Sully was pretty sure he wasn't cool enough. He had a yellow american appearal hoodie, brown bangs that fell into his blue eyes, and his father's old pentax film camera, but it wasn't enough. He was cool, but not Anthony McCormick cool.
Anthony was effortlessly cool, from the way he dressed to what he talked about. It was cool when Anthony breathed; not that Sully had spent a lot of time thinking about it or anything. On the day in question, an afternoon in May, Sully was walking through the old town district, looking for prospects. He was always looking, wherever he went, framing photographs with his eyes before he ever brought out his camera.
A green fire hydrant sat in front of small brown house where a man was mowing the lawn, sweat glistening on his head, his red plaid shirt tied around his waist. Sully pulled out the pentax, crouched, adjusted the lens, and took the picture. Straightening, he tucked the camera back into his hoodie and continued walking, tossing his hair. His bangs lost no time moving right back into his eyes.
He walked for a long time. It was soothing, everything moved; the rhythm of his sneakers hitting the ground again and again, the sidewalk that stretched out before him, endless, waves of heat rising from the street pavement, cars passing, the clouds overhead, and his yellow hoodie. It was summer. Why was he wearing a hoodie again?
Walking under the old railroad bridge, the road parallel with the river, he bent to pick up a stone, tossing into the water, and stopped when he reached the abandoned factory. He had discovered it a few days ago, but the light hadn't been right. There was an old green sofa just sitting in front of the building, with the typical blown out windows and graffiti. But there was something about this building; it spoke to Sully, and he wanted it to speak to other people too, through his photograph. It needed to be perfect.
Viewfinder pressed to his eye, he studied the shot. Was it right? No, too close. He crossed the street, almost running into a biker. He looked through again. Better, but now the sofa was too small. It just didn't say what he wanted it to say. He let his arms drop.
Anthony was standing right beside him.
"Oh shi—" Sully said, jumping back involuntarily. "What the fuck?"
Anthony grinned, watching Sully try to cover his shock, and Sully noticed that Mitch was standing on the other side of Anthony. "Whatcha doin', Sullivan?"
Anthony was the only one that called Sully by his full last name instead of shortening it like everyone else. Anthony may have been cool, but that didn't mean he was at all understanding or considerate.
"Trying to take a fucking picture," Sully said, still disgruntled.
"Of this shithole?" Mitch said, glaring at Sully from behind Anthony. "Why?"
"For school," Sully lied, stashing his camera back inside his hoodie again.
"We're going to the mall," Anthony said, his eyes lit up with more mischief than his words implied. "Wanna come?"
Sully looked from Anthony's ironic smile to Mitch's glare and decided he didn't want Mitch to 'accidentally' spill his coke on Sully's lap, like what had happened last time he agreed to hang out, despite the fact that Anthony was cool. Mitch kinda canceled out the coolness.
"Nah, you know... I got homework."
Anthony raised an eyebrow.
"And," Sully said, scrambling for a more reasonable excuse, "I gotta watch my baby sister." He was pretty sure he didn't have a baby sister, but Anthony didn't know that.
"Fine," Anthony said. "Have fun rotting in your domestic monotony. Let's go, Mitch." And with that he swept away, taking his coolness with him.
Mitch shot Sully another glare as he followed Anthony.
Sully sighed, looking up at the factory. It was ruined now, wasn't it? He'd have to come back later. Sighing, he stuck his hands in his pockets and started walking down the street again.
Eventually, he ended up in front of Joe's Antique Shop. He always ended up there when he was upset, because everything inside there spoke to that part of him that saw something in the abandoned building; everything comforted him.
It was a small shop, but that didn't stop it from being filled from floor to ceiling. Sully didn't know where Joe found all the stuff, or how he got it all to fit. There was room to walk, but barely. It was a weird shop, but that's what made it great.
As Sully walked in, Joe looked up from an old, small radio he was working on, and smiled. Sully ducked his head, smiling back, and started to browse. His eyes fell across pieces that he always saw—the green armchair with the claw feet, the psychedelic guitar, the retro lamp shade—and some new pieces, too. There was a new model sailboat, a suitcase, and a pocket watch. Once Sully's eyes had found the last item they stuck. It was identical to a pocket watch that Sully's father had owned, one that had been passed through the generations until his father's death at sea. Sully couldn't quite believe he was seeing the watch now—the last time he'd seen his father's was when he was ten.
Tearing his eyes away from it, because there was no way he'd be able to afford it, knowing the price of antiques, he continued to walk around the shop, except he walked in that way people do when they know what interests them but don't want to be seen lingering over it. He was quite frankly shocked to see it there in the shop and didn't know what to do now. He had no money for it. Should he just take it? Anthony would.
Sully went past the watch and slipped it into his hand.
He went up to the counter and placed it down. He wasn't Anthony. "I don't think I have enough for this," he said, digging into his pocket where his wallet was, and dumping the bills on the counter. He counted through. Only thirty bucks.
"For you, my boy," Joe said, "a special price." He took the bills and put them in his cash register, shutting the tray with a "zing," and smiled. "Have a good day."
"Thank you so much," Sully said, walking out with the watch.
He headed down the sidewalk, not even looking where he was going, just holding the watch in his hand and starring at it. It was like holding a piece of his father, or a piece of his childhood.
When he finally did look up, he had arrived at the docks very close to his house. He often stopped there after school, watching ships leaving or ships coming, or just to watch the local fishermen casting their nets.
This time he took a seat on the edge, dangling his feet over the edge. His mother used to grab the back of his shirt when he walked too close to the edge on grocery day. Sully sat on the edge and stared out at the water, and looked at the pocket watch.
Then he turned and there was Mitch, sitting on the edge beside him.
"You going to the show Friday?" Mitch asked without making eye contact, pulling a cigarette and lighter out of his pocket.
"Maybe," Sully said. "If Deadwood plays Old Hands I might just have to go."
Mitch nodded. "I heard the guys in Blackhawk are jerks." He lit the cigarette and inhaled, then offered it to Sully.
"Me too," said Sully. Then he took the cigarette, inhaled, and blew smoke from his mouth.