Building Friends: A Cautionary Tale

There wasn’t a time in Joey’s life when he could remember not feeling lonely. As a child he was home-schooled by his brother Jack, who was actually two years younger than he was, but very forceful. His parents ran away very early on in his life, leaving him and his brother with no one to make them socialize or go to school or eat anything that wasn’t just the garbage they found on the ground in the woods, which is where they lived. To be honest, Jack wasn’t a bad teacher. You might be thinking, “How could he not be a bad teacher, as far as we know he was a very young child who was never taught anything and never had any parents and lived in the woods and I’m still not even sure how these children survived at all? I’m really trying to get on board with this story, but you’re making it very difficult.” O ye of little faith! What Jack lacked in actual knowledge, he more than made up for in false knowledge and also knowledge of woodworking and, like, wood mechanics or I don’t know. One day Joey came to him with a question: “Jack,” he said, “Can you teach me how to build a friend? I am very lonely.” Jack responded, “I have taught you everything I know already many times over, you should be able to build whatever you want.” Ignited with the flame of hard-won knowledge, Joey gathered materials from the forest and set on to build his friend. He built his friend to play one simple “guess which hand the marble is in” game — that is all Joey needed. He also built him with sunglasses on, because Joey knew what those were. When he friend was complete, Joey turned him on.

“Oh, this is great!” Joey said, overjoyed. Over and over he and his friend played the marble game, never tiring of its intrigue, until one day Joey grew suspicious. “Wait,” he said to his friend, “How are you doing this?” His new friend sat their, unresponsive, staring straight ahead. “Hey! Helloooooooo. Answer me!” pleaded Joey. “I built you, you can at least tell me how you do your trick. So, what is it? How do you do it?” With tears in his eyes Joey begged, “PLEASE JUST TELL ME HOW YOU DO YOUR TRICK. I’VE BEEN STUDYING YOU FOR DAYS AND I CANNOT FIGURE IT OUT AND IT’S REALLY DRIVING ME CRAZY. DO YOU HAVE THREE MARBLES OR A HOLE IN THE TABLE OR WHAT IS IT?” Still his new friend said nothing, as if he didn’t even care that Joey was seriously freaking out about figuring out this marble trick. Finally Joey said, slowly, “If you don’t tell me how you do your trick, I am going to kill myself.” Still his friend only sat staring forward, cruelly continuing with the trick. “ARE YOU SERIOUS? YOU WERE GOING TO LET ME KILL MYSELF JUST BECAUSE YOU DIDN’T WANT TO TELL ME HOW YOU ARE DOING THIS TRICK? YOU ARE A TERRIBLE FRIEND!” And with that Joey threw his new friend on the ground of the forest, smashing him to pieces. “Friends are the worst,” said Joey. “I’m so glad I don’t have any friends.” (Via OHYST.)