Sure, sure, sure, my dad says. Right this
way. We all follow him into the restaurant, which is
half empty. Right away I can tell my dad has planted
customers our regular employees and their kids or
little sisters and brothers. They all say hi to my dad like
hes a local hero, though I notice none of them call him
by his real name.
My dad never corrects people when they call him
Harry. He says its good for business because people
like to think theyre talking to the guy the restaurant
is named after (who was actually my grandfather). Im
pretty sure this drives my mom a little nuts, but she
doesnt say anything. My mom almost never yells or
gets upset. Whenever she looks like she might start to
lose it, she heads up to my dads stuffy office and shuts
the door so she can meditate. Theres a sign on the
door that she flips around before she closes and locks
it. On one side, it says, Please knock. On the other,
it says, Mom is finding her inner peace. Come back
later. Im not really sure what would happen if we interrupted
her during meditation, and I dont really want to
Charlie follows Eric around for the next hour while
he films people eating burgers and licking ice- cream
cones. Sara, Holden, and I sit at one of the booths.
I cant believe this, Sara says for like the hundredth
time as we watch the film crew. Thank God Im
out of high school. I would never live this one down.
Oh, thanks a lot, Holden says. Im just starting!
I have enough stacked against me already. Now this?
What do you mean? I ask.
Just forget it.
But I think I know.
I lean back in the booth and sigh. Were
doomed, I say.
Sara shakes her head. She doesnt even bother to try
to cheer us up because she knows were right.
The bell on the front door tinkles, and Random
Smith walks in. Hes wearing a T- shirt that says glow
on it, and I wonder what its supposed to mean. Ran is
always wearing T- shirts with sayings on them that dont
quite make sense to me. Last year, he gave me one for
my birthday that said real. I think he was upset that I
never wore it. I smile at him as he comes up to the table
and waves the way he always does elbow at his waist,
hand swishing back and forth like a windshield wiper.
Like a robot.
Hey, Fern, he says.
Hey, Ran. When I slide over, the back of my
thighs stick to the red vinyl seat and make a disgusting
sound. Honestly, could my life get any more embarrassing?
A few things about Ran have changed since our
days of swapping germs:
1. His mom, who was really sick from cancer
back then, won her battle, and she and Rans
dad started an online T- shirt company that
makes a ton of money.
2. Ran shaved his head when his mom lost all
her hair from chemotherapy, and he just
decided he liked being bald. So now his head
is shaved really close. I dont think most
people could pull this off, but Ran is a very
no- nonsense kind of person, and he doesnt
really care what other people think. Also, it
actually looks pretty good.
3. Despite his weirdness, Ran became my best
friend. With his mom all better, he also
stopped being so messy and sick all the time,
which is a good thing, because being his best
friend meant I was sick almost just as much.
Sara winks at me and I blush.
Whats going on? Ran asks, taking in the scene.
My dad is ending our lives as we know it, I say.
TV commercial, Holden explains.
Ran cringes just as Charlie comes racing across the
room and hugs him.
Amazon cuts off 5200 affiliates in Minnesota(Jun 19 2013) With Minnesota's online sales tax law due to take effect July 1, Amazon has played a familiar card by cutting ties with 5,200 members of its Associates...