This Is It

Lew is a misfit. So is Harrison.

Can they find a place where they fit in with each other?

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1. as the day i was born

God, it was hot. So, so miserably hot.

I raised my hand.

"Yes, Lew?" the teacher who had the misfortune of being assigned to watch the trouble makers in In School Suspension today was Mr. Barkley. I actually like him.

"May I use the rest room?" I asked.

He nodded and I stood from the desk I'd been sticking to in the barely air conditioned temporary building they'd thrown up fifty years ago behind the main building of the school. ISS was torture. It should be banned under the Geneva Conventions. I left the building and walked to the gymnasium, which housed the nearest facilities.

I really just needed to step out for a moment and get a sip of water. It was the middle of May. It shouldn't be as hot as it is, but we're in literally the middle of Texas. So. It's hot.

I pulled open the heavy metal doors to the gym and went inside. I could hear the heals of basketball trainers squeaking on the lacquered floor of the gym.

I peeked through the rectangular windows of the interior doors to see the basketball team hard at practice. The season had ended months ago in a heartbreaking loss at the state championships, but here they were. Sweating. Getting bruised up. For what? I was especially confused as to why some of the seniors were playing. Their time was done, over. It's the end of the school year. They should be skipping this, the final period of the day.

"Like what you see?" A male voice spoke from just over my shoulder and made me jump.

He chuckled as I turned around. He was tall, his curly blond hair dripping with sweat. He had a towel draped around his neck.

"I was just wondering why they were working so hard right now. The season's over."

He looked at me like I'd said something offensive.

"Why wouldn't they be working hard right now?" He asked, his blue eyes alight.

Was he angry?

"They're free until next fall," I said, my voice sounding weaker as I spoke. "They should be taking it easy. Having fun."

He smirked.

"I don't think they'd agree with you."

I swallowed.

"What's your name?" He asked.

"Lew," I said and he smiled. "It's short for Lewellen."

"Lew in lieu of Lewellen," he nodded to himself and I rolled my eyes.

"I'm sorry, I need to hurry or I'll get in even more trouble," I said and moved past him towards the water fountains.

"Lew, my name is Harrison," he followed me.

I ignored him as I got a drink of water.

I left him standing there in the gym without another word and headed back to the temporary buildings.

When I got home that afternoon, they were already setting up for an acoustic guitar circle. This was Jude's newest idea. Pretty much exclusively old dudes ever showed up to it so far. Not that I really minded. Old people were cool. They didn't make fun of me, and they told cheesy jokes, and they didn't pretend to be people they weren't. Lucy was behind the bar getting a huge carafe full of coffee ready, that's the other thing I like about the old people. They exclusively drank coffee here and refused to try the stupid drinks my brother came up with.

A few of the geezers started to show up. Bill, John, William, and Betsy were the first few to enter the cafe and open up their guitar cases. Betsy was the only woman who had joined us so far. Someone else came into the cafe carrying two guitars, Betsy's and his own. I could instantly tell he was younger by his posture and clothes, but it took my mind an additional minute to register who it was.

"Well, if it isn't Lew in lieu of Lewellen," he smiled and the old guys cackled at his cheesy joke.

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