‘Hey Karen, remember how I went on a tour of that lab today?’ said Rodney.
‘I remember thinking it was weird that a lab would give tours,’ said Karen.
‘Well, I have big news.’
‘They hired you? You can finally quit your job as one of the people who are secretly inside vending machines, operating them manually?’
‘Not quite. Although I might have to quit my job.’
‘I was bitten by a radioactive spider.’
‘That’s right. I have cancer now.’
There was a medium length pause.
‘You know that with great power there must also come great responsibility,’ said Karen.
‘I was thinking exactly the same thing,’ said Rodney. ‘Which means the worse the cancer gets, the less responsibility I have. Soon I’ll be able to do whatever I want!’
‘No more table manners.’
‘No more social obligations.’
‘You can finally tell your dad what you really think about his political opinions!’
‘There’s just one problem,’ said Rodney.
‘Is it the Green Goblin?’
‘Sort of. People who aren’t doctors have already started telling me how to cure cancer.’
‘Yeah. So far the trick is either to eat more eggs, stop eating eggs entirely, or to make a vision board.’
‘What’s a vision board?’
‘It’s a sort of collage with the power to alter reality.’
‘That’s so stupid.’
‘I almost wish I didn’t have cancer.’
Karen wrinkled her nose the way she didn’t know she did when she was thinking deeply. ‘We can get through this. I’ll unfriend all my aunts on Facebook, you buy a water pistol.’
‘You’re not going to suggest some sort of water pistol based homeopathic remedy, are you?’
‘I was going to suggest squirting people in the face whenever they say the word ‘blog,” said Karen. ‘Like training kittens.’
‘What about your mum? She lives inside that glass vat to protect her from chemtrails.’
‘We’ll put her in the basement.’
Rodney looked out the window at the exact moment the sun broke through the clouds, like the beam of a friendly Death Star powered by hope. ‘You know, I was feeling sort of down when I called you, but now I’m actually starting to look forward to the future. Not the long term future, obviously. But the short term is really looking up.’
Karen did that thing with her dimples that she did when she was being supportive. ‘Go get ’em, tiger.’