Stacy and her boyfriend James enter through the side door into the kitchen, where her younger brother Silas is eating a bowl of banana oatmeal and reading a defunct magazine. The couple is finishing up a meaningless conversation, with James getting in the last line.
James: …like the boy who cried.
Silas (without looking up): Wolf.
Silas sighs and gently lays down his spoon as he braces himself for his own explanation.
Silas: Wolf. It’s the boy who cried wolf.
James: What is?
Silas (only half annoyed): The saying or the lesson or whatever. From the fable. The thing you were trying to say. The boy didn’t cry. He cried wolf.
James (dismissive but arrogant): That doesn’t make any sense.
Silas: Sure it does.
James: Babe, back me up here. You cry tears, not wolves, right?
Stacy pretends not to hear him as she continues looking at the front-facing camera on her phone.
Silas: Okay, so the boy, he keeps telling everyone in the town that he saw a wolf in the woods, and when they’d come see for themselves the kid would laugh at them for being so gullible. Eventually, there actually is a wolf, but when he tells everyone else about it they don’t believe him. So the wolf ate him.
James: Well shit, they shoulda listened.
Silas: Yes. They should have listened.
James goes outside to consider what Silas just told him. He smokes something and comes back in with more questions.
James: Are other people ever alone?
Silas: Huh? What do you mean?
James: Well I know I’m alone, like most of the time probably. But I’ve never really noticed anyone else being alone.
Silas stares through him.
James: Never mind. I guess when I walk into a room sometimes there’s already someone there. They were probably alone right before then.
Silas (shaking head): Yeah, probably.
James: What do other people… What do you do when you’re alone?
Silas: I don’t know. Same as you I guess.
James (taken aback): Uh, how do you know what I do?
Silas: I don’t. I can assume though. We all do the same things. Eat, go on the internet, think about things.
James: Does anyone wonder what I do when I’m alone? Do you think anyone thinks about me when I’m not around?
Silas: I doubt it. If they do it’s only so they can feel better about themselves.
James: What could they say about me to make themselves feel better?
Silas: I don’t know. Nobody says anything good behind someone’s back though.
James: I pretend I think of people. Sometimes they say, “I was just thinking about you the other day.” And I say “Really? Me too!” I feel like that’s what they want to hear, but really I don’t think about anyone who isn’t me. I don’t really care about them, you know?
Silas: That’s a little sad.
James: I think so too. It even makes me so sad, I can’t hold the tears back anymore. But I can’t change who I am. Maybe that’s why they call me the boy who cried.