TITLE: The Brewer
Tyler Higgins slanted his eyes at his friend, Ethan Montour, seated next to him at the lunch table.
With shaky hands, Ethan unwrapped a sandwich and absently stared at his food through smudged glasses. Then his eyelid started twitching.
Tyler stopped munching his PB&J. Dang it. Here we go again. But what could he do? He swallowed down his mouthful. “So, Ethan. Tuna, eh?”
“What? Oh.” Ethan peeled the bread back. “Yeah. Tuna fish and tomato.” He poked a tomato slice with his index finger, pushing it off the tuna.
“Thought it was your favorite?”
“Um, sure.” Beads of perspiration formed on Ethan’s brow, and his skin looked pasty. “Except for the tomatoes.”
“What’s the point of tuna and tomato without tomatoes?” Tyler tried to keep his tone light, but this was too weird. Up until a month ago, the old Ethan would have wolfed down any sandwich, tomatoes and all.
“Yeah, pointless.” Ethan flicked the other tomato off.
Seated across the table, fellow eighth-graders Audrey Harding and Maddy Hollenback chattered and giggled, oblivious. He wasn’t sure why the girls lunched with him, maybe pressure from the youth group leaders. Though he’d been here three months, he still felt like an outsider—except with Ethan.
Frowning, he set down his sandwich. These days, he’d rather avoid the seventh-grader whose crazy mood swings and weird stupors didn’t help them blend into the crowd. Definitely no fun. But Ethan had been nice to him when everyone else acted like he had snot smeared on his face.