Nursey and Dex were in the attic. It was late, or early,
depending who you asked, and Dex had just climbed into bed. He’d tried his best
not to wake Nursey, asleep on the bottom bunk, but the bed was rickety. It was
dark. He couldn’t help a little noise. When he got situated, however, Nursey’s
breathing was still soft and slow. Dex rolled onto his side and closed his
eyes, let out a long breath, and finally allowed his mind to wander to
something that wasn’t the genetics exam he had in the morning.
Dex thought of ice, cold wafting off it, the sharp sound of
skates scraping over it. He thought of the exhaustion and sweat and happiness
that came after skating suicides. Sunlight just barely beginning to shine
through the windows of Faber. Broad shoulders and curly hair and a weary,
contented smile to match his own. The laugh that bubbled out of him as the
chirps flew back and forth. Happiness and belonging, at long last.
Dex was on the cusp of sleep, walking the knife’s edge
between wakefulness and slumber, when he heard it; the soft, far away tones of the
Dex’s eyes snapped open. He stared at the cracked paint of
the wall in front of him, straining to hear the music.
“All you people can’t you see, can’t you see,” he heard float up from the direction of the bathroom
at the base of the stairs. There was a rustling in the closet. Sweat broke out
across his brow. Dex struggled to calm his breathing.
There was no reason to be reacting like something was wrong.
Nothing was wrong. Everyone was asleep. The room was dark. There was a gentle October
drizzle pattering softly on the window, and Nursey was snoring quietly below him,
but other than that it was silent, still.
Because there was no music. Dex was imagining it. He’d
listened to that song this morning. It was just his brain remembering. It was a
good song. Dopamine and all that.
Dex had managed to roll his eyes at himself and calm the
fuck down when there was a breath and a giggle right next to his ear.
Dex yelped and jerked away, rocking the bed and making it
hit the wall with a thud.
Nursey’s snores cut off. He was quiet a moment, then
he said, “Are you alright up there?”
“Yes,” Dex said, as obnoxiously as he could. He turned on
his other side and closed his eyes.
There were a few minutes where everything was normal. Dex
drifted off again.
Then something squeezed his butt cheek.
“What the fuck,” he yelled. He threw off his sheets and
jumped off the bed, foregoing the ladder. He felt the impact of his heels
hitting the wooden floor in his teeth.
“Dex?” Nursey asked, alarmed. When Dex turned around, Nursey
was sitting up in bed, rubbing his eyes.
“I need to ask you something, and I need you to not chirp
“I can’t make any promises…” Nursey trailed off. It was a
chirp in itself, but Dex went on.
“SomethingjustgrabbedmybuttcanIsleepwithyoutonight,” he said
in a rush, cheeks dark, eyes cast to the side.
Nursey was stunned. He took a moment to regain his bearings,
then said, “You want to sleep with me because…” His eyebrows were raised. One
corner of his mouth was turned up. Dex was making this way too easy for him.
“Something just touched my butt,” Dex said, enunciating,
training his gaze on the ceiling. He huffed a breath, making his bangs float up
from his forehead and back down again. He needed a haircut.
“What touched your butt?” Nursey asked, eyebrows raised. Dex
didn’t really care, because he also scooched over and lifted the covers as he
did it so.
Dex dove under the blankets and pulled them quickly over
himself. Nursey extended an arm across the bed, and Dex laid his head on it.
They faced each other, a few inches separating their noses. “I don’t fucking
know,” Dex whispered.
“The ghosts?” Nursey asked with faux seriousness. Dex almost
believed it, but his eyes weren’t as somber as the rest of him; they were tight
around the edges, as though he were laughing.
“There’s no such thing as ghosts,” Dex said indignantly. He
tried his best to look down his nose at Nursey, but it was kind of hard while
laying horizontal, with so little space between them.
“Then what was it?”
“I don’t know. The wind.”
“Yeah, the wind.”
“The wind touched your butt.”
“… grabbed your butt.”
“… your butt.”
They looked at each other a moment. Nursey’s eyes danced.
“Stop talking about my butt,” Dex said gravely.
Nursey leaned forward and whispered, “The wind grabbed your
Dex heaved a sigh, rolled his eyes, and launched himself on
top of Nursey. He forced an arm under his neck to get him in a headlock. Nursey
shoved a knee in his stomach and flipped them over, straddling his legs and
holding an arm down with his knee. He had Dex’s other arm in his hands. He
looked down at Dex, breathing heavily.
“Fucking – “ Dex said, wiggling under Nursey. “Shit, I – Don’t
you – Nurse, don’t you fucking dare.”
Nursey raised Dex’s hand, grinning madly.
“Fuck you, Nurse.”
Nursey slapped Dex’s cheek with his own hand. He did it again.
And again. “Looks like you should fuck yourself, Poindexter. I’m not the one
“Come on, Nurse. It’s fucking 3:00 in the morning.”
“So you should stop hitting yourself.”
“Jesus Christ, get off me!” Dex roared, rocking his entire
body and throwing Nursey off balance. Nursey fell to the side, and Dex took the
opportunity to climb back on top of him.
“The Son and I do share an uncanny resemblance, but alas, –
“Shut the fuck up,” Dex said. He dropped down and kissed
Nursey, shoved his tongue in his mouth so the only sound he could make was a
surprised “hmm” in the back of his throat.
Nursey kissed back and Dex eased up. They went on, soft,
warm mouths meeting and falling apart like the tide. Dex felt crackly in his
shoulders and knees. Strong hands ran down his spine and grabbed his ass.
Nursey pulled back to say, “Calm down, Poindexter. It’s just
Black Mirror season three’s
second episode, “Playtest,” may be the first television episode inspired by a viral piece
of criticism on Twitter. Knowing the episode’s origin makes what is
otherwise a frustrating installment quite a bit more intriguing. Mallory Ortberg’s tweet that inspired the ep was only 10 words long.