. . . a conversation . . .
"Hey Pockrus, want something to eat?" Propping the door open with one crutch, I waited as Cole, gripping the game controller, maneuvered himself into a bolt hole before pausing the game.
"No, I'm good," Cole rocked himself back in his chair and added, "Dickey." Emphasis on the name-calling as, locking his fingers behind his head, Cole started singing what sounded like, "Louie Louie, oh woah," the old Kingsmen song. I knew better, it wasn't Louie he was saying, more like loogie, loogie.
The lump on the side of my head throbbed at the reminder. Stupid spitwad. Stupid Cole for dropping one on me. How many times had Mom told me that it was the reaction he was looking for? If I just shrugged it off he'd not get the fun out of it and stop doing it. Fat lot of good that advice was. Just try not reacting to a load of hawked up phlegm landing in your hair.
Serves me right for trying to be nice. "Maggots to you then, Pockerpuss." Turning to leave, I pushed off. Crap. The door twanged in its frame as the rubber stopper on my crutch popped out from where it had caught between the carpet and door. I never was good at exits. If for some reason I ever got off a comeback, I sucked at the execution.
Cole's laughter and a just loud enough parting shot of, "Smooth move Dickey boy." followed my retreating back as I crutched down the hall and to the kitchen.
Sitting at the table, eating an over-ripe orange in the dark--it was the only edible thing left within reach--the storm outside faded to a dull roar. Flashes of lightning like ginormous fireflies flickering in intermitten’ flashes, I remembered back to one of those times from the before. Before it'd been just us boys and Dad.
Lost in memory, fingers dripping in juice, the sharp sweet tang of orange flooding the air, I remembered that day when we'd been looking at one of the Texas pages in an old battered, ripped and dog-eared Rand McNally atlas. We'd been eating oranges then too. That day when, pouring over the Northern portion of the state, our sticky fingers traced the ambulance route that'd been our mom in labor. When we'd realized that if the ambulance carrying what was soon to be three of us had come from another direction, we could've been named Pockrus and Dickey, instead of Cole and Denton. Not that our parents would have done that, but just saying; Pockrus Road and the Dickeys BBQ Pit parking lot have some juice to them over Cole Road and the Denton Regional Medical.
I wondered where that map was now. Would Texas still smell of orange?
This is how it starts for me - a conversation, a tidbit, a window into a character's world - always unpolished, always rough and a little bit random.