Thursday, May 8, 2014
Spring Break Part Three: The Fall
When he fell, Bobby had a pair of keys to his house and a Nokia cellphone that was hinged in the middle -it broke in half upon impact- in his right pocket. In his left pocket he had a sharpie marker, a ball point pen from Lafayette Savings bank, and a small green Mead notebook; the pages were worn and old and the spiral bound wire was bent in on both sides. In his back left pocket he had an old tan wallet with seven dollars, several loose receipts, and small bits of paper in it. The one piece of paper I read had the name and mailing address of a girl in Colorado. I thought for a moment about taking the seven dollars.
"What do you think this is?" I asked Sarah, who was peering into his wallet with me.
"It's the address to his pen pal." Sarah answered.
"Pen pal?" I asked slightly baffled.
"We did that writing program with Westside middle school in seventh grade for English class." She said. "You don't remember that? The girl he was assigned to moved to Colorado when we went into Eighth grade; her dad got a job out there."
I squinted, watching her head eclipse the sunlight above me. The overcast clouds had by now passed and I was mesmerized by the glowing wisps of her hair dancing in the breeze for a moment. "Yeah. I remember. What about it?"
"He kept writing to her. They're still pen pals." After Sarah uttered these words, she looked over at Bobby's body laying limp and unconscious on the unfinished concrete floor of the roofless bunker buried in the ground.
The fall had been hard. He was sitting in the edge of the foundation, pointing his legs outwards at a forty-five degree angle; craning his neck and shoulders forward, peeking into the depths below him. While teetering on the edge, a gust of wind caused him to lose his balance. He couldn't managed to catch himself and jack-knifed against the concrete only ten feet below him. He landed on the back of his neck with his head curled towards his chest like a nautilus shell of flesh and bone and brain; a brain controlling his muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, digestive, lymphatic, and reproductive systems as well as normal and irrational human thought. He accomplished one third of a high dive before landing on the pavement. Neck first, as I mentioned, then his head bounced and wobbled on the cement floor. After that his toes tapped the floor causing the rest of his body to act as a brittle spring before he finally slumped over unconscious.
"Boing!" was the first thing Zeke yelled at Sarah and me as he ran over to us. I have never heard anyone say the word :"boing" in such a distressed tone.
Sarah and I had left Bobby and Zeke at the construction sight to explore the woods that surrounded it. We were sitting up against a tree and I was trying -rather desperately- to figure out how to kiss her. There were some embarrassing moments, but as far as I could tell, I was doing pretty well.
"Boing!" is what Zeke yelled as I was just mustering up enough courage to move in for the kiss.
Zeke was standing on ground level looking into the bunker at Sarah, me, and a very injured and unconscious Bobby. "Guys, what are we going to do?"
During the thunderstorm, the back awning of the patio was a waterfall. Standing under the eave, peering into the rain falling in front of her, she wondered where her son might be.
Sarah's older brother was driving laps around our neighborhood in his air-brushed Honda low rider with a custom green and silver coat of paint. He had installed a Nos cartridge in it earlier that week and had been aching to push the button from the moment it was at his fingertips. The car was too low to the ground for him to drive very far on the deteriorated pot holed roads of that early spring. He was resigned to peeling out in quarter mile stretches on his imaginary rectangular tracks lined with houses where families and children lived.
He was trying to impress the girl in the front seat with him, a Sophomore from our high school. Steve, Sarah's brother, had graduated two years earlier and was working at a factory where he wired together lamps and other home furnishings. When he came upon a kid riding his ten speed bike down fifth street, he swerved slightly towards him, as if to indicate that he planned on hitting the adolescent. The kid panicked and, twisting his handlebars sideways, crashed his bike against the curb.
"Hmm." Steve smugly mumbled. "Fucking hilarious."
Sarah was planning to call him first to come pick us up, but the battery on her phone was dead. Using it as a flashlight in the tunnel had drained it to nothing. I doubt he would have helped us out anyways.
The sun shine had diminished and the dark grey cloud coverage was only becoming more congested above us.
"He's breathing, right?" Zeke asked.
"His chest is moving up and down." I answered.
"How hurt do you think he is?" Sarah asked in a shaky and worried tone.
"We need to get a hold of someone." Zeke said.
"Yeah, but who? I don't want to get in trouble." I said, and began to flip through Bobby's wallet nervously. "And how? Sarah's phone is dead, Bobby's is snapped, and I didn't bring mine."
"I have my phone, but there is no signal around here." Zeke said, looking into his screen. "I would call my mom if I had signal.
"Don't do that." I said immediately. "We fucking stole her car, and I'm pretty sure we're trespassing." I pulled out another piece of paper: a worn post card from Arizona with a cactus and cow skull on the front.
Hey Little Brother,
I was fucking this chubby Mexican girl down in Mexico while I was there. She didn't speak any English so there wasn't much talking going on between us. She did know how to fuck, though, and we did it on the beach a couple times. When I was leaving at the end of the week, she didn't seem to care that I was going. I found out on the bus ride back into the states that she had given me crabs. A nurse from the army based near where I stayed was on the same bus and checked me out downstairs in the bus bathroom. Ain't life grand! Be safe baby brother. I'll see you soon.
Your big brother,
"What about Bobby's older brother?" I mentioned. "Does he live in town?" The postcard was dated almost exactly a year prior.
"I think he goes to college out of state, if I'm remembering what Bobby once told me." Sarah said, sitting against the wall farthest from Bobby's body, chewing on her fingernail. I did not realize it at the time, but Zeke had wondered off looking for a signal for his phone.
"Do you think he might be on spring break?" He was on spring break. He had gone back to Mexico for the second year in the row and he, inevitably experienced a second round of medicated pubic shampoo, but there was no way for any of us to know this, and contacting him would have been impossible because the only one who had his phone number was Bobby, whose phone was destroyed in the fall. Sarah didn't answer and I realized quickly that the course of action I had mapped out mentally at the time was quixotic; I sighed.
The clouds above us were only getting darker and thicker.
Aaron C. Molden