Bernie, at the dinner table.
My favorite foreshadowing in the whole comic is probably Little Bernie's line: "Hey, man, I ain't buyin' this! Ripoff story ain't got no endin'!"
So, here's a bit of incredible sap.
"--I said where'd you get that hat, Bernard?"
His foot pauses on the third rickety step, halted clean in his tracks just like a scared deer.
"Newsvendor gave it to me."
His mother just stares him down, hard. Waiting. Waiting for the jittery fingers and feet and smile that usually accompany his lies to surface.
"Dinner's in half an hour," she murmurs, his possible misdemeanor already forgotten when she ducks back into the kitchen and begins raiding cabinets for the right kind of spice. He heaves a sigh (not too loud, though) and continues up the stairs to his room, his own safe haven in this bugshit insane world, comic book tucked securely in his hip pocket. He won't read it right now.
He'll just lay on his bed for a while.
Grown-ups - most of 'em, anyway - like talking about the good ol' days, never shutting up about how good they had it back then, yet still complaining about how kids have it way too good today. They never bother explaining how both things are possible at once.
Because they're grown-ups, they probably think they don't have to make sense.
That newsman-- he seems to favor past, present, and future with the same level of contempt.
It's a nice change.
His expression's far-off, excise; he's pushing chopped carrots around on his plate, forming a crookedly deranged smiley face, when his mother stands with the large ceramic pan, wooden spoon in hand, and slops a second helping of casserole onto his plate. She eyes him warily.
"What's got your mind up in the stars tonight, boy?"
"Nothin'. Just thinkin'."
She hmmphs at that - what thirteen-year-old boy ever just thought something that didn't somehow lead to trouble, is what that hmmph says - but adds nothing else, only leans over the table a little more, spoon extended to his younger sister's plate, now, ignoring how her smallest daughter's nose wrinkles in dismay. He's watching her, the grim set of her mouth and her slim, steady hands, and suddenly, he's remembering what the newsvendor said to him today: "You get home to your mom, okay? You be good to her."
He'd thought the old guy had cracked, couldn't understand what in hell made him just say that. Now, he thinks he's starting to.
He waits until the girls have already made their way to the sink, not used to feeling so uncomfortable in his own house, around his own mother, and the sudden, sharp awareness of the large space between them in the high-ceilinged dining room makes the words come out-- small, somehow.
"...I love you, Mom."
"I'm glad to hear it, Bern, but that love and kisses routine ain't gettin' you out of helping with dishes tonight."
(But he does. Just not the way she seems to read him better than anyone else.)