“Dude,” Max whispered as he backhanded James in the arm. “Dude, didja see who just walked in?”
It was Tuesday and the store was busy. Max and James had just finished stocking the new release comics and all the guys who “had to have it first” were crowding the place. Max and James hated working on Tuesday. They spent more time making sure none of the books were getting stolen as they did actually selling them. James craned his neck over the register to see who Max was talking about. “Aw, crap, it’s Matt.”
The short, greasy-haired kid who just walked in glanced around the store with half a grin and when he saw the clerks at the register, the grin that split his face never reached his eyes. Matt raised his hand and shouted, “What up, guys?”
It sounded to James that Max began whispering under his breath something that sounded like “don’tcomeoverheredon’tcomeoverhere” while not quite making eye contact with Matt. James nodded to Matt, “Hey.”
Max backhanded James harder this time. “Dude, do not engage!”
“Relax,” James took a handful of comics from a kid who had been in his biology class. He could never remember the kid’s name and began ringing him up. “He’s over in the used section.”
“Thank God,” Max breathed.
“You guys talking about Matt?” the biology class kid said. “Did you hear what he did last weekend?”
“No,” James and Max said together.
Biology kid pushed his glasses back up his nose and cleared his throat. “Well, I was at Kevin’s house Saturday night playing a few games of Magic while we waited for Alex to show. We were going to see the Avengers.”
“Dude, that’s been out like six weeks already,” Max cut in.
“Wait. Kevin and Alex,” James mused. He suddenly snapped his fingers and pointed at biology kid, “You’re Shane!”
“Uh, yeah, James,” Shane looked at James as if James was sick, “we were lab partners.”
Max stared at James in disbelief. “You forgot Shane’s name? Wow, man, not cool.”
“What? It was like ten years ago,” James shrugged.
“It was last year!” Shane huffed.
“Whatever, man,” James glanced at the register. “Twenty-six seventy-five.”
Shane dug out his wallet and pulled out some bills. “Anyway, James, last weekend, James, we were waiting for Alex at Kevin’s house, James.”
“Geez, I get it,” James put the bills in the till and handed Shane a quarter.
“Kevin lives next to the Delta frat, right?” Shane went on. “Anyway, they were partying, and we hear a fight break out, y’know?”
“At Delta?” Max said. “I’m not surprised.”
“Yeah, true, but it was Matt.” Shane leaned in to the counter and whispered, “He was trying to force his way in with a bag of weed.”
“So?” James put Shane’s comics in a bag.
“Dude, Delta doesn’t go for that shit,” Max said. “They may drink and all but otherwise they’re clean.”
“Yeah,” Shane agreed. “I guess Matt thought he could buy his way in to the house. Couple of the bigger guys tossed him out to the curb.”
“So? They tossed him.” James picked up his phone and began thumbing it. “He’s been kicked out of places before.”
“I know,” Shane said, “but this time he was screaming something about having a friend inside and that he brought the weed for the friend.”
Max rolled his eyes. “Matt doesn’t have any friends.”
“Right,” Shane nodded. “Which is what makes it weird. He was pretty adamant that he knew somebody in the house. Kept shouting that if he didn’t deliver he was gonna lose his friend.”
“That’s not weird, it’s pathetic,” James put down his phone.
“Speaking of,” said Max, “Where’d he go?” The three of them looked around the store.
“Hi guys!” Came a voice from behind Shane. “I’ve got a question.” Shane wrinkled his nose and stepped to the side revealing Matt’s not-quite-grin. “I, uh, gotta get going,” Shane said looking at his empty wrist. “Gonna be late for class.”
“Later,” Max and James said together. They both looked down at Matt.
Greasy hair, a pointed nose and eyes that were constantly darting around gave Matt the look of a rat. A smell of unwashed body wafted toward James and Max. “I’ve got a question.”
“So you’ve said,” James went back to his phone and made a show of ignoring Matt.
Max glared at James a moment and asked Matt, “What?”
Matt shifted his feet. “I was wondering,” he shoved his hands in his pockets. “I was wondering if you guys had any issues of Uncanny X-men from the 90′s when they split into the Blue and Gold teams.”
Max sighed. “Probably.” He gave Matt a stare. “They won’t be cheap.”
“That’s ok,” Matt pulled his hand out of his pocket. He held a crumpled mess of bills. “I got my birthday money.” James snorted, never taking his eyes from the phone.
Max eyed the bills. “Which issues?”
“Uh, any of the Jim Lee stuff from ’91 or ’92.” Matt began bouncing on the balls of his feet.
“Yeah, all right,” Max glanced at James, but he was still focused on his phone. Max sighed. “Lemme take a look.”
“‘kay,” Matt was practically hopping. “Thanks.”
Max left and Matt asked James, “Do you think you have any of those issues?”
“Dunno,” James never looked up from his phone. “Do you have my weed, Door-Matt?”
For the Scriptic prompt exchange this week, Tara Roberts gave me this prompt: “I know a way to stay friends forever, There’s really nothing to it, I tell you what to do, And you do it” ~ Shel Silverstein You don’t have to use the actual quote..
I gave Bewildered Bug this prompt: There’s a planet here