Kenny and Annie

Kenny lived across the street from me
when I was a little kid
in Cypress
me and Kenny played outside
all day
as long as we could.
until the street lights came on.
one summer,
when we were about six
a girl moved in down the street
she would ride her big wheel down
and watch us playing
hoping we would ask her to join.
Kenny liked Hot Wheels
I liked He-Man.
that meant we usually played
Hot Wheels
Kenny’s yard that summer
was all dirt
they were in the process
of a new thing I just heard about
I had no clue what it meant
other than we got to play
in the dirt
all day
as long as we could
until the street lights came on.

so that day,
we had made a huge track for the cars
we made little caves
to park our cars
it was great
we made stupid noises with our mouths
and ran the cars along the tracks
then the new girl
on the big wheel came over
we didn’t know how to talk to her
she was blonde
no one said anything.
then finally she said, “can I play?”
“do you have your own cars?” I snapped.
she looked sad.
“no,” she said.
Kenny let out an angry sigh.
“I think I have something you can use,” he said.
he brought back a Jeep that was white
and pink
I never had seen it before.
he handed it to her
looked at me and shrugged.
“it’s a Matchbox,” he said.
“oh,” I said. and we went along driving
through the tracks in the dirt.
the new girl’s name was Annie and
she seemed to be having fun.
Kenny said, “no, you have to go make
yourself a place to park
so you can sleep.”
“I don’t want to sleep,” she said.
“you need a garage,” he shouted.
“I don’t want to park the car though,” she said.
“I want to keep driving it around,” she said.
“but you HAVE TO!” Kenny shouted.
“it’s the rules,” he said.
we sat there silent.
I opened my mouth,
“she could park in my garage,” I said.
she smiled.
“okay,” she said.
Kenny’s eye grew large
his face turned red.
“no way!” he shouted.
“you can park your car in my garage!” he screamed.
“she’s parking in mine!” I yelled back.
he grabbed the car out of her hand
made motor noises with his mouth
while he drove it in to his garage cave and parked.
he smirked.
I grabbed the jeep
made my own noises
and drove the car into my garage and parked it.
Kenny grabbed it.
Annie looked scared.
“let go of that Jeep!” I shouted.
“make me,” he said.
I punched him right under the jaw.
hard as shit!
he howled like a dog
grabbed his chin
ran into his house.
he was screaming, “MOMMY!”
Annie and I looked at each other
with eyes full of fear.
we both ran away
her to the right and
me straight across the road.
I slammed my door
looking out the window.
nothing happened.
I told my grandpa
he said to call him up
and apologize.
I went into the kitchen
called him up.
said sorry and asked if he still wanted to play.
a couple minutes later
we were back in the dirt
making sounds
driving cars
then Kenny said, “girls are dumb.”
“yeah,” I said.
“let’s not play with girls anymore,” he said.
“they just cause problems,” I said.

so wise
at such a young age
what happened to my wisdom?

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  1. Meanwhile,
    Annie plunges through the screen door
    and into the living room.
    Her grandmother sits in her armchair,
    pondering the outside world.
    She is sweaty and dirty.

    “Gramma, boys are dumb.”

    Her grandmother thinks about that
    for a moment
    her eyes far gone
    into something long past.

    “Don’t you forget it, dear.”

    Annie lost a bit of her wisdom
    over time
    but still
    she sleeps
    with a good sharp knife
    under her pillow.

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