Page 27 - WTP VOl. IX #1
P. 27

 was going through some kind of fruit. I pulled back a little behind the first aisle before the produce area. The teenager said, “Hey, hey buddy.” There was a pause, where Aaron must have looked at the teen- ager. Maybe the teenager lost his nerve for a second, but then he said, “Can I light a cigarette off your head?”
Aaron’s voice didn’t sound angry or nervous. He just said, “Smoking will give you cancer.”
The kid obviously didn’t know what to say to that. The other two boys laughed a little, but not like before. Finally, the boy who’d asked for the light said, “Whatever,” and I saw all three of them walk back away. I turned my cart around and headed back up the aisle. I headed back towards the frozen section.
I felt like, if I went to him right away, he’d know that I heard the whole thing and did nothing to help him. He’d know what kind of guy I was, was the problem. I ended up not seeing him at all, which was fine with me.
A couple of days later, I saw him in the breakroom again. “How’s it going?” I asked him.
He was pouring himself a cup of coffee. “I’m doing all right. You?”
I shrugged. “Hey, I’m here, right?” It was the kind of stupid line that was sort of friendly and was like the conversation that you have before you have an actual conversation. I looked at him out of the corner of my eye. If he had seen me at the grocery store, he wasn’t going to call me out here in the breakroom. “Do any- thing fun this weekend?”
He blew on his coffee then took a sip. “Nothing super fun. Just ran some errands and stuff. You?”
“Yeah, ran some errands, too. Caught a movie.” I won- dered if he suspected that I had been at the store, if he was fishing. “Nothing exciting.”
Aaron took one of the creamers by the coffee maker. He opened it and emptied it into his coffee. “Some- times just having some downtime on the weekend is nice.”
“That’s true.” I’d mainly come into the breakroom to avoid listening to another of Kathy’s stories about her niece and nephew causing trouble. Now that I was wondering if Aaron knew that I was a coward,
I felt like listening to a tale of two brats being brats wouldn’t be that bad. I said, “Lord knows that some-
y the time I met
(continued on next page)
Aaron, the top of his head was already turning
to smoke. His right hand was totally gone, and his arm from just below his elbow up was pretty much smoke, though it was firm flesh by the time that it got to his shoulder.”

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