The next morning I called up Joe and Sam to ask them if they wanted to go to the mall. Mostly I wanted to get myself a Cat Stevens album after the movie I'd watched with Andrea the night before. It turned out that Sam didn't have to go to football practice that day so they were both available. I swung by their house to pick them up and we went to the mall.
When we got to the mall, my first stop was the record store. I picked out a compilation that had on it most of the songs that I remembered from the movie.
As I was buying it, Joe asked, "Why the sudden interest in Cat Stevens?" I didn't want to tell him the truth because I didn't want to tell him I'd been on a date with Andrea. In case he liked her too, as I suspected. So I made something up.
"Joy recommended it," I said.
Sam laughed. "Since when do you listen to Joy?"
"Well, it wasn't so much that she recommended it as that she has a Cat Stevens album that she likes to play all the time, and after hearing her play it I decided I wanted one too."
"Isn't Joy off at college?" asked Joe.
"Well, yeah," I said. "I mean, she was playing it during the Summer. I just remembered now, though."
"Oh, okay," said Joe. That was a close one!
"Let's go have lunch," said Sam, "my treat!"
We started walking toward the food court. "What's the occasion?" I asked Sam.
"I'm trying to get on Joe's good side," said Sam, laughing. "He just started a new job. He's been out working all evening for the past few days. Doing so many hours like that, come payday he's gonna be in the money!"
"You're working after school?" I asked Joe.
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"Yep," he said.
"When do you find time to do your homework?" I asked.
"Weekends," said Joe. "Sometimes at night." That was really unlike Joe to put money ahead of schoolwork like that. Even if he was doing it to save up for college, it still didn't seem like a good idea since it could hurt his grades.
After lunch Sam wanted to play the paper airplane game. Joe had once read a book on how to make all different types of paper airplanes, and he showed us how to make some of them. We climbed onto a high wall overlooking a parking lot not far from the mall, and the game was to throw the paper airplanes and see who could get theirs to go the farthest. I'd taken to emptying our paper recycling bin at home into the trunk of my car so that I'd always have a stack of paper on hand in case we wanted to play this game.
Sam especially loved the paper airplane game. He always won, of course. It wasn't that he was any better than us at folding the planes -- we were all about the same at that -- but he was a real natural at throwing them just right so that they would glide a long way. It was probably because of all the sports he played that he was good at doing that. Or maybe it was the opposite, and the reason he played sports was because he had a natural talent for that sort of thing.
Another thing that Sam liked to do when we were playing this game was to goof off and pretend that he was falling off the wall.
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