TITLE: Jumping Off Bridges
GENRE: YA Contemporary
If one more guy asked him if he played basketball, Eli would punch him in the throat. Order after Fun Burger order, he listened to every open-mouthed customer—or guest, as he was meant to call them—as they followed one another through the waiting-line maze and offered up Sherlock Holmes-worthy observations: “You’re huge” and “I bet you’re a ball-player” and “Do you even have to jump to dunk?”
Each phrase forced Eli to pinch out a smile—he still needed his job for another month—say, “Thank you,” and feel the phoenix flames flare in the hollow pit of his chest. Afterwards, the guest’s growling belly would trump every oral operation, and they’d settle into a corner booth, then proceed to stuff fries into a gaping maw, a troll filling its face with the limbs of its victims.
The entrance bell chimed.
Two of Eli’s former classmates—a guy drawing a tribal design on his hand with a Sharpie and a girl with a frizz of hair more frightening than a witch’s—shoved through the doors. Eli recognized both of them from his sophomore year Lit class, but he couldn’t remember their names. Still, he wanted to ask if game nights were still as loud as a Titan’s scream.
“You can be so unromantic,” Witch Hair said. “We’ll be just like Romeo and Juliet.”
Tribal Hand’s face crumpled in annoyance, as if this were a conversation he’d grown tired of long ago. “You think they heard voices, too?”