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To the Corner


Sweet September up in the Boone — twenty past last bell on the first day of school and a pumpkin-colored school bus tools down Boone Street laying middle schoolers along the porch-couch weed-lot crapboard houses of West Central: the Twilight Zone, Felony Flats, the West Centy. At the second-to-last stop KJ and crew come off the bus slinging backpacks as they head straight to the corner — spot they haunted all summer — barely out the sighing bus doors when shirts come off, ribs, guts, pecs, clavicles jutting beneath beige-black-white casings, All the above, as Studio says — boys hitting the chain-link kitty-corner from the Family Suprette, where they sag-scrape-low-hang-lean, all of them eyeing the only girl gets off at their stop, name they can’t remember, inky-haired lovely seventh-grade Rah-something — who won’t even look their way — until KJ sighs a single word: Damn.



Then Rah-something turns the corner and four heads swing the other way in sync, like birds on a clothesline — KJ saying, Doug B, why your backpack look like My Little Ponies — Doug B’s lame comeback, You should see my dick, which might be funny except he always comes back about his dick, so Studio is ready with, Your dick? Thought that was a belly button.

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’s story “Thief” appeared in the March 2012 issue of Harper’s Magazine. He lives with his family in Spokane.

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