Favorite Sons

Favorite Sons by Robin Yocum Read Free Book Online

Book: Favorite Sons by Robin Yocum Read Free Book Online
Authors: Robin Yocum
batter in the ribs, just below the armpit. Air rushed from his lungs and he twisted and danced his way to first base, wincing the entire ninety feet.
    I picked the ball out of the dirt and smoked it back to him. “Throw to the glove,” I said. He regained his control, but the game was over as soon as he hit that kid in the ribs. No batter would stand in on him the rest of the night. We won five to one.
    As we were leaving the ballpark that evening, the four of us walking out together ahead of our parents, Denny Morelli, a kinky-haired classmate who played the saxophone in the marching band,came pedaling into the parking lot and skidded to a halt, flicking pebbles on our shins. “Hey, did you hear about Petey Sanchez?” he asked.
    â€œNo. What?” Pepper asked.
    â€œHe’s dead. Murdered, maybe. They found him up on Chestnut Ridge. I guess he’s got a big hole in his head.”
    â€œNo shit, really?” Pepper asked. “A hole? What kind of a hole, like a bullet hole?”
    â€œMaybe, I don’t know for sure. My aunt heard them talking about it on the police scanner and they said he had a big hole in his head. They were calling for the coroner to look at him.”
    Denny pedaled off to spread the news like the town crier. When he was out of earshot, Pepper turned to us, a smug little smile on his lips, and said, “That’s how it’s done, boys. Now we’ve all been informed that Petey’s dead and don’t have to act surprised. We just have to act like we don’t know a damn thing.”
    Adrian looked ready to vomit.
    *    *    *
    The maple tree that was wedged between the sidewalk and Second Street near our front porch was over a century old when in May of 1970 a windstorm that snapped telephone poles in two and blew tractor-trailers off Ohio Route 7 uprooted the beast and dropped it into our side yard. While it miraculously missed our house, it stretched from the sidewalk and a root ball the size of a Volkswagen minibus to the back of our property where its whippy top branches dangled in the alley. My mother blanched at the idea of paying someone to cut up a tree. She rented a chain saw for eight dollars a day and we spent an entire weekend turning the saw blade blue with heat and stacking maple logs in the garden, which gave me a virtually unlimited supply of firewood for campfires.
    Deak came over to my house after the Dillonvale game and we started a fire in a corner of the property that we called the garden, though we never planted so much as a single tomato plant. We snagged some chips, RC Colas, a package of hot dogs, buns, and a plastic squirt bottle of mustard. As the fire began to grow, I sharpeneda pair of sticks with my pocketknife and skewered a hot dog on each, handing one to Deak, who had been quiet most of the evening.
    We sat on logs that I had rolled into a rough circle around the fire pit. The flames danced and painted our faces with streaks of flickering orange and yellow light. Deak sat to my right, the bag of chips between us, and we talked in hushed tones. “Are you feeling better now that he’s not lying up there in the woods?” I asked.
    His head bobbed almost imperceptibly. “A little. At least his family can have a little peace.” Petey’s family probably didn’t even know he had been missing, but I didn’t say that. “What the devil was he doing up there?” Deak asked, repeating his question from the previous day.
    â€œYou’re going to make yourself crazy if you keep this up. Sometimes, Deak, there are no logical answers.”
    â€œWhy’d Adrian have to do it? Why didn’t he just run away?”
    â€œIt’s not always easy to run, Deak. Sometimes you have to fight, especially if someone’s a threat and coming at you.”
    â€œJesus said to turn the other cheek.”
    â€œI’m not sure this is the best situation to relate to

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