Gary started running into the park, across the soft grass. Yes, his feet felt sore and his body felt tired, but his spirit and his inner child felt joyful. Gary runs with his knees not fully bent. He more trots then runs. Something Gabe used to always make fun of. “You run like a goofball.” Same with the kids at Wilson High and at Pound Junior High School.
“Gary Morgan runs like he’s holding in his shit.” Gary remembers these taunts and bends his knees more. Swings his forelegs and feet up and back to increase his momentum while on the grass and upon entering the first of the baseball diamonds. Gary runs better than he did when he left his mother’s house. His mother. If Monica could see him now. If Gabe could see him running like this.
Gary does not run the bases on the diamond like he has just struck a ball. Gary is running for his freedom. From thinking he is a lame who is weak and incapable. He could run now, he could survive in the shacks beyond Daly Round and climb a high fence. What else was there for eighteen year-old Gary? Gary slowed his running. He was now just outside the baseball diamond when he noticed something in the park he had not yet seen. To the far left of the park was a large pond enclosed by a collection of trees, smaller trees that were maybe forty or fifty years old. The trees were more like large bushes around the pond, the bushes’ branches secluding the waters of the pond whose waters were narrowly visible through the bushes’ leaves.
This hidden pond drew Gary to walk toward it. He felt he should walk not run. Were Gary in need of water, he should crawl to the pond. But Gary didn’t need a drink. Gary needed to look at the waters of the pond. The waters would be nature’s way of soothing Gary after his running had rid him of all those crushing hindrances.
What’s this? Gary freezes several feet from the pond. He sees movement over the waters of the pond. Someone not a something moving between the slits between the leaves. Someone walking across the water. Gary stepped closer, real slow. He tried to make sure he made no sound. His foot made a sound when he stepped on a twig and he gave out an unwanted:” Damn!” Gary ducks down. He is still looking at the water walker. Whoever is walking across the water is still making their miracle motion.
Gary sees the bush farthest out around the pond. He steps out as quietly as he can to the outcast bush. He is more careful this time not to make himself heard. He tip-toes across the leafy and twig cluttered grass. Ducks and hides behind the outcast bush. Finds a view and angle through which he can watch the walking across the pond.
It is a girl. She is balancing on her toes across a series of submerged stones in the pond. She has her arms outstretched and swaying to help her balance as she steps from one stone to the next. This captivates Gary as does the girl’s choice in apparel. The girl is wearing a pink push-up bikini top over her heavy pale breasts. She also has on a pair of faded Daisy Duke cut-off shorts cut way up to the top of her thick, toned thighs and her legs are long like a dancer’s. These long, toned legs enable her to tip-toe across the series of covered stones more easily. Her hair is colored a delicious bright blonde with several streaks of pink dye in her hair that is combed back loosely into a ponytail held together by a pink ribbon.
Gary’s eyes could only blow open as he observed the girl step from the last submerged stone onto a large rock then heap high up to a thick tree branch hanging over the large rock. She held onto the branch with both her arms while grasping the branch with her legs which she then used to pull herself onto the branch so she could seat her finely tight ass on it. Gary could not believe this girl had performed all this. Her trick had made his running seem so average, so stupid and menial in comparison. Still, he was enamored and had to introduce himself to this girl. But how? By jumping in the water?
Gary was not about to gain the girl’s attention by leaping in the pond. Hell no. There had to be a way to charm a girl who is acrobatic. Gary had a real issue: he wasn’t his brother Gabe. He didn’t know how to talk to girls like Gabe knew how. But Gary did not want to just stay behind this bush as a voyeur to this girl. He would be a creep forever if he did not make a move to talk to the girl. Gary went ahead to make his move and with stealth.
Gary saw there to be a thin clearing to be between two bushes leading out to the pond. His plan was to step through the clearing, appear before the girl, show her a bright smile, and say ‘hi’ to her. That would not be creepy, that would be daring and charming. He proceeded with his plan stepping cautiously like he has been through the bushes and across the twiggy grass below his aching feet. But Gary couldn’t see there was a muddy drop directly in front of the clearing. Gary stepped out and slipped right off the muddy drop and fell into the pond.
Gary could see something in the dark murkiness of the water. The image came from the sunlight penetrating the surface of the pond. It was an image of Jesus wearing a white robe and holding two hands out to Gary as if Jesus wanted to help Gary out of the water. But no, Gary blinked and the image of Jesus vanished from his eyes before Gary treaded water helping himself up to the surface. Gary looked up blinking the water out of his eyes and avoiding the light of the sun. He tried to see the girl sitting on the branch as she swung her legs back and forth. She looked curiously down at Gary like he was some kind of moron.
Gary looked back at the girl embarrassed and nervous. I should ask her for help. Gary thought. No, she won’t help me. Gary splashed about in the water to make like his treading was not saving him from drowning.
“Hi.” Gary first verbalized to the girl.”Help!Help!Help!Help me!”
The girl shook her head waving her thick ponytail back and forth. She looked away from Gary and scooted her butt across the tree branch to the trunk of the tree. She grabbed the tree trunk with her arms then next grasped the trunk with her legs so she could climb down the tree trunk using her arms and legs down to the tree’s roots. Gary watched the girl do this in a matter of seconds. This too astounded him because he had always been afraid to climb trees.
After climbing off the tree, the girl walked through the bushes on the other side of the pond leaving Gary. Gary entered a panic. He knew he had to follow this girl, to call out to her. But if he was to follow this girl, he best act quickly. Gary stretched out his legs under the water trying to touch the bottom of the pond. It was several feet deep. He could not walk across the bottom of the pond. He had to swim across it so he tried. Gary was not a practiced swimmer. Like his running, he swam in an inadequate fashion. Trying his best by slapping the water as he swam, Gary made his way across the pond to the submerged stones and climbed up on one of the stones, an effort that took a lot of breath out of him. He hung on the stone for a few moments as drops of water fell off him onto the stone then used his arms to push himself up to a standing position so he was now afoot on the stone. He was having difficulty standing as his feet were slippery on the submerged stone.
The imagery of the girl toeing across the stones Gary ran through his mind and he tried to mimic the girl’s motions. He first was having trouble balancing with his feet being so slippery so he crunched his toes against the curve of the stone he was standing on. Then, Gary rose to his full height and spread out his arms like the girl did, but his arms shook so instead he bent his arms and just moved with his crunched toes to the next stone and to the next stone. So nervous about falling in again, Gary walked quickly across the stones to the large rock and grabbed the tree branch tightly with both his hands. He turned and spotted the girl’s footprints in the dirt, studied the footprints, noticing the small, cute size of her feet and stepped through her footprints to and through the bushes she had exited through. But when Gary walked out through the bushes he only saw the hilly terrain of the park and its pavilions, but no girl. Did she run off? How could she have run off that fast?
Gary suddenly felt the back of his wet Eminem shirt be pulled up over his head. The hand that pulled his shirt over his head yanked Gary down to the ground. Gary could a voice, a sweet and hoarse voice laughing. He struggled to get up off the ground and fix his shirt all at once. He was too overwhelmed. He felt a bare foot kick him in the side knocking him over.
“I should whip yaw ass.” the sweet and hoarse voice said with an accent, an inner city drawl. Gary was lying on his side and could not pull his shirt back because the back of his shirt was over his head blinding him. The same hand that pulled Gary’s shirt over his head helped Gary fix his shirt so he could see again. Gary stayed lying on the ground and looked up at the girl. She was looking down at him with a sardonic smile.
“You hear me?” the girl said with that same ghetto accent. “Should whip yaw ass.”
“New, don’t. P-please.” Gary pleaded while raising his arms up in defense.
The girl’s eyes were colored a bright hazel enhanced with dark pink eye shadowing and blue eye liner. Her lips were painted a rich shade of pink as they cupped around her shiny crooked teeth. Gary loved the girl’s eyes especially since they looked angry, but in a playful way.
“Get up, you.” the girl lowered her right hand to Gary to help him up. Gary took her hand noticing a number of ghastly scars on the crook of the girl’s arm.
“What happened to your arm?”
“None o’yaw business.” the girl let go of Gary’s hand letting him drop back to the ground again. She turned around and walked away from Gary. He focused on the swaying of her ponytail. As the ponytail swung from right to left, it seemed to summon Gary to follow the girl. Gary helped himself up and trotted behind her. She stopped and faced him.
“Why you follow me?”
“I…just..I don’t know.”
“Come with me to the store.” She turned around and there again was her ponytail hypnotizing Gary with its side-to-side motions. He smiled as he gazed at her ponytail. Gary wanted to touch it, to feel it, to yank it. He was also studying how the girl walked. In very fast steps with a swishing of her hips that made her ass tip from side to side while her long legs sauntered. She had a walk that was a delight for Gary to watch like her ponytail.
The girl guided Gary through the hills of the park past the pavilions to a main road with zooming traffic. She took him by the hand and asked him:
“Yaw be ready to run across.”
“I been running all day.”
The girl said nothing else and looked over Gary at the cars in the road. When the traffic cleared, she pulled at Gary’s arm with a strong yank. Gary ran with her holding the girl’s hand as the two of them ran together across the road while three cars in the far two lanes sped toward them giving them only seconds to reach the other side.
“That was awesome!” Gary told the girl with a big smile.
“It was.” the girl said back smiling with her crooked teeth and swinging her hand with Gary’s hand. “You ran good. Why you been running all day?”
“Well, my mom has been or my mom was trying to— “
“Come on.” the girl interrupted leading Gary away. They walked by the homes on the other side. These houses on the other side were nicer with trees in their back yards beyond which stood a large building that Gary looked at curiously. He did feel offended that the girl asked him why he had been running all day and then cut him off when he began to explain. He also did not like the fact that they had not exchanged names yet. Who was this girl, and why was she such a strong acrobat?
“Hey!” Gary opened after a long silence. They were now around where the houses were built and walking before the wide parking lot of a WorldMart store.
“Shut up!” the girl ordered, releasing Gary’s hand.
“What’s your name?”
“’Gary’? Gary. Gary, see that WorldMart store?”
“I see it.”
“You’re gonna go in there for me.”
“And do what?” Gary crossed his eyebrows. He didn’t like the sound of this.
“Steal me a bottle of vodka. I can’t do it. I am wearing a bikini top and shorts. You have pants on.”
“I can’t steal a bottle of vodka.”
“You will.” the girl shoved him. “Or I’ll whip yaw ass.”
“I have no shoes on.” Gary pointed at his bare feet.
“Don’t worry about that, asshole. Just walk in. No one will say anything or notice. Now go or I will beat you.”
Gary gave a grudging sigh and looked away. He was more afraid to let the girl down then have her beat his ass. He thought for a minute how difficult it would be for him to walk bare footed into the WorldMart and then have to steal a large bottle of vodka.
“Go!” the girl shoved Gary again and he started walking fast and then trotting like he normally runs to the WorldMart. The girl laughs at how he runs. Gary looks back at her with a dirty look for laughing at him. She throws her head back in laughter and slaps her knee. Gary ceases his trotting because of this.
“GARY!” the girl shouts. He stops and spins about. He sees the girl pointing to the far left side of the parking lot.
“I’LL BE SITTING OVER IN THEM WEEDS OVER THERE. SEE THEM?”
Gary tried to see where she was pointing.
“Where?” Gary shouted back, but not at the same volume as the girl.
“OVER THERE! WHERE THE LOT ENDS. SEE THEM WEEDS?”
“I see them now. HEY!”
“What kind of vodka?”
“ABSOLUT. HURRY UP!”
With that command, Gary hurried his bare feet across the rigid pavement of the parking lot. Thou shall not steal. Thou shall not steal. The voice of his conscience rose and nagged at him about God’s eighth Commandment. At the same time, Gary worried about the temporal and eternal consequences about what he was about to do. But then he thought about how he did not care, how it felt to not care about the consequences and how exciting it felt inside to defy constraint. It drove Gary to want to risk everything blindly.
He slowed a bit before the front entrance of the WorldMart. Automated doors allowed the very self-conscious Gary in to where he immediately faced a tall, plus-sized male greeter with glasses and wearing a blue vest. The greeter looked directly at Gary’s exposed feet hopping into the store.
“I’m here to buy shoes.” Gary lied.
“You’re here to buy shoes?” the greeter paraphrased.
“I am. Seriously, I just lost mine.” Gary felt surprised he was lying and doing it so well. The greeter looked away and shook his head letting Gary pass by him. This relaxed Gary a little, but when he turned and faced the inside of the WorldMart store he was more than overwhelmed. There were over twenty aisles to the right of the store that Gary could see were stocked with groceries. If these housed the alcohol and the vodka, which aisle was it? Gary felt nervous, impatient to find the vodka and being in the main aisle without his shoes didn’t help his chances of a successful theft. He skirted down the first aisle stocked with canned goods. A worker was present busy stocking shelves. Gary hid his feet behind the worker’s empty boxes before he inquired of him.
“Where’s the vodka at? The liquor at?”
“What are you doing buying vodka?” the worker demanded to know.
“You don’t look no twenty-one.”
“Well,” Here is where Gary’s new lying skills had better save him. “I am looking or trying to find it for my dad.”
“Where’s your dad at?” this worker was an old timer here at WorldMart, had worked here too long to fall for anyone’s bullshit.
“He’s…..he’s waiting outside.” Gary said then knew what he said would not fly.
“He’s talking on his cell phone and sent me in to meet him when he’s done.”
“Hmmmm? Go down Aisle Six. That’s where all the alcohol is.”
The stockman watched Gary scurry away with his bare feet as he cut away the pieces of a box he just emptied. Seeing Gary’s feet did raise the stockman’s suspicions of Gary.
Gary looked up at the numbers of the aisles and counted 2,3,4,5, and 6 while gliding on his feet down the main aisle. He was starting to enjoy the way he could move the bottom of his feet across the tiles of the store’s floor. The floor being so glossy and smooth. Aisle Six and Gary streams his way leftward into the gallery of liquor bottles. So damn many. Bottles of scotch, Kentucky bourbon, Southern comfort, Knob Creek, but where dammit where was the Absolut vodka. Ah! There it was hidden. In a number of transparent bottles with blue lettering over them. Gary wondered which bottle. The smaller, thinner bottle or the much larger, heavier one. He reached over and grabbed the much heavier bottle and looked around to see if any customer or worker was watching.
Shit! Gary freaks. He is seen by a short, older female worker. She stops and sees him when she is at the end of the aisle crossing the main aisle. Right where he needs to run out. I better just run, fuck it! I better just run by her. Gary holds the bottle of Absolut tightly by its neck with both hands and runs in the direction of the female worker intending to run by her.
“Stop!” the woman cries at Gary pointing at him. “Put that down. Give it to me. Give it to me.” She is a tough, smaller woman. She holds her hand out and walks to Gary. He runs around her, but she walks right in front of Gary. Gary remembers how he ran across the baseball diamond, how he can run now with his forelegs swinging and he swung his forelegs that same way not minding how his feet slipped. The running helped to harness his fear and give Gary the sense he could not be stopped. Gary turns his upper body to his left side, imagines the bottle of vodka to be a football and the female worker to be a defensive lineman. Gary has played football with Gabe and his friends, never adequately but he still learned how to play.
Gary slams his shoulder into the worker’s extended hands blocking them from reaching him or the bottle of vodka. Gary is much bigger than the worker so the force of his collision pushes the worker enough that she slips and falls on her back. Gary immediately ran around the fallen worker using his toes to avoid slipping on the tiled floor.
“Somebody, please stop that guy! Thief! Thief!” the worker shouted though Gary was well on his jolly way down the main aisle. A tall, lanky man in a green basketball jersey pushing a cart hears the worker and sees Gary running behind him. The tall, lanky man runs at Gary with the intent of stopping him. Gary makes like he is on the field and dodges the tall man to the right, then to the left and then half circles around an endcap full of candy evading the tall man altogether. Gary sees the doors of the front entrance where he entered, increases his speed while still using his toes to run. The worker is chasing Gary screaming at the top of her lungs that he is a thief. She removes her radio from her belt and notifies store security.
The greeter Gary met earlier hears the commotion. He instantly sees Gary running down the main aisle. The greeter runs in front of Gary’s path certain his size will block the smaller, thieving Gary. Gary fears this. Fuck! Fuck! Fuck! Gary runs to the left down an aisle into the mens’ shoes section. Should steal some shoes while I’m here, but I don’t got the fucking time for it. But Gary sees some tennis shoes that were crammed back into their boxes and removes one hand from the vodka bottle to snatch the shoes. He looks back, no sign of the greeter. Gary turns to his front. The greeter steps out of the next aisle ready again to apprehend Gary with his big plus size. Gary wastes no time flinging the shoes he stole at the greeter. Hit! Gary hits the greeter in the face with one of the shoes distracting him. Gary runs a full circle around the greeter and down the same aisle the greeter used to find Gary. The aisle leads through the mens’ shirts and to the front registers. Directly ahead is a closed register. Gary thinks he has to run through that closed register quick, quick before anyone else working at the store or shopping interferes with his escape.
The distance to the closed register should have been clean, could have been a perfect opportunity with no obstacles for Gary had not he heard the clatter of boots running up from the left side of the aisle before the register. As Gary raced his way across that aisle, two store security guards were running up to catch him. He had barely seconds to slip by them. He turned right into a line of customers waiting at an open register. One customer, a younger woman who was now screaming as she could see Gary running at her, tries to push herself and her full shopping cart out of Gary’s way. Gary thinks real fast and uses his free hand, he is still holding on to the vodka bottle with one hand, to grab hold of the woman’s cart and pull it down so to knock all of her items out in front of the two guards. This does not stop the pursuing security guards.
Gary is still ahead of the guards. Everyone waiting in the register lines are watching Gary being chased down. He has another big problem: the bottle of Absolut vodka, he had to pick the biggest bottle and it is too heavy to carry by one hand. It would be easiest to just drop it, or to just smack someone in one of the register lines or one of the security guards in the head with the glass vodka bottle. But Gary knew the girl would surely whip his ass for sure then if he returned with a story of having had the vodka and then smashed it like that. But if he returned with the vodka and by a courageous escape, she might actually take away his virginity. Gary thought quick again, thought only of himself. Ran into one of the register lines. Bumping against the screaming, waiting people pushing them to the side. They were women and men. Too surprised, too in shock to stop him. Why didn’t any of the men try to stop Gary? He shouldn’t ponder that, but keep, keep running.
He made it through the line. It was the second from the last of the checkouts. The exit doors were only several feet away. Where were the security guards? Gary did not look back though he worried where they were. He ran to the exit door. No one was walking in through the adjacent entrance door. The automatic doors opened for him only as if welcoming him like the sun-beams beckoned him to run out the front door. Go, go, go and through. Gary was in the area between the second automatic doors and the first. Still, he did not want to stop running. Not to stop until he made it to the weeds where the girl was waiting. The bottle of vodka. Gary gripped its neck with both hands tightly. It was like carrying a ten pound weight almost. Two people, a couple entered the first automatic doors.
“Get the fuck outta my way!” Gary had to yell as he ran like hell.
“Fuck you!” the man in the couple, a very tall and burly man, swore at Gary. He trailed after Gary wanting to catch him, but Gary was already running so fast down the sidewalk in front of the WorldMart that the tall, burly man gave up on catching Gary more because his girlfriend tugged at his sleeve.
At last, Gary had made it. Gary had successfully stolen the vodka. He did have to look behind him to see if the security guards were outside the WorldMart chasing him. They weren’t. Awesome. He could stop the running. He could slow his sore feet. They were sore beyond belief. He was tired like a thief. He could feel his heart beating fast and it needed to slow as did his breathing. Now out in the warm spring air, Gary’s body began to sweat and he started to feel burning pains in his thighs and calves. He had to stop moving his legs and just chill.
Was so good to do this. Gary has put himself through more strain this day than he has his entire life. He ventilated hard and he was thirsty, thought about just opening the vodka and drinking some of it, but hell no! The girl would smack him for that. Where were those weeds? Gary had done the deed. Achieved the impossible, now where was his prize? The weeds, the weeds. Through the sea of parked cars he could not see the weeds. Hey! He could see them now. A row of tall, high grass blades hugging cat tails just beyond the left edge of the parking lot. Gary walked across cement that was smooth in some parts, hard and pebbly in others. Gary smiled. Held the vodka bottle with two hands but not as tightly. His sweaty hands were not sliming the neck. And approaching the weeds felt soothing to Gary. Like walking up to a waterfall in the midst of a rainforest.
But the girl, where was she? Hiding among the blades and tails? Gary lost his smile. The fast beating heart in his chest stopped pounding for a second. Gary didn’t see or hear her. Did she leave him? Play a joke on him? Make him run in and steal the vodka and then tell him she would be waiting here and the whole time just walk off somewhere far? She very well could have. Gary did not even know this girl. This girl who won’t tell Gary her name.
The grass blades and cat tails were blown lightly by a gale. All pushed down to the right. They appeared as if nothing was in them. Not even any ducks. Gary could hear something. Water. There was some water running through the weeds. But no ducks nestling in the water. The girl liked water. She should be playing in the water. Gary wanted to see the water and he walked up closer to the weeds to see where within the weeds the water was hidden. That is when he could hear voices.
He could hear the girl’s voice. She was chatting away. Yes, she was talking and laughing with someone. Having a good time talking with someone else. And just who was that someone? Gary stopped and bent his ear closer. He could hear the other person. It was a guy. The girl was talking with another guy. WTF! What was she doing behind my back? Gary felt a jealousy in himself that was new. It was strong and strange and compelling making him march into the weeds. He made a hard face and held the vodka bottle with one hand as if ready to hit that other guy in the head with the bottle.
Gary made no effort to hide himself like earlier. He wanted to be seen and feared. Wanted that other guy to be scared shitless of his appearance. The girl might not belong to him, might not be his girlfriend but Gary had some strong feelings for her that had to be satisfied. He shoved his way through the high grass like his free arm was the blade of a scythe. He could see a little of the girl, a little of the guy, and some of the water that had been the first sound he had heard. It was a creek. The girl and the guy were sitting near the creek together. Boom! Gary kicked his way out of the high grass. Stood before the girl and her friend; a young black male wearing a blue hoodie with big glasses and long dreadlocks. He looked at Gary and at his dead serious face and laughed.
Monica was quiet, but still had that harpy look on her face as she drove. The mean eyes, her eyebrows down, the stiff mouth, and her cheeks swollen in. She vibed out her fury to Gabe who sat beside her in the passenger seat uneasy, but wanting to say something about his mother’s mood and her raging driving. They were on a main road. Monica was riding behind a car driving too slow for her. She shifted to the left lane and past the car not looking in her rearview. Gabe grew more upset.
“Mom, would you watch how you’re driving.”
“Don’t tell me how to drive, Gabe! Think of where your brother ran away to. That’s what you need to worry on.”
“He went to Wilson.”
“Are you sure?”
“Yes I’m certain. Go there!”
Monica veers into the left lane again without looking behind, wait for only a few cars in the opposing two lanes to clear, then turns into the opposing lanes.
“Mom, let me drive.”
“What was that, Gabe? You want to get out and walk?”
“I want you to take a pill. A chill pill.”
“And tell me exactly what is a chill pill? Do you have one, Gabe? Do you know where I can buy one? You tell me Gary is hanging out at his high school, but I don’t even believe you about that.”
“Then why am I here, Mom? If my input isn’t helping?”
Monica bit her bottom lip, turned into the vacant lot of an oil change service station and slammed her brakes. She let loose on Gabe.
“You are getting really mouthy---“
“I’ll spell it out for you, Mom—--“
“Don’t you interrupt me---“
“You’re way too controlling----“
“---Dammit! Shut the hell up!---“
“---So controlling you drove Gary away---“
“---Shut the hell up, Gabe! Now!—“
“---So controlling it’s making me, who was once your favorite become mouthy, become a bastard. You’re so hung up on having control and since Gary slipped out of your control by himself it’s made you pissed off. So pissed off that you have road rage and probably high blood pressure. You need therapy, Mom. You need help!” Gabe had overpowered Monica verbally. Had won the war of words. This pushed Monica to her edge so much she slammed her fists on her steering wheel. Her car horn blared off. Gabe’s eyes lit up. Monica’s eyes flooded with tears. She lost it and buried her face on her steering wheel crying in defeat. All these years of ruling over her two sons had just suddenly collapsed. She felt like a bad mother, a guilty mother, and a weak mother. She could cry now for hours or days.
“I’m sorry, Mom.” Gabe ran his hands through Monica’s now messy hair. She just continued crying. Gabe was scared by this. He knew Monica was having a breakdown, but did not know what could help at the moment.
“Do you want to notify the police and have them look for Gary? Tell them he’s missing?”
“I don’t know.” Monica murmured under her cries. “He’s an adult now.” Gabe was perplexed to hear his mother call Gary an adult. Had he gotten through to her? Was she crawling back now, recovering from her breakdown with a fresh new set of eyes toward him and his little brother?
The black male with the big glasses and the dreadlocks kept laughing at mean, intense Gary ready with the vodka bottle. It only made Gary even more mad, mad like consternated.
“White boy gonna kill. White boy wanna take out someone, say no more shit. Goddammit! Ha,ha,ha,ha!” The black male held his hands in the front pocket of his hoodie and drew his head back while laughing.
“He gonna knock you with that bottle, Trench.” The girl said to the black male, Trench his name. “But you just want to laugh.” The thing was for Gary was the girl was laughing too apparently with Trench. Why? Why would she laugh at the guy who just risked himself for her?
“Becci, you know me. I laugh at anything, even a threat like him.”
Becci. Gary heard Trench call the girl Becci. He knew what her name was. Becci. Gary made note of that in his mind. Becci. Trench looked straight at Gary who was staring off as he remembered Becci’s name and tried to understand her laughter.
“Yo, angry white boy. You gonna hit me with that big, heavy bottle? Come on.” He was not playing. “Come on. Bring it, bitch!”
Trench took out his fists, from within his front pocket. Stepped to Gary. Gary faces Trench wanting to lift the bottle, to raise it, but Gary, he lacked the balls to make any move. He was afraid. He could read in Trench that Trench would kick the shit out of him with that bottle. Gary was too tired to try to fight. Gary was too tired because he was exhausted beyond measure. The world didn’t make any sense now when a noble deed like stealing for a girl is not rewarded, but ridiculed.
Gary’s eyes rolled up. His waking consciousness signed out. He fell forward toward Trench who backed away as Gary passed out. Becci quickly stood up from the grassy ground to snatch the bottle of Absolut out of Gary’s hand.
“Gimme that! Gimme that!” Becci said. She was not about to let Gary smash her vodka. She took the Absolut, but she was not about to let Gary smash his face into the grass. Becci held the vodka with one arm and caught Gary with the other arm helping him to fall more carefully down to the wild grass.
“Let ‘em drop!” said Trench.
“Shut up!” Becci cried and very seriously.
She lost her grip of the vodka bottle dropping it on her foot, but she didn’t care.
“Ah, Fuck!” Becci screamed while she used both her arms to gently lower Gary to the ground then let go of him, Gary dropped out of Becci’s arms onto the grass face first. Becci had to stand there and laugh with Trench at sleeping Gary, but he could not hear them. He was done and dreaming of something.
Gary was running. Again. Running, but more like he knew not how to run. Like he was trotting like a dummy. Trotting by houses with mean, scary faces. The windows of the houses were the wicked tracing eyes and the doors were the sinister, howling mouths. The doors laughed demonic laughs and spoke at trotting Gary. What are you running for? What are you running for? Who are you running from? Gary trotted faster, made his legs swing so he could run better. His legs grew strangely longer becoming like grossly elongated stilts, but he lacked the coordination to run with his oddly long legs nearly falling as he ran.
A black man standing on the high weed-infested front lawn of his normal house, a house that had no face, is holding his oscillating sprinkler in his hands. He points his sprinkler at Gary making the revolving sprays spray at Gary as he says to Gary:
Your mom told me to spray you!
Gary is crossing a main road busy with passing cars. He is in the middle lane of the road. Gary walks between the cars with his elongated legs. It is a strange, amazing accomplishment for Gary until a Mustang whose driver makes the Mustang sound real loud drives directly into Gary, making Gary trip and fall and then running over Gary and his elongated legs with the mustang.
The bizarre, fleeting sequencing of Gary’s dreaming continues as three young males, two white and one black, are running at Gary. The three males punch Gary until he falls to a sidewalk then the three males start kicking at Gary. The three laugh with scary, huge exaggerated teeth. Behind the three males rises a skull with its eyes protruding out. The skull’s decaying teeth chomp together as the skull speaks with a deep, spooky voice: Never fucking come into this neighborhood! Keep out! Keep out!
This strange series of dreams is nightmarish for Gary. Gary’s head is spinning from the onslaught of nightmare imagery. Spinning until something or someone with some great power touches Gary’s subconscious mind. The speed of Gary’s subconscious is slowed. No longer is Gary seeing dream images that are assaulting him faster than he can make them out. He is now seeing something clearer.
Gary sees himself as the apostle Peter. He is tall and big-boned, but with the same dirty blonde head of hair, the same face, but with a long, blonde beard. As Peter, Gary sees himself wearing a brown tunic over himself with a white belt. He is standing close behind Jesus, also tall but more athletic and wearing a white robe and a golden belt. Jesus and Peter are gathered in a circle with the other apostles under a darkening sky.
Peter lays his hands out to Jesus as if making some promise to Him. “I will lay down my life for you.” Jesus turns around to Peter silent and stern like he is very insulted by Peter announcing this pledge. “Amen, amen I say to you,” Jesus says to Peter/Gary. “before the cock crows as dawn, you will deny me three times.” The dream went dark. Ended. Gary’s head stopped spinning. Gary repeated Jesus’ last words mentally like he made note of Becci’s name. He recounted what Jesus said to Peter because he had been Peter. Gary was going to deny the Lord three times and he was scared to death of this. Scared that he would do such a thing and do it more than once.