Friend-Friend

@theo

Eva and I start to fish some cash from our respective hip pouches, but Jan pushes back his chair, stands up, motions for us to put our money away. “My treat, everyone.”

Wow. It’s a shame Ernie’s not here. Not only would he be getting free food, he’d also be able to bluntly ask on our behalf, “Now Janny Boy, how in the world did someone with your wretched financial background come into doughnut money?” Eva and I watch in a kind of daze as Jan strides purposefully inside 3 Hags’, orders, pays, and returns with our doughnuts, which he distributes accordingly. Then he goes back to doing whatever it is he’s been doing on his phone all afternoon.

A few bites into her Danish, Eva checks her own phone and mumbles, “Ernie’s really running late. I have to be back home by quarter to six for dinner with my parents.”

I peek at Ernie’s SuperMegaFeed. “His feed’s dark. Probably playing hooky. He was bugging me and Jan over the weekend with his crazy ideas about finding that stupid cassette tape.”

Ugh. Same here.”

“I woke up this morning,” Jan says, “and he’d left without taking his junk with him. There were honey biscuit boxes everywhere.”

“Wow. That’s not like Ernie at all…wait, on second thought, that’s exactly like him.” Eva nods at me. “Are you going to check on him or what?”

“Me? Why?”

“You’re his friend.”

“So are you and Jan.”

“We’re his school pals. You’re his friend-friend.”

“Okay, on the one hand, that may be true, but on the other, he’s fat and obnoxious—”

Eva folds her arms.

“—and fat!”

She waits.

“Do I have to?”

“Go to him, Theo.”

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Jesse Gordon

Geek. Writer. Supreme overlord of the SUPERMEGANET pseudoverse. Author of THE OATMEAL MAN, DOOKIE, and other such wasteful nonsense.