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But They Dress Better by bat

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Max could hear them before they arrived. The low thrum of the modified dirt bikes and motorcycles, suddenly ceased by their riders cutting the engines off. The jingling sounds of the chains they sported as accessories to their individual fashion statements. The stomp of their boots on the pavement.

The Lost Boys walked into the video store in a twisted rank and file line. David, his hair bleached as white as possible, crowning a pale face amongst a sea of black coat. Dwayne, the dark one, just behind him. The painted leopard that wrapped the length of his jacket sleeve glowed a little under the store's lights. Paul next, his blond hair tangled wildly from the ride up the beach and frothing above his wild grin. And Marko in the rear, his jacket nothing more than colorful patches sewn together and embellished with plastic gems, sequins, and studs, his baby face forming an impish smile.

Thorn gave a low growl, barring his teeth at the four teens. They sailed past the white German Shepherd, oblivious to the hound's warning.

David could see Max wasn't pleased at their arrival. He'd managed a slight frown when he saw the foursome enter the store, turning to watch them. Four juvenile delinquents could run off potential customers. Max had a reputation and a business to run. Appearances were everything.

"Excuse me, I- I wonder if you could help us? This little boy is lost and we were wondering if his mother might be in here?"

David glanced up at the soft, feminine voice; Max turned towards it. A slim woman in a light blue sweater and crocheted purple shawl was holding the hand of a small boy in a turquoise sweatshirt. He was sniffling, rubbing his eyes with his free hand, the other holding tightly to the auburn-haired woman. David's jaw worked as Paul checked out a video left out on the glass counter. His hand on David's shoulder, Dwayne peered at the plastic clam shell case but it was nothing of interest to the Boys.

Dwayne moved on, Marko behind him. David's interest waned, both he and Paul continuing with the others.

"I don't really know..." Max stuttered, concerned.

"Terry!" A harried-looking woman in terra cotta-colored print pants, a purple tank top, and a pink shirt bustled into the shop. Her arms were full of Boardwalk souvenirs as she knelt down to hug the little boy. "I was so worried!"

Max reached into the plastic bucket on the counter and held out a green sucker to Terry. "There you are." Both he and his mother said thank you as they hurried from the video store.

David's attention was elsewhere as the other three checked out Maria. "We only come here to watch one thing," Paul grinned as Marko leaned on the glass to smile at the dark-haired girl who posed behind the "floating" lucite television screens that hung on either side of the register. She was never interested and had never taken any of them up on offers made. Maria smiled back and shook her head at them, just like usual.

"Well done," Max held out a red lollipop to the smiling woman.

"No thanks." She shook her head, smiling. A pause. "Well, on second thought..." She took the offered candy just as the Lost Boys came to a stop behind her. Max's smile instantly faded.

"I told you not to come in here anymore."

David's face slipped from feigned surprise to teeth-baring smile. His gaze cut to the slim woman. He looked back at Max, the two locked in a silent battle of wills. Dwayne eyed the woman as well but didn't find the interest David did.

His face in a genuine smile, David looked back at the short-haired woman for a long moment. This was Max's type? A kind, gentle woman who looked out for a lost child and sought help to reunite him with his mother? Whatever.

David looked from Max to her and back again, connecting the dots with a knowing grin. Then he lead the others out. Paul's index finger touched his thumb, forming the "a-ok" hand gesture as his face contorted into a monkey-like grin.

Marko brought up the rear, pausing and sliding a quick glance from the woman to Max. Then they were gone.

Max kept the look of exasperated disgust on his face as he turned back to the lovely, motherly woman across from him.

"Wild kids."
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