I'm changing global climate, says the sticker. Ask me how!
Justin has five more like it in his backpack, all identically rough, unstyled black letters evenly spaced with a non-graphic-designer's eye. They're for the backs of SUVs – run up, slap one on the glass, run away before your hippy ass gets killed – but he never uses them for that. He has an SUV himself, in fact, a nice one, that his parents bought for his 16th birthday. He put a sticker on it, of course.
Justin’s connection has five different sticker varieties; usually he insists on giving him one of the ones he didn’t ask for along with the ones he did. Justin puts up with it because he already feels slightly guilty about pretending to be an environmentalist, and because he’s addicted. This week’s extra sticker has been affixed to the metal part of the desk, to the bottom, where it can’t be seen; it says This Object Does Not Exist. The unsticky part, the wax paper under pencil shavings in the trash, says Guerilla Ontology in gray-white letters that fade into the background.
"Wilbur Fawnsworth Hays!" Justin bellows faux-britishly. The Gaseous Nebula! Sir Wilbur the Flatulent! (He actually did say that once, back in 9th grade. Got a nice laugh.)
Wilbur stands at the edge of the aisle, eyes scanning, darting, searching for an empty seat somewhere else. There isn't one, so he turns sideways and starts shuffling, and eventually he reaches the desk next to Justin's and sits down, slowly and painstakingly, his stomach slightly overflowing the bar.
"My man Wilbur! How ya doing, Wilb?" A stack of books and papers lies in front of Justin; he takes advantage of the concealing terrain to peel the sticker, one handed, thumb and forefinger, with a quick practiced flip of the wrist. He used to wait through the class for the most opportune moment. Today he'll do it before the bell rings. He can feel it. He's in the zone.
"Oh, not bad, not bad." Wilbur’s voice is too soft, like it's traveled several miles before exiting his mouth. He keeps his eyes pointed at the desk, then turns and reaches away from Justin, down and to his right, expanding, bent over triple, folds bulging out like a museum exhibit, until his fingertips reach the backpack.
Justin is a kamikaze butterfly.
It is vital that the sticker be placed precisely on the right pants pocket, for two reasons.
- With a wallet in the way, the Fartmaster is less likely to feel something
- Justin wants more than a layer of fabric as insulation
He makes the mark, of course. He does it every time. The sticker is neatly centered, exactly right side up, readable from a distance.
Justin withdraws his hand and relaxes. Leaning back, smiling inwardly as the bell rings, he allows a miniscule breath of air, not quite a sigh, to escape his lips.
It really is the little things.
This was originally part of the Sticker Underground; I moved it here so that the ending of that writeup doesn't come in the middle (they stand better apart than together, anyway).