They Told Me I Was Everything by Gregory Ashe



FALL SEMESTER


    SEPTEMBER 2013





1


    Auggie grabbed another box from the back of the SUV, eyed the distance to Moriah Court, and said, “Let’s try to find a closer parking spot.”

    “Pussy,” Fer said, elbowing Auggie aside and grabbing another box. “You’re going to be walking your ass off for the next year. Might as well get used to it now.”

    Resting the box on the bumper, Auggie grabbed his phone and tried to get the right angle. He wanted himself, the box, and the outline of the college in the background.

    “Five seconds,” Fer snapped.

    Auggie flashed a huge grin, took the picture, and posted it. He figured that was an easy mid-five figures for likes. He worked the pack of Parliaments out of his sleeve, tapped a cigarette loose, and patted his pockets for his lighter.

    “Christ, you’re a poser,” Fer said.

    “I wasn’t going to smoke it right now,” Auggie said, sticking the Parliament behind one ear.

    Fer grunted, grabbed the heaviest box and plodded off across South Quad.

    Wiping sweat from his forehead—this place was the middle of fucking nowhere, hot as the fucking tropics, and had two-hundred percent humidity—Auggie grabbed a box and followed. Even though classes didn’t start for another week, the quad was busy in the mid-morning: kids tossing a frisbee, three girls in overalls taking turns playing the dulcimer, a shirtless kid with killer abs walking a rope he’d tied between two trees. He fell a couple of times while Auggie was throwing him sidelong looks—killer abs, just really spectacular, and Auggie could make a sweet-ass gif of him tumbling off the rope, so he slowed to grab the video—and then Fer shouted, “Dickcheese, get your ass moving,” and Auggie jogged to catch up.

    Moriah Court was one of the oldest residence halls on Wroxall’s campus; the college itself dated back to the 19th century, and Moriah Court looked old enough to be original. Since it was an official moving day, a cinderblock propped open the heavy security door. They passed the desk, where a black woman in a uniform was on the phone; she waved at Auggie and mimed a pen in the air, and he nodded; he never forgot a chance to give away his autograph. Fer led them to the elevator, where four boys who looked like they’d crawled out of a basement were stacking boxes and bags. The boys looked at each other, looked at Auggie, looked at Fer, and tried to shuffle the bags and boxes to make room.

    “We’ll take the stairs, fellas,” Fer said.

    Auggie tried not to groan.

    “Pussy,” Fer called back.

    “This is why I said I was totally fine moving on my own,” Auggie said.

    “And because you thought Mom would let you keep the car.”

    “I don’t see why I can’t have it out here.”

    “Because you are a dick and a tool and a fuck up,” Fer said kindly.

    They climbed the rest of the way in silence. On the fourth-floor landing, Fer stepped aside and let Auggie take the lead; when Auggie got to the room, he worked the key in the lock and went inside. It was a small space: two twin beds, two desks, a narrow window that only opened an inch, and two cramped closets. One bed already had sheets and a thin plaid coverlet; a pile of sneakers toppled out from the closet, and clothes and boxes were stacked on that side of the room—and, for that matter, on Auggie’s desk.

    “That dickbreath is still in the shower,” Fer said, nodding at the strip of light under the bathroom door; Auggie and his roommate, a guy named Orlando, shared the bathroom with the two guys in the next room. “That’s like thirty minutes, Augustus.”

    Auggie dropped the box on his bed and sat on the mattress.

    Shoving aside Orlando’s stuff, Fer set his box on the desk. “And his shit is on your side of the room.”

    “Yeah.”

    “You can’t let him get away with that kind of shit.”

    “Ok, Fer.”

    “Give him one fucking inch, and he’s going to be all over your shit.”

    “Ok.”