When David got home from school that day his mother pestered him with questions. “Do you like your new school? Who is your teacher? Did you meet new friends?”
David tried to be patient and answer all her questions. But he wanted to get started on his homework right away so he could go over to Parker's house later. Parker had invited him.
Mrs. Carpenter (David's mom) was happy to hear that David had made new friends and so getting permission to go to Parker's house was easy. “But you finish all your homework first,” she told him.
David took his homework to his room and got started on it. It was mostly easy stuff and shouldn't of taken him long but David's mind kept wandering. He kept thinking about Parker and how much he had changed.
Even though Parker was cool and being Parker's friend made David kind of cool too, he felt sad for some reason. He didn't know why. Maybe he missed the old Parker.
And there were some other strange things too that David couldn't figure out. Why was everybody so afraid of Parker and his friends? And why did they never take their sunglasses off?
David was thinking about these things and time passed. It was an hour later and he still hadn't finished his homework. Then the phone rang.
David quickly picked it up.
“Dude,” said Parker's voice. “Thought you were coming over.”
“I have to finish my homework first,” said David.
“Leave it,” said Parker. “I'll clear it with your teachers, it'll be cool.”
“What?” said David.
“I'll write you a note,” said Parker.
Then David figured Parker was kidding so he laughed. But it was kind of a nervous laugh.
“Be ready in five minutes. We'll pick you up and give you a ride over,” said Parker.
“A ride? No, Parker, wait -” But Parker had already hung up. There was just a dial tone.
David hung up now too and tried to think quickly. If Parker showed up in a car there would be serious trouble with his mom.
David left his homework unfinished and ran down stairs. His mother looked up from the magazine she was reading. David made for the door.
“Where are you going?” his mother asked.
“To Parker's house. I told you!” David knew that he was being rude to his mom but for some reason he couldn't help it.
“Did you finish your homework?”
“Yes!” he yelled. His mom gave him a stern look so he tried to change and be polite. “Yes ma'am. Please can I go?” He stood there waiting for permission. Finally his mother said okay and David raced out the door.
David walked up the street a few houses down. And it was just in time because a car rounded the corner and stopped next to the curb. It was a Ford SUV. Heavy metal music was blaring out the windows. Harold was driving and Parker was sitting on the passenger side and Stevie was in the back. They were all three smoking cigarettes.
“Dude. Get in,” said Parker.
David looked over his shoulder back toward his house. If he got into a car here, his mother wouldn't see. He opened the door and got into the back seat next to Stevie.
Stevie high-fived him, and so did Parker. Harold stepped on the gas and drove down the street. When they passed David's house, David saw his mom looking out the window and he quickly ducked down.
“Dude, chill out!” said Stevie.
David tried to relax but his heart was beating fast. And his face was flushed with a real crappy feeling that he had lied to his mom.
“Here, have one of these,” said Parker and he tossed David a cigarette. David picked up the cigarette and looked at it.
“Try it,” said Parker. “It'll calm you down.”
Parker reached over with a lighter and lit a flame.
David just held the cigarette not knowing what to do. He knew smoking was stupid and wrong but it seemed cool when Parker did it.
“Dude, trust me, it'll be good,” said Parker.
“Don't be a wuss,” said Stevie.
David knew that if he thought about it he would never do it, so he decided not to think. He put the cigarette in his mouth and it felt cool doing it. He wanted to be cool like his friends. He knew he had to, to be with them. But he felt something inside him slipping away and he tried not to think about it. He put the cigarette into the flame that Parker was holding.
“Suck on it!” said Stevie.
David sucked on the cigarette and suddenly his throat burned. He coughed and coughed. The smoke stung his eyes.
The other boys laughed. Stevie slapped him on the back.
“Dude! Your first cigarette!” Parker high-fived him.
David smiled even though there were tears coming out of his eyes.
It was horrible but it was good too. Finally, he was with friends.
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