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Debriefings

IN MEMORY OF SON SCOTCH

Son Scotch burnt to death on the field.

We’re winning games. Why are we winning games. We should have shut down entirely by now, laid down on the field and wept until party time released us from the obligation to try, but play must continue. So here we are, instead, too good to not be good enough.

Your humble correspondent is, at this point, too numb to cry. There’s really only so much loss someone can take before they shut down entirely. Somewhere beyond anger and despair. Is this what Scattered is? When someone’s vibes disappear, their memory is too shot full of holes for them to care what their name is, they walk around automatic and blank-eyed and disappear into their room afterwards?

Okay.

One foot in front of the other.

One foot in front of the other.

One fo –

I can’t do this. I can’t. Forget the recap.

Son was not a superstar blaseball player, but they were decent: they could hit singles. They could draw walks. They could jog around the bases when someone else batted them in. You need people who aren’t sluggers if you want to hit a grand slam, you know?

And maybe they were our son. Maybe you would look at them and see the son you bought the largest lollipop in the store, the son who sang along with the radio in the back seat on car trips, the son who you saw graduate and took out to Steak ‘n Shake afterwards. The Son who loved comics, who loved to play ball, who Denzel used to muss the hair of, who would ride on Karato’s shoulders.

Or maybe they weren’t our son. Maybe they were something else. Like Denzel, who learnt that they were something more inside the shell, who came out more willing to acknowledge that ordinary businesspeople do not make a living playing blaseball and performing espionage, whose eyes shone when they wrapped everyone else in a hug when they were freed. Like Math, who finally became someone we could talk to once Math stopped trying to learn to speak aloud.

Perhaps Son joined the Internet League, not because that was something your son would do, but for themself: to prove to themself that they could do something more than be a kid.

They might have looked the same, in that moment, in the flame, as they did after all the other deaths, when everyone was breaking down. There was a look of infinity in Son’s eyes, then and now: the calm perspective of someone who has been our Son for longer than any of us have been alive. As if Son was trying to comfort us. To reassure us that things go on.

Maybe none of this is true.

It doesn’t matter. Son Scotch was there since the beginning, Son Scotch played on our team, and we loved them for that reason alone.

Light a candle.

We go on.

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