“Are you gonna eat those?” He was eying up my pancakes.
“Of course I’m going to eat them. I wouldn’t have ordered them if I wasn’t going to eat them.”
“Oh. I just thought maybe you weren’t going to eat all of them.”
No way was I going to eat all of my pancakes, but no way was I going to share them with him, either. “You want me to get the waitress, so you can order your own pancakes?”
“No, that’s okay. I’m not that hungry.”
The trouble with Godzilla is he’s always hungry. And he breaks things by accident. And he scares people. It’s kind of a drag.
“Here.” I cut my pancakes down the middle. “Take half.”
“You gonna eat that sausage?”
“You wanna come up?” I ask my girlfriend on the stoop.
She nibbles gently at my ear. “Dunno. Is your roommate home?”
My roommate, Godzilla, is home. I play with the button on my girlfriend’s shirt but don’t answer.
“I think I’m just gonna go home,” she says.
The alarm clock goes off and I stumble out of bed toward the bathroom. I pass Godzilla, coming out. “Don’t go in there!” he warns.
And he’s used up all the toilet paper.
Sometimes we sit in our apartment in the dark, in the quiet, though it never gets completely dark or completely quiet because Tokyo leaks in through the windows. The lights flicker off the walls, and horns bleat, and sirens, and sometimes through acoustical miracles, conversations carry up from the street to our window. But things feel mostly muted and far away, and it’s relaxing. We enjoy it when we can afford to.
Godzilla has a little plastic lamp clamped to the cover of the book he’s reading.
“‘Summer grasses — all that remains of soldiers’ dreams.’”
“That’s a good one,” I say.
“And not sad, too. Just, you know, true.”
He’s got little Post-It notes sticking out of his favorite pages, and he turns to another: “‘Clouds — a chance to dodge moon-viewing.’”
“Ha,” I laugh.
“Yeah,” he says. “Yeah…”
“Okay, one more.”
He flips pages. “Here’s one.” He clears his big throat. “‘Not one traveler braves this road — autumn night.’”
“Hmm. I don’t know about that one.”
“I like it because it’s quiet,” Godzilla says.
I nod. “I get that,” I tell him.
“What did you do today?” I ask Godzilla as he walks in the door. But he shrugs and looks at me kind of sheepishly and lumbers off to his room, and I decide it’s probably best if I don’t watch the news tonight.
“What’s it like?” I ask him once. “All the killing.” He frowns at me and looks like he wants to spit, and I’m sorry I asked. He absent-mindedly picks up our salt shaker and crushes it and then looks embarrassed.
“It’s not like that,” he finally answers. “The guy who gets off on destruction, on being big and strong and powerful — I’m not that guy.”
“I know you’re not that guy.”
“It’s lonely being a monster.”
“I guess it probably is.”
“I’m glad you’re my friend,” he tells me, and I hug him the best I can with my little arms and his big body, a real hug, tight, so he knows I mean it.
CHRISTOPHER DEWAN has written numerous short stories, recently featured in Apocrypha and Abstractions, Bartleby Snopes, Bewildering Stories, Fractured West, In Between Altered States, MicroHorror, Necessary Fiction, and Niteblade. In 2012, was a contributor at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, and his short story “The Garden” was nominated for a 2013 Pushcart Prize.