THERE ARE OTHERS by Mandy Nadyne Clark

Matt tells me this so I won’t feel alone. But it’s all he says. No follow-up. Just: there. are. others. I haven’t a clue what he’s referencing. An ambulance drives by while we’re standing out on our second break from GameStop and we both say at the same time:

“Remember when that guy had a seizure on the counter the day they released Grand Theft Auto 5?”

I mean word for word. Like we both want to say jinx, but if we say that, we are still saying the same thing again and I honestly can’t remember if he’s the type who owes me a Coke or if we are staying silent until someone says our name. It doesn’t matter since we are still both listening to the sirens blaze by and clearly we are stuck in the ten-year-old memory.

“Aren’t there always others?” I blow circles out of my mouth from my cigarette and smash the butt on the bottom of my boot. Matt doesn’t try to get me to quit anymore, he gave up after trying to convince me that vaping would be safer—we outlasted that theory.

“No. Not always.” Matt looks off into the distance all dreamy. Ever since COVID he starts and stops these nonsense topics. I think it’s to fill the space so we don’t perseverate on our mutual go-nowhere lives.

“I bet an ambulance wouldn’t’ve come for that seizure guy at the beginning of everything.”

“Yeah they would, it’s against the law not to.”

“Game-changer,” says Matt.


“I’m just saying, it’s nice to hear them out and about.”

“The ambulances?”

“Sure. The ambulances. The cars. People. Gamers. Whatever. You know, it’s just about over they’re saying. On the news. ‘Three long years’ someone said.”

“Okay, but what’s your point?”

As if on cue, we both say: There are others.


The last hour while we finish the closing procedures neither of us speak. I’m not sure if we’re playing the game or just trying to figure out if it really is over. After lock-up, we wave goodbye, and the next day nothing seems different. Or the same.

Photo by Jan Krutisch, used and adapted under CC.