Good for you

[In his Today In History post, Mark Aldrich commemorates Oscar Wilde’s release from Reading Gaol on this date 119 years ago today. Wilde’s “The Ballad of Reading Gaol” serves as my inspiration for the following.]

“I dunno.” Eyes focused on Butch’s shoes, Rune grimaced. “Tired of kid stuff, guess.”

“Oh!” Butch was disturbed by the distress evident on his friend’s face. Students hurried past along the narrow corridor of Bark Bay High School, Butch and Rune standing like stones in a noisome stream. “So you, don’t like the stories?”

“Butch, they’re comic books.” Rune raised his head, eyes latching on to an EXIT sign near the ceiling. “They’re, I dunno, the literary equivalent of junk food — they’re tasty and make you feel happy for a little while, but in the end they’re not good for you.”

“Oh!” An image from lunch yesterday, of Rune gobbling a package of cupcakes he’d purchased at a vending machine while Butch ate the carrot sticks prepared by his mother that morning. “Well, maybe OK, said she might go to Pageturners with me, tonight.” Butch raised his right forearm, pointed with his thumb behind his shoulder.

“Huh.” Their eyes met. “Have a good time.” And then the greasy-haired teen walked past his portly friend, who turned and stood watching Rune walk down the emptying corridor, past one door on the right, another, then disappearing into the third door on the right as the bell announcing the start of the next period clanged.

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