Carl's mom dropped him off in front of the Estevez household. He opened his car door and hopped out of the back seat, landing on the freshly-cut grass below. "Have fun at your sleepover, sweetie!" she sang in her deep voice. She waved to her son from the driver's seat before driving off.
Carl watched as the peach-colored pickup truck left the premises. "Bye, Mom!" he called out as he waved back to her. His grip on his shoulder bag tightened as he turned to face the front door of his friend's house. He began to walk towards it, a big excited grin on his round face. It'd been a while since he'd been to a sleepover, especially with Sheen. Carl's parents will only allow him at a friend's house if a parent or guardian is present, and Sheen's dad was almost never home. Luckily, tonight was an exception. Carl stuck out his finger and pressed down onto the doorbell. He put his hands behind his back and stood back, slightly rocking back and forth as he waited for someone to answer. Before he could press it again, the door was swung open and nearly ripped off its hinges by Sheen.
"Carl!!!" Sheen shouted excitedly as he greeted his friend and pulled him inside by his wrist. Once Carl was inside, Sheen kicked the door shut and patted his friend on the back. "I am so stoked that you were finally able to come over! We haven't hung out since school ended!" Sheen's smile was wide and full of teeth, as well as incredibly intimidating to Carl.
"Yeah, but now we have all summer to do whatever we want!" Carl cheered as he was led to Sheen's bedroom. They were about to be freshmen in highschool, yet his walls were still littered with UltraLord posters, along with shelves full of action figures. Carl knew he couldn't judge, of course, since he still had all of his llama plushies. Carl dropped his bag on the floor, and the boys decided to play video games until it was time for dinner.
Sheen rapidly tapped the buttons on his controller. "I wonder what kind of stuff we'll do this summer," he wondered, "Like, we always do a bunch of crazy stuff with Jimmy. Remember last summer when we went on that trip to Saturn?"
Carl laughed and replied, "Yeah! We were the first group to travel there and race go-carts on its rings!" That was an adventurous and exciting summer indeed. It would certainly be a challenge to top it this year, but Jimmy was a smart kid with a ton of surprises. After about an hour of co-op Gears of War 2, Sheen's father called them to dinner.
Sheen and Carl went to the kitchen and sat at the table. Their glasses were filled with their favorite soda, Purple Flurp, and each of their plates had a couple of tortillas. As they patiently waited, Mr. Estevez brought over a sizzling pan pull of meat and vegetables and placed it on a small towel. "Careful, it's hot!" He then got himself a beer from the fridge and sat down in front of his own plate.
Sheen eyed the frying contents of the pan excitedly, practically standing on the edge of his seat. "Yes! It's been forever since you made fajitas!"
Carl knew that Sheen's family was hispanic, and he was okay with it, of course, as long as he didn't shove it down his throat. He was always unsure of their family dinners, however, because foreign cultures scared him, and he feared what each dish would do to him. Last time he ate at their house, the food nearly burned his tongue off, and he ran around the entire house desperately searching for enough water to satiate him. Sheen and his father were unaffected, though, which led Carl to believe that they had sabotaged his plate. Carl eyed the pan suspiciously. "Um, Mr. Estevez?" Carl asked politely, his hand slightly raised as if he were still in school, "Could you tell me what this is, please?"
Mr. Estevez smiled as he fixed his plate. "It's just steak and veggies, Carl, like onions and bell peppers and whatnot. And don't worry, I was sure to use spices sparingly after what happened last time." He bit into his fajita. "Don't be shy, boy, dig in!"
Carl felt better now, and he began fixing his plate as well. He wrapped his tortilla and took a bite, overwhelmed by the flavor. "Yum!" he cried out in satisfaction, "It's just like Taco Bell!"
Carl could feel two sets off eyeballs glare holes into him throughout the rest of their meal.