The sun crinkled in his eyes like the Cheetos wrappers would crinkle in his ear. He waited. It had been a week since he had heard her voice, and it’s not like she came to him every day, but he wanted to make sure he hadn’t missed anything.
His mother worried that he never listened. His head always in a book. He hoped he’d not miss an angel’s voice because he was too engrossed in a book. He hoped he might write his own book–with the angel–just like the Prophet did.
His book would have at least one car chase, though. Gotta draw people in. Car chases do that. He figured the angel would agree. He’d ask, hopefully soon.
Morgan, the pretty new girl, had said his name. The preacher-who-wore-the-white-collar’s kid was with him. They were getting out of an old Volvo. It was the only one he had ever seen. His dad used to say, “it was always Ford or Chevy round here, maybe an occasional Dodge, maybe–maybe–a Mercedes driven by one of the older families who owned a lumber yard or construction company or factory.
“Then they built the Toyota plant up in Georgetown, and everybody was driving Japanese! And then every off-brand car you can imagine started trickling in from Lexington.”
Eric liked the boxiness of the Volvo. He wondered if steel made a crinkly sound.
“What are you doing?” The preacher-who-wore-the-white-collar’s-kid had never said anything to him before. He had caught him staring at him before when he was being picked on, then looking away, embarrassed. But he’d never said anything.
“I’m waiting.” He wouldn’t tell them what for. Kids made fun of him for hearing the worlds in the crinkles. He had even been slapped and punched for telling kids about what he heard. He wasn’t about to share anything now. He knew better.
“What are you waiting for?” Morgan rolled her eyes.
“Something,” he said. “Something good.”
“Okay…” The preacher’s kid half-said, half-questioned.
That was when the angel’s voice spoke.
“You do that with everything,” Eric turned to the preacher’s kid.
“I do…what…with everything?”
“You half-say, half-question everything. You half-believe. Your dad wears a collar every day but you only believe half the time.”
“Holy shit.” Morgan said, “you are a weird little guy.”
The preacher’s-kid-who-believed-half-the time, didn’t say anything for a second. He stared, mouth open, then turned to Morgan. “Let’s go to Express Mart instead.”
They jumped in the car.
He smiled at them as they pulled out. He had hear her. Really heard her. He didn’t have to listen too hard; her words just appeared in his head.
He looked up to feel the crinkle again.
“Hello,” he said.