The bells on the glass door jingled as Will nudged it open with his shoulder and hip, his hands otherwise occupied. He stood for a moment, working on something, then took a sip of his Stewart's Key Lime soda with great enthusiasm, chucking its bottle cap on top of the overflowing trash bin. With no shade in the Welsh Farms parking lot, Will could already feel the sweat beating on his forehead and lower back. The blacktop was singing its heat.
Will's soda bottle was losing its frost fast, so he kept chugging it. Key Lime was his favorite flavor of Stewart's, though the cherry was also great. Will thought Key Lime tasted like a melted sugarcube igloo. Lime sugarcubes, if there were such a thing. Will was thinking more about flavored sugarcubes as a potential invention when the convenience store's door flung back open, its bells clanging like Sunday morning at St. Anne's.
"What did ya get?"
Judd Halloran lifted his chin in Will's direction. Reese Mitchell didn't make eye contact with Will.
"Oh," said Will. "I just got a Stewart's Key Lime soda. Do you guys like those? They're my favorite. And, also a Zero candy bar. My friend showed me them last year."
"No," snickered Judd. He smirked at Reese, who continued to refuse to look at Will. "I mean whatdya get."
Judd lifted the flaps of his cargo short pockets, which were stuffed to the brim with Slim Jims, Big League Chews, Skittles, and Milky Ways.
"Did you..." stammered Will.
"Did we what?" barked Reese.
Will looked down. This "friend-tryout" wasn't going very well, he thought.
"Nothing, I just... I guess didn't get anything," said Will.
"Don't worry. It's easy," said Judd, picking up his toppled-over silver K2 BMX bike. "We've been doing it here for years. That couple is too old to notice anything. I can show you later."
Reese had already eaten one of his Snickers bars. The spiky-haired red-head let the empty wrapper flutter from his hands towards the ravine alongside the parking lot.
"Let's go back to my house," said Reese, now rolling around the lot on the pegs of his BMX bike.
Judd smiled at Will. "Reese's parents are never home."
"I actually need to go home. See you guys at school tomorrow."
"Suit yourself," said Judd.
They pedaled out of the parking lot, bunny-hopping off the curb, into oncoming traffic.
Will picked up his blue Huffy BMX bike and slowly rode the two blocks to his house, deciding that what he really needed to get was some different friends.