Two Heys

Rune resumed walking, his ears alert for any further noises from the voice which had just called out to him. Hey. And then the memory of another call of hey came to him. He’d been sitting at one of the small square plastic tables at the Pizza Place, staring intently at his meatball sub and soda. Always a quick eater, the slender teen with wavy hair slick with grease had forced himself to slow down that evening — the longer he took to eat, the longer he could sit in the restaurant without feeling the need to leave or having to answer any questions (can I get you anything else?), and the longer he could stay here meant more time away from home, because it had only been an hour since he’d left, his mother wouldn’t be home with his brother for at least another couple hours, and being alone again in that house, or to be more precise, not being alone —

“Hey.” As he felt the slap on the back of his right shoulder, Rune lurched forward, began to rise and turn in indignation and tripped over his feet, his body stumbled forward but did not crash into the table. Forcing his body back into the plastic chair, Rune turned — didn’t recall the name of this guy who’d slapped him or where he’d seen him before, but there was enough recognition in the face and that baseball cap to at least temporarily allow him to relax.

“Fencing tournament, last spring.” It was as if this guy in the baseball cap had assumed Rune wouldn’t recognize him. “I was hanging out with Double-J that day, you and I got into it a little.”

Rune’s mouth opened slowly. “Yeah. Right.” He snapped his fingers. “Yankees!”

Baseball Cap smirked. “They got the money, and the brains!”

Rune picked up the argument like an actor reciting his lines. “Only brains they have, is the ones they buy!”


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