The boy thought less of her than she thought. Not that he thought badly of her, but more that she was never a consideration. She would have been hurt if she knew how little he cared.

However, she never did anything for him – or not that he could remember. He, for his part, continued to do his best to ignore her.

“Cherrie, put these dishes away,” his mother called from the kitchen. The sound faintly impressed him and he almost wanted to turn and look over his shoulder. But he wanted to miss nothing, so he stayed very still.

“What is that supposed to be?” Rhea had asked him. He was been drawing with chalk on the sidewalk. “Is that a pee-pee?”

He glanced up at her. He guessed that expression was supposed to be disgust but it looked more like she was trying to not fart.

“It’s a penis.”

“Why are you drawing that?”

“It’s art.”

“It’s sick.”

“Fuck off,” he muttered.

“I’m telling!”

He felt vaguely uncomfortable but kept rubbing the purple chalk stick on the sidewalk. He had carefully studied himself in the bathroom earlier and was trying to get it exactly right. But he was much smaller than the enormous rendition before him. He decided to stand back and get a better perspective on it.

From the steps of the house, it looked rather good – in his opinion. The girl was waving her arms and still saying something about telling on him. He turned the sound of her voice off in his head. Or he thought he did. Or he wanted to. He wished he could send her away.

She turned and ran across the street and up her own driveway. He felt a little concerned that a parent was going to appear but nothing like that happened. He walked down the steps and tried to select a more appropriate colour from the rather limited selection of chalk when he saw Rhea appear around the corner of her own house.

“I am sick of him never doing anything.” He could hear Cherrie’s voice over the sound from the television. He heard his mother speak much more quietly. He could hear her voice but not the words. “All he does is sit there. Why don’t you make him put shit away?”

“Watch your mouth,” he heard very plainly, then more subdued vocalization from his mother. He resisted the urge to get up and go closer to the kitchen.

“Fine, then, whatever,” he heard his sister say. He then stopped listening. More important things were happening, anyway.

“I’m having a birthday party on Saturday,” Joey said, “and everyone that comes can sleepover. So bring your sleeping bag. You can sleepover, right? You’ll come, right?”

“I dunno.”

“Ask your mom. It’s just at my house.” He had a big nervous smile.

“My dad has a gun,” he heard someone say. That caught his attention. He recognized the voice – it was Brandon K. He was telling some girl and Brandon D who were actually playing tic-tac-toe on the floor of the classroom. It was raining out.

“What kind of gun?” asked Georgie.

“It’s black.”

Purple was not the right colour for the drawing, but he had nothing more appropriate. Pink seemed wrong. Brown was not right. The purple was at least light purple. He noticed Rhea walking back across the street.  She was listing. She was carrying something heavy.

He bent over and picked up his box of chalk and watched her approach. She was struggling and breathing heavily but smiling and she said, “You’re a pig.”

She took the watering can she’d brought from her house and watered his penis off the sidewalk.

He didn’t know what to think.

He wondered what Joey would like for his birthday. That reminded him he had to go ask his mother if he could go.

{ This is directly related to and }


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