We are become pals!

destroyers of worlds

698 notes

The book is here! You can buy it right now, for $16 in hardcover! It is a book that feels nice to read, and feels nice to hold in your hand. In hardcover it makes the perfect gift for your own best friend.
It’s a hard book to describe, but this is the blurb we came up with:
We are Become Pals is the story of Jane and Helen, and of their friendship. As with all friendships, it is a story filled with cops, lockpicks, astronauts, secret codes, face punching and quiet moments where you realize that you aren’t alone in the world. It is written by Joey Comeau (of A Softer World) and beautifully illustrated by Jess Fink (of We Can Fix It, and Chester 5000)
The hardcover has all the original chapters (which you can still read online for free right here), and all new material that follows their friendship further into their lives, as they get old and crotchety and awesome together. Here is the table of contents:

Table of contents!
Part one: We Are Become Pals. (the original chapters, with some additional material)
Chapter 1
Chapter 2
Chapter 3
Chapter 4
Chapter 5
Reading Corner: “The MIT Guide to Picking Locks”
Chapter 6
Chapter 7
Chapter 8
Chapter 9
Chapter 10
Chapter 11
Chapter 12
Chapter 13
Chapter 14
Chapter 15
Chapter 16
Chapter 17
Chapter 18
Chapter 19
Chapter 20
Chapter 21
Chapter 22
Chapter 23
Part two: Some epilogues (and other new material)
Chapter 29
Chapter 35
Chapter 36
Chapter 52
Chapter 53
Reading Corner: “Buzz Aldrin is a goddamn face-punching moon hero.”
Chapter 75
Chapter 113
Chapter 140
Chapter 99,000



Please tell everyone you know! 

The book is here! You can buy it right now, for $16 in hardcover! It is a book that feels nice to read, and feels nice to hold in your hand. In hardcover it makes the perfect gift for your own best friend.

It’s a hard book to describe, but this is the blurb we came up with:

We are Become Pals is the story of Jane and Helen, and of their friendship. As with all friendships, it is a story filled with cops, lockpicks, astronauts, secret codes, face punching and quiet moments where you realize that you aren’t alone in the world. It is written by Joey Comeau (of A Softer World) and beautifully illustrated by Jess Fink (of We Can Fix It, and Chester 5000)

The hardcover has all the original chapters (which you can still read online for free right here), and all new material that follows their friendship further into their lives, as they get old and crotchety and awesome together. Here is the table of contents:

Table of contents!

Part one: We Are Become Pals. (the original chapters, with some additional material)

  • Chapter 1
  • Chapter 2
  • Chapter 3
  • Chapter 4
  • Chapter 5
  • Reading Corner: “The MIT Guide to Picking Locks”
  • Chapter 6
  • Chapter 7
  • Chapter 8
  • Chapter 9
  • Chapter 10
  • Chapter 11
  • Chapter 12
  • Chapter 13
  • Chapter 14
  • Chapter 15
  • Chapter 16
  • Chapter 17
  • Chapter 18
  • Chapter 19
  • Chapter 20
  • Chapter 21
  • Chapter 22
  • Chapter 23

Part two: Some epilogues (and other new material)

  • Chapter 29
  • Chapter 35
  • Chapter 36
  • Chapter 52
  • Chapter 53
  • Reading Corner: “Buzz Aldrin is a goddamn face-punching moon hero.”
  • Chapter 75
  • Chapter 113
  • Chapter 140
  • Chapter 99,000

Please tell everyone you know! 

Filed under friendship jess fink joey comeau we are become pals pals female friendship nice feelings kindness

216 notes

Chapter 23.

image

No wait, that’s not what happened. This is what happened.

Helen called Jane at 5 in the morning.

"There’s an enormous hot air balloon here," Helen said. "At the park. And nobody’s guarding it."

"Hot damn! I am on my way," Jane replied. 

Jane parked her bike against a tree, and the two girls approached the balloon. The hot air balloon was part of a realty advertising campaign, it looked like. It was just going to go straight up and hang there, tethered to the ground by a long rope. Jane and Helen climbed into the basket.

It was wonderful. There was a flame thrower in the basket, pointed up into the balloon. When Jane pulled a lever, giant flame spewed up with a roar, and the balloon lifted skyward. When it reached the end of the rope, they were almost two stories high. They could see the harbour, and the bridge. Nobody spoke for a long time. It was early, and the air was still cool, and they were flying.

"I got accepted to MIT," Jane said, after a few minutes. "In their physics program."

Helen smiled and pulled the flame again. The balloon creaked against the rope. 

"Let’s never go back down," Helen said.

"What happens when we run out of fire?" Jane said, like she was perfectly serious. 

What a silly thing to worry about.




the end.

( We Are Become Pals is now a Hard Cover book from Topatoco, with 11 new chapters and illustrations)

80 notes

Chapter 22.

image

Jane called Helen from the train station, the day she was supposed to leave.

"I thought your train was this afternoon!" Helen said.

"I got the time wrong," Jane said. "I had to take a taxi down, and my train’s already boarding."

"I can take a taxi down there too," Helen said. "I can be there in like twenty minutes."

"The train’ll be gone by then, Helen," Jane said. "I’m glad we got to hang out last night at least."

"But all we did was watch stupid movies!" Helen said.

"I’ll email you when I get to Boston," Jane said. And then she had to go.

Next-Chapter 23

134 notes

Chapter 21.

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This was their last summer before they went off to separate schools. They were laying on their backs looking for faces in the clouds, talking about the future. When they talked about the future, they didn’t discuss school. They made plans for some undefined future when they were together again.

"We can get a train pass for like five hundred dollars," Helen said. "A month-long train pass. We can go anywhere we want. We can do anything! New York City! San Francisco! Lawrence, Kansas! We just show up at the train station and pick a place off the map. We can do anything." 

"We can go out to the desert," Jane said, "and take Peyote. We can go on a spirit quest. Find our spirit animals. I’ll bet my spirit animal is John Candy."

"I want John Candy. Can two people have the same spirit animal?" Helen said. 

"I don’t see why not."

"We can take the ferry to Alcatraz and try to swim back to shore." Helen said. "Like escapees. We’ll be lost forever."

"We can just walk around doing nothing at all," Jane replied. "We can just talk about dumb things and make stupid jokes and laugh. We can get ice cream in Denver. What the hell is in Denver?" She laughed.

"So much ice cream," Helen said. "And that sniper I guess."

"Oh yeah," Jane was quiet for a minute. "Snipers always hide in bell towers. If I was a sniper I wouldn’t hide in a bell tower. That’s the first place people look. Obviously the sniper’s in a bell tower. That’s where snipers go."

"Well, it gives you a pretty good view," Helen said.

"I’d hide out down low."

"What, like you’d shoot people from the bottom of a well?"

"Yes," Jane said. "And it would never even occur to anyone to look down there. The bodies would just keep piling up around the mouth of the well, and everyone would be going nuts, trying to figure out which bell tower I was in."

Next-Chapter 22

41 notes

Chapter 20.

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When the windows started bursting out of the buildings above them, they went inside. A hotel was sheltering people, and handing out glow sticks. So Helen and Jane sat at the back of the hotel’s lobby, glow sticks lit around their necks, and listened to the broken glass whipping around outside.

"My father wants to pay for my tuition," Helen said.

"So you don’t have to get a student loan?"

"I’m getting a student loan," Helen said. "I would rather go into debt than take a dime from that man. I remember what he did to my mother, even if she acts like she doesn’t." Helen took the glow stick from around her neck and looked down at it. "It’d be easier if I’d gotten a scholarship, though," she said. 

The hurricane went on and on around the building, and to pass the time Jane and Helen started trying to guess why the other people hiding out in the hotel had been outside. Jane pointed to a young woman, dressed all in black, sitting by herself.

"I bet she was robbing a bank," Jane said. "Or a jewelry store. She’s probably got pockets full of diamonds."

There was a group of young men in business suits.

"Professional hitmen," Helen said. "In town for some kind of conference."

There was a female security guard, sitting by the window, flicking her flashlight on and off, looking bored. She didn’t look much older than Helen.

"I’m sorry I didn’t congratulate you about getting into MIT," Helen said to Jane. 

"It’s okay," Jane said. "Dal’s a good school, too. You know that."

"Richard Feynman never went to Dal," Helen said, and Jane laughed.

"You don’t even like Richard Feynman," she said. 

But Helen didn’t say anything. She just turned the glow stick over in her fingers for a while.

"I guess you do like Buzz Aldrin though," Jane said.

Next-Chapter 21

112 notes

Chapter 19.

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Hurricane Anthony was on his way. It was all the news would talk about. It was a powerful storm, especially for so early in the hurricane season. Even at school, the announcements took a break from talking about the upcoming prom to warn students about the impending hurricane. When the bell rang for  their last class, Jane and Helen went outside and stood looking at the sky.

The wind was already picking up, and the clouds were dark to the south. It was the exact right kind of dark, too. Suitably threatening. The sky was ominous and violent. Disaster was coming. Finally!

"This is going to be amazing," Helen said. Her voice sounded far away in the wind. 

They went to Jane’s house first, and then Helen’s. They got their bike helmets, and waterproof clothes. And then they went downtown, near the waterfront, where the hurricane was going to land.

In a lot of ways, being out in a hurricane is like being in a space ship. Gravity doesn’t apply in the same way anymore. Helen could lean forward at an impossible angle, and the wind held her up. She put her arms out to the side, laughing into the wind. Beside her, Jane tried to match her angle, but the wind kept staggering her backward. 

So she jumped straight up, and the wind carried her back a few feet. Both of them let out a shriek, and Helen jumped up into the air, too. It carried her a few feet before gravity won out again. 

"Oh my god," Helen yelled. "Oh my god this is amazing."

The could see people lined up on the waterfront boardwalks, with the waves crashing against the wood around them, surf splashing high into the air. But Jane and Helen had lived here all their lives. Laughing and jumping in the wind was one thing, but the ocean was no joke. It killed people. 

So they stayed up between the buildings, laughing and jumping, and holding onto each other’s arms. A security guard came running out of one of the office buildings to scream at them, his arm held up against the wind and rain.

"Are you stupid?" he yelled. "Get inside!"

"Fuck you!" Jane yelled at him, "These are our salad days!"

Next-Chapter 20

70 notes

Chapter 18.

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After the movie, they walked along the highway. When they started walking, the sky was grey, but it got darker and darker as they headed away from the city. They climbed up the rocks along the side of the road, so they were up above the approaching cars.

"Why does it have to be so far?" Helen said. "Oh god, I am going to sleep forever." 

"We’re almost to my house," Jane said. "You can stay over, if you want". 

"No," Helen said. "No, I just want to go home." She stopped and put her hands on her knees. 

Jane stopped too, looking back past Helen, where the city stretched out wide and bright. It felt like Christmas lights after looking into the same yellow headlights for half an hour. The city was a mess of streetlights and traffic signals lined up and around the brighter shapes of billboards and office towers. 

"Oh," Jane said. "I think we’ve been looking the wrong way."

Next-Chapter 19