things could go your way.


the four kids trailed around the rosemont neighborhood on the afternoon of easter sunday. they chased an ice cream truck and ordered astropops, thinking that astropops were the red, white and blue popsicles, but they were actually red, orange, and yellow. they spent their whole lives ordering astropops, forgetting that the red, white and blue popsicles were called blast icicles.

while their families were putting on easter egg hunts for the youngsters, they said that they were "too old for that shit." so they went out with their buddies and walked around the neighborhood (for they were far too young to drive), trying to hit on girls and look cool by smoking. they all shared one cigarette, stolen from a pack that belonged to one of their fathers.

they watched as a pretty girl their age walked by with her dog. they looked at her, and they tried hard to look like they weren't staring. finally, one boy decided he would do something to change this lonely life. he wanted to know what love was. "hey," he said, "you got a number?" the girl turned and smiled, obviously flattered, but she was also a very bright girl. "no," she said, and she walked away.

the boy looked defeated and embarrassed, but tried not to look it. "don't you know," another boy said, and puffed his cigarette. he blew out. "don't you know, things could change. things will go your way if you just hold on for one more day." they didn't know what the hell he was talking about. he was known to quote stupid songs and phrases randomly, so they just let it slide.

the boy decided he would go home. he was tired of looking like a fool, sharing one cigarette with the other boys. he went home and helped his mother hide plastic easter eggs for his cousin's daughter. they put m&m's and jelly beans inside the eggs and coins and dollar bills in the others. by the time the little girl found the plastic eggs and opened them, there were ants marching around on the inside. "just throw them out," his aunt suggested. the little girl did.

later that night, the boy could hear the neighbor downstairs arguing with one of his visitors. the argument was growing more and more hostile by the minute. "i'll cut your throat, you stupid sonofabitch!" the neighbor yelled. "i'll throw you out into the black night!" the visitor remained quiet, and the boy wondered if maybe the downstairs neighbor had become delusional, screaming at a specter. "shut your hole! i'll stuff my foot down your throat if you don't shut up!" the neighbor screamed. the boy wrapped a pillow around his head. i'm sick of this, he thought to himself. i'm sick of this, and i'm going to do something about it, he thought to himself. i know what i'll do, he thought. i'll call the cops. he dialed 9-1-1.

"there's an argument going on downstairs. it's been happening for at least twenty minutes now," he said. the operator said they would send someone over right away. resolve the domestic dispute, the boy chanted. resolve the domestic dispute. twenty minutes later, the police arrived. they pounded on the neighbor's door. "open up! it's the police!" silence. "we just want to talk to you," and officer said. "we're not going to hurt you. just open the door so we can leave." still, he would not open the door. the cops tried and tried, until finally, the apartment manager opened the door.

the boy could overhear some of the exchange. "i didn't hear you because i was sleeping," the neighbor told the cops. "sleeping?" the officer asked. "we've been pounding on your door for the last twenty minutes!" "i'm a heavy sleeper," the neighbor said. the cops talked to him some more. and then they left. goddamn, the boy thought. not a goddamn thing resolved. they'll just get back to arguing again. stupid cops can't solve a damn thing. the boy put his head to the floor and listened. nothing.

he sat upright on his bed. "i hate that faggot," he said. "fucking faggot. i'll kick his ass. even if he's got a gun, i'll kick his ass."

he stretched across his bed, put one arm behind his head, the other across his chest. he stared at the ceiling a while. finally, he closed his eyes and fell asleep. he slept the whole night through.

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