Travis arrived an hour early on Saturday to jog and stretch. He wore black gym shorts and the same undershirt he had worn at work the night before. If the odor lingered, it wouldn’t matter after the group’s collective sweat overrode their senses.
Miles drove into the parking lot at noon with three kids packed into his mother’s blue luxury SUV. Travis had seen the kids at Miles’s parties, but they were Miles’s friends, not his. Two of them wore University of Maryland shirts; Miles had a grey shirt that screamed DUCK FUKE in blue college lettering. All four exited the van yelling at each other, exchanging the second half of some collective in-joke.
“Enjoy my shift, Trav?” Miles asked with a grin. He slapped Travis on the back.
“Sarah showed up,” Travis said. He didn’t know whether to sound confused or angry.
Miles tried to slacken his jaw in shock, but the strain of pretending sent him into a spasm of giggles. “Sorry, man,” he said. “But, admit it, I fooled you pretty good.”
“That was a prank?”
“I didn’t see me working at Subway last night,” Miles said. Small titters punctuated each of his words like a stutter. “Did you?”
Even now, Travis thought, Miles was high-school cruel: His definition of a prank was arbitrary trickery, where the punch line was simply that anyone would trust Miles to be honest. A high school stoner’s idea of a prank. But they weren’t in high school anymore, Travis thought. Was Travis the only one who saw things moving forward? Would everyone else pretend it was fine and leave Travis scrambling in the background, trying to collect the pieces left behind like the discarded trash that littered the edges of Route 4?
“Let’s start already,” yelled one of the boys in a Maryland shirt.