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Pizza Rats; PM for entry
Topic Started: Jul 17 2016, 02:49 AM (473 Views)
Ruggahissy
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[ *  *  *  *  *  *  * ]
((Caleb Diamond continued from Havana Escapade))

Caleb leaned near the door of the Pizza Hut, legs and hips extended straight in front of him with his heels being the meeting point with the sidewalk. His hands were jammed into his jean pockets and white ear buds snaked from from just under his gray beanie down to his right pocket. He pulled his phone out of his pocket.

It read "Gimmie Some More - Busta Rhymes" across the top and "4:37 p.m." underneath. He stuck it back into his pocket and bopped his head slightly to the beat.

What a fucking bum, he thought. Johnny Ray. Johnny Ray McKay. Johnny Ray sounded like the name of a Duggar or someone in one of those religious cults from the midwest or maybe a made-up country music star. He thought of Johnny in a ten-gallon hat and bolo tie singing about Jesus and flat taxes and his face pulled into a half smile.
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frogue
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"Fuck me, ya actually showed!"

Johnny raised his voice a little as he walked up, so as to be heard over whatever shit it was his friend was listening to. If anyone looked askance at the language, it went unnoticed by him. People'd think he was trash no matter how nice he spoke, so fuck it, right?

He gave Caleb a grin, baring yellowing teeth that seemed to be at every angle but vertical. Caleb pulled one earbud out of his ear and nodded in greeting.

"An' here I was thinkin' you'd grown all cold on me. When I saw ya yesterday, you wouldn't even answer to your name, when I called out to ya! Actin' real weird, too. Dressed all funny, an' sayin' the strangest shit! Ya know, I mentioned our plan to get higher than God this Friday night, and you were all "I'm Andrew you idiot"! What kinda way is that to talk to ya dearest friend, I ask ya?"
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Ruggahissy
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Caleb's partial smile changed to slight surprise to being addressed. He yanked down an ear bud just in time for him to hear Johnny making a crack about approaching Andrew instead of him. A pang of annoyance hit him. He lowered the volume on his music in the one headphone still in his ear and flipped Johnny off. Caleb opened the door to the pizza shop.

"You're late and you still forget your safety helmet," Caleb mumbled.

His eyes went from Johnny to the drink and condiments area followed by a slight lift of the eyebrows, a silent message. Caleb walked to the other end of the store nearer to the cash registers.
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frogue
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The art of small talk, Johnny reflected, was a dying one.

He waited a moment, then followed Caleb into the "restaurant". As the other boy made his way towards the counter, Johnny turned to a couple sitting down at a table, near the door.

"Hey y'all, don't worry, I got that."

He flashed a smile and took the tray from their table, laden with empty paper plates and crumpled napkins, and made his way to the bins. He held it open with his left hand and pantomimed pushing the trash in, snapping a brief glance over his shoulder at Caleb. His friend was engaged in conversation with the cashier and had her attention. Ideal.

Turning back to the garbage, Johnny rolled up a sleeve and stuck in his hand, feeling around until he found the rim of a cup, and pulling it out with two fingers. He placed it on top of the bin, shook the rest of the garbage off the tray, and then with cup in hand made his way to the drink machines. He placed it under a tap and then turned his back and pretended to be absorbed in one of the giant, neon menus as he listened to the sound of Sprite pouring.

Johnny Ray McKay had made a promise to his brother some years back not to steal, or as Johnny understood it to at least steal less. This though, he would have argued, could hardly be called stealing. If he'd paid for the cup, he could stand at the machine with his finger on the button and watch two, three gallons of soda just drain away, and they wouldn't call that stealing. Some diabetoid could chain these things, just sit here all day drinking them end on end until their veins ran with the shit and nobody'd so much as blink, but two healthy boys, two growing boys want so much as a single cup and fuck me, suddenly it's a felony.

How was that fair?

Johnny took a lid and a straw, and had the latter through the former right as the cup began to overflow. He turned, and capped the drink in a single, practiced motion. It wasn't exactly their first time doing this, and if Johnny said so himself, he was getting mighty good at it.

Caleb definitely made things easier. Johnny hadn't an idea of what the boy said to the people up there, but they always seemed to like him fine. People didn't like Johnny, not so much. Girls smiled at Caleb. Strangers didn't smile at Johnny when they talked to him. They narrowed their eyes, and they watched his hands to make sure he wasn't taking anything.

He took a sip of the Sprite.
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Ruggahissy
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Caleb sulked over to the counter, watching Johnny out of the corner of his eye. His gaze lingered on the couple for a moment. He bit the corner of his lip while fishing a small, partially crumpled box out of his jeans.

Looking at them he felt envy, nostalgia and a bit of fatalism, but all faded. The melange was not felt sharply, and left as quickly as it came. He saw his cue and took out a cigarette near the cashier.

"Excuse me, but you can't smoke that in here," piped up the employee as he lifted his lighter.

He stopped, then, while looking at the employee, slowly started moving the lighter closer to the cigarette.

"Sir, if you don't put that away we'll have to ask you to leave," said the increasingly distressed employee.

"This is bullshit. I thought this was America! If I can't indulge in this fine American product it's like, you're stepping on my freedom and we might as well let the terrorists eat. our. flags."

Her eyes were now firmly on Caleb. He looked over and saw Johnny had finished up his work.

He held up his hands, then put the lighter and cigarettes away.

"Fine, whatever."

Seeing he was leaving the female employee smiled weakly.

He walked past Johnny and then went back outside to where they'd met before.
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frogue
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Johnny kept his eyes on the ground, as Caleb walked past, but he couldn't keep a smirk off of his face. If this were really so wrong, surely the good lord wouldn't have made it half as fun.

He waited a few moments, then turned and followed his friend out, keeping the soda close in against his body, insurance against eyes on him from the counter.

The eyes of the couple whose tray he bused were on him as he walked by, and with his free hand he gave them a little wave as he walked by.

"Y'all have a nice day now."

He joined Caleb outside.
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Ruggahissy
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Caleb walked outside and resumed leaning on the wall of the pizza shop like he had been before. Some people looked like they might leave soon and he might be able to grab half finished slices of pizza, as he did sometimes. Food was food and though he had the money to buy a slice, he didn't see the need to when free food was right there.

Caleb pulled a cigarette out of the pack with his teeth. He put the pack back and sparked up the lighter, shielding the cigarette and small flame from the wind with a cupped hand. It caught and he inhaled. He turned to look at Johnny who had come out after him.

"It always smells like grease and rubber meat in there," he said.

He still had one headphone in. He held his hand out towards the cup while feeling for his phone in his pocket to change the song.

[Missed Call: Mom]
[Text: Kimiko....]

He looked at the screen for a second or two and put it back in his pocket. He always kept his phone on silent which usually meant ignored calls from home. He wanted to text Kimiko back, but he didn't respond to texts quickly. He never was sure of what to type back.
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frogue
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"Yeah?" Johnny pulled the collar of his t shirt up toward his nose and sniffed. "Eh, I ain't exactly in a position to be castin' aspersions, y'know?"

He passed the soda to Caleb, and pulled his own cigarettes from the back right-hand pocket of his jeans. They were battered and flattened, from being sat on. He put one in his mouth, then patted at his pockets for a lighter. Not finding one, and seeing Caleb preoccupied, he plucked the cigarette from his friends mouth with two grubby fingers and lit his own from the end of that, then replaced it.

"You're a real pal, Caleb. I like ya enough I'll even pretend not to notice you're smokin' fucking Newports."
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Ruggahissy
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Caleb was slightly taken aback when the cigarette was removed from his lips. His eyes widened slightly, something unusual for him, before settling back in and turning into a annoyed sidelong glance."God damn, you raised in a motherfucking barn?!"

He threw his other hand to the side where it landed around the soda Johnny had moved towards him. He took a few sips and then extended it back.

"Thanks, pal."

He stuck his lips out as if anticipating a kiss and waited for his cigarette to be replaced. Eventually it was. With his index finger and middle finger in the shape of a V he brought the shape to his mouth, secured his fingers around the cigarette, inhaled and then removed it, blowing a stream of smoke.

"I gotta do something to cover up your smell."
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frogue
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"Raised in the U S of A, baby." Johnny gave Caleb a grin. "Land of takers. Georga Washington never said "oh excuse me, can I borrow some independence for a second" yeah, did he?"

He took back the soda with an extravagant gesture.

"And fuck you, you gotta cover up my smell. This is a man's smell. A workin' man's smell, yeah? Summa us gotta make our own way in the world, we can't all just," Johnny put a hand to his chest, palm up, and bounced it up and down, as if cupping an invisible breast, "suck on the teat of fuckin'... big bank corporate America, can we?"

Johnny didn't wait for an answer.

"Anway, what's that shit?" He waved his hand, indicating Caleb's phone. "Lady troubles?"
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Ruggahissy
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"Uh hu, sure. I'm sure the people already here really appreciated the takers. You're right," he said with a shrug.

Caleb inhaled again and let another stream of smoke out between his teeth. He folded his left arm in by his chest and tapped the ash off his cigarette with his right hand.

He glanced sidelong at Johnny as he spoke, complete with theatrics. He was considering a response to Johnny's screed on the merits of blue collar working over white collar careers. Caleb's parents were one of each, an electrician and a bank manager. He doubted Johnny remembered that. He wondered what sort of work Johnny would be good at.

He wasn't given the chance to rebut as Johnny leapt to another topic, pointing at the phone sticking half out of his pocket.

Caleb shook his head and waved the suggestion away with his left hand. "Yeah right," he said, somewhat weakly. He pulled his gray beanie a little lower over his ears. "It's none of your business, but you might want to call me 'step-dad'. I'll take you out Go-Karting on the weekends, slugger. What'd you call me down here for, anyway?"

He reached out and pinched Johnny's cheek and leaned in, taking a sip of soda from the cup still in the other boy's hand.
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frogue
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"Yeah, hey, no you're right Cale. Red man never took anything. Ya head down past Yucca to the Spirit Mountain and they let yoa play the slots for free!"

Johnny took a sip of soda then spat, before proffering the beverage to Caleb.

"An' if you wanna take a run at Tricia McKay I ain't gonna stand in your way. You're prolly her type, too. Tall. Unemployed. Surly. More successful older brother. Probably gonna peak in high school. Shit, you're perfect for her! Shit, maybe I thought so myself? Maybe I called ya down here to see the two of you up?"

He inhaled deeply, then tried to blow a smoke ring for emphasis. It came out a great shapeless cloud. Caleb didn't look particularly impressed, though if that were at the abortive attempt at smoke sculpting, or at his friend in general, Johnny couldn't say. Definitely lady troubles, he concluded.

"Aww, look at the suspicion on that face. So I need a reason to spend a hot minute with my oldest n' dearest friend, now?"
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Ruggahissy
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Caleb drank from the straw without taking the cup as before, leaning in while Johnny held onto it. He looked up at the other boy with his round blue eyes, which were normally half-lidded. He felt the liquid hit ice and the strained sound of the straw sucking air and stopped. Caleb wiped his mouth with the back of his wrist and stood back up with his usual slight hunch.

"No matter what happens to me after high school, I keep guys like you around to feel better about it."

He smacked his lips twice, intentionally mimicking and old man without teeth and saw Johnny blowing out more smoke. Caleb took a long drag off his cigarette which had shrunk down considerably.

"Guess not, when's that oldest friend showing up?"

He threw the cigarette stub on the ground and crushed it into the cement under the back of his heel.

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frogue
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"Ya wounding me here, Caleb!" Johnny clutched at his heart, and pouted.

"It's like ya don't even love me anymore! It's fine, it's fine, I know when I'm not wanted. I'm heading back to the park, wanna come with? Neighbour kid got themselves a tattoo gun. Think I'm gonna get me a big cross, y'know, right on my back. Maybe one of them Jesus fishies." He drew the symbol in the air with the end of his cigarette, then took it into his mouth and inhaled, before stubbing it out against the sole of his shoe and tossing it towards the gutter.

Ya know, I pray so hard every night, but I never seem to hear much reply? So just in case the Lord our God's gone temporarily hard of hearin', I gotta make extra special sure that he knows for definites 'bout admiration an' adoration for him, yeah? You want in on that? Maybe get yourself like a 'My other twin's successful' tramp stamp?"

Johnny didn't think Caleb was likely to come along: most townie kids were too good for the park, and Caleb was in a hornets' nest kinda mood, today. Still, inviting him along was the Christian thing to do.
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Ruggahissy
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Caleb swiped a hand through the air and shook his head.

"I've got no interest in seeing kids make themselves unemployable for any job that isn't behind a cashier with irreparable poor decisions."

He paused a moment, pulled down his beanie, stuck his hands in his pockets.

"I DO think you should call anyone who backs out a pussy, though. Teach deeez kiiiids about conviction. Plus I'm saving my lower back for something special."

He offered Johnny a fist bump, looking slightly apologetic.

"Try praying in Aramaic."

((Caleb Diamond continued in Chilling))



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