Title: Motivation
Pairing: None. Or Blues. Sort of. Boomer-centric.
Rating: G/K+
Parts: One-shot
Disclaimer: I think most days Craig would rather pretend the Boys were never created in the first place, but they belong to him anyway.
Summary: He just wants to impress her.
Notes: Originally written in an effort to distract myself from potentially lost files. Also some messing about with first person POV, which is far from my forte. I was partly inspired by A&P by John Updike, which is one of my favorite short stories, but suffice to say this is not intended as (and far from an adequate) imitation. Un-beta'd.


This kid walks in—floats in, rather—and the second he does I'm already penning my epitaph and wishing he at least gives me enough time to call my wife and tell her I love her before he does me in. I mean, yes, Powerpuff Girls and all that, but it's hard for anyone to be encouraged when you've seen what the Rowdyruff Boys can do and suddenly one of them's not five feet away from you. It's like Death has just walked in through the door and you're looking him straight in the face.

Death looks like some kid in a blue shirt with messy blond hair and grass stains on his jeans. Maybe thirteen, give or take. He reminds me of some of my students. They'll miss me. Well, I hope they'll miss me.

"You teach guitar?" Death asks, and since I can't quite get my mouth to work I kind of nod, like one of those stupid dashboard bobble heads.

"Mm." He bites his lip, taking this info in, and then looks over my shoulder, his eye drawn to my Les Paul Standard resting on the wall. My insides ice over as he points at it and waves at me to hand it over.

I watch as he settles the strap over his shoulder. He holds it awkwardly, like a novice, and then gives it this blank stare as if he's waiting for something magical to happen.

"It looks cool," he finally says. At least he's got taste.

"Yeah," I manage, emboldened by the fact that he hasn't killed me yet. Maybe if I give him the guitar he'll spare my life. I think that's a fair trade. It's a really nice instrument. "That's a cherryburst finish on it."

"I want you to teach me how to play this thing."

This whole thing just keeps getting weirder and weirder. On the one hand he hasn't killed me yet. On the other, me teaching him gives him plenty more opportunities.

"You gonna teach me or not?"

"Yeah!" I squeak, then, figuring I should try and make some conversation if he genuinely wants to learn, ask, "What's got you interested in guitar?"

He's looking off to the side, out the store window. His lips go thin when I ask, which sets all my nerves on end. But his attention is elsewhere, far away.

"There's this girl," the kid says softly, and his hand moves along the neck, almost like a caress.