Small Town Summers

By Dave Sanders

Lori Lane. A block of black asphalt. Curbs of white concrete that conjure mental images of American History X. Grew up in the corner lot—perfect for the baseball diamond worn over time into the grass. No need for lines just dirt paths from home to first to second to third then back home. Houses all similar in design and structure. Brick with vinyl siding. A block full of kids, bad influences really, insist we take breaks from the baseball games to practice smoking expertly hand rolled cigarettes of Prince Albert, tucked into Zig-Zags, both stolen from my neighbor’s grandfather. A spry 10 year old version of myself on the flat bed trailer in our side yard passing the spit soaked cigarette around the circle—hoping mom would stay inside and dad wouldn’t be coming home for lunch. Was it just a cigarette? With this neighbor, now a meth addict.

Cops and Robbers after dinner, pertinent to dress in all black, head to toe. Always long pants; usually black sweats, black ski cap, black t-shirt if friends were spending the night, long sleeved to add to the authenticity. Most of them lived in rural areas and didn’t have neighbors to play with after dark, but in actuality it only added to the ridiculously hot Alabama summer heat (always stayed above 80 even at night). The kids who had actually been arrested always insisted on being the cops first.

They were brutal.
aaaaaHands behind your back you son of a bitch!
aaaaaaaaaaI’m giving up, I surrender!!
aaaaaShut up! I didn’t tell you to speak.
aaaaaaaaaaOw! Shit you are hurting my shoulder!
aaaaaI said shut up!
Swift, light elbow blow to the back of the head to add a little flavor; we were jailed on my
parents’ front porch.
Accommodations weren’t so bad.
No phone call.
Would a call be allowed now because of cell phones?
Probably not

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