Man. Me and my pseudo-philosophies will be pushed aside today, in favor of a short story. I tried my penny-pen in a contest a month back, give or take, and I really liked the idea of the short story. So brief, with so many allusions, so many loose ends.
The problem is that I suck at it (hence, no trophies on my shelves). I am too longwinded (surprise, surprise). So I am going to practice here. Read or don't, I care not.
Rain or Shine
We knew the deal. Five bucks for the lot is what the guy told us. We just didn’t have the five bucks. And he scared me, with his flannel shirt and Wranglers. I just wanted to get out of there. I like zingers and black cats and those cherry bombs are really cool. No one has five dollars though. But Ray had the best idea for us to get it because he likes fireworks a hell of a lot more than the rest of us. Ray never has good plans though.
The Walgreens by my Mom’s place had this old lady working the registers after dark. I guess everyone else would be in the back, cleaning up or something. But she was always there, alone, ringing up all those big black guys who buy the big black condoms and orange soda. It really stinks in there. It always smells like moth balls and the vinegar we use on Easter for eggs. And the floor is always so sticky with spilled apple juice. One time, me and my cousin ran down the card section and poured milk into all the cards. My Auntie Kate saw us do it and told us to go wait in the car while she got her pregnancy pills. It was hot outside that day so we waited under a tree in the parking lot instead, picking at dried-up toads on the ground. She never said anything to us when she came out of there. I think she is really pretty, and my cousin thinks so too. Ray’s plan is to just go in there and take the register. She is really old, so it should not be hard. Last time I was in there with my grandma when she got some bananas and Tylenol it looked like there was a zillion in that register. “We’ll be poppin’ off those fireworks this weekend” he said. Ray better plan it good though.
Ray is so stupid though. One time, two years ago we caught him in the bathroom with no underwear on. He said that he forgot, but we all know better with Ray. He wore the same clothes for three days in a row this week. I bet he has not even gone home yet. He came to school one time with his head shaved after being gone for three weeks. He told us his big brothers held him down and shaved it while he was sleeping. But it was a new shave and he had been gone three weeks. So stupid. Another time he was playing on the playground in second grade, and this bigger boy walked over from outside the school to him and punched him in the stomach. Ray peed on himself right there. And he went back to class like that. He smelled like pee all day, and no one would sit near him. He is so stupid. He better plan it good though.
Friday is here now, and we have no fireworks yet. I will see Ray before school ends so he better say something with his bald head. Mom says that she needs me to come home right after school to help my little brother eat. He has the sugars really bad, Mom says. And he needs to be fed most of the time. He doesn’t talk or anything. I call him my little brother, but he’s actually like, twelve or something. But he’s still a baby compared to me. And with Dad still in The Rack, I’m the man of the house. Or so Mom says. So Ray better get this done tonight. Because I can already tell that Mom is going to have me doing things for my brother all night. Tomorrow morning too. She’s been sick lately, and he’s been real fussy, so I might not even get out on Saturday to pop them off. I will be so mad if that happens. Ray better get this done tonight. Because I can already tell that Mom is going to make me mad. I know she is going to keep me at home all night with my brother. Maybe I can just sneak out for a minute. Ray better plan it good.
Ray is not in school today and I think he did that on purpose. He knows that he has that plan to make and he just does not want to. He is so stupid. At lunch today, he would have laughed at me because my soda exploded all over my lap when I opened it. But he would have asked me for some anyway. And when that retarded kid Jerry came over and sat with us, Ray would have told him to leave because he smelled like poo. But I do not care about the poo and ate my whole lunch without sharing. Because stupid Ray never came to the table. I heard two teachers talking about him today. They kept saying something about camps and him having pubic servants or something. Whatever that stuff is. So stupid. He better be here today. He better plan it good.
No Ray all day long. Mom has me at home and my brother is fussing. She is sleeping in her room with a fever, so I can watch all the TV I want. Whenever my brother gets too upset I just put a hand on his chest or on his forehead and he calms down so that is okay with me. I was watching Chips when Ray started banging on the window. He looked like he was crying, but it was dark, so I did not get a good look. He told me to meet him at the parking lot behind the KFC near Walgreens in an hour. I am not sure about all of this now. He was supposed to have a plan. But there is no plan. He just wants me to go. And I think he was crying. Plus my brother is really fussy tonight and I never get to watch TV this late. Ray looked much older than he normally does. Like my Dad does. Like my Dad did before he went to The Rack. I think it makes me sad. But my brother won’t shut up and I never get to watch TV this late. I bet that flannel guy is not even there any more. So stupid. There is no plan. Ray never has a good plan. Never.