AN UNTITLED STORY THAT USES THE WORD "CROPDUSTED"
BY JIMMY FLYNNMy mother was cleaning the playroom. The windows were opened and the screens were off. I was racing matchbox cars, the rusted corvette and the faded purple racer with the ridges along the back. Racing matchbox cars is good when you're alone. You can decided which will win.
The carpet is green and rutted with floral patterns that keep it from being a flat green rug. A straight-ahead speed race is impossible here. In the kitchen the speed races are the best because you can't predict the winner. It depends on how much lint has collected behind the wheels. Sometimes the dog interferes.
The day my mother was cleaning I was racing matchbox cars upstairs on the green rug. It was more a crash derby. Crash derbies are better with cars with removable parts like a horse trailer or something. But when the cars are compact and quick, crash derbies are more dangerous. The cars zip over the carpet ridges like speedboats on choppy water. And the collisions always cause them to flip over and over until they burst into flames, wheels to the ceiling with my fingers playing the fire.
I was on my third or fourth run of the speedster cars, both inching side by side down the carpet, when I heard my name called from the street and went to the window. Michael Weisbrot from across the street was calling me. My mom told me that at a birthday party a few years ago he poked a kid's eye out with his fork while they ate cake. His movements were exaggerated, a whirling scarecrow, that's how my mom described him. Whenever there was a small fire in the woods his was the first name mentioned. He stood beneath my window a few feet in front of the porch. He was with some boys I'd never seen. He said, with his arms flailing, "Come on, jump out the window. Little bird, did you know you could fly? Just jump out the window."
I heard mom's vacuum downstairs. The sun was setting right above Michael's house across the street and it shined into my eyes. I couldn't see much more than this gangly golden shape waiving its arms and a few indistinct golden forms shouting behind him.
"Come on, you can fly, we saw you doing it last night, you were flying around your room. We saw you, we know you can. Come on, show us you can fly. Up, up, and away!"
In first grade Mrs. Goldstein told us in reading class that the actor who played Superman lived nearby. Maybe I thought I could be Superman too. But I didn't remember flying around last night, although it certainly was possible. Maybe these were things you couldn't remember later.
The forms beneath kept cackling and cooing, urging me to jump, that I could fly. So i moved my big green frog-shaped toy box to the side of the window. Measured off three steps back. With each step forward I cried "Up, up, and away!" and jumped.
I hit my knee on the window sill and my head on the lower part of the windowpane, then I flew. First I soared down through the boys as they ran across the street. I soared above them, following them as I hovered, watching as they ran at full sprint into the woods behind Michael's house. I soared above the neighborhood looking down on its horseshoe shape, over the woods and the farmer's field beyond the woods. The farmer's dogs barked and his corn threw long shadows toward the woods. I circled the woods, laughing, ãCome on you fuckers, come on, I see you, fuckers!"
Michael and his boys removed the lid to the hole they'd dug in the woods and pulled the particle board back over them.
Above them I heard giggling from their burrows, I opened my pants and cropdusted their whole area with piss. I flew back home and back through my window. My foot caught the windowsill on reentry and I hit my head against the floor. I burst into tears and my mom ran upstairs. She said she'd get the Weisbrot kid grounded, but a few days later I saw him lighting a box of newspapers on fire.
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