Let’s go fly a kite
I’m nine and helping my mom clean and I want to put on music and I don’t know who The Rolling Stones or The Animals or Crosby, Stills and Nash are but I recognize Dumbo and Snow White and Mary Poppins on a CD case at the bottom of the stack so I pop it in our stereo system and my five year old brother and I dance around like kites in the wind not really helping my mom but sometimes dusting off a table. She doesn’t mind our negligence. She’s happy that we have the energy to move.
Minor Threat’s chainsaw guitars buzz from my headphones into the stale air of my brother’s bedroom. His left eye is black. Dried blood stains his hands. I surround him with my teenage arms. My brother says, I don’t want to go back to school. I tell him, Get angry because anger helped me forget about my so-called friends who played Call of Duty without me. About those girls that said I smelled like Taco Bell and old underwear. About our parents who sleep and never stop sleeping. He says, I want Mom. I want Dad. I break our hug and punch his arm. He punches mine. We punch each other to the raging tempo of one Minor Threat song. Then another. Then another.
Each eye blinks at a different speed, and summertime in Indiana is sticky, and my lungs are hot, and the basement is dark, and high school is over, and I’m too stoned to do anything else besides listen to music. Electric Wizard is slow and heavy, like one of those trucks that carries cars, like my mouth chewing a glob of goldfish that dries out my tongue. There are no surprises in this song, and that’s good because I’m done with surprises, because my ex surprised me when she said I’m too angry to date, because my parents surprised me when they escaped their mutually destructive sadness and signed divorce papers. My younger brother walks downstairs and surprises me with a joint that he wants to share. He’s fourteen, and he’s already skipping class, and he’s already given up.
Jason Sprinkle is a writer and software developer from Austin, Texas. He is an Assistant Editor at American Short Fiction, and his work has been published in Moon Park Review, Free Flash Fiction, Trash Magazine, and others.
image: Alan Tenhoeve