Breakfast with my family and oh it's late, where's my Latin book, where's my notebook, how am I getting to school today, no one would give me any answers and time was moving faster than it had any right to. I was terrified of being late but knew it was going to happen. Dread. After maybe an hour of struggling to find everything (trying to remember what you need in a high school day) I ran out to my mom's car where she waited sullenly. Got to school and told Mr. Coleman, "I'm late" with the same inflection as "I killed a man." He winked and said he would straighten it all out. No price to pay for me, I felt cheated.
Doug was quiet but I hadn't expected so much enthusiasm from him. He delighted easily. We walked across the parking lot on our way to the Hard Rock Cafe. The doorway was blocked by a rack of clothes and I tried to climb through it and made a fool of myself; the people inside laughed, the other people we were with laughed. Doug helped me up and we went off to the gift shop. Enormous Rugrats underwear printed with "Hi, Brother!"
Back in the parking lot (had we escaped the others or was it a different day?) I asked Doug about the credit card incident. Some hotel had been horrible to him, everyone rude beyond the bounds of his tolerance, and he broke character in a frightening way and hurled the company credit card at the mean person behind the front desk. I couldn't remember if he'd told me this story, or if it had happened in one of his books. Because his books all felt like listening to him talk. He liked that.
I was a boy coming home from war, angry that they hadn't let me go to the other planet to fight. Down the escalator to my family in the airport. She tried her best to comfort me but I was so angry. Dinner was a wonderful thing, though, fresh food, home-cooked. I focused on that and tried to ignore the people.