The Full Moon This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

March 12, 2013
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It was my third lie that week. On Monday, I told Miss Margeson from next door that I was spending time with my mother and father for Thanksgiving, but they were dead. I just didn't want to be embarrassed that I had no one but Harrison to spend Thanksgiving with, and he doesn't even eat turkey or potatoes or pie because he's a bird.

On Tuesday, I told Mr. Alonzo that I would call him Isaac, but he is my boss and I want to call him Mr. Alonzo, so I still do. On Thursday night, I told Harrison there would be a full moon, but I knew there wouldn't be. Sometimes when I tell Harrison lies, they come true. For example, three weeks ago before I left for the park, I told Harrison that Arson would walk me home. He usually doesn't, which is why I expected that to be a lie. But that night, without asking, Arson walked me all the way home. So I thought if I told Harrison that there would be a full moon, it might come true. But my moon calendar told me the next full moon wasn't until December 3rd, 1998, and it was only November 17.

At 11:02 p.m., I picked up my blue jacket because my black jacket had sauce on it from Miss Margeson's ­leftover spaghetti. I said good-bye to Harrison, walked down the stairs, said “hello” to Mario at the front desk, and began to walk to the park.

At 11:08, I arrived at the park. Arson was sleeping. Arson is never clean and always wears the same jeans, camouflage jacket (he pretends to be a veteran because people give him money if he says he's a veteran), black beanie, and once-white running shoes. He has a raspy voice, a hairy face, and yellow teeth. His body smells and so does his mouth; even if I am far away from him, I can smell bathroom smell. It hurts my nose, like it does when you go into a dirty public bathroom and you have to hold your breath and your head starts to hurt.

Arson is always hungry and is usually sleeping, holding his cardboard sign that says, “Vietnam Veteran, Anything helps” or smoking pot out of his “One Hit Wonder.” To me it just looks like a phallic piece of glass that has colorful swirls on it. Phallic means penis-like. Arson taught me that. He is very smart and has the coolest things to say about “society” and “the corrupt government.” One time he offered his pipe to me but it made me cough and feel dizzy. So I'm not going to take it again.

I walked past Arson, climbed to the highest point of the jungle gym, and looked up. She shined with elegance in the dark night sky. She wasn't full like I told Harrison, but it didn't matter. Clouds and city lights were hiding most of the stars, but nothing could hide her. She was perfect.

I yelled, “Arson.” No movement.

“Arson, I'm sorry. Come here! I'm sorry. She's better than ever tonight!”

Still no movement, but Arson said, “Every night, Oscar. Every night's better than the last night, huh?”
I said, “She's perfect.” He got up and began to walk toward me.

I said, “You woke up easily tonight.” No answer. Just a chuckle.

He approached the jungle gym, and instead of using the stairs or the ladder he tried to climb up the slide.
But he couldn't. It was so funny.

“F***in' slide all wet and s**t.” Every time he got halfway up, he fell down and said more bad words. I really wanted to laugh, but I didn't want to hurt his feelings. He looked angry.

After four tries, he finally went up the stairs, climbing to the top, and then looked up.

“Wow” is what he said. That's all he needed to say.

“Yes.” That's all I needed to say.

We were silent for a while. “Do you want to stay at my house tonight?” I asked.

He looked at me and said, “I don't belong in your home.”

He walked back to his sleeping bag, got in, zipped it, and said nothing else. I said nothing else.

Arson never came to my house, and he never took money from me. He always said, “I don't want your money. I want money from people who don't ­deserve it,” or something like that. I always want to help him because a normal person would be sad if he or she didn't have a house or money. But for some reason he's much happier than rich people, and he's the only one who talks to me about things I like and looks at the moon with me and doesn't give me a weird look when I refer to the moon as a “she.” And since Harrison is just a bird, Arson is my best friend. And I am Arson's best friend.

The next day I woke up at 6:50 a.m. I took a shower from 6:51 a.m. to 7:02 a.m. I put on black pants, my collared shirt, and my black sweatshirt from 7:02 a.m. to 7:06 a.m. I made a peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread from 7:06 a.m to 7:18 a.m. (I spread the peanut butter and the jelly perfectly so that every part of the bread is covered; that's why it takes so long.) I fed Harrison and let him nibble on my finger from 7:18 a.m. to 7:20 a.m. At 7:20, I said good-bye to Harrison, opened my door, walked down the stairs, said “hello” to Mario at the front desk, and began to walk to Hollywood High School.

I work at Hollywood High School. I pick up trash from 7:31 a.m. to 5:28 p.m., except for my lunch break at 12:10 p.m. and my after-school break at 3 p.m. I have to write on a yellow piece of paper everything I pick up that day. I think that's stupid.
I got to the school at 7:29 a.m., checked in at the desk, got my yellow sheet of paper, and said “Hello, Mr. Alonzo” to Mr. Alonzo. He smiled and said

“Hello, Oscar.”

I didn't answer because I wanted to go outside to maybe see Miss Rizor arrive; she usually arrives in her gray car around 7:30 a.m. with her coffee. Miss Rizor is a ninth-grade English teacher, and is the prettiest woman in the whole world. She has big blue eyes that always look wet. She has long blonde hair that shines in the sunshine. She has a smile that makes me smile. Her teeth are really white, unlike Arson's. I have been in love with Miss Rizor for two years and three months. I have worked at the school for two years and four months.

I've only talked to Miss Rizor once. It was so scary. One Monday Susan, who works at the school, brought donuts in and gave one to me. I ate it, and then she gave me another at lunch. I was so full that I couldn't eat my peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I saw Miss Rizor walking. I said, “Excuse me, Miss. Do you want my peanut butter and jelly sandwich? Susan gave me a donut and I am not hungry, so I can't eat it.”

“No, thanks,” she said. “I just had lunch. Thank you so much for the offer.” She never stopped smiling. I never stopped smiling. I said “Yes” and walked away. It was the scariest conversation I've ever had. I wish she said yes so she could see how good I am at making sandwiches and then maybe one day marry me like Arson said she would.

Anyways, at 7:32 a.m., I saw Miss Rizor's car. She got out of the car with her coffee. She looked at me and smiled. I looked at her and smiled. I wish she would marry me.

The rest of the day was like any other. The kid with spiky hair laughed at me like he does almost every day. I don't know why. Maybe because picking up trash and writing it down is a stupid job. Arson once told me that Albert Einstein used to pick up trash for work. I didn't believe him. But it still made me happy.

After work, I decided to visit Arson. At 5:30 p.m. I said “Good-bye, Mr. Alonzo” and he said “Bye, Oscar.” And I began to walk to the park. As I got closer to where Arson sleeps, I noticed no one was there. The sleeping bag was empty. I figured he must be getting food or holding his sign by McDonald's. He's always back before 8 p.m. So I waited.

8 p.m. Arson wasn't there.
8:33 a.m. Arson wasn't there.
9:46 p.m. Arson wasn't there.

It was 11:32 p.m. when I realized that something
very bad had happened and that Arson was not coming back.

I stayed at the park all night. And all day the next
day. And all day the next day. And I'm still here. It is 11:45 p.m. December 3, 1998. I've decided I'm going to die here. I haven't seen my house in sixteen days. Harrison is probably dead.

I'm sorry, Harrison, that I am not home to feed you and tell you lies and let you nibble on my finger. I'm sorry, Mario at the front desk, that I can't say hi to you every day. I'm sorry, Miss Margeson, that I'm not home to talk to you and eat your dinner, because I know you are as lonely as I am. I'm sorry, Mr. Alonzo, that I can't work for you anymore. I'm sorry, Miss Rizor, that I won't be able to marry you one day.

Arson, she's better than ever tonight. And I really do mean it – my lie to Harrison came true. Tonight she is full. She is perfect. I hope that somewhere you are enjoying her as much as I am.

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.

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lkk4209 said...
Nov. 23, 2013 at 8:01 pm
This is one of my all-time favorite fiction pieces on teen ink. The characterization is amazing. Excellent work!
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