The boys stood in the vacant lot outside the convenience store, which was closed today due to a special occasion. There was even a sign on the door. Armando was getting high again. Stew was quiet. Hector was talking with White Foot, the homeless man who wore Army boots and dressed like he was traveling through the desert.
Armando kicked over one of the dusty blue crates and sat down, "Hey, dude."
Stew turned his head and started playing with a lighter, listening to the conversation unfolding in the other direction.
"Dude, what's that red mark around your neck?"
They were half-brothers, Mando and Stew, though they didn't know it. Maybe they did, deep down.
"I've been at this a long time, I've seen a lot of things, and honest to God," White Foot put a rough hand over his heart when he said this. His fingernails were all trimmed.
"Listen, no man I've ever heard of has closed up his respectable business just for a little Hollywood glamor MTV television music video. I mean c'mon man, I needed to get in there. Everyday at 3:15..everyday at 3:15... that's when I go. He knows."
White Foot liked to pause and share intense eye contact when he spoke his coarse sentences.
"I mean really, what!?.....what!? Bastard. Do you know where I had to go instead?"
He threw his hands up as punctuation. A dust-blue Band-Aid dangled from one of his fingers.
"I don't know man, it's the real thing," Hector said, with a half-grin. He was leaning on a splintered telephone pole. "They were looking to cast people in this area the other night, when my mom was watching KSAT."
Hector was good at talking, and he and White Foot always had this running thing going.
"What's that white people band that was just here? R.E.M.? You'd like them. I heard they're filming it under the highway. I don't know man, it's crazy stuff."
They had been out there for a while now. Their hands were starting to go a little cold. The sun was falling, lighting up strands of long hair. It made everything orange and purple and silent, like a trip to Terlingua. The concrete, the dumpster overflow, the little stucco store, the lot of overgrown grass -- nothing was in shadow. It was almost hard to focus.
For a second, White Foot seemed to glow. He had this crazy look in his eyes. They were completely still and clear, and gave the impression that he had just made peace with something he had been thinking about for a long time.
Stew looked down at Armando, who was now laying on the ground, braiding a piece of his hair.
"I think I'm actually getting pretty hungry now." Stew said, standing up, angling his body toward the parking lot.
"Yeah bro we should head out. My hands are cold as fuck."
Hector and White Foot said their goodbyes.
"Yeah. See you tomorrow man."
The boys got in the car. Hector put on a Metallica tape. Stew watched the man disappear behind the corner of the store, traveling into the expanse.