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“Look who finally got up and came to see us on this fine, Saturday morning,” Mike commented.
“Finally,” Matt remarked. “We’ve been waiting for an eternity, Evan.”
“Give me a hand with these crates since you don’t have anything better to do will you, Mike?” I asked, ignoring my friends whining. “I had to take my lazy brothers’ snail Ford instead of the store’s truck,” I commanded. Did I forget to mention my older brother doesn’t do squat? By the way, my name’s Evan Dameion. Its Dame plus –ion, okay? So get it right, but no teasing. My 25-year old brother, David, is a disappointment to the rest of his family, not to mention me. My mom took off two years ago and my dad’s dead, so I’m parentless. I got my license a year early so I could actually get to high school. I’m basically poor, but I can take care of myself. Yes, I usually have enough money to get through the day because two of my friends, Matt and Mike, help me sell the grocery store’s extra fruit. Matt Drigford, or R.O.B., Random Outburst Boy, as Mike and I like to call him, is basically my third in command. You know how sometimes you want to strangle someone but other times you just want to hug them? Well, that’s R.O.B. for you. Now Mike Coleman on the other hand, he’s the best friend I ever had. I’ve know him for as long as I can remember. He was there when my dad died and when my mom left town. Mike’s the brother I never had.
“Hey, Evan,” Mike hollered. “It’s starting to rain, so back the truck up to the shack, will you?”
“Yeah,” I replied, climbing into the cab. “Whoa guys, wait a minute. Who’s that?”
“Hey, you! In the Ford. This is our turf!” the stranger yelled angrily.
“We don’t see your name or your boys’ names anywhere around here,” I said calmly, gesturing to my friends. Rolling up my sleeves, I prepared to go anything to protect myself and my friends. “Besides, we were here first. I’m just trying to support myself and make a little extra money.”
“Yeah, so are we. Now, get off our turf.”
As soon as I started walking towards him, I could see him shrinking away from my 5’ 11” frame. Good, I thought, intimidation might work. By this time, the rain had
slowed down to a drizzle and I was thoroughly soaked. “You might want to leave,” I said, trying to make my voice sound serious. “I saw your friends’ teeth chattering. We were here first, so I’ll say this only once. Get off our turf.”
With that, the rival group skittered to their fancy sports cars and sped off on the wet, gravel road. Only when the last car was out of sight did I recognize the leader. “The cop’s son, Benny. Benny what? Martin? Yeah, Benny Martin,” I muttered to myself. “Let’s unload this shipment and lock up. I’m cold to the bone. Besides, I don’t think anyone’s going to be by today,” I told Matt and Mike. My faithful servants obeyed without a second thought. Now that I think about it, that’s really weird for Matt. Benny Martin, I thought to myself as I climbed in the cab. When did he get out of juvie?
The next morning, Captain Martin stopped me in his Police car and gave me a ticket for harassing his son. Me harassing him? Ha, just like Benny, always twisting other people’s words. It’s a wonder anyone still believes him enough to hang out with him. Who would you believe, a nearly 6’ 15-year old with no parents, a lazy older brother and his drivers license or a 16-year old cop’s son who just got out of three years of juvie? I’ll admit, neither of us have really great odds.
Fortunately, I still got to the shack before Matt and Mike. Unfortunately, the shack was ransacked. The ruined fruit was strewn across the campsite. A pink spray paint star was visible on the side of the shack. That’s Benny’s problem, he’s not smart enough not to leave any trace of himself. That’s how I was able to “tattle” on him, as he puts it, and get him into juvie in the first place. I climbed back into the bead up Ford after leaving a note to Mike and Matt. I was going to the last place I ever expected: the Martin house.
Ding-Dong. No answer. Ding-Dong! “Come on! Open the door, Benny! I know you’re in here!” I shouted as I nearly pounded the door into a pulp.
“All right, already!” I heard. “What do you want, Dameion?” Benny impolitely said with a sneer as he pulled open the door.
“A really good explanation.”
“So you found your pathetic little shack, did you now?”
“Yep, and because of you, I can’t get to school for the rest of the week.”
“I only ruined your little fruit operation,” Benny replied, not understanding.
“You really don’t get it, do you? The money my friends help me make off the fruit is what I live on from day to day. The two ways I eat are buying my food, which costs me money, and people cooking for me out of the goodness of their hearts. I don’t have money for gas; I don’t even have parents anymore. The three things I do have,” I lectured, “are my brother, who doesn’t do a thing, my friends and my fruit stand. Now, thanks to you, I don’t even have that. Do you even realize how much has changed in the three years you’ve been away? The world doesn’t revolve around you anymore.”
“You’re serious, aren’t you? No, don’t answer that. I can tell by the look on your face. I didn’t know how much that stand meant to you,” Benny regretfully mumbled.
“Now you do.” As I was walking towards my truck, I began thinking about the note I left for Matt and Mike:
The stand’s yours.
I’m getting a job.