"Sorry." Sam licked his fingers. "That was weird, man. I mean, I like bacon, yeah? But I've never tried eating it raw before."
"Please don't try eating it again, either." Dillard hurried on down the street, crossing the road when he saw three older lads coming toward them. The lads crossed as well, taking an interest in Sam.
"'Ere, mate. Why the dark glasses? You a vampire or something?" The middle youth laughed, followed a moment later by his two friends.
"Ignore them Sam." Dill stared at the ground an kept walking.
Sam stopped. "You wish. Then you could beg me to bite you. I bet not even your mother would bite you."
The youth bristled. "What did you say? You're going to get your head kicked in you are." He closed his hands into fists.
"Are you hard enough?" Sam did nothing as they approached.
"Hard enough to send you to an 'ospital."
"Are you?" Sam smiled. "I hate to burst your bubble but you're not hard at all." He took off the dark glasses and put two fingers into his bloody eye socket. "You think a hospital can help with this?"
The youths backed away, making a wide berth around the two students. Sam watched them. "Still want me to bite you? Nah. Thought not." He put his glasses back on.
"You're going to get us arrested." Dill took his friend's arm. "You got to keep your glasses on."
Sam fumbled the shades back over his socket and clapped Dill on the arm. "Got to protect my mate, haven't I? Can't have you as an object of ridicule."
"Appreciate it." Dill grinned. "Whatever happened to us did you a lot of good. I've never seen you so with it before."
Sam shrugged and did a few steps from Thriller. "I'm Bad, man. Baaad!" He jammed his hands in his pockets and walked on. Dill would have called it strutting. "We've taken shit like that all our lives. People push us around because they don't understand our passions, our music or our unique perspective on the world."
"Yeah, well, most people don't understand an addiction to Call of Duty and post-death metal riffs." Dill grinned. "I tried to explain it to my girlfriend once. 'It's like seeing everything as data,' I said; 'the chair, the table – they're vectors on a graph with colours as hex values.' She didn't get it."
"I get it." Sam kicked a can along the pavement. "When my brother got married he asked me if I liked his morning suit. 'six-six-six is the new zero' I said, but he thought I was being rude. I had to stand in the church with blood on my FFF shirt."
"Bummer." Dill nodded. "Great joke though. You should have that printed on a tee-shirt."
"Yeah." Sam stopped short, his face scrunched into a frown. "Wait! You had a girlfriend?"
"Sort of." Dill looked down at the pavement. "It was at my mom's funeral. The best forty minutes of my life."