Free Breakfast: Part Two
This is part two of Nathan Hare’s novella, Free Breakfast, which oook will be serializing. Click here to read part one. Look for part three coming out soon!
Kevin kept drinking, though there was nothing left in his cup. He moved the straw around, trying to find that one last drop of soda, but nothing came except the sound of the straw sucking in air. He kept staring just past me, his eyes concentrated on something in the distance. Every once in a while I would look back, but there was nothing but a couple of kids playing in the fountain. They kept asking their mom for more quarters to throw in the water, and every twenty-five cents spent they would close their eyes tightly while they made a wish. They both had very different methods of dislodging the coins: the girl would flail her arm as if she was trying to skip a rock, but it would only move a few inches. The boy, however, would lift his hands about a foot above the water and let the quarter plummet. With every drop he would yell “Cannonball!”, and then laugh, as if it was funny.
We had been sitting in the mall for a few hours now. It was still pretty early in the morning, but Kevin had ordered a burger and fries. I guess we never really had breakfast. The mall was completely dead, besides a few seniors and those two kids. I hadn’t even really thought about going to school. I tried to picture my empty seat in math class, the rows of kids writing a test around the vacancy. I barely could for whatever reason; even though it was only yesterday me and Kevin were sitting in the library at lunch, bored. He kept telling me how he wished something exciting would happen. Little did he know!
Did I actually just say “little did he know”? I’m sorry. I suck at telling stories. I sound like a movie trailer.
I noticed an ad for a shoe sale, buy one get one free. It seemed like a pretty good deal. I wondered if Kevin needed new shoes. I looked under the table to see. They were in all right condition; he could maybe use a new pair, or he could stock up for later down the road. I figured I would ask him about it later. It seemed weird that shoe sales could exist in the same universe as dead bodies. Only a few metres from the store hung a girl on a noose, her eyes wide open, and here this store was, telling the world of their great deal. And here we were, eating our burgers and fries, Kevin drinking his drink when there was nothing left. If these were two universes, I wanted to live in the world of shoe sales. I wanted to live in the world of taking math tests, playing video games, sitting bored with Kevin. I wanted to live in the world of free breakfast.
Kevin had changed back into his regular clothes, but he still was wearing the kepi. He looked really stupid, staring at those kids like that. Their mom kept looking back at him, probably wondering what some teenager in a French police officer’s hat was doing eyeing up her kids. A perfectly normal thing to wonder.
“What do you think they’re wishing for?” he asked me.
“How would I know?” Kevin tries too hard sometimes. Here he is, solving life’s great mysteries: what two kids are thinking when wasting their mom’s money.
“We just found a dead body, Kevin”
“Then what are we doing at a mall.” I said. We needed to do something, right? Report it to the police? I didn’t have much experience with finding dead girls.
“I’m watching these two kids throw quarters in the fountain. You’re thinking about asking me to go dutch on that shoe sale, which I won’t do, because although my shoes are dirty, I bought them pretty recently and I’d like to get some more wear out of them.” He said all of this without even looking at me. “If you’re wondering why I don’t stock up for later down the line, ask yourself the same question.” I didn’t reply, instead turning towards my soda. There was nothing left, but I kept drinking anyway.
Lying in bed that night all I could think about was dead people. Was this my first dead body? I had probably seen some on the news, but I was pretty sure that didn’t count. It seemed weird deciding what counted and what didn’t, as if encountering dead bodies was a sport or something. I was pretty sure there were no rules. And if they were any, I didn’t want to meet the sort of person coming up with that sort of thing. She had seemed so peaceful, with that noose around her neck. I didn’t really get that good of a look at her, but she seemed pretty young, maybe even around me and Kevin’s age. Suicide. The word rang out in my head. It was so strange, something like this happening. It sounded like a movie a teenager would write or something. I wondered if I should cry. Always in movies whenever a character goes through traumatic and they don’t cry, they call it “numbness”, but this didn’t feel like that. I felt very normal, besides feeling a bit hungry. I checked my watch. It was only a few hours until Sunny Days opened their breakfast bar. I was considering calling Kevin as I fell asleep.
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