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The Pale Blue Sky

by Jack Lynch

Part 1 - Carey and Connor, Chapter 2

Friday. It Begins.

Carey was slightly mesmerized. The Addams Family pinball machine music played and ghostly laughs and groans filled the arcade with sound. Like the other day, Carey watched the boy's narrow hips shake from side to side as he shifted his weight. Sporadically, he thrust his hips forward as he tried to exert more pressure on the flippers.

The boy didn't make out as well as he had previously. In short order, his four tokens were used up. He watched the screen as the final points were added up, shrugged his shoulders, and turned to leave. As he pulled the door open, he turned his head to glance at Carey, gave him a half smile, and with a small wave of his hand, he was out the door.

Carey turned his attention back to his book. But, not ten seconds later, the door swung open again, and the boy returned.

He walked right up to the counter and looked up at Carey. "Hi."

Carey quickly tried to come up with a smart, glib response. The only thing that came out was, "Hi."

"Thanks again for the extra tokens."

"Don't mention it."

"I saw you watching me."

"Ah, ya. You were the only one here. There wasn't much else to look at."

"Well, I know you were looking."

"I'm not sure what you're talking about."

The boy shrugged and looked down, "I dunno, sometimes I can just tell."

Carey could feel himself starting to blush. How was he supposed to respond to that??

The boy looked out the window as if he was studying something in the distance.

Turning his head back to Carey. "My name's Connor."

"Nice meeting you, Connor. I'm Carey."

The boy giggled, "That's my Mom's name!"

"Oh." Chuckling, "Well, my name is spelled, C-A-R-E-Y."

Smiling, Connor responded, "My mom's name is spelled C-A-R-R-I-E." The boy just looked up at him. Those eyes! OMG!

"The last time you were in here your pals were calling you by different names. What's with that?"

Connor smirked, "Nicknames."

"What do they stand for?"

"My name."

"I thought I saw your last name on your hockey bag. Roy, isn't it?"

"It's spelled Roy but it's pronounced, "Wa."

Carey thought for a moment. "Oh! Like Patrick Roy, the famous hockey player?"


"Are you related?"

"I wish!" Carey chuckled.

"So, you must be French Canadian."

"My dad is so I guess I am, sort of."

"Well, that's pretty cool."

Connor just shrugged.

Switching gears, Carey asked, "So, those guys are all your teammates?"

"Ya. Bruins."

"Is that…" Carey tried to think of the term, "like Bantam level?" Connor nodded. "So, you're what, 13?" Another nod.

"You play a schedule during the summer, too?"

"No. We have camp."

"Ahhh, ok. "What are you doing at camp?"

"Oh, stuff like drills and scrimmages. But, we got a game on Saturday." He looked up at Carey with a hopeful smile. "Wanna come watch?"

"Maybe. What time?" Carey asked.

"One o'clock," Connor replied.

"I may have to work." A look of disappointment came over Connor's face.

The boy shifted his weight from one hip to the other. Carey looked at him. Say something! Keep the conversation going, he said to himself.

"So, you like to play pins?" Connor just smiled and nodded. "Do you play video games, too?"

"Oh, ya!" Connor replied with enthusiasm.

"What do you like to play?"

"Oh, nothing special. Usually Spider-Man or Minecraft Dungeons."

"Ever play Overwatch?"

Connor's eyes widened. "You have Overwatch?" He said in a voice filled with wonder. Carey nodded and smiled. "That's prime!" Connor exclaimed and followed with, "I'd LOVE to play Overwatch sometime!"

Carey just chuckled.

There was a pause. Connor turned his head again to look out the window again as though he was thinking. He tossed his hair and then, with his left hand, swept his fingers across his head from the part on the right side to the left. Like using his fingers as a comb.

Turning back to Carey, "Well, I gotta go."

Carey searched for something smart to say. Why was he so tongue-tied? The only thing that came out was, "Ok."

The boy turned and headed to the door. As he half skipped away, Carey's eyes watched the curls bounce off of his shoulders again and then, instinctively, his eyes fell to Connor's cute, tight butt. No! He said to himself. Don't even go there! Pulling the door open, Connor turned to smile at Carey one last time. And he was gone.

Without looking at the schedule, Carey knew he was supposed to work on Saturday. As he picked up his phone and dialed, he also knew that little problem could be taken care of pronto.

A high nasal voice answered, "Hello?"

Carey yelled into the phone, "Wally!"

Instantly, in a high squeal, "Wha-a-a-t!"

Carey chuckled.

Two weeks earlier, the arcade's owner had hired his nephew Wally to share duties with Carey. Wally had just been laid off by McDonald's. How was it possible to get laid off by McDonald's?!? If you were Wally, it was very possible. 18 years old, at least fifty pounds overweight, fat face with an ample crop of acne covering both cheeks and his forehead, Wally had been dealt the short hand in life. A whiny, high pitched voice. His clothes were always too tight. His stomach usually stuck out slightly below his food stained polo shirt. Lazy was his lexicon. Hard work, any work at all, not so much.

Carey told him he wanted to switch days with him by taking Saturday in exchange for Monday.

"Wait a minute. Let me check." Carey, annoyed, rolled his eyes. The kid had nothing to check. He had no life.

A moment later, he came back on the line, "Ya. No problem."

Having nothing else to say, Carey said, "Thanks," and hung up.

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