E is for inspiration

Zach is in class when he gets the call. He can't remember ever hearing Shaun swear like that.
"You stupid, stupid little fuck! Get your fucking ass over here. NOW!"
That is exactly the moment he realizes how big a mistake he has made.


"Zach, about the other day… I'm sorry they didn't appreciate your painting as much as I did."

"They said they wanted something new. Something exciting. I don't know how to do that, Shaun. Nothing exciting ever happens around here."
"Hey, you know what? Why don't we take Cody to the beach tomorrow? You usually get your inspiration back after spending a day at the beach with your – and I quote you, Grasshopper- two most inspiring people of all time."
"Didn't you hear what I said? They wanted something NEW. The beach, the cranes, warehouses, you guys… it's just…been there."
"Done that."
"Yeah."
"Oh."

"What's this?"
"What?"
"I found this in your pocket when I was doing laundry today."
"Oh. That's… nothing."
"Zach…"
"Look, drop it, OK?"

"You never say anything about Gabe smoking pot. Why are you being such an ass about this?"
"I'm just worried, is all."
"Well, don't be. I can take care of myself. I don't need a daddy to look after me."

"Why don't you get it? I'm just tired of being mediocre, Shaun. You of all people should understand what it's like to be creative under pressure. All I need is a little bit more energy, a boost to keep me going, to keep my imagination flowing. You drink loads of coffee when you're writing."
"That's different."
"No it's not."

"Zach, listen to me. You're not you, when you take that stuff."
"Oh fuck off."
"NO! Don't you run away from me! It's not just about me, and you know that. ZACH!"

"Come on, pretty boy… make your baby happy…"
"Babe, just go to sleep. It's late. Or… early."
"I know you want it. You're hard too. Do you feel that? Yeah. All yours tonight baby."
"Zach, stop that."
"You gonna make me beg for it? Playing hard to get? Fuck, yeah. You own my ass, baby."
"Hmm…"
"Shaun!"
"What?"
" Please… I'm horny Shaun, come on…"
"Shut up."
" OK, I guess it's just me and my warm, tight…hand then."
"Yeah. It is. 'Night."
"Fuck you."

"Shaun?"
"Hmm…"
"I uhm…"
"Yeah?"
"Sorry."
"Oh."
"For everything. It didn't mean a thing."
"Maybe not to you."
"I'm sorry."
"Yeah, you just said that."
"I don't even remember his name and I sure as hell didn't enjoy it."
"That's not what this is about now, is it, Zach?"
"No. Yes. Maybe. I don't know."
"You don't?"
"I…I'll throw them out. It's not gonna happen again. I'm so sorry."
"I won't let you break my heart again, Babe."
"I know. I only want you."

"I missed you."
"I missed you too."
"Wanna make love?"


The fluorescent lights make Shaun's skin look even paler than it already is. He has dark rings under his red-rimmed eyes and that usually is a clear indication that he has been worrying. Or crying. Probably both.

Everything had been just fine this morning. Warm, soft skin against his back, whispered promises and then laughter when Cody suddenly jumped on their bed from out of nowhere. A kiss before leaving the house. And one for Cody, too, because somehow, his son is in this phase where he wants everything that Zach gets.

Finally they were a family again, just the three of them. And now this. This could very well be his worst nightmare. None of this felt real. This isn't happening. This isn't the way it's supposed to be.
Finally the door swings open and a dark-haired man steps out.

"Mister Andrews?"
Shaun jumps up from his plastic seat, spilling the horrible-tasting vending machine coffee all over his t-shirt, which –he can see that now- he is wearing inside out.

"The seizures have stopped and he's stable now. He's breathing on his own."
"Oh thank God," Shaun says, unable to ask any more questions. He just wants everything to go back to normal again. He wants to wake up from this dream, to be held by Zach, telling him that everything is alright. The doctor isn't finished, though.

"We… uhm… we found high levels of MDMA in his blood, Ecstasy."
"Oh shit."
"Well, yes. There were some traces of other chemicals as well. You can't really know what they put in those things nowadays. They make Ecstasy pills in all kinds of colors, even with smiley faces on them. Kids think it's candy."
Shaun looks at the dark brown stain in his white shirt. That'll never gonna come out.

"What I would like to know, Mister Andrews, is how Cody could get his hands on those pills. Do you know anyone who might be using? Maybe someone in your family?"
They both look up when Zach finally arrives, running, searching for his two most inspiring people of all time, wondering if it really is too late to make things right.