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a very losers club holiday season

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December 3rd was a Sunday.

 

Gone to run some errands. I will be back by eleven o'clock (not p.m.). 

Love, Stan

 

Stanley Uris woke up early, had breakfast by himself at a local diner, and then went to the library to return some books and grab a few more. He ended up staying for about an hour, engrossed in a book about Galapagos Finches and Darwin. Then he ade the commute home, stopped to get some chips (they were out) and walked to the house. 

He was expecting the chaos of his friends spread out around the house, the TV blaring in competition with music and people yelling to keep it down, they were doing homework. What he walked into was decidedly not that. 

The Losers were crammed into the smallest couch, wrapped in blankets. They were still being chaotic, to be sure, but they were concentrated in a small spot. Eddie was on Richie's lap, Bev and Ben were snuggling, Bill was looking claustrophobic, and Mike was just tired. 

"STANIEL the MANIEL!" Richie whopped, causing Eddie to cover his ears in annoyance. "ANd how are you on this blustery winter day?"

"Confused," Stan said. 

"The heat's out," Bill explained, wrapped in several sweaters. 

"Yeah, as of like a half hour ago, it's been freezing in here," Bev muttered. 

"And none of you know how to determine the problem, let alone fix it?" Stan asked. 

"Um, in an nutshell, yes."

"Mike?"

"I grew up on a farm? We didn't have a heating system?"

"Okay, Billy? Richie?"

"My dad was the handy one in the house," BIll said while Richie added "my parents didn't trust me enough."

"Ben?"

"No, sorry!"

"...Bev?"

"Stan," she said, "if we knew how to fix the problem it would be fixed."

 

They ended up going back to the library. Stan called his dad, who had always been mildly handy around the house, and asked what to do. 

"Hi, Dad."

"Hello, Stanley."

"Um, our heat's broke. Like the house has no heat."

"And you called me? Son, call a furnace guy to take a look-see."

"Oh. Will he fix it?"

"If it's broken, he will. Also, Stanley, have Bill call his mom when he gets the chance. Nothing's wrong, no, but she wants to check in with him."

"Okay, got it."

"Wait, Stanley? Have you been going to synagogue lately?"

"Um, I gotta go, Dad." Stan hung up. 

 

He went off to find his friends then: Richie was sitting in the autobiography section, reading Steve Martin's book. Ben was in poetry, Bill was chatting to a librarian, Eddie was having a stare-off over a shelf with some random-ass child, Mike was in the history section, and Bev was looking at the various activities offered at night. 

They returned home to a house that was still freezing, and Ben was elected to call the furnace people. 

"Hello, I was wondering if I could schedule an appointment? Yes, my name is Ben Hanscom. I live in Bedford-Stuyvesant. Mm-hm. Okay! Well, um the heat just shut off randomly about an hour or so ago. We were wondering if you could come by and take a look? Mm-hm. Okay. Alright. Okay, we will see you then, Mr- Parson? Okay!" Ben hung up the phone and deflated. "He will be here tomorrow morning."

Everyone groaned, and Richie said "Well, what are we supposed to do until then?"

"It's like noon," Mike said. "Let's go grab lunch? And then we can maybe to out, or back to the library to work on school stuff."

They went with Mike's plan, because of course they did. An excellent Chinese food place in Brooklyn, and then the library, and then they stopped at a fabric store for Bev and then Mike and Bill had to run in to a used bookstore for "just a second" that turned into twenty minutes and a new book each. Stan met a pigeon that he liked very much and Ben helped Bev find a skirt pattern online, with the backdrop of Richie's steady stream of jokes and Eddie's groans at them. 

They returned home to a house that was still freezing, but Richie made some macaroni and cheese with blue macaroni noodles ("You put food coloring in the water, Stanny, it's not hard") that gave it a slightly strange look, but it was delicious nonetheless and, more importantly, it warmed them up a bit. Then they swaddled themselves in blankets, Bill turned "A Christmas Story" on TV, and they settled in. 

Of course, Richie- a self-described "scholar of comedy"- could quote most of the fim from memory and he did. They were smushed together, cuddling-but-not-really, and Eddie said about halfway thorugh "We should make some popcorn" but nobosy got up. Stan understood why. 

 

Of course, all good things come to an end. It was a school night for everybody, and as the credits rolled they all started to get up. Then they all realized, simultaneously, that they still didn't have goddamn heating in their house. 

"We should share beds." Good old Beverly, to the rescue. 

"I don't have a problem with that," Richie said. "Someone can share with me."

'I call the opposite of dibs on sharing a bed with Richie. He cuddles in his sleep," Stan said immediately. 

"How- how is that a bad thing?" Ben asked. "Cuddles are nice, even with your friends."

"Richie is 6 foot and about 190 pounds. He can and will smother me."

"I would be offended, Stan, but I've come to expect this type of behavior from you. Eddie, my love, will you share my bed on this special night?" Richie grinned hopefully. 

"Shut the FUCK up about that dumb fifties song, Richie, and fine, I will, but if you hog the blankets it's over."

"Fine, fine." And Richie picked Eddie up in a fireman's carry and spun around really quickly, Bev stretched her hand like she could catch Eddie lest he fall. 

"I don't care," Bill said. "Stan, if you want a break from them-" he rolled his eyes at Richie and Eddie, "- you can bunk with me and Mike."

"Sounds good to me."

That night, Stan watched Richie and Eddie brush their teeth and make faces at each other in the mirror, set to the tume of Istanbul (Not Constantinople), while Mike showered and Bill read the new book he bought earlier. 

'Is it any good?" Stan asked. 

"Ehh. It's called Pet Sematery, and I'm not a huge fan of the author, but I heard this one was good."

 

Stan fell asleep cold with Bill's shoulder digging into his. It wasn't the best way to fall asleep but it was better than being freezing alone.