‘Oh... okay... So I... so I just screwed things up, then...’
‘No, you did fine, Hector. In fact, your intervention ensured that it didn’t develop into a hostage situation.’ Garovel eyed him a moment. ‘Make no mistake, this is risky territory we’re heading into. The idea is to be smart and make the best of situations that are already terrible. Sometimes, there won’t be a good option left to choose, and we’ll just have to endure. Luckily, you’re pretty durable now.’
A cup of chili sailed past Hector’s head, and he abruptly realized that a food fight had broken out a few tables away. A half-eaten hot dog landed in his lap and slathered ketchup all over his shirt.
“Oh shit!” came a voice from the crowd. “Sorry about that, pal!” It belonged to a young man he knew to be Micah, smiling apologetically. Micah took a chunk of mashed potatoes to the face.
‘That looks fun,’ said Garovel. ‘Incredibly wasteful, but fun.’
Hector went to get up and had to stifle a groan. When not moving, he could nearly forget that every muscle in his body hated him at the moment. He made his way over to the napkin dispenser at the condiment table, but someone bumped into him. They turned, presumably to apologize, but stopped.
When Hector saw who it was, he averted his eyes and offered his own apology. “Sorry, Davia.”
She looked at him as if she were addressing a blank wall. “Why are you apologizing?” she said. “I bumped into you, didn’t I?”
Hector didn’t chance a reply.
“I’ll look where I’m going next time,” she said. “So don’t tell on me, Hector.” She left him alone.