The sky was a brilliant cerulean with not a cloud in sight and the early summer sun was keeping the perfect temperature. Geese and seagulls covered the freshly mown football field and filled the air with honks and squawks.
Cooper and Mel lounged together in the stands. Cooper was lying on his back, smoking a joint and puffing out little grey clouds over his head. Mel sat one level below, reading an old, second-hand edition of Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn, her long brassy hair tucked behind her ears.
They'd been like that for the past hour, too lazy and too comfortable to move.
Mel shut her book and looked back at Cooper. "You get your piece for the exhibit done yet?" she asked, referring to their school's annual art show.
"Almost," he said, turning on his side to face her. "Just have to add a second coat to the black."
Mel pursed her lips and nodded. She rose with her book tucked under her arm and nudged Cooper with her knee. "Let's go. I'll help you finish it up."
He jumped up and brushed himself off. "Right."
They trekked off to Cooper's house, fifteen minutes away. They chattered quickly back and forth, like little birds, about this and that. About the art show, about books, and about their lives in general.
The screen door slammed shut behind Mel as they slipped into the dark house. "Ma?" Cooper called. When no reply came he shrugged and led Mel downstairs.
Leaning against a wood-panelled wall was Cooper's submission for the show. An acrylic painting on canvas, five feet wide and three feet tall. Seven teenagers were depicted in stark black and white with bright reds and yellows accenting highlights.
Each kid portrayed a different Deadly Sin. Sloth was sleeping, slumped against Envy, who was cutting Sloth's hair. Greed was decked out in an Armani suit with Gabbana sunglasses. Lust was behind Greed, running her arms down his chest. Pride was pouting her lips in a compact mirror while Gluttony, arms laden with junk, shoved fries in his face. Wrath glared at them all, a gun hidden at his hip.
Cooper had titled it simply, Teenagers.
He sat down and went to work while Mel tossed a mix CD in the player. She joined him on the floor. Cooper stuck a cig in the corner of his mouth and lit up. Mel pulled her dad's old tobacco pipe out of her bag, stuffed it, and smoked it.