The fire doors burst outward as the two exploded from the stadium, running like they’d stolen something. Their helmets hit the pavement before their eyes had even had time to adjust to the blinding sunlight. The sound of slamming metal echoed down the alley after them, but faded away when it realized it couldn’t keep up.
“What were you thinking?!”
“I don’t know! I just had to!”
“Well you’ve done it now; they think I did it!”
Moments before, Derek and Jessie had stood at box level, overlooking the crowds of people milling around below. The pair leaned against the railing, bored with waiting to perform. Their polyester band uniforms were uncomfortable and making them itchy.
“You know they say that if you dropped a penny from the top of the Empire State Building, it could kill a person,” Derek said. “Like a bullet shot out of the sky.”
“Yeah? What do you think it would do from the third story?”
“I don’t know, probably nothing. I haven’t got one to try.”
They contemplated the idea in silence. The sound of tubas drifted down the hall, mingling with the low din of a thousand indistinguishable conversations. Rainbows of plumed helmets ebbed and flowed around the bottom of the escalators as bands gathered in preparation to take the field.
Suddenly, a wet, ripping sound emanated from Jessie’s throat. Derek’s eyes snapped upward to meet her face.
Jessie grinned…and spit.
The gigantic wad of phlegm arced through the air, executing a swan dive that would make Greg Louganis weep. The very fibers of time slowed and stretched in order to better witness the voyage in all its glory. At its zenith, stadium lights splintered as they passed through its amoebic body, transforming it into a sloppy, glittering prism suspended weightlessly in space.
The glob landed with a splat on the epaulette of a drummer that had to be in his sixth year of high school. Derek and Jessie stood frozen in place, watching as comprehension slowly crept across the drummer’s face. With a roar, he turned his gaze upward, locking onto Derek, whose eyes were growing wider by the second. Jessie reached down and squeezed Derek’s hand, hard.