“Do it. Go on. You might as well.”
“No. I’m not going to do it and you can stop asking me. It’d be mean.”
“No, it would be funny.”
“I don’t think so.”
“You would have thought it was funny before.”
“Yeah, well, people change.”
“Not everyone, I haven’t changed.”
“No. That’s true. Not everyone changes. But you don’t count because you’re not a person.”
“How could you say something like that?”
“That I’m not a person.”
“Because it’s true and you know it. Don’t act all surprised and hurt.”
“Well, I’m not acting.”
“Sure. I know you and I know what you’re doing. You want to make me feel guilty so I’ll do what you want and I’m not going to do it.”
“I can’t believe you think I would do things like that.”
“Why? You’ve done it before.”
“You do it all the time and you’re trying to do it again. We talked about this, ok?”
“Yeah, I remember.”
“And didn’t we agree that you’d stop doing it?”
“I didn’t agree to anything because I wasn’t doing anything.”
He sighed, “Look, fine. Ok you weren’t doing it. Either way, I know you’re not really offended.”
“And what if I was?”
“You weren’t though.”
“I could have been.”
“Yeah, well, there’s not much you could have done about it, was there?”
“I could have done plenty, I could have yelled and screamed and distracted you so you couldn’t do any work.”
“But you wouldn’t have done that.”
“I could if I wanted to.”
“I know you could but we discussed this to. Doing that will have a negative effect on my life, which will have a negative effect on your life.”
“I guess. But I’m bored.”
“That isn’t my fault. Find something to entertain yourself. Go watch TV or read a book.”
“Well, the TV is off and I can’t exactly use a book.”
Jacob stood from his desk and walked over to the small TV that hung on the wall, he turned it on and went back to his desk.
“There’s no sound.”
“How can I watch if there’s no sound.”
“I can’t read Spanish.”
“They’re not in Spanish.”
“You didn’t even look! What if they were?”
“look, it’s almost 5 and I’ll be done. Ok? Just a little bit longer, that’s all.”
“Fine. We better do something fun tonight though to make up for it.”
“Can I have ice cream later?”
“Maybe. If you stop talking and stay quiet, then maybe we’ll get ice cream.”
“That means no, doesn’t it?”
“It means maybe, but it will mean no if you don’t be quiet.”
He nodded vigorously at Jacob. Jacob looked back at the computer screen, trying to figure out exactly what he was trying to do before he had been interrupted. Donny had distracted him at the worst moment, as Donny usually did.
They’d been best friends since Jacob was five up until he was ten. Then Donny was downgraded from best friend, to friend. Jacob liked Donny still, but he could be a real nuisance a lot of the time, distracting Jacob, talking to him, trying to get him to do stuff he really shouldn’t. He wasn’t dangerous though, it was always minor things. Things like yell out randomly, or chuck a teddy at someone while out shopping. Donny never really seemed to progress beyond childish pranks for humour. It worked out well in a way for Jacob. He could shove a DVD onto the TV and leave Donny laughing uproariously at kids films until Jacob was finished what ever he was usually doing. Most of the time Donny stayed home, but some days, usually once or twice a month, he insisted on coming into work with him. Of course he would always get bored after an hour or two and start trying to get Jacob to interact with him. Which Jacob always hated. He had a Bluetooth headset in at least, so most of the time it just looked like he was talking on the phone. Donny, besides being annoying, was also imaginary.
Jacob had been to multiple therapists, but nothing seemed to work. His current one, also incidentally the one he had remained with the longest, had suggested trying to just live his life with Donny in the background. Including him in things occasionally, disagreeing with him politely and stopping the conversation from going off the rails. She was the first therapist who gave him tools to deal with Donny rather than giving him an endless list of medicines that were guaranteed to make him better, which never worked and always had side effects. Since he started seeing this therapist three years before he had found his life had become much, much more peaceful. More peaceful than it had been in a long time. Now Jacob was able to see when Donny was trying to manipulate him, or to twist things around to convince Jacob to do something. Even the therapist agreed that Donny wasn’t inherently dangerous. He was the only hallucination that Jacob ever had, he never saw anyone else or heard voices. Donny couldn’t make him do anything either, just try to convince him. As Jacob got older he found Donny’s reasoning stayed at the same childish level, sometimes devolving into a constant stream of “Why?”
Few people knew of Donny and Jacob wanted to keep it that way. He didn’t want people looking at him like he was some kind of freak or thinking he was some kind of crazy murderer. He had never been worried something like that would happen though, Donny was far too squeamish for that kind of thing.
Jacob signed out and stood from his desk, it was finally time to go. Jacob didn’t bother looking around for Donny, he’d catch up quickly, he always did. Jacob said goodbye to a few people on his way out, as the lift doors closed Donny slipped inside.
“Finally, I’m never come back here again.”
The lift started to descend.
“You say that every single time you come with me.”
“This time I mean it.”
“You say that too.”
“So, are we getting ice cream?”
Jacob thought about it for a second, Donny’s fingers were crossed.
“Ok, why not. We’ll pick some up on the way home.”
“Yes!” Donny jumped up and punched the air, Jacob grinned. The doors to the lift opened and they stepped out, Donny excitedly talking about which ice cream they should get.