He came walking with a plastic shopping bag. I didn't ask him what was inside. I knew better than that.
Why are you looking at me like I'm crazy? I mean, look. We're on a college campus, it's the middle of the night, and the lights behind the communications building only dimly outlined our shadows on the drizzle-chilled concrete. He was between me and the grated, blue emergency phone on the other side of the building. Would you ask your friend what he had been doing late into the alleyways at nightime?
"Hey, do you know where I can process this out of the way? There's probably nobody at the academic buildings, right?"
I laughed. "I'm not taking you down to the honors center with that stuff, keys or not." I thought for a moment. "Follow me."
I took him in-between buildings and underneath the raised walkways. Our path twisted around until we came to a winding staircase. We took it to the floor underneath the classrooms, to an area students never visit, through a stairway students never notice.
Good thing I keep my eyes open. I always wanted to be a detective, so I taught myself to notice small things like innocuous doorways, toe-grips for easy flight to the rooftops, and the amount of dust on the unused desks. These observations help me often as a writer, but they were now helping me in other ways...
"You want some?" he asked, emptying his shopping bag onto the rust-covered, dustily-abandoned desk.
"No way man. You know I don't touch that stuff. It would kill me."
"You know I can't stand the stuff. I can't believe you're doing this. You need to get medical help."
He moved too quickly. I should have expected it. He pulled his left hand from the jacket pocket and snapped open the blade.
I sighed and unclasped my pocket-knife from the keychain.
"Honestly, Ryan. I know you have a cold, but Garlic? You have enough cloves here to feed an entire Italian village."
"Well, I have never tried garlic before and I wasn't sure how much to buy. Besides, it was on sale at Giant. Thanks for showing me this place though. I didn't want to stink out the room."
I shut up and helped him slice the cloves into small pieces.
For the last few days, my friend Ryan McGee has been recovering steadily from his cold and keeping vampires away for a fifty mile radius (which is about the distance you can smell him from).