A short drabble I wrote recently while taking the train home to visit family. Is it purely fiction or is it all real? Maybe parts of it, but I’ll leave that up to your imagination.
“Did you just stay up and party about our win?” I asked as Carson walked up.
He scrunched his face and shook his head. “Unnnnnngghh…tell ya at Starbucks,” he muttered as he pointed to hotel lobby. He stifled a yawn as we dodged families and couples checking out, exiting through the sliding doors and walking behind the hotel shuttle to reach the street.
“You room with anyone from your section?” Carson asked.
I shook my head and explained that I worked out an arrangement with a friend from colorguard. Carson sighed before he muttered that I was lucky.
“Senior perk,” he grumbled, “why do I have two more years until I’m there?”
“Oh stop whining,” I replied with a roll of my eyes, “She didn’t have a roommate for this trip and I asked the right coordinator. We thought we’d have to find two more people, but turns out we didn’t have to.”
Carson rubbed his eyes, his glasses lifting slightly off his nose. “At least you got the person you wanted.”
I stopped short and turned my head. “You knew you could pick anyone to room with for this trip, right?”
He snorted as he crossed his arms, fingers digging into the soft flesh of his biceps. “No Yinee, I didn’t. I actually agreed to room with Taj and Bryce a few weeks ago – then we got stuck with Christophe!”
“Then you should have asked someone else so you didn’t get a random assignment!” I replied, shaking my head.
“Let me rewind a bit,” Carson corrected, “no one assigned him to our room – Bryce asked him, but I’m pretty sure it was out of pity for him. I mean, Bryce asked if Taj and I were cool with it, but what was I supposed to say? ‘Yeah, Christophe can’t room with us.’ I’d be a jerk then, right?”
I nodded as I pressed the Walk button, keeping my eyes on the sign.
“So, they wanted to throw a big party in their room after the tournament and you tried to sleep through it?” I guessed.
“Who’s in the roller coaster group again?” he asked.
My head snapped in his direction at the question.
“Walk sign is on!” the disembodied voice announced from across the street.
Carson stepped down from the sidewalk and began to cross at a brisk pace. I followed, turning my head to cough.
I should take one now, I thought as I reached the other side. I dug around in my purse for the bottle of Zycam, pressing the heel of my hand against the cap.
“Ew, you’re sick Old Lady?” Carson asked as he nudged the button for the opposite side. He inched away and hugged the pole, casting a wary glance in my direction.
I tapped out a single melt tablet in my other hand and tilted my head back as I dropped it into my mouth. My lips twisted into a grimace as the fake orange flavor met my tongue and started to dissolve.
“Not contagious,” I corrected him as I threw the bottle back into my bag. “This is Day 6 – I’m just congested now.”
“Uh huh, sure…” Carson said with a sharp nod. “Sorry, but who’s in the amusement park group today again? Is it just us?”
“No, you, me, and Wilson,” I replied. “I almost thought we’d have my friends from the saxes, but they were just being trolls on my post. Figures, I always thought one of them was full of –” I trailed off, holding back the word threatening to slip out.
Carson relaxed, dropping his arms to the side. He mumbled something about being happy it was just the three of us and I turned my attention back to the tablet in my mouth and trying to finish it up before we reached the coffee shop. Next time I’m checking the other flavors.
Once the sign changed, we stepped off the sidewalk, walking side by side in silence.
“This is disgusting,” I announced as the final nub of the tablet dissolved. “I mean, it works but why did they think orange was any better than cherry?” I shook my head and sucked my saliva, trying to get the orange taste to go away. “Hey, you didn’t tell me why you look dead.”
“Cause I slept on the floor,” he replied with a pointed look.
I frowned and stared at him in disbelief. He had to be kidding me – this guy managed to get conned out of a comfy bed after the final tournament? While I didn’t know his roommates very well, Bryce would always stick out in my mind as the guy who covered his case in stickers from In-N-Out and couldn’t get enough of their Animal Fries. Taj was smaller than Carson and incredibly sarcastic, but not rude. As for newbie Christophe, he rarely was spotted without a smile or joking smirk on his face.
“Seriously? All right, who do I need to smack for kicking you to the floor?” I demanded as I crossed my arms.
Carson held his hands up and shot me a surprised look. “Whoa, easy there Old Lady! I know it might not sound normal, but I actually asked for the floor!”
I scanned his face and Carson nodded several times.
“No really, I asked for the floor.”
“Then why are you complaining?” I asked. “Please tell me someone at least gave you a pillow and a blanket.”
“Oh yeah, no I got those,” Carson added. He shoved his hands in his pockets and glanced around the strip mall we were near. “Look, it was either that or share a bed with Christophe! I mean, you’ve seen the guy right? He’s a giant – he pretty much needs the whole bed!”
I snorted and dropped my arms to the side. “Carson, you’re exaggerating – the kid’s not that tall!”
“I say he is!” Carson shot back.
“Well, how did he take it?”
Carson shrugged his shoulders and began walking toward Starbucks. “Oh hard to tell. He seemed surprised but I told him he should just take the bed – no big deal. He let me have the other pillow and the top blanket. You know, it actually wasn’t that uncomfortable if that makes sense. Did you know Bryce snores pretty loudly?”
I bit my lip as I followed him across the parking lot, looking left then right for cars. “No, I didn’t and I probably wouldn’t have known that,” I replied as I zipped my jacket up. I reached out to grab the handle but Carson beat me to it, swinging the door open and standing to the side, making a mock bow.
“After you, Old Lady,” he said with a smug smile.
I rolled my eyes as I slipped through the door and joined the long line, standing on tiptoe to see the bakery counter. Carson walked up behind me and leaned to the side to see the drink menu ahead.
“What are you getting?”
“A bagel and a cup of water,” I said. “You?”
“I think…I’m gonna have that chocolate chip Frappuccino drink and something from the case,” he announced before straightening up.
“Can’t stand him!”
“Who?” I asked as I spread a thin layer of cream cheese on my second bagel half.
Carson’s eyes darted from the window to the line, checking to see who else was here that we knew. I followed his gaze and noted that there were mostly strangers, maybe a few of the popular kids from band tucked in the corner of the cafe. A large group of them from various sections stood up at that moment and walked past us to toss their trash. One of the guys raised a hand in my direction before following the group out the door, coffee cup in his left hand.
Carson watched them leave before turning back to me. He leaned in and lowered his voice, “Christophe.”
I raised a brow at him and he huffed as he leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms.
“Am I missing something or did he empty his spit valve on your shoe when I wasn’t looking?” I asked.
He shook his head. “Just gets on my nerves. He acts like everyone’s his friend and he’s annoying. I swear he thinks life is one big laugh to him.”
I took this moment to take a big bite of my bagel, trying to chew quietly as I listened to Carson lay out his reasons for hating this kid. It seemed a little unfair to the poor guy but then again, it was like the old saying from grade school – you’re not gonna like everyone and everyone isn’t gonna like you.
Yeah, it was definitely good that it was just the three of us taking on the biggest, baddest coasters at Six Flags today…