Citrus County by John Brandon

Part One

Toby took his tacos outside and crouched on a curb. He knocked some sour cream off onto the concrete, devoured the tacos without tasting them, crumpled the wrappers and tossed them over his shoulder. The wind had given out, and there was no way to tell it was wintertime. Toby thought he might still be hungry.

“You littered.”

Toby turned. He didn’t get up. A little boy had snuck up on him. The boy’s mother was still in the car, griping at someone on a cell phone.

“It’s true,” Toby admitted. “You’ve caught me in an unlawful act.”

“Littering is bad for nature.”

“Nature will be okay,” Toby said. “Nature always wins in the end.”

“You can get a fine. Up to five hundred dollars.”

Toby looked up into the boy’s face. Something was wrong with one of his eyebrows. “When the time comes, you’re going to make one heck of a hall monitor.”

The boy looked from Toby to the wrappers. They weren’t going anywhere—not the slightest breeze.

From Citrus County by John Brandon. Copyright © 2010 by John Brandon. Excerpted with permission of McSweeney's.