The restaurant was really packed. I mean, it was packed. I guess a combination of heat and summer vacation had sent all kids ages 13 to 18 racing to the nearest hang-out with air conditioning.
And ice cream sundaes. And chocolate sodas. And lemonades. And fruit punch. And…ok, you get it, right?
Anyways, Larry and I went to sit at our regular spot. We grabbed the menus and looked. "What looks good to you?" said Larry.
"A girl in a bikini?" I said laughing.
Obviously, Larry was in a foul mood, because he just said, "Spiny, please! You're 14.""I was joking. Can't you laugh at what I say?"
"No, I only laugh when I prank you or embarrass you in public. That's the only source of laughter for me."I went back to looking. A waiter came to our table. I looked up and…YIKES! It was a short, scrawny, gray-haired old man. What the heck was a guy his age working a teen hangout? Why was he working at all? Hadn't he heard of retirement?
By the way, retirement age in Amarkia is 60. This guy looked like he was 92 or something. In Amarkian years, of course.
"What can I get for you, sonny?"
Before I could open my mouth, Larry said, "He'll have a low-calorie avocado shake and a cold chicken salad.""AHEM! Cancel that order. I'll have the grilled chicken sandwich, a side salad, fries, and a root beer with cherry flavor ad-in."
"Very well. Be right back, sonny boys."Larry and I just stared at each other. "What was that?" I said.
"That was old man working as a waiter.""I know that, stupid."
"Why are you asking then?"
I was about to punch him right on the nose when guess who came? No, not Lilia, unfortunately. No, not Kylie very fortunately. And no, it was not Ariel Winter. And it was definitely not Kaitlyn Dever. Although she is really cute.
It was Roger. Our dear friend from Waterfall City.
"Hey, guys," he said.
I stood up and we shook hands. "Hey, dude. What you doing over here?"
"Yeah, this is Spiny's territory," said Larry.
"Larry, I already told you, I've only got one girlfriend and that's plenty. I have no intention of being a ladies' man."
Larry ignored me and got back to…whatever he was doing. Roger sat down next to Larry. "So how about this heat, huh?"I nodded. "I know. It's really something. Good thing is that the A/C still works. So how you doing?"
"Doing great. Next year I'm going to start my college application exams."
"Really? That's great? What you doing to study for?"
Then Larry said, "He's going to study for what he already is: a poor loser and nerd who can't get his tomboy girlfriend to date him because she's tougher than he is."
We both glared at Larry. "Nobody asked for your opinion."
"Yes they did. My conscience did."
"ANYWAYS…how are things with you and Darla?"
Before he answered, he glared at Larry. Larry just turned around and whistled. "Well, things are…okay.""Okay? What does okay mean?"
"Um…as in we-have-not-officially-had-a-romantic-date kind of okay."
"Ha!" Larry laughed. "I'm not surprised. Darla is about as romantic as going playing paintball and as a feminine as a judo fighter."
"Larry," I said. "First of all, it's not nice to insult friends…or anyone else for that matter. Second, it's not that Darla is…less…uh, girly than other girls. She's a tomboy. You know…her idea of a romantic would probably be a skateboard competition, a graffiti contest, or seeing who can lift weights the longest.""I'm not too keen on that," said Roger. "I mean…I've never had a girlfriend before and I've never dated, and I didn't really imagine that the first one would be with a tomboy."
"Look, Darla is a very nice girl with a great personality, a good sense of humor, and will often accept anything that you like or do. And she won't take forever to change clothes or put make-up on."
"That's true. Darla feels complete nausea towards make-up, lip palm, nail polish, perfume, and even scented hair conditioner," said Larry.
Roger's eyes popped open. "Do you mean to tell me she doesn't wash her hair?"
"Of course she does. But the shampoo she uses doesn't have a scent. It's just regular shampoo. I mean, in comparison Spiny is more feminine that Darla."
"Well…you…use fruit-scented shampoo."
"That's not being feminine. That's just…caring for my appearance. Not a lot, but just a little."
Roger ignored Larry. "So Darla has been a tomboy since, like, forever?"
I nodded. "Back in 2nd grade, she saw once on the playground a group of boys who were teasing some of her friends. Her more girly friends, of course. And she went over and single-handedly gave about five boys who were probably twice her size a good whipping.""Did she beat them up real bad?""Listen, those boys were so beat-up that they couldn't play touch football for a month. And they were so scared that they never played on the playground for the rest of the school year."
"Wow. That's good to know," said Roger, a little nervous.
I was worried that I was starting to scare the guy. "But don't worry. She may not be all kissy and hugging and holding hands, but when she likes someone, you know it. She'll pat you in the back a lot, slug you in the shoulder and elbow you in a friendly way."Roger shrugged. "Well…thanks anyway for the advice. I'll keep that in mind."
The old waiter came with our order. "Here you are, sonny. Avocado and cold chicken salad." As expected he gave that to me and gave Larry my order. When he left, Larry grabbed a napkin and was about to dig in. "Oh, no you don't!" I said, taking away the plate and giving him the avocado smoothie and cold chicken salad.
"Hey!""Look, if you stopped being a smart-aleck, these things wouldn't happen to us. Now shut up and eat that. That's what you get for being a brickhead."I had just given my chicken sandwich, when I looked towards the front doors that had just opened. I saw…what seemed like a tragedy…but a tragedy that was in my favor. Why do I say that? Because an angel had just fallen from heaven and she was walking towards me.