It’s June in Alabama–about 10 a.m. on a Tuesday. It’s already pretty hot. School is out for the summer and my mom has told me to get out of the house and not come back till lunch, which will probably be something disgusting like tomatoes and rice, with hot dogs cut up inside. Ugh! Liver is worse though, so I won’t complain.
I turned eight this year. Our neighborhood is big, but it’s quiet. Plus, I know every nook and cranny of every street and drainage ditch within a square mile, so nobody really worries about me being outside on my own. I’m riding my reconditioned BMX knock-off bike with the yellow knobby tires around the neighborhood in hopes that one of my friends, or even one of the kids that I don’t really consider my friend, will notice me and come out and play.
Dangling from my right handlebar is my portable transistor radio. The sound is crap, but it’s small and it’ll run forever on a 9V battery. I have the “American Top 40” on with Casey Casem, and Kim Carnes is scratching out “Betty Davis Eyes,” which is number two on the charts right now. Truth be told, I kinda have the hots for Kim, even though I don’t know what she looks like. Later, I’d also have a crush on Kathleen Turner, which probably means that I have a thing for women who smoke, but I don’t really think like that yet. Course…my best friend’s sister is pretty hot and she doesn’t smoke. Her name is Shea. She smells really good. My mom won’t let me go in their house when I’m playing with her brother Chad, but I do anyway and just don’t tell her. Sometimes I get to see Shea and she says Hi to me. I don’t really know what to say around her though. She makes me nervous. Yet another recurring theme throughout my life.
It’s quiet around the house these days. My brother is gone. He’s done some pretty terrible things and though I’m not completely clear on either his motives, or where he’s gone as a result, I know it’s not good. Mom and dad won’t talk about it and if anyone else brings it up, any future conversation is quickly squelched with an almost insignificant shake of the head. They don’t think I notice, but I do. Mom especially thinks I don’t notice a lot of things. For instance, I know money is really tight right now. A month ago, for my birthday, all I got was a baseball bat and a coloring book. A COLORING book. How old do I look? But, I know money is tight with dad having to work contract jobs so I didn’t say anything. I pretended like it was a great birthday. But it wasn’t. It sucked.
I kind of miss Robert–or Bobby as some in the family call him. He likes “Robert” so that’s what I call him. He’s an OK brother I guess. I mean, he’s kinda mean to me and stuff, but he’s also pretty cool. Like, when we play boxing with the yellow and orange inflatable gloves, he lets me really wail on him. He always beats me at games though and I think he cheats but I can never prove it. I also think he steals all my Halloween candy no matter how well I hide it. This year, I pulled the top off my drum and hid the candy in there, but it’s still disappearing–just like my wallet and all my money. I really gotta get better at not losing things.
But even if he were here, he’d probably be off doing something else, so I’d probably still be riding my bike around. Today is his birthday. I wonder if he’ll get any presents wherever he is? I doubt it. Do you get presents at those camps for bad teenagers? Maybe he’ll get some ice cream or something.
What? “Endless Love” is number one? That’s such a crap-song! Mom likes it, but I don’t get it.
Hey look! There’s Michael and Steven. They aren’t my favorite kids to play with. One time, one of them pooped in his pants and then reached in and threw some at me. He missed. But they do have some really cool Star Wars toys. I guess they’ll do. Later!
Oh, Happy Birthday Robert–wherever you are.