The Write Stuff Photo Contest #2 [link]
Take a picture of whatever you wish.
Post that picture on your blog.
Write a fictional story based on that picture.
Life is fragile as a dime store cap gun. One good crack with a smooth tumbled river rock, and it's all over. I suppose that's when it began, the day Ian got all up in my face for losing his best Lego storm trooper when he knew damn well he'd lost it himself in the Thompsons' ivy. We were only seven--he was turning eight the next day, but he was going to be held back in second grade. Ian couldn't count the consonants in his own name.
I remember the spit flying from his lips. I remember an animal rage in his eyes. I remember telling him I never had his storm trooper, but his voice screeched higher when the tears came and he called me a stupid liar. And then I remember the push and the tumbling backwards, off balance, tripping on the bed of river rocks my father had just spent two days shoveling out of wheelbarrows.
What happened next is still in debate. Ian says I threw one of those rocks at his head. That I tackled him and took his cap gun and smashed it on the concrete driveway. But how, my mother asked later with a bloody paper towel in her hand, had I ended up with a forehead gash requiring four stitches? He vowed he'd never play with me again as he stalked home, his dirt-streaked hands holding the remains of his cap gun.
Two days later, we got out our light sabers and played a grand Star Wars game. It seemed all was forgotten. I even got to be Obi-Wan so I could wear the hood over my big bandage.
Tomorrow Ian turns eighteen. I’m giving him two birthday presents, just two little things. I think about little things a lot these days.
Dad finally left, and Mom took her little diamond ring off her finger. It’s better for both of them, really, with me moving on soon. But when Dad came home to get some stuff, his little key wouldn’t open the door any more. Little things have power. Sometimes.
The day Mom changed the locks, I bought Kathleen a new cell phone, the littlest one they make now. Our second anniversary, at least the way I count it. I’ve loved her since fifth grade, but it wasn’t until sophomore year she finally kissed me. A bunch of us were snowed in at Marian’s house, and I found a little corner on the basement stairs where we hung out, talking about nothing until she just leaned down onto me and put her lips to mine, soft and dry, cracked with winter. Her breath was cinnamon red-hots, and her hair was strawberry shampoo. Her long, slender fingers hovered on the back of my neck. We fell asleep on the stairs until Ian found us in the morning and we all went home. Kathleen gave me one of her earrings when she left, a little diamond chip I wore for two years.
I took it out this morning. It’s on my desk in front of me, next to the Lego storm trooper I dug out of the Thompsons’ ivy after lunch. I’ve got a book propped up so if Mom sticks her nose in my room, she won’t see any of it. Not the earring, not the storm trooper, not Kathleen’s cell phone, not the positive early pregnancy test. Mom would flip if she saw that little thing.
At first when I saw the box in Kathleen’s medicine cabinet I freaked. EPT? We’d been careful all three times we’d made love. I’d swiped a little box of Trojans from the drug store where I worked. So I didn’t understand why she had the EPT box. At least it was unopened. “Just in case,” she’d said. And she kissed me. Just a little kiss.
Yesterday she was out when I stopped by, but her dad let me in to drop off some CDs. I wrote a note, hated it, crumpled it, tossed it in the trash. That’s when I saw the little corner of the EPT box buried under some tissues. I dug it out, found the positive test stick. Then I heard her phone.
She left it, I guess. Incoming text message. From Ian. “Neg or pos? Luv U!”
That was yesterday. An hour ago I acquired my other little birthday present for Ian. I dig it out of my pocket and place it on the desk. Now a neat little arrangement of little things: a Lego storm trooper, an earring, a cell phone, a pregnancy test, and a thirty-eight caliber bullet.
But a nice, smooth river rock would be more satisfying.