Elliot Phippen had always thought the idea of “fresh air” was overrated. He was a New Yorker, and the air outside was a hell of a lot less fresh than the air inside, because the outside air smelled like the exhaust of a million cars and pizza that was so cheap it wasn’t even good and, if you were very unlucky, homeless person pee. Better to stay inside, where the air was breathable and there were games to play and no one asking you for your spare money. “Fresh air” was what people told you to get when they just didn’t understand how fun video games were.
Sunlight, on the other hand, was glorious and incomparable. No shade intended to RMI’s weather charms (except the shade they made), but there was no competing with the literal sun. And there was a limited amount of time before the warm autumn sunshine turned into cold autumn sunshine. So, like Sheryl Crow, Elliot was out on Pearl Street soaking up every last minute of it.
He didn’t have to wear his Magyckal Wizard Robes on Pearl Street, so Elliot was rocking khakis and a bright blue button up that had funky tropical fish on it. He got a frappucino with espresso in it and sipped it as he walked down the sunny street. Ahh, the beautiful taste of too much caffeine irresponsibly sold to a thirteen-year-old. Elliot was the kind of easily-bored person who couldn’t just lay in the sun and bask like an old cat or a solar panel, especially when he didn’t even have his phone to play games on while he did it because RMI was practically Amish, but there had to be something interesting to look at without going into a shop. Pearl Street was usually chock full of buskers and street performer types. Surely one of them would be out and about to stop Elliot from getting too bored while he caught some rays.
He was so busy scanning the street corners for people with open instrument cases and upturned hats that he was completely blindsided when someone coming out of a shop plowed right into him. “Get out of my way.”
Elliot frowned. Here he was enjoying his sunny day and borderline-perilous coffee, and JD had the nerve to snap at him like that. It wasn’t that being bumped into had hurt, but it was the principle of the thing. You couldn’t just let people go around walking into you and then agree that it was your fault all along, no matter how hot they were. Elliot drew himself up to his full height, which was only four-foot-eleven, because puberty was only just starting to do things for him and he did not come from the tallest stock to begin with. Ah, hell, he wasn’t really mad. “Bite me,” he said, in a sort of perfunctory way. “You know, if you wanna not crash into people, just have someone walk in front of you and warn them. ‘Hear ye, hear ye, make way for Jameson Daegan!’ That kind of thing.”