The cuddlefields run red with spilled juice and discarded candy hearts, corpses of popped water balloons squicking underfoot. I slip, but Hamish is there to catch me, because he is 24/7 100% my best friend. We high-five. 

Into the melee I go, arms spread wide, ready to do battle. I embrace my way though the oncoming throng, roaring pajama-clad assailants hefting aloft great cotton-stuffed bears. Mine is tattered beyond repair, his button-eyes dangling in a way that could really hurt someone, so I shear them clean with my teeth. Roscoe shall need new eyes...if he survives.

Hours pass, the bodies stack up. The smell is horrific. Everyone is super tired from all the hugs.

Carrion birds squawk overhead in anticipation, bulging eyes and veins as they survey the carnage. Those guys look so friggin soft I can't even handle it. Hamish and I are friends so hard that we know exactly what to do without saying anything. I kneel down and weave my fingers together, then Hamish jumps into my hands and I launch him towards the sky. He plucks a surprised vulture from the flock and tumbles back into my arms, then climbs down and we high-five. I snuggle the bird mightfully.

From across the field comes a bellowing contrabasso. "Snugglox," it cries, "I would see thee nuzzled into oblivion." A new challenger has appeared. I charge, looking back at Hamish and telling him that I must face this threat alone. Hamish takes Rosecoe from me, then nods with great solemnity because he is the Supreme Overlord Of Friends at all times.

As I crest the sweaty mound of hugged-out buddies, I see my adversary on the horizon. She wields a two-handed pool noodle, wiggling in the wind with dark intent. When we collide, reality cracks around us, splintering into shards that I really hope don't cut anyone, because it would be sad if anyone got hurt during all of this. Her and I cuddle platonically across space and time. When we're done, everyone has won. I turn, exhausted, and Hamish rushes down the mountain to meet me. We high-five. 




Evan Burke