He says, “I can hear one of ‘em.” And then he laughs and kicks a divot into the dirt. Hocks a loogie to boot.
The other one says, “Too deep. Looks too deep.”
I’m not sure how I make this out. At this point, I should still be laser-focused on Teddy next to me screaming, Teddy kicking at the passenger side window; his hi-tops leaving dirty footprints like following a bad dance number. The glass goes spider-web, but not good enough to give. Teddy screams a horror movie scream, because he’s about to piss himself. No macho posturing, like when he first tried to convince me to lift my stepdad’s Suburban or else I’d be a fuckboy, the fuckingest fuckboy and I wasn’t a fuckboy, was I?
No macho posturing, like when he first tried to convince me to lift my stepdad’s Suburban
We’re pitched headfirst into a lake in a car that isn’t ours and neither of us knows the first thing about survival. We barely know how to use the Bluetooth. So we panic. Teddy is screaming, screaming. Kicking, kicking. I put all one hundred and sixty pounds of my person against the car door, but it doesn’t even laugh. We hear sirens nearby and I thank Lord we’ll be all right.
I hear the two men snickering. “Should’ve thought twice before the joyride.”
“Let’s call it in.”
I shouldn’t be able to hear them. I should hear Teddy. I should hear feet making contact with glass; the wail of a young man turned back to boy. Not the fuzz of static as one man pushes down a button, but not before taking a deep breath; just long enough to come up with the right answers. White noise like when you flip to the wrong channel and all you see is the snow of no signal.
Gene Kwak is from Omaha, Nebraska
Illustrated by Carson Mcnamara