“One day, I’m gonna attend a TED talk and Bill Nye is gonna be there, and I’m gonna crowd surf up to the stage and hug him.”
Greta looks up from her textbook. “Come again?”
I nod. “I’m telling you. One of these days, man. It’s gonna be lit.”
She sighs, stuffing a pen behind her ear before rubbing her temples. “Do you even know what ‘lit’ means? Your uses leave something to be desired.”
I shrug. “It’s the spirit of the word that counts.”
She shakes her head and closes her textbook. I suppress a smile but I can’t help the way my spine straightens. My gaze drifts across the room, taking in the rows of studying students. More than a few of them are asleep, and there’s a girl seated in between two of the library’s stacks with at least five books spread out to the sides of her. From across the room a book drops and someone curses.
Greta reaches behind her and rustles through her backpack for a moment before handing me a postcard. “Well, if we’re going to be using the word ‘lit’ in such superfluous ways, you may as well read this ‘lit’ postcard my mother sent me.”
It’s a scenic shot of some tourist covered beach, but some of the picture has been scraped off, leaving white streaks of postcard innards in sight. One of the corners is badly bent and there’s a tear near the bottom. I turn the card over and squint at the giant, loopy cursive.
“When was this written, in the 1800s?” I ask, squinting.
“God, I wish. Maybe then I’d be able to make some money off of it or something.”
“My dearest daughter,” I say, reading the card aloud. “You will be glad to know that I’ve arrived and am eagerly awaiting to see you again. Watch for my arrival. You’d better be ready.” I snort and hand it back. “Yeah, because that isn’t vaguely threatening at all.”
Greta crumples it up and throws it into the trashcan. It bounces off the rim. “Goddammit. But yeah, vaguely threatening to a tee. I keep expecting to look out in the window in the middle of the night to see her standing there, watching me.”
I lean across the table and rest my chin over my crossed arms. The bench had long ago stopped feeling comfortable and the tapping of my foot has grown uncontrollable. “I’d love to see that, especially since we live on the second floor. We’d be able to call in some paranormal experts or some shit and get her experimented on.”
“If she sends me another rabbit’s foot in the mail, I say we just sic the police on her. Surely someone normal can’t have that many rabbit’s feet on hand.”
A thought occurs to me, and my mouth is moving before I can stop it. “Maybe your mother is a rabbit serial killer.” Greta shoots me a withering look.
“Hear me out,” I say. “There are worse things to be. Like an actual serial killer who kills someone and take the foot as a prize and stuffs it like they would a rabbit’s foot. Could you imagine driving down the highway seeing a human’s foot casually dangling from someone’s mirror?”
A minute passes before she says anything. “Never speak again.”
I grin. “Your comment has been noted and declined.”
She groans, running a hand through her short brown hair and dislodging the pen. It falls to the ground with a clatter and she says, “Same.”
She reaches down, picks up the pen, and shakes herself. “C’mon,” she says, packing her things, “let’s blow this popsicle stand. All this studying is going to my head.”
I stretch my legs and yank the laptop charger from the outlet, shoving it into my backpack along with two of the novels on the table and my laptop. The zipper strains but holds. I put the backpack on and the straps cut into my shoulders, the weight causing me to lose my balance for a moment.
Greta shakes her head at me. “I swear, one of these days your spine is going to snap. You know there’s this thing called carrying books in your arms, right?”
“No carrying. We die like men.”
She smacks her forehead. “Do you ever think before you talk?”
“I try not to.”
“Then you’ll be happy to know it shows.”