depression. He never complained about his job, and sure, he didn’t have a girlfriend, but he still got laid way more frequently than I ever did.

Why the long faces, boys?” interrupted a low, booming voice.

When my best friend Dugan arrived, Joey’s sober indiscretion suddenly felt like a thing of the past. The two of us had been best friends as long as I could remember. If he hadn’t let me copy his math and physics homework, I don’t know how I ever would have passed high school. And then if he hadn’t been there to tell me film school was a waste of time, I’d probably be out on the street begging for coins.

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