It was a beautiful fall day. Just the perfect kind of weather for the neighborhood boys to leave their play-stations and x-boxes and come outside for game of street hokey. They would strap on their skates, pull on helmets (only because their mother’s told them to), and grab the long, brightly colored hokey sticks they had bought from various garage sales in the previous years. They would then skate around their garage a couple times to be sure that they still knew how to skate, for it would be disastrous to be gliding down the driveway only to fall flat on your face in front of everyone like Billy had that one year. Then, waving to their mothers, the boys would skate out into the street, discretely looking both ways, and down to the unofficial hokey rink in Ronaldson’s circle. As soon as all the neighborhood boys were gathered in that circle, the game commenced. It was obvious from the start that Cory Bailey would be the star of the game. He faked left, right, then shot up the middle, swerving around the other players, and….GOAL! No one could take it from him, he was king of the rink. Little Bobby Schroder tried his best though, getting in his way at all the right times and even attempting a courageous swipe at the puck, only to be knocked aside when Cory slammed his stick into Bobby’s shin. It was a rough game, but it was brought swiftly to a halt when a certain car drove slowly, almost predatorily, up into the circle. Boys dove to get out of its way, recoiling in disgust and horror. The car’s poisonous pink exterior shone a glinting threat, “Don’t you dare”. It was an old Bel-Air, a 62, made into a monstrous horror. Nauseatingly white tires seemed to almost hug the 20 inch rims. Shiny spinners stung the eyes, and the sunlight reflecting off of their many facets seemed to highlight and enhance the terrible pink of the vehicle, making the boys wince and look away, shielding their eyes. The interior of the monster was even worse, if anything possibly could be. The seats swallowed your eyes alive, they appeared so soft. Their terribly cozy pink plush color made the boys hold their stomachs and bend in half to keep from puking up their breakfast. The rearview mirror was the same awfully bright pink of the exterior and hanging from it were two lime green fuzzy-dice, dangling like boogers from a nose. The steering wheel was encased in an awful white plush cover, and sitting at the wheel was a man. He had a sharp, jabbing chin, and piercing eyes that speared right into your heart and knew every time you had hit your sister or lied about stealing the last cookie. Bony hands grasped the wheel in a death grip, choking the disgusting plushness out of it in two places. His skeletal body was encased in a camouflage parka, zipped up all the way to that pointy chin, and neon orange hunting pants could just be seen over the edge of the window. A hunting rifle lay propped up in the passenger seat, as though it were sitting their, alive and ready to kill. The boys scuttled as far from the car as they could possibly get, congregating on the sidewalk opposite it. Slowly, oh so very slowly, it pulled up into the driveway of 286 and slowly, oh so slowly the garage door crept upwards, seeming reluctant to offer entrance to such a terrible thing. When finally the garage door closed behind the beast, the boys let out a collective breath that they had unknowingly been holding since the appearance of the monstrous car. Not even waiting to regain their lost breath, the boys then, all at once, sprint skated back towards home and their mothers, screaming and waving hokey sticks and helmets and tripping over themselves, not caring how they looked or how any of the others looked. Cory Bailey was out in the lead, wailing and flailing his red stick, the hokey puck forgotten. Bobby Schroder was right behind him, out of breath and gasping but pushing his little stick-legs as fast as they could go. The rest of the boys came in a cloud behind them, desprate to get away. They all zipped up their driveways, stumbling and falling and forgetting how to skate, and they all ripped off the helmets that their mothers had insisted they put on, throwing them and their hokey sticks in a messy corner of their garage. Their skates were kicked off in a terrified frenzy and left to lie in the center of the floor, sure to get run over when their fathers got home from work. They burst into the house, sprinted to their rooms, dove into bed, pulled the covers up over their head, crawled to the foot of the bed, peeked out, and grabbed the play-station or x-box controller to spend the rest of the day safely wrapped up in purely virtual terror.
November 7, 2009