At one point my roommate and I were chatting after a late night of study. (Yes, I know it was college, but sometimes we actually studied.) For those of you keeping track, this is a completely different roommate from the one mentioned in my last story. Completely different college, for that matter.
This roommate was taller, quirkier, and much more fun to have around. I'm trying to think how best to describe him, and the phrase that keeps coming to mind is "dangerously whimsical". He had a good sense of the fundamental absurdity of life, and he would occasionally expound - in all apparent seriousness - on whether the Illuminati were secretly running things, the little-understood role of salamanders as the source of all evil in the world, and other such topics.
Let's call him J, because I'm too lazy to make up a pseudonym for him. J and I got along well; the only reason we're not still in touch is because we're both completely horrible about long distance communication. The last I heard, he had been working on an Artifical Intelligence project, right before he quit and moved to California to become a pastry chef.
I am not making that up.
I forget precisely how we got on the topic, but we were talking about comforting fictions. I tend to write stories in which I get to have vast supernatural powers - or at least, I did at the time. Part of that was because, if you're going to be different from other people (and I've always been aware that I was different) it's comforting to think that you're better. It takes a certain amount of age and perspective to really get comfortable with the idea that different doesn't have to be better or worse. Some people never get that.
So I was in my bed, on the top bunk. It was probably 2:30 in the morning, and I'd just finished saying something along those lines. And J got up from the bottom bunk, and walked across the room.
"I know what you mean," he said. "Of course, I'm the destined savior of all mankind." This was a point he had made before.
He flipped off the light, and walked back to his bed. He laughed as he approached. "The scary part is," he added, "some days I almost believe it." And then, in the darkness, I heard a thump.
J had tossed himself casually onto his bed.
By a good six inches.