Matt threw the first punch, landing solid on the sixteen-year-olds mouth. Matt threw the only punch.
The kids lip hung like a slug from his face.
got in the middle—it was his house, his birthday, after all, his job to
keep the peace—the kids brother went across the street for his rifle.
We were small town; no pistols for us, no handguns. That 336 had
spent days in the woods. We heard sirens
before the screen door slammed. Two
Dairy Mart three doors down. The cops were always drinking coffee
Dairy Mart. They arrived before I rushed upstairs, climbed onto the
and was boosted into the attic. I was twenty and drunk on
had gotten in trouble here before. I sat in front of the
tiny window, craning
for a look
at the front lawn. My eyes stayed on
Kevin, the blood on his white shirt.
More cops came. Highway Patrol.
State Troopers. For one gun and a yard
A bevy of bystanders, rubber neckers. I wanted to be on the front porch.
I wanted to tell the police to take the cuffs off Kevins skinny
of the back seat. It smelled like vomit in there and I knew
he wanted to
cry. Someone brought me cigarettes, passed a bottle of
Bud through the
so I wouldnt lose my buzz. I dont know
who hid the pot, the pipes, the
papers. I saw the cops come to the
front porch, heard them come inside.
arrest anyone. They
left and I dropped back into the bathroom. The house
was quiet except
for a TV, a laugh track, coming from downstairs. In the living
sat on couches but no one spoke. Kevin came inside, his
eyes blank, his lips white.
That was the first night we shared his bed