Xanax sat down at the dining room table. She set her tea down in front of her. She looked into it: gray tea in a gray mug on a gray table. Everything that entered her house, except for her red dress and her colorful husband, lost its color eventually.
She sighed, idly looking at the mug. It had a cartoon Wizard on it with the text “EAT, VEX, SLEEP, REPEAT.” Xanax didn’t really know anything about Vex magic. The color had long since faded. She couldn’t recall when she bought it or what color it had been when she had.
Xanax leaned back in her chair. Supposing that enough time had passed, she took her tea bag out and put it on a dish in the center of the table. She examined the room while waiting for it to cool. As always, her gaze had ended up at the same place: the painting that her mother did of her before she died.
Xanax heard Jack come down stairs. She pictured him grabbing the handrails with his long arms and hoisting himself down two steps at a time.
“Hi honey,” he said. Xanax turned towards him.
“Hey,” Xanax said.
Jack approached the front door.
“Are you going somewhere?” Xanax asked.
He turned around to look at her, as if he was caught doing something illicit. Jack was flat and flimsy. Clothes didn’t fit him and he wasn’t very flexible. Illustrated on his face like a tattoo he was born with were two bodies. The bottom of the one on top became the top of the one on the bottom. Two white fleshy shoulders protruded from either side of the top of his body, holding together arms that extended almost all the way to the ground. In each corner of his face was a diamond and a “J,” which stood for his name, “Jack Ofdiamonds.”
“Yeah,” he said. “I’m seeing my parents for another business meeting.” Jack’s parents were the owners of the Ofdiamonds Casino. Every few tendays, he had a “business meeting” with them, where he would discuss their financial situation. Xanax (unemployed) was never invited.
“I’ll be back later, okay?”
He left, closing the door behind him.
Xanax turned back towards the painting, as if asking the version of herself kept in there to keep her company. Painted Xanax sat on a stool, looking to the left. She had gray skin and shining gray eyes and a fleeting gray look on her face, as if she just missed someone who left before she could tell them something important and didn’t know when she would see them again. Her neck was straight and short and beautiful. Her legs appeared to go all the way to the ground.
In contrast, Xanax floated above the ground, armless, legless, incorporeal. The ugly bend in her long neck twisted her see-through head to the side. She peered out of eyes shaped like “X”s which rested in the upper half of her face above nothing. Her red dress hung below her neck, taking shape around her shoulders. Xanax was caught between empty gray death and the demands of a living body. Her meatless physical form came in and out of being as she required it. Right now, she requires shoulders to wear a dress. In contrast, Xanax in the painting was full, opaque, and expressive.
Sometimes, Xanax felt like the painted one: a copy of something, something “from life,” something frozen.
She took a sip of tea, her hands momentarily taking form around the mug. It was over steeped and too bitter. Unlike the painting, she felt like she had no reason to exist. Nothing to do, and nothing keeping her around. She envied the painting, who had at least one purpose: to be admired.
Someone knocked on the door. Xanax put the mug down. As she approached the door, they knocked again, louder.
She opened the door and averted her eyes. Two shining white strangers were on her doorstep, like no one she had ever seen before.
“Hello,” one said slowly, in a deep voice. He articulated each sound carefully when he spoke, as if he was handling every syllable. “You must be Xanax.”
Xanax witnessed him. In the middle of his shining form was a pair of lips and a set of perfect white teeth, smiling. The other had one eye in his center, bright cyan. Xanax knew who they were, but didn’t dare say it out loud.
“Hello. Yes. I’m Xanax.” She wasn’t sure whether to extend a hand or not.
“I’m %^#* and this is !@#$,” he said. “Is your husband home?”
Her heart sank. Of course they were here for Jack. Xanax was meant for nothing divine. “No. He’ll be back in a few hours.”
“Perfect. Can we come in?”
“Um. Sure.” Xanax opened the door and made way for the two strangers. “Make yourself comfortable. Maybe I can make you some tea? You can wait around here until he is home.”
“No need. We came here for you.”
“Oh.” Xanax let that idea take form in her chest. “Okay.” She led them to the dining room table. “What can I do for you?” !@#$ looked directly at her. %^#* was facing forward at nothing. “Do you want any tea?”
“No, thank you. We won’t be long.”
“Okay.” Xanax looked sheepishly at !@#$. Then, she sat down across from %^#*.
“Listen, Xanax,” %^#* said. “You must leave this place. There is nothing here for you, and soon there will be nothing here at all. Go upstairs and take anything you may need. Then, go to Castle Quartz and seek the Sphinx of black quartz. Never look back.”
A hundred thoughts went through her head, but she knew that if %^#* really was an angel, she should not doubt him. She verbalized the simplest one: “How will I get there?”
“Take the bus to the Junkyard and the ferry to Babble. Take the elevator to the top floor and talk to the one who resides there. He will bring you to Castle Quartz. There, you will find your answers.”
Xanax formed a map in her mind. A dotted line connected the Fifth City to the Junkyard to Babble. She could not imagine how she would get from the top story of Babble to the moon, where the Sphinx lived in Castle Quartz.
“Answers to what question?” She already knew what question she was asking. She knew it for a while. Sphinx of black Quartz, judge my vow. Xanax had the pangram memorized for as long as she could remember, along with the other important ones. It already contained every letter of the alphabet, but now it also contained her. When the world was still a pure quartz cube, the Sphinx uttered the pangrams and replaced quartz with dirt, concrete, sand, water, and life. He had spoken Love, Junk, Vex, and Quiz, the secondary forms of magic, into the world.
The pangram echoed in her mind. Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow. It was obviously her wedding vow to Jack. But did that really need “judging?” Despite her uncertainty, she knew she had to trust the Sphinx and his perfect judgment.
“Answers to what questions?” she asked again. She did not want to overstep in a conversation with holy creatures, but she also wanted to take advantage of the time she had with them right now.
!@#$ looked around the room.
“This is a beautiful house,” %^#* said. “Jack’s salary goes far, doesn’t it? How long did you know each other before you got married? How did it go when he first met your parents? How are his parents? Is he doing well? Do you even like him?” He threw the word “like” at her like someone throws a brick through a window.
Xanax was unsure if he was asking her these questions or answering the one she posed.
“Okay,” she said quietly.
!@#$ stared at her again.
She went over what %^#* first said to her in her mind. “What did you mean when you said that ‘soon there will be nothing here at all?’”
“You know what’s been happening to the cube. Your home is no exception.”
Xanax did know. Sinkholes had started appearing in the cube, cleanly cutting perfect circles out of the world. It was the result of the mining operations here in the Fifth City, taking the quartz out of the cube and destabilizing it. People around here called it the Doomed Cube Paradox: why would the Sphinx, the master craftsman, armed with his grand design, make a cube that was doomed to fall apart? Why did he obscure quartz in the dirt just to have the quartz-people and the people of the Fifth City take it out again?
Xanax got the message. She took %^&*'s description of this paradox as a concession of its existence from the Sphinx. She had no time to consider the implications of this.
“Go. Pack a bag and leave before Jack comes back.”
“So I should just go? And what? Never come back? Leave Jack? I–” Xanax didn’t know how to finish that sentence.
“This is an order from the Sphinx. Do you really want to ignore him?”
That made it a simple decision. Because it was an order from the Sphinx, she didn’t have to think about it. Following him was the only acceptable course of action.
Xanax mumbled something. After another moment, she stood up, chugged her mug of tea, and floated upstairs. Before going into her bedroom, she looked back at !@#$ and %^#*. They were still sitting at the dining room table.
She looked for stuff to take with her. She didn’t wear any other clothes and she didn’t have a body to keep clean, so there wasn’t a lot that she needed. She did have a purse that she could sling over her shoulder comfortably enough. It was simple and black. In it was a token pouch and a bottle of pepper spray. A quartz anti-fog lantern was attached to the outside of her purse.
She picked up her conflict resolver, resting on her vanity. It was a handheld quartz device with many functions. Xanax looked at it. Sensing her gaze, it showed the time: four hours since the bright came out, not like it mattered in the underground part of the Fifth City. Actually, it didn’t really matter on the surface of the Fifth City either; the fog up there was too dense for much light to shine through. She put her conflict resolver in her purse.
She found a small black bag and shook it lightly. The wads of quartz inside clinked against each other. She supposed that she kept them around for “religious reasons,” but there was no ritual or tradition that involved them. Most of the time, quartz was whittled and used for making something like conflict resolvers, projectors, inscribers, or other gadgets. These skills were beyond Xanax. She kept the quartz because it calmed her to hold the wads and look at them. They were more expensive than they were worth to her in terms of utility, but she couldn’t imagine selling them. Maybe she would have to. She put the bag into her purse.
Another idea crossed her mind: she could just take some tokens from Jack’s stash. In that case, she would never have to sell her black wads. Jack forbade her from taking anything out of there, and didn't trust her with the combination.
Xanax opened the door to the closet, gaining hands to grip it and legs to push up against. She located the safe and knocked on the door, as if that would open it. She spun the dial. She had to stop pretending.
It would be easier to use what little Vex magic she knew to crack it. Vex magic was malicious in nature, mostly used to hurt other people. Xanax had no interest in that, but knew a few spells anyway.
Xanax pointed her phantom finger at the safe, concentrating on the wall around the lock. A flame appeared in front of her, wide at first, and then narrowing into a point. She was only used to doing this to light candles or the stove. She pointed the flame up against the metal safe and watched it slowly melt. She thought about a white heat and imagined the wall of the safe melting like ice in the bright.
Jack would not forgive her for this. Even if Xanax stopped melting the lock off, Jack would notice the mark she left. As she steadily moved the flame in a circle around the lock, she cemented her feelings.
Jack wasn’t really a bad person. He hadn’t done anything horrible to her. He was a little rude, maybe, and more than a little distant. But what was Xanax if not distant, too? She didn’t know where she was going, not exactly, and she didn’t know how long she would be away. Sphinx’s orders aside, she really did want to be doing this. Maybe an adventure is just what she needed. Maybe she’ll come back and everything will be okay.
No, that won’t happen. The angels said that “soon there will be nothing here at all.” She could never come back. Actually, with that logic in mind, they were saving her. Her and not Jack. Should she be happy? Thankful? Was she lucky? Xanax wished so bad to see the Sphinx’s design.
The lock fell to the floor with a clang.
Xanax opened the door slowly. In the safe were several stacks of shining silver tokens, neatly pushed up against the walls. It was either half empty or three-fourths full, she wasn’t sure. She imagined Jack, hunched over, nearly creasing, stacking the tokens and sliding them into the safe. She reached in and carefully took a token from the top of each stack, hoping Jack wouldn’t notice the difference, knowing he would. She put them in her token pouch and zipped it closed.
Xanax was almost ready to leave when a thought struck her. She rummaged through the drawers in the bathroom before finding it: the ring. It was a wedding ring made with a large wad of black quartz which held more magical value than personal. It was bound to Xanax and it bound Xanax to Jack.
She thought back to her wedding, a white flag in her foggy memory, and recalled the pangram, “Jack, love my big wad of sphinx quartz!” She didn’t want to admit that she married Jack so she could say that pangram on her wedding day. Was that the only reason? Did he love her big wad of Sphinx quartz? The ring sparkled, the opaque black of the quartz reflecting the light brightly. It was a huge wad, wedged almost carelessly onto a little gray band which was once probably gold. It wasn’t beautiful. In fact, it was worthless to Xanax as a ring, as she had no fingers to put it on. Because of the magical quartz, Xanax knew that if she went far enough from the ring that it would end up in her possession anyway. In theory, she could get a quartz whittler to separate the wad from the ring and make something useful out of it. What a sacrilegious thought! Xanax put the idea away, embarrassed that it even occurred to her.
Bag packed, she left her room. The angels had left, too. She hadn’t heard them on their way out. She went downstairs and looked around the room. She looked at the plain wooden table, the painting, and the doorway to the kitchen. She looked at the gray rug on the floor and the gray wallpaper and the gray lights on the ceiling.
Xanax was going to miss the place. She went out the door and didn’t look back.
Outside was a passageway carved out in the dirt. On the ceiling of it, two stories high, were buttresses made of metal which kept the dirt structure intact. She and Jack had beds of quartz flowers in their lawn, a beautiful waste of quartz. Some of them were wedding gifts, a tradition in the Fifth City.
She was restless, floating down the street with newfound intention.
She did not want to encounter Jack and explain where she was going. A part of her wanted to sit down with him and talk through it, but she didn’t feel like she was allowed that anymore, not after stealing from him.
She thought out a strategy. Would it be so bad to tell the truth about the angels? That she was summoned by the Sphinx and could not say no? It was a solid reason, but Xanax was unsure if Jack would understand.
Xanax passed several houses on her way to the central hole of the Fifth City. Space in the underground of the Fifth City was a scarce resource. Everywhere had to be carved out of the ground by teams of people with Vex magic led by quartz-people in possession of the Sphinx’s grand design.
“Hey Xanax!” A neighbor said. He was a quartz-person, pink. The two of them were the only people out right now. Xanax failed to remember his name. Had she even spoken to him before?
“Sorry, I can’t talk right now.” She didn’t stop. “I’m really busy.”
“Ok well I’ll see you around then, okay?”
She didn’t want to lie to him so she said nothing. Quartz-people, according to the Sphinx, were to be respected, like the rest of his creations. Any harm done to quartz of any kind, especially the animated kind, was seen as an affront to the Sphinx himself. That’s a part of the reason marriage vows are so important to Sphinx worshipers, because breaking a vow violates the quartz on the wedding ring. This rule was a little uncomfortable if you thought about it deeply; it grouped quartz-people with inanimate creations like rings and lamps. Did the Sphinx want his worshipers to respect quartz-people out of respect for his creations or out of respect for his possessions?
“Xanax?” Jack asked, approaching Xanax from the end of the street.
Damn it. “Hi, Jack. How was the meeting?” Xanax nervously avoided eye contact.
He stopped a few feet in front of her. “Good. Where are you going?”
“You know I was going to tell you, but you were out and everything. Um.” Xanax looked away, wishing he would just leave. In theory she could leave right now, just float away without saying another word, but she felt that she owed him an explanation. “I was visited by two angels who told me that I had to see the Sphinx immediately.”
“Oh.” Jack adjusted his corners on the ground. “Angels?”
“They were angels. One with an eye and one with a mouth. Their names were !@#$ and %^#*. The way they were talking, it made it seem like I had to go. Sorry, that’s why I left without waiting to tell you.”
“Are you lying to me?”
“No.” Xanax forced herself to look directly at Jack, happy that her blank face was unreadable, even though she was telling the truth.
“Let’s just go home and talk about this. I’m sure you misheard them.” Meaning: “I’m sure you’re lying.”
Xanax was unsure of what to say. Surely, if they went home, he would find the safe. Xanax should have tried to weld it back into place. She thought for a moment longer.
“What do you mean, no?”
“Jack. I spoke to two angels. Don’t you understand me? I can’t argue with them.”
Jack frowned. “What does the Sphinx need you for anyway?”
“I’m not sure,” Xanax said. That was half true. “They said he was going to judge my vow. Like the pangram, Jack, Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow! Isn’t that amazing?”
“What vow?” It sounded like Jack was halfway between challenging her and asking her.
The air around them got colder.
“Um. It could be any vow. I’m not sure; they didn’t specify.” Saying this, Xanax knew that Jack would see through it, but hopefully he had the decency to let her lie this time. Or maybe it would make him too uncomfortable to talk about it directly.
Jack sighed. Maybe he would let her go on her way. “Okay. Sounds important, I guess. And you’re sure they don’t want me there, too?”
“Jack, please, I’m going to miss the bus.” Xanax actually didn’t know exactly what time it was or when the bus left.
“And you’ll come back, right? After he judges your vow? Even if it’s a bad judgment?”
Xanax knew exactly what he was asking.
“Yeah,” she said, meaning “no.”
“Okay. Well don’t let me keep you.” Jack’s eyebrows were raised. Xanax was unsure if he was angry or sad. Finally, she had a reason to appreciate his lack of emotional availability.
She went on her way, giving Jack nothing more than a goodbye and a wide berth.
“Bye, Xanax,” he said, but he was already distant in Xanax’s mind.
Soon, she reached the end of her street. Here was the central hole that made up the underground part of the Fifth City. It led up to the surface and went downwards through the whole cube. At the bottom was a wooden platform, keeping the void out. Falling through the cube was said to be “a fate worse than death.”
Lining the central hole were several hallways leading to housing or stores or whatever else. The big marketplace was down one floor. There were two spiral staircases leading up and down the side of the hole in a double helix pattern. The place was not crowded today; the market was closed once every fiveday. There were a few people walking up and down the stairs. Xanax could faintly hear some quiet conversations.
This part of the Fifth City was mostly dirt. The deeper you went in the Fifth City, the more unmined quartz there was. Quartz was one of the most important resources on the cube, so people were always trying to get every last wad out of the ground, an essential part of the Sphinx’s grand design. Xanax started climbing the stairs.
She was excited and nervous to be included in the Sphinx’s grand design. She didn’t yet understand what her role was, or how the Sphinx was going to judge her vow, or why she was chosen for that, but she would follow through on this plan in good faith. Clearly, she must be important for something.
Xanax encountered a deep sinkhole in the dirt wall on the right of the staircase. She hadn’t seen this one before, so she stopped to examine it. It was perfectly round and cut out a small piece of the staircase along with it. She looked down: it went all the way through. The sight of this made her uneasy.
There was a lot of talk of sinkholes in the Fifth City. People claimed that the mining operations of the Sphinx and the quartz-people were destabilizing the integrity of the world. A few people had already fallen through the cube in these smaller sinkholes. The thought of “a fate worse than death” sent shivers down her spine. She had an image in her mind of herself falling through the void forever.
Xanax imagined a perfectly round hole taking up the space (or creating empty space?) where her house used to be. She imagined Jack experiencing “a fate worse than death.” Is that in the Sphinx’s design? Xanax wanted to hope that %^#* was lying to scare her, but, unwilling to question such an authority, she hoped instead that Jack would be spared when their house fell through. She briefly thought about going back for the painting. She didn’t want that version of herself to have “a fate worse than death,” either.
Xanax knew she was spiraling. The sinkholes were an invisible danger that appears to be caused directly by the actions of the Sphinx that “worse than [kills]” people and cuts holes in the world. Everyone seems to know that this is happening, but no one does anything about it. What could be done about it anyway? It’s the will of the Sphinx. Scientists in Babble predict that the sinkholes will get worse and spread further. Eventually the cube will literally fall apart.
Xanax froze as the scope of her anxiety increased and increased. Lights flashed red in her mind. She could almost hear sirens going off. Surely the Sphinx knew what was happening. It had to all fit together somehow. An invisible, impossibly complex solution to the puzzle that is the entire cube lay only in the mind of the Sphinx. Xanax wasn’t meant to know or understand.
Bortz waqf glyphs vex muck djin.
Junky qoph-flags vext crwd zimb.
Squdgy fez, blank jimp crwth vox!
Xanax recited perfect pangrams, nonsensical pangrams with exactly one of each letter, twenty-six total, in them to calm herself down.
“Excuse me!” A woman behind her said. “Are you just gonna stand there?”
Xanax remembered that she was in a public place and that she was in the way. “Sorry,” she said, about to let the woman pass when she saw her conflict resolver in hand. Xanax sighed. It didn’t have to come to this. “Okay,” she said, taking her own conflict resolver out of her purse. She noticed now that the woman was dressed in a dark cloak and a pointy hat, telltale traits of a Vexing Wizard. She figured she would lose the conflict, but she didn’t want to argue.
Ever since the invention of the conflict resolver, people around here have used them to resolve conflicts without discussion. It worked by measuring different scores based on users’ skills, possessions, and reputations. It compiled a score for each user (kept secret) and compared them to each other. Xanax had rarely challenged other people with her conflict resolver, and had lost most times she was challenged. It seldom did any good. Most of the conflicts she had resolved with it could have been fixed with a few kind words, but “kind words” were not really what people were used to in the Fifth City.
Xanax tapped her conflict resolver three times in the direction of the woman’s. The smooth black surface on Xanax’s resolver lit up with red vertical stripes and green horizontal stripes on the woman’s. Xanax had lost.
“Just walk past me,” Xanax said. She was gonna let her do it anyway.
The Wizard walked past her, brushing her dress on the way. Xanax could feel her shiver when she touched her. A pangram: Underground in the Fifth City, quibbling Chumps cower from the foggy Vexing Wizards who cast jukey spells. She supposed that she looked like a quibbling Chump right now.
Xanax respected this pangram as a part of the set of Later Pangrams, but had a problem with it. It failed to mention the quartz-people, who were abundant in the Fifth City. If it was meant to describe the core of the Fifth City, surely it would include quartz-people and the mining of quartz.
Xanax also wasn’t comfortable using the word “Chump,” an offensive alternative for “Wizard” (someone who is from the Fifth City), but it was a part of several pangrams. Because of that, the existence of “Chumps” as the opposite of “Wizards” was cemented in the reality of the cube. There was no version of the Fifth City where people could possibly get along.
Xanax put her conflict resolver away and began walking again. She was quickly falling behind the woman, not like it mattered anyway.
On the surface, Xanax walked around the perimeter of the main hole, looking for the sinkhole. She found it and looked down again, as if confirming that it really existed.
The surface of the Fifth City was made of dirt and dust. It was pretty empty around here. The thick fog prohibited anything from being built except for a single bus stop. The bus was the only safe way in and out of town. It had lines going to Pre Ha’etz and the Junkyard. Xanax could make out the glow of the yellow quartz sign through the fog. She approached the bus stop and entered the circle of light around the sign.
Xanax checked the time on her conflict resolver. It was five hours since the bright came out. The bus should be here soon.
Before sitting down, Xanax noticed a quartz-person wearing a dress. It was a longer dress than Xanax’s, burgundy. It fit loosely around her frame and ended around her ankles. It sparkled softly. Beyond the woman’s dark reflective surface were deeper, softer patterns, like frozen smoke trapped inside of her body.
“I love your dress,” Xanax said, surprised by the woman’s beauty. She had never seen a quartz-person wear clothes.
“I love yours,” she responded. Xanax got this comment a lot, but she didn’t really like it. She hated that stupid dress and how much attention it got her. She and the woman would be making eye contact now, but Xanax was mostly without eyes and the woman had only a few smooth surfaces and sharp edges in place of a face. “My name is Eve.”
“Are you a religious woman?”
“Yes I am. And I am very proud of that name.” It was traditional for Sphinx worshipers to have symmetrical names. Symmetrical letters, like “X,” “A,” “V,” and “T,” were also valued. “My mother gave it to me.”
“It’s beautiful,” Eve responded.
Xanax sat down next to Eve. “Where are you headed?”
“Castle Quartz, actually.” Eve turned to her. “I have something very important I have to tell the Sphinx,” she looked at Xanax only for a little bit before looking beyond and around her. She didn’t sit still.
“I’m actually going there too. I’m on a holy mission. Do you want to go together?” Xanax felt herself leaning into Eve’s friendly demeanor.
“That would be wonderful. What kind of a holy mission are you on?”
Xanax was eager to tell someone else about what had happened, but wasn’t sure if she was supposed to. “Earlier today,” she began, looking around to make sure they were alone. She leaned in before whispering, “Earlier today, I was visited by an angel. His name was %^#* and he told me to go to the Sphinx of black quartz. Sphinx of black quartz, judge my vow. My marriage vow, to my husband, Jack.”
“That’s incredible. I’ve never met an angel before. I hope you find what you’re looking for there.”
“I’m not sure what I’m looking for.” Xanax took a moment to think about Jack. The knowledge that she could leave him had recontextualized the way he treated her. It’s not that Xanax didn’t like him. He didn’t make her feel bad, but he didn’t make her feel good either. They floated through the house around each other but not interacting. He would go see his parents. She would drink tea alone. He always seemed so much brighter and more animated around his friends than around Xanax.
Why did she even marry him in the first place?
It hit her now that she had already left the house. She was about to leave the Fifth City. She didn’t know when she would return. Suddenly she started sobbing. Tearless, she bent over, making herself small. She felt a heavy hand on her back, and leaned (now literally) onto Eve’s side.
“I don’t know what I’m doing,” Xanax said. “I know I just need to trust the Sphinx and go and see him but it’s all happening so fast.”
“You’re doing the right thing. The Sphinx has a plan for you and he needs you to help him see it through.”
“Do you really think so?”
“Yes. I know so. Why else would he have sent an angel? Trust him and see what he has planned.”
“Okay, I will,” Xanax said. She sat here with Eve, Eve with her hand on Xanax’s shoulder. It occurred to her how much bigger Eve was than her. Maybe she would make a good traveling companion. She felt safe under her heavy, gentle touch.
Xanax breathed inside of Eve's comfort for a moment. All in all, this was a strange way to make a friendship
“What’s your holy mission?” Xanax asked Eve. “If you don’t mind telling me.”
“It’s kind of a long story. Do you wanna hear it?”
“Okay.” Eve gathered her thoughts.
Xanax listened intently.