a brief game of keep-away.


his uncle or his dad picked him up from another long, boring day at school. whoever was driving didn't say a word. maybe a "how was school?" to which he responded, as usual, "fine." then, it would be silence for the next twenty minutes. they'd drive down the long stretch of watt avenue, not much to see save for some trees and a glimpse of the american river. maybe the radio would be on. something soft, some r&b. mariah carey and/or boyz II men.

for one reason or another, he'd get dropped off at his aunt's house. she lived there with her son, his cousin, and sometimes her stepdaughter would be there, too. he and the cousin would play sega genesis after school. they'd spend hours in front of the wood-paneled television set, mastering games like sonic: the hedgehog and nba jam. aunt would be at work, and grandma would be in the other room watching her soaps. their maid would be ironing clothes, or else prepping for dinner. stepdaughter would be in the master bedroom, doing homework with the television on.

sometimes, the stepdaughter would also play video games, or maybe just watch. there was also a computer in the room with the sega genesis, and games like solitaire or minesweeper would be available on there. those games weren't as fun, but whoever wasn't playing the genesis might start up on the computer. it was day after day of games and soaps and television and chicken for dinner.

one day, he didn't know how it happened, but he happened to be alone with the girl in the master bedroom. they were watching television together, probably a cartoon that came on around that time, something like batman or tiny toons or animaniacs. he got tired of the show, and he changed the channel. the girl argued, but he refused to back down. he spent his whole life acquiescing to other people's demands, and he felt safe enough with her to try otherwise.

she lunged for the controller, but he snatched it away. it soon devolved into a brief game of keep-away. he'd be on one side of the bed, and she'd be on the other. she'd crawl across the bed and he'd run to the other side, waving the controller in the air. she grabbed a hold of his arm, and he came toppling down onto the bed. she twisted his arm - an indian burn is what it's called - and he let out a small yelp and let go of it. she grabbed the control, but just as she was going to change the channel, something fierce and animalistic came over him. he jumped on her, and he pinned her down.

even at a young age, he knew the implications of his actions. for the first time, he felt like a man. he overpowered her, and she couldn't do a thing about it. she smiled and looked up at him, probably wondering what he would do next. but the thing was, he didn't do anything. he pinned her down and looked at her for a good ten seconds, and then he just let her go. she sat up, and he moved to the edge of the bed. he just sat there for a while, dumbly staring at the screen.

she changed the channel, and he left the room.

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