Block Party

This is an old story I wrote a long time agoIMG_3077.JPG

My mom lets me play in the street when it’s flooded water. One night, it rained and rained, and the leaves and trash got all clumped up over the sewer grate. I got to take my shoes off and splash in the river in front of our house. Gabriel from next door even had a floaty thing that he sat in like a boat. The water wasn’t that deep, so he mostly just got stuck scraping across the bottom. Still, it was fun.

Today, they blocked off both ends of Highland Street for us to play. Not because it rained. We’re having a block party. No Through Traffic. That’s what it says on the bright orange signs they put at both ends of the street to thwart the cars from driving in our party. We’re going to have barbeque and cotton candy and popcorn, and Julia’s Dad’s band is going to play music. We’re going to spend the whole day and even the night in the street, and we don’t have to watch out for any cars.

Gabriel and me are sitting on the Morrisey’s fence. There’s nothing much happening down here. It looks like the whole party is up the road a bit, not our part. Sweetie from the other side of the street and her dog walk by. Sweetie wears dark glasses, and her dog looks like lassie, and it barks late at night, when Sweetie comes home walking funny. Sometimes my mom helps her into her house.

“Hi Sweetie,” we both say. The only part of her face we can see is her smile. It looks like a worm that stretched long across her face so it could get away fast.

“Hello boys. Going to the block party today?” Her lassie looks soft, but I know he feels dirty if you pet him so I don’t. Gabriel does, though.

“Yeah, we’re gonna go soon.” Gabriel’s petting that dog and he reaches too far, and he falls right off the fence.

“I guess I’ll see you later then. Say hello and I’ll buy you some popcorn!” Sweetie walks towards the part of the street where more and more people are standing around. I see her waving at the neighbors, but she doesn’t stop and she keeps those glasses on, even though it’s not very sunny out anymore.

My mom lets me and Gabriel walk over to the block party by ourselves. “Save me a hot dog!” she told me when I left. We’re not scared because we know a lot of people, and the ones we don’t know are our neighbors anyway. Since our moms aren’t there yet, we go stand with Julia and their Dad. He makes sure we both get hotdogs with ketchup and relish, no mustard. I tell him I need one for my mom, too.

“Carol can ask me for a hot dog herself when she gets here.” Susana and Julia’s dad winks at me when he says it, so me and Gabriel decide to run around the neighbor’s backyards in secret while the band sets up.

When we come back to the block party, it’s blue all around, the way it gets before night time, and the band is playing. My mom’s standing there in a white dress that kind of glows, that’s how I cantell it’s her with all these stranger grownups around. They’re all in front of Julia’s Dad’s band kind of dancing by taking little steps and moving their shoulders, but the only one who’s really dancing is Sweetie. She’s holding a glass bottle just like all of them, but her arms are way up in the air, and she’s making funny noises like war cries. She twirls her body, shakes her chest, and bends her knees until she’s almost sitting on the ground. It looks fun, so me and Gabriel go and dance up front with her, really close to the band. Susana and Julia’s dad is singing with his eyes on Sweetie, and Sweetie already took her dark glasses off to look right back at him. This time her smile doesn’t look like a worm, because she’s showing her teeth.

“Hi Sweetie,” Gabriel says and Sweetie’s bottle almost hits him in the face.

“Oh, sorry sweetheart! I didn’t see you there. Hey, I owe you some popcorn, don’t I?” Sweetieturns to the band and blows them a kiss. Then she puts her empty bottle on the ground and takes us both with a sweaty hand and leads us out of the crowd, walking her funny night walk. Me and Gabriel try to imitate her, and we laugh a lot.

Before we get to the popcorn, we get to some big, dark, legs. I can tell that they’re the legs ofa man because of the pants he’s wearing: blue with a line right down the front of each leg, like a pieceof paper folded and then unfolded. Sweetie stops and sways in her tracks, holding tightly to both of our hands.

“Oh, hi Bruce. I didn’t know that you were coming over tonight.” I think Sweetie’s tongue is swollen in her mouth.

Bruce looks mad. He tries to grab Sweetie’s arm but she’s holding my hand still so we get kind of tangled.

“We’re going now.” Bruce says to Sweetie. “Run along, boys.” Behind us I hear my mom calling. I’m a little disappointed that Sweetie didn’t get us the popcorn she promised, but as I watch Bruce hold her arm and kind of drag her back towards her house, I see that there’s no popcorn left anyway.

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