“Where’s Hannah?” I ask, changing my shoes.
“New kid,” Magnet says, crunching on a chip.
Chris tries to hand me a soda the size of my head. “Latched onto her like, what, a barnacle or something – he’s from the East Coast, too.”
“Limpet,” Magnet says. “You mean limpets.”
“That’s – basically the same, right?” Chris shakes the soda at me, “fuck’s sake Fox, just take it, you know you’re going to drink it anyway.”
I take it. It’s an alarming shade of blue. “Is she going to turn up at some point, just late? Should we save a spot for the new kid or something?”
“No, it’s fine,” Chris says, “do one lane by hand and the other TK or something.”
“I’ve missed your TK,” Magnet confesses, “new kid’s manifested, but he’s got the whole predator package, you know, sense of smell and urge to growl.”
“Wears cat ears,” Chris adds.
“Just generally?” I ask.
Magnet laughs. “I’m pretty sure he’s trying to convince them to let him go mask, but I like to imagine he actually forgets he’s got them on.”
I take a long draught of my blue raspberry soda monstrosity, and then step up to the lanes, hefting the balls until I find one with the right balance, cradling it in my hands. Then I pick out another one that doesn’t have the kind of ridges that agitate my telekinesis, which takes me quite a bit longer, because your average bowling ball is not made to be TK friendly, and float it over to the other lane. To kind of a lot of good-natured ribbing (shouted), I toss both at once.
They head into the gutter simultaneously.
Chris grabs a ball (at random, as far as I can tell) and hurls it down one of the lanes, giving a satisfied nod when it knock over half the pins. Magnet, for his part, quickly finishes up his nachos, and pulls out his own bowling ball. (The purple alien, today. I wonder why. It’s been a while since he used that one – I thought he’d retired it.) He rolls it not quite into the gutter, which he does a fist pump for, even though it only hits one pin.
Of course, then that pin spins the fuck around knocking down every single other pin, at which point Magnet jabs his other fist into the air and starts doing a victory dance.
Chris snorts, and takes a sip of – oh, god, he got the awful blue soda, too. “Are you entirely sure you’re still latent, Magnet?”
Magnet shrugs. “Last test was inconclusive.”
I nod sagely. “Ah, so this is your new power at work.”
“Could be,” he says, wide eyed, and when Chris tries to interrupt, “no, I’m still latent, I’m just a fucking badass bowler, fuck you guys. I own like ten bowling balls.”
“And a pair of shoes,” I add.
Magnet jerks a thumb at me. “Like this guy said. And shoes.”
Chris glances down at his own shoes pointedly, then they both laugh at mine. Thanks, guys.
I stand up again, picking out the same balls as last time, when a shout from behind me almost makes me drop both of them.
“Finally ditched him!” Hannah says, hi-fiving me with both hands.
For a moment, I’m caught hovering two bowling balls in the air, and really, the one with better balance is hell on my TK. I don’t even know what going on with its surface. I snatch it back two-handed, and manage to stub both my thumbs. “Hey, Hannah. Nice to see you succeeded in getting rid of…cat dude. You’re almost on time.”
“Travis!” she says.
“Hannah!” I say.
She grins. “No. Catboy is Travis.”
“What? That’s a terrible nickname,” I inform her.
“Oh, I know, we’re not keeping it,” she tells me, picking up the ball hovering over the other lane. “Wait, what the hell, Fox, this thing has the worst balance ever.”
“I mostly picked it because it was blue,” I tell her, shrugging and gesturing at my drink.
She stares at the drink for a minute, stares back at the comparably blue bowling ball, then puts it back with the rest, looking through her other choices. I feel a heavy, dramatic surge of disappointment that I won’t be able to try bowling two at a time again, because I was definitely getting the hang of it, and definitely would’ve done it right this time. My moment, cruelly ripped away, seconds before I would’ve acted. I toss mine all by its lonesome down the other lane and knock over two pins.
Hannah finally decides. “Blue enough?”
We all stare at the grayish orb, Magnet finally pronouncing, “no. Terrible.”
“That’s silver at best,” Chris agrees.
“Even if it were blue, it’s not very bright,” I add.
Hannah grins. “Suck it, haters!” The clash of pins reverberates.
“Cool,” Magnet says, taking a sip of a much more normal looking drink, what the hell, Magnet, I want one, “now we’re tied.”
Hannah whips around, narrowing her eyes. “If that’s a joke, that’s not funny.”
We all point to the scoreboard. She looks at it, then rolls her eyes, muttering that of course he would, because that’s chaos for you. He grins at her.
“So, where’d you dump the kid?” Chris asks.
She waves a hand. “I sent him on a walking tour. Said it was important to get to know the city. Assuming he doesn’t get mugged or kidnapped, it’ll do him some good. Can I have some of that?”
Magnet hands her the ginger ale instead. “This one. Trust me. Where’s he going?”
“Oh, I have no idea,” Hannah says, sipping on a soda that I should trade her for, I mean, she wanted the blue one, anyway, “I figured he’d notice touristy bullshit. I think it was the illuminati.”
“You sent him to the illuminati?” Chris gasps, almost covering himself in blue dye as he presses his drink to his chest.
“I wish the illuminati had organized the tour,” she gripes, “then at least I’d want to listen to his story once he got back. No, I think it’s about how they…built the city or something, I don’t know.”
“But not to convince you to join their cause?” Magnet asks.
Hannah shrugs. “I think it’s just some conspiracy nuts. They may also be trying to get you to save the environment or something, you know, go vegan, worship Satan, collect vintage plates.”
“Oh, well, then,” Chris says, “at least we’ll have something to eat the vegan finger foods off.”
“Was that supposed to be a pun?” Magnet snaps, “fuck you, Chris, fuck you so hard. You suck at puns, you are a fucking stain on the English language, you have got to be shitting me if –”
“I don’t think Satan eats fingers, anyway,” I add, amidst the swearing.