Characters: Sam and Edgar
Synopsis: Sam lets slip a story from his past that maybe he shouldn't have told to someone like Edgar.
Disclaimer: I don't own the Lost Boys
Edgar snarled over the shoulder of the customer he was serving, while Alan sprinted at full speed out of the comic store and onto the boardwalk, hot on the tail of the group of youths gripping handfuls of stolen comic books. The boy trying to pay for his comic hesitated before accepting his change, glancing nervously over his shoulder, then grabbed the coins and his new issue of Batman, and fled.
Sam watched the scene over the top of his copy of the same comic book with an expression somewhere between amusement and concern. He sat on the edge of the desk, facing out into the store with his sneaker-clad feed hanging down, swinging slightly about a foot from the ground. “Y'know, Edgar,” he said, trying to sound knowledgeable. He placed the comic, open at the center page, on the desk next to him, “they only do it because you react to them.”
“Your shoplifters. They don't actually want the comic books, they only take them because they think it's funny to piss you guys off.”
Edgar's eyes narrowed slightly at the mere mention of his enemies. Sam suppressed a smile. The expression was almost identical to the one Edgar wore when discussing vampires.
“Think about it,” Sam continued. “They don't even look what it is they're taking, they just grab a book and run. If they wanted something to read, don't you think they'd at least check the cover? And doesn't it seem odd that one of you always notices them take something? I mean, either they're the worst thieves in the universe, or they're trying to get caught.”
“Or Alan and I just pay attention to our surroundings,” Edgar countered. “We've been hunting vampires for years, that kind of thing hones your observation skills.”
Sam shook his head and rolled his eyes, “Give it up, Edgar,” he said. “You told me you'd never killed a vampire before the ones last summer, remember?”
Edgar folded his arms and glared at his friend. “If you learned to pay better attention to what you see and hear, you'd have realized I said we'd been hunting them. I didn't say we'd got any.”
Sam grinned and picked up his comic book again.
“What do you know about it anyway?” Edgar asked. “Have much experience of being a thief, do you?”
“No more than the usual,” Sam assured him with a dismissive shrug. “It's was just an observation. Stop chasing them, and they'll stop stealing. I guarantee it.” He turned a page, then hesitated and glanced back at Edgar. “Well, I almost guarantee it. Just so we're clear, if you try it and it doesn't work, I'm not...” he tailed off as he noticed the hostile look in Edgar's eye. “What?”
“No more than the usual?” Edgar said. “What exactly is a normal amount of stealing for you?”
Sam swallowed and lowered his comic to his knee, eyes darting from side to side, searching for something to distract Edgar with, to change the subject. “Oh, well, er...”
“Sam?” Edgar's hands had squeezed into fists and he was glaring at Sam in a way that looked decidedly unfriendly.
“Okay, look.” Sam placed his comic book on the desk again, and allowed himself to slide off the smooth surface onto the ground. He turned so that he was facing his friend at more or less eye level. “I just mean that most kids steal something at some point. I'm not saying it's a good thing, or that they should get away with it, I'm just saying it's what people do.”
Edgar shook his head. “I've never stolen anything. Alan's never stolen anything. Vampires steal. They steal blood and lives. It's not what we do.”
Sam nodded. “At my old junior high back in Phoenix, there was this club that everyone wanted to join. It wasn't anything really, it was just this group of kids than hung out together, but they were the cool kids, you know? So everyone wanted to be one of them.”
Edgar frowned at the apparent sudden change of subject, but said nothing.
“The thing was, if you wanted to join, you had to prove you were serious by stealing something from the 7-11 near the school.”
Sam paused, waiting for a response.
Edgar said nothing at first, but when the silence became uncomfortable and he realized that Sam wasn't going to continue if he didn't, he asked, “So, this club. Did you join?”
“No,” Sam said.
Edgar visibly relaxed. His fists unclenched and he slumped back in his seat, nodding as though Sam had re-affirmed some long held belief.
Sam shifted uncomfortably from one foot to the other. “But I wanted to,” he added. “I tried to.”
“What do you...”
Edgar broke off as Alan crashed back through the open door, looking exhausted from the chase, but wearing a triumphant grin as he held aloft the stolen comic books. They watched as the other Frog placed the books back where they had been and proceeded to stand guard over them.
“What do you mean, you tried to?” Edgar lowered his voice slightly, glaring intently at Sam.
Sam looked away and felt himself chewing nervously on his bottom lip. “Okay, look. I wanted to join, so one afternoon I went in the store and I stole a candy bar. I mean, I had to buy a bunch of other stuff when I was in there, otherwise it would have looked weird, but while I was picking things off the shelves, I shoved one bar up my sleeve and didn't pay for it. Then when I went to the guys in the club and told them what I'd done, they didn't believe me. I didn't know they had to watch you stealing.”
“So what happened?”
Sam felt his face begin to grow warm as he began to blush. He ran his fingers through his hair nervously and hoped that it didn't show too much.
“Did you do it again? Steal something else?”
“No.” Sam felt the blush deepen. “They said they didn't want me in their club anyway. Then they stole my candy, the stuff I bought and the stuff I didn't, and told me to get lost.” He took a deep breath and sighed. He'd started the story, so he might as well finish it. “And then I spent the next two weeks terrified that the guy in the store knew what I'd done and had reported me to the police. I was seriously freaked out; every time I heard I siren I was convinced they were coming to arrest me.”
Edgar shook his head. “Well, I can only speak for the cops here in Santa Carla, and as you know they're not all exactly human, but if I bothered calling them for a petty thief, they wouldn't do anything. There's no way they'd send a squad car to arrest a kid. Unfortunately.”
Sam shrugged, “I know that now. But I was a bit more naïve back then. In the end I got so worried, I went back to the store, bought another candy bar, then deliberately left it on the counter. The guy was shouting after me that I'd forgotten it, and I just ran off.”
“Well,” Edgar said, “That certainly wasn't suspicious behavior at all.”
Sam glanced around the store, passers by were glancing in, noticing Alan standing guard and changing their minds about walking inside.
“So now you know,” he said. Shame burned hard inside him and he couldn't bring himself to meet Edgar's eyes. “If you don't want to be friends any more, it's okay. I get it.”
When Edgar didn't reply, Sam forced himself to turn around and dragged his eyes up to look at his friend – former friend's – face.
“Edgar?” he prompted.
“I dunno, Sam,” Edgar said. “I mean, how can I be friends with someone who's a...” be tailed off, as though lost for words. His expression was one of distaste.
“A thief?” Sam suggested. “A shoplifter? A criminal?”
Edgar shook his head. His stony expression began to crack slightly into almost a smile.
Sam frowned in confusion. “A... burglar?”
“All right, Mr. Thesaurus. No, actually. The word I was looking for is wimp.” The almost-smile collapsed into a full-on grin and he shook his head from side to side in disbelief. “To think the same kid that helped take down a coven of vampires last summer used to be so pathetic!” He swung an arm and clapped Sam so hard on his shoulder that he winced.
“So, we're okay?” Sam asked, a little hesitantly.
“Are you kidding?” Edgar asked. “If you've come this far in, what? Two years? A couple more years from now when we're hunting full time, you're definitely someone we want on our side.”
“But are we still friends?” Sam asked, needing clarification.
Edgar rolled his eyes, “Yeah, mister juvenile delinquent, we're still friends, even if you are
a total wuss. You might not want to mention your little story to Alan though, you won't find him as forgiving as me.”
Sam let out a sigh of relief and glanced at the other Frog, still scaring away potential customers. The gang of shoplifters were standing not too far from the door, watching him as he watched them, preparing to grab some more comics and start their game over again. Sam bit back the comment he wanted to make about them. Sometimes it was better to keep your opinions to yourself, no matter how much sense they made. Instead he hopped back onto the desk and resumed reading his comic.
Edgar sat back down on the stool behind the cash register and smirked to himself. “Hey, Sam, at least now I know you're eventually going to pay off your tab. The guilt at having all those free comics at home must just be eating you up inside.”
Sam continued to say nothing. It was a good tactic. He wished he'd thought of it earlier.