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Danny


by Nicholas Cook


Danny kisses me underneath the Dairy Queen sign. His breath is hot like french fries.

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Dad drives us around. This is how he stops the car: he turns it off, lets it coast until it hits a small ridge then bounces back. Standard stop, he calls it.

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In my dream Danny's on his skateboard except he knows how to use it. When I tell him, he says, Not fair, and punishes me by twisting the skin on my arm until it burns.

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Mom puts Dad's things in a box on the lawn. The sprinklers are on. Everything fits in there, his entire life. There's a man I've never seen before working on the doors. Not the locks, Dad shouts.

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Dad says Danny's too small for his age, must have a glandular problem. Mom says boys grow after girls and it's the way it will always be. Yeah, yeah, yeah, Dad says of it.

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Danny buys some Big League Chew and tries again beneath the Quick Trip sign. I let him blow a bubble in my mouth and I explode it with my tongue.

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Your dad's coasting on a thin layer of bullshit, Mom says. She's been using his t-shirts to clean the toilet.

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Danny finds a lizard in the backyard. He chases it onto the deck and loses his balance, falls head first into the railing. His black eye is the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.

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I have Dad sign my report card. He searches for a pen in that one box of his. His studio apartment is empty except for a blow-up bed and a metal lawn chair with green webbing. Would you like to sit here? he asks.

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