When you get back inside with the toenail in your hand the blood will leave a picture of Jesus in the carpet. You’ll tell your mother the nail came off after a botched kickflip. You don’t skate. She’ll bring a bag of peas and take pictures of the stain for Ripley’s Believe It or Not. You will think yourself a holy child. The peas will stick to your nail bed. Blood will pool at the bottom of the bag and melt frost off a couple peas.
Sharo will find the bird first, in the street. He’ll ask if you want to lose a fingernail this time and you’ll assure him you do not. Tiny spectators will gather. They’ll pantomime the bird’s movements for those without a good view: Lloyd will bug out his eyes, connect his left ear and shoulder, open and close his mouth robotically. Obe will twitch his left arm, flap his right. There will be a bucket of water. The kind you’d spin to illustrate centrifugal force. Sharo will say: Your head or the bird’s. Pick, faggot. You will pick the bird’s. Lloyd will pantomime your cries.
You will lose a fingernail, but not by Sharo’s hand. It’ll be wedged in the back door on the way inside to wash a carrot from the garden. Your father’s hand on your shoulder will be warm and the ice water will be not warm. The pain will erase the word “cold” from your brain. The nail you lose will be the nail of your middle finger, so you will get away with flicking people off for several weeks. Inside you’ll nail the nail to a secret corner of bedroom wall and call it your nail nail. You’ll consider starting a collection.
The hospital room’s Pokémon rerun will be too loud, so you’ll hear “digestive heart failure” and imagine your father’s heart slowly descending to his stomach by way of peristalsis. You will have just learned the word in science class and will remember it by turning it into a name: Perry Stalsis. You’ll ask your dad if he wants to play Who’s that Pokémon, but he’ll already be asleep. It’ll be Pikachu. Too easy.
The storm will knock out the power for three days. During this time you will subsist on Mickey D’s and sugarfoods. Meadow Lane will be under several feet of water. You’ll have just seen Waterworld and will pull back your hairline; scowl at things. You will strip down to your undies in broad daylight and swim down your street. You’ll imagine barnacles on car tires, tiny submerged cities. Only once will you open your eyes underwater. You will immediately regret this decision. Your eyes will burn till the power comes back on two days later.
All the block’s tiny humans will congregate for the main event. The combatants will be four and five. The gloves will go up to their elbows. You’ll say: I don’t think this is a good idea. Sharo will say: nothing, because he’s just spit in your face. It will have somehow gotten in your nose. When no one laughs, Sharo will say: Just kidding. So there will be spit in your nose and blood in Lloyd’s. Lloyd’s dad will come out with no shirt on. He will say: Give me the pucking gloves. The kids will say: Ha ha ha. His exposed stomach will say: I’m hairy.
Spider-Man’s eyeballs will be made of bubblegum. His severed head will be on a stick and will be made of ice cream. Everyone will have a father except for Cal. Cal will have no father and no money for ice cream. No one will know where Cal’s father is, not even Cal. The ice cream man will hit a pothole. He will get out and swear and hit his head hard on the truck’s undercarriage when he’s done checking the tire. Cal will say: Are you okay? Ice Cream Man will say: Fuck off. Everyone except Cal will get ice cream. Sharo will say: Niggers don’t get ice cream. You will split Spider-Man’s head and give Cal the sticked half. You will surgically remove one eyeball and give it to Cal.
How It Ends
Years will go by. Your father will die and be buried. Sharo will die and be buried. You will attend both funerals. Your father’s face will be ashen, and you will see that he’s become a gray alien. This will be fitting because your father would always talk about gray aliens and Area 51, codename Dreamland. You will tell your father’s ashen body that it is going to Dreamland. You will remember that fake alien autopsy video, imagine what your father’s innards look like, and get sick in his casket. He’d always remind you it’s “get sick,” not “throw up.” Sharo’s mother will clutch you to her like a child would a teddy. She will insist you and Sharo were best friends and you’ll agree. There will be kabobs after. The kabobs will be good and the flight home will be long. When you get home you will kiss your wife passionately and watch a Pokémon rerun with your son. You will both guess Pikachu when the time comes. You will both be correct. Too easy.