: Lily Pad :

an excerpt by Andrew Wingfield

Journal, he came in today, and he wasn’t alone.

Ricky saw him first. “What did that boy take out of his backpack?”

I was steaming milk for a latte and I didn’t look up right away because I knew Ricky was watching me. I kept my eyes down on my work until that latte was full of froth. I handed it over to the customer and gave her a warm Lily Pad smile. And then I looked over. Tre was already inside, sitting down at the table he likes near the ice water, and there was a sack sitting on the chair across from him.

What is it?” Ricky said.

It looked like a sack of flour in little purple overalls, but I didn’t say that to Ricky. “Beats me.”

Pretty soon Tre stood up, started walking over.

Look at the way that boy walks,” Ricky whispered. “Drags his feet. Slumps his shoulders. How can he see through those bangs?”

Ricky has excellent posture. Trims that black hair every week. Always looks nice. Smells nice, too.

Hi there,” Ricky said.

Tre nodded. “Ricky. What’s up? How’s it going, Yreka?”

It’s going,” I said. “Can I get you something?”

Tre takes forever to decide, which is strange because he always orders the same thing—Red Bull. It’s in the refrigerator case, self-service, so there’s nothing I can do for him except ring it up. He was patting out a rhythm on his thighs, standing across from the counter, looking around, or trying to see through his bangs. Eventually he walked over to the case and got his Red Bull. He brought it to the register.