“I have a proposition for you," the man said.
Yeah, I bet you do. I could just guess what it was and I hated the idea but if it kept me out of jail I knew I’d do it.
The man must have seen what I was thinking on my face because he shook his head. “It’s not that sort of proposition. I’m not into boys, or males of any kind, boy. Oh, and while we’re at it what is your name?”
“Arthur.” The man held out his hand.
I looked at it as if it was a snake before tentatively shaking it. “What do you want then?”
“How about I tell you over a couple of burgers and some fries, or whatever you think you’d like to eat.”
“Umm… Well, I suppose…” Just the thought of a real meal made my stomach rumble. I hoped the man didn’t hear it.
“There’s a decent hamburger joint in the next block if that works.”
With a nod I followed Arthur when he started walking. As soon as we were in the small restaurant, and seated, Arthur told me to order anything on the menu. My mouth watered at all the choices, even if they were mostly just fancy hamburgers. Then I looked at the prices and shook my head. “These cost too much. There’s a cheap fast food…”
Arthur held up a hand to silence me, smiling. “I can afford it and I’d rather avoid food poisoning if possible.”
“If you’re sure.” I checked the menu again, choosing the plainest burger and fries, giving my order to the waitress when she appeared.
“Add a thick shake to his,” Arthur said after telling her what he wanted. “Chocolate?” He looked at me.
“Strawberry?” I replied hopefully. I have a thing for strawberry shakes.
Arthur looked at the waitress, she nodded and left. “So tell me a bit about yourself, Richie.”
I chewed his lip. “Not much to tell.”
“You’re nineteen and apparently living rough on the streets. Why?”
“No place to go, I’m didn’t graduate so it’s hard to get a job even if there were any which the way things are these days there aren’t.”
“You didn’t finish high school? Why?”
I shrugged. “Shit happened. My mom died, my dad remarried. His new wife was closer to my age than his.” Rather than look at him I stared down at the table, toying with a spoon. “She started coming on to me so I figured I should get out of there ‘cause I didn’t want to hurt my dad you know.”
“People,” Arthur muttered, making it sound like a swearword.