Intersections – Gabriel Hart
July 14, 2022
Hey, I know you just got here but you mind if we crash at your house tonight, my mom’s on a bad one. Sure, wanna just go now? Yeah, let’s cruise…
We began the five mile walk to my place, my parent’s place, where I wasn’t sure I actually lived anymore. Mikey felt safe there, ever since that one night five of us showed up peaking hard on acid, teetering on freaking out — greeted by my Dad, who was still up at midnight, watching Deliverance. You guys gotta watch this, it’s fucking hilarious, he said, insisting we sit and join him. Every time they said squeal like a pig he howled with laughter, whipping his head to each of us to assure mutual revelry. We could only communicate to one another by widening our eyes: what the fuck is going on here, I don’t think this is a comedy.
But Mikey was impressed by how welcoming my Dad was, even in front of that atrocious backwoods rape scene while our minds were quickly unraveling on LSD. Since Mikey never met his Dad, this was better than anything he knew about Dads before. The rest of us, however, were terrified of my father that night, but played it cool as we lost our minds — Mikey had nestled himself comfortably into the couch, his mouth agape; no choice for us but to just surrender until the credits rolled. When it was all over, we had all really been through something together, a new initiation at a different place, as opposed to Mikey’s where we could do anything we wanted but with zero direction — only credits perpetually interrupting the action, everyone to blame, because every boy and girl was a star just like Crowley said, though no one ever taught us how to act. Only cues we expected each other to pick up on were when we knew we had to start walking, like we were this night all the way to my parent’s house.
What a fag, did you just look at my butt and smirk? Sorry, I just saw you’re still carrying your ass-pocket copy of The Outsiders, it’s sort of cute. Oh, yeah, that, I’m not sure why, I just feel weird when it’s not there. Haven’t you already read that like a million times though? Yeah, that’s sort of the point I guess, it feels familiar, reminds me where I’ve been, and I always know what’s going to happen next when I read it, as opposed to how it is with us, it’s like everything is a bad surprise all the time… but you know what’s weird? Sometimes I feel like we’re all trapped in that book. Like, tell me what you said to me right when I got to your place? I said let’s crash at your place tonight, my mom is on a bad one. Exactly, isn’t that what Johnnie Cade says to Pony Boy the night they get jumped at the park, when they have to kill the guy? Yeah, I think you’re right, though I’ve only seen the movie. Well, doesn’t matter, the movie and the book are like the same thing to me by now, they’re both just like our stupid lives. Are you saying we’re gonna get jumped tonight, you’ve got your blade on you, right? Yeah, I’ve always got my blade, because who knows what’s going to happen, man. Exactly, see, you just admitted you don’t know what’s going to happen tonight, therefore we’re not trapped in anything ‘cause you just proved you can’t actually make any of this shit up…
When the green light signals us to cross Broadway, we don’t care about the sirens until we hear them get louder and recklessly the ambulance carves a hard right into our crosswalk almost killing us if we hadn’t froze in our tracks at the shock of who is inside: that thirteen-year-old Howard kid who was always so tweaked out that he moved all asymmetrically floppy and crackly as if all his limbs were double-jointed and detachable because probably he has no calcium left so all his thin sinewy muscles were trying to be bones now so that’s probably why he’s hooked up to the machines in the ambulance now but shit why is he smiling at us through the back window and holy fuck now he’s waving at us and then we remember Howard never wasn’t smiling, so we’re relieved he probably just waving to be nice.
Then across the street behind the gas station, right where we’re about to walk, we hear a bunch of firecrackers in the darkness. We giggle ‘cause it’s probably someone we know so we start running to see who until we hear other sirens and then cops running down the alley then think nah they’re on their own, man, fucking idiots are getting caught fuck that I’m sure we’ll hear all about it tomorrow if not from the gang then we’ll check the blotter.
We’re nervous when we wake up at my parent’s house; fidgety, like we aren’t supposed to be there, like it’s time we go back where we came from, back to Mikey’s. That’s a cue to start walking, we think, the other direction this time; because it’s weird being somewhere with no alcohol, like a wasted night without it. What were we thinking after all?— because Mikey’s mom would have just passed out and we would have the whole place to ourselves.
Maybe that’s what the gang was thinking, because when we walk into Mikey’s they’re all there, doing all sorts of things to fill an empty space beyond simply existing. What’s the matter, we said.
Chadwick is dead. What do you mean Chadwick is dead? We mean Chadwick is dead, he got shot to death. Those fucking cowards shot him in the back, he started running when he saw they had a gun. Who is they, you mean like cops shot him? No, cops showed up as it was happening though. Wait, did this happen behind the gas station on Broadway? Yeah, but he died behind Broadway Liquor, that alley is a dead end, you know. What about the steps? He died on the steps. Fuck, I think we were right there when it happened but we thought it was fireworks so we just laughed, we figured it was one of us but not like this. I can’t imagine Chadwick dead, he’s the toughest, he’s like the shot caller of the whole town. Yeah, well I guess he’s the shot receiver now, sorry that’s not funny. He was probably talking shit. Yeah, but he was probably right, whatever it was he was talking shit about, Chadwick is never wrong, that’s why everyone listens to him, does whatever he says. How did it start? In cars, on the road, talking shit. Chadwick was driving, speeding down the canyon, we were all passing the bottle. Chadwick was mad because he wanted to go even faster but this other car was too close to us, lagging, so he hit their bumper full speed. They flicked him off, then accelerated, faster than Chadwick, so Chadwick thought they wanted to race. I mooned them out the window, my full ass, so they rolled down their glass and called us fags. That’s when Chadwick got really mad and bumped them again. They showed us their gun, aimed it at us. I said they had a gun. Chadwick was all oh shit and hit the gas, hard. So now they’re mad we were trying to get away. Chadwick had it steady, going at least 90… I was afraid to look, but I could hear sirens. We figured we were either gonna die or go to jail, so Chadwick just kept speeding down the canyon, hitting the gas as hard as he could so we wouldn’t die. He peeled into the gas station, we all jumped out, scattered. Chadwick panicked, went the wrong way, into the dark, that alley is a dead end unless you climb those steps. They shot him six times in the back. He died on the steps. You know what those guys did afterwards? They went out to fucking dinner. Until I guess one of their girlfriends got weirded out that they were bragging about it at the dinner table, so she ratted on them. Chicks, man. I love chicks. That’s where the cops busted ‘em, their own dinner table at some fancy restaurant. At least there’s that. But Chadwick is dead and that’s that. Fuck.
We did drugs about it. That’s what Chadwick would have done if he wasn’t able to retaliate if one of us got murdered, so we got high; wondering if Chadwick would have gotten a hold of a gun if one of us died like that. Someone confirmed he did have a gun, just in case something like this ever happened to us, so he was ready, just not ready for it to happen to him. Wait, so we’re using guns now? someone said, and suddenly our blades seemed like toys — that’s how small we felt. He was the toughest guy we knew, invincible even, yet somehow dead, now that anything could happen, See, you can’t make this stuff up, Mikey said. It feels like this is not how the story was supposed to go, I said.