10 Rules For Looking After Mikeyway.
Frank laughs as he picks up the sheet of paper that’s been left on his bed. Sitting, he looks at the illustrations – Mikey and Frank and a random assortment of bloody-faced vampires, bats, nuclear explosions and for some inexplicable reason, a rabbit with floppy pink ears.
It’s typical Gerard and Frank keeps grinning as he reads, because, come on. He’s moving in with Mikey. That’s all.
(1) Keep the cupboards stocked with junk food at all times – Mikeyway is a skinny fucker, but don’t let that fool you that he doesn’t eat. He does. A lot.
Empty chip packets litter the floor and when Frank sits he feels something squish against his leg. Carefully, he shifts to one side and pulls off the candy wrapper that’s plastered against his jeans. It leaves behind a mess of melted chocolate and runny caramel and as Frank stomps toward his bedroom his vows this is it. Mikey’s junk supply is cut off, no matter how much he pleads.
(2) – Never ever run out of coffee – If the worst happens, distract with shiny things and then run to the nearest Starbucks.
Frank makes the coffee in the mornings; it’s just how it is. Except, when he reaches for the beans, all he finds is an empty bag.
Sensing disaster, he listens to the noises coming from Mikey’s room. The squeak of his bed, the door opening, the toilet flushing. Calculating time, Frank pulls on his shoes and heads for the door.
He doesn’t make it.
Mikey’s hair is a disaster – more of a disaster than usual – and his t-shirt is on backwards and he’s wearing a pair of Frank’s sleep pants so the legs end half way up his calves.
He stumbles toward the kitchen, hand already outstretched to grab a mug, then stops, blinking slowly and looking utterly betrayed. “Frank?”
Frank runs. If he goes flat out he can be back before Mikey even realises he’s gone.
(3) Do not mock his hair choices – Mikeyway takes his hair seriously, and while he may give the impression that he doesn’t care about any mockery, in reality he does.
“Fuck, Mikey. Come on, I need to pee.”
“I’m not stopping you,” Mikey says, and continues to lean in close to the mirror so he can sculpt his bangs into a point.
Frank stares, because Mikey’s been doing this for half an hour and the stupid point looks the same as it did when he started. The same as it always looks, no matter how long Mikey fusses and adds product. It’s infuriating, and Frank’s bladder is about to burst.
“I don’t know why you bother, it won’t look any better.” Frank wants to claw back the words, but they’re already free, filling the small bathroom. Mikey screws the top back on his wax and picks up his brushes and comb.
“I’ll finish in my bedroom,” Mikey says, and he pushes past Frank without another word.
“Good,” Frank mutters. He closes the door and pretends his didn’t see the hurt in Mikey’s eyes.
(4) Always ensure that socks are available – A supply of black socks means you won’t have to see Mikeyway’s gnarly toe nails.
“Don’t do that!” Frank jabs his finger at Mikey’s thigh, because seriously. He doesn’t mind the fact that watching tv turns into one huge snuggle fest, them both crammed on the sofa with Frank squashed in one corner. But the toe nails. Frank shudders when Mikey curls his toes again, dragging his nails over Frank’s jeans.
(5) Check the stove often – Mikeyway gets distracted at times. When this happens such mundane things as pans on stovetops tend to be forgotten.
“Mikey, we could have died.” Frank looks in the sink, at the pan which is still smouldering, the bottom burnt black and the handle melted into a curve.
“I forgot,” Mikey says. There are sleep creases across his cheek and his hair sticks up on one side. With his stupid knock-knees and curled-up toes he looks nothing more than a blank-faced school boy – if one in skin tight jeans and a t-shirt that shows a strip of belly each time he moves.
“You always forget,” Frank says wearily, but can’t help laughing when Mikey just stares back, obviously unrepentant.
They need a new pan anyway.
(6) Unicorns are real – Do not attempt to convince Mikeyway otherwise.
“Look.” Mikey points at the screen of his laptop. “I’ve just bought that pin.”
Frank looks, unsurprised when he sees the unicorn. Curious, he asks, “why?”
Mikey looks up, the light from the screen casting shadows across his face. “Why what?”
“Why unicorns? I can see dragons or demons, but unicorns?”
“Unicorns are awesome; they represent purity but could rip you apart with that horn.” Mikey looks away, types, minimises the page and then says, “And Gerard told me a story about Unie the magical unicorn when I was kid. He keeps people safe.”
Which is so perfectly Mikey, unashamed of what and who he loves that Frank impulsively says, “order me one too.”
(7) Never let it get too cold – Mikeyway gets chilled easily, prepare for this with fleecy blankets and the heat turned up high.
Frank peels off his hoodie and drops it onto the bench. He’s tempted to open a window but Mikey’s already huddled under one of the fleece blankets, the only thing visible his hair and eyes.
It’s ridiculous how cold he gets, and Frank should turn down the heat, but he can only take so long of Mikey shivering pitifully. It’s just easier to leave it on high.
(8) Do not touch his Sidekick – If you do you’ll lose a hand.
Frank pulls the pillow over his head. He feels terrible and wants a nap but all he can hear is Mikey’s sidekick. Beeping followed by key strokes, sometimes Mikey laughing as he reads each new message.
It’s like every person Mikey has ever known – which are a lot – have decided that today is the day to get in touch. Frank’s on the verge of going insane.
He reaches for his shoe on the floor, flings it at the wall and shouts, “will you shut up for one minute!”
A minute of breathing hard, and Frank takes the pillow off his head, warily looking toward his bedroom door. It’s too quiet now, no beeps or laughter and he’s about to climb out of bed to apologise when Mikey appears.
He sits on the edge of the bed and holds out a juice box. Frank takes it, and stabs the straw through the hole. He drinks and looks at Mikey. “It’s quiet.”
“I turned my sidekick off.”
Guilt mixes with relief and Frank says, “I thought you were talking to your friends.”
Mikey looks at Frank. “I am.”
(9) Don’t keep power tools in the apartment – While Mikeyway loves to build, restrict his tools to those operated by hand.
“Mikey,” Frank says slowly. “Where’s my door?”
“Outside.” Mikey says, appearing out of his own room.
Mikey’s hair is covered with sawdust and there’s a blood-stained bandaid wrapped around his finger and Frank’s moving forward before he can even think. “What did you do?”
“Well,” Mikey says, and pulls back his hand. “I was going to put up those hooks, you know, the ones we got for our coats? But when I used the drill it slipped, and I ended up drilling a hole in your door.”
“Okay, but one drill hole doesn’t lead to a missing door.”
Mikey looks directly at Frank. “It does if you try to fix it with filler and use a hammer to smooth the edges and you slip and make a bigger hole. Then when you fix that hole you catch your finger on the rough edge then trip over your own feet and put your elbow through the door.”
Frank reaches up and picks a piece of wood from Mikey’s hair. “You’re a disaster waiting to happen sometimes.” He grabs Mikey’s hand. “I bet you didn’t even use antiseptic.”
Holding on, he tugs Mikey to the bathroom, fixing him up before they end up with a bassist with a missing finger.
(10) Never forget how lucky you are – Living with Mikeyway is a lot of effort at times, but the rewards are many.
“I’ve made dinner. They’re tomato and fake bacon”
Mikey sets a heaped plate of sandwiches on the coffee table then heads back to the kitchen, picking up two bottles of soda and a share bag of chips. Setting them down he sits next to Frank, bare toes on the table, stupid hair leaving a mark on the cushion as he smiles at Frank before settling back to watch the DVD.
Awkward, annoying, best-friend-ever Mikeyway. Frank can’t imagine being without him.