Glendale Road

Dude, the hell
are you doing here?

Mike puts his camera on a shelf
next to him. I look around the room:
mostly bookshelves full of trinkets;
one with liquor bottles.
Behind him is a pool table
pushed to the wall.

I look at the guys
on the mattress for a second.
There are three of them
in front of a window.
The lights are off.
I can’t make out their faces.

Well? says the guy in the middle.

Well… what?

What the hell are you doing here?

I can see his stare
in the dark. I think it’s Matt King.
I think this is his house.

You said to come over
this weekend.

No I didn’t.

It was, ah, at lunch on Tuesday.

His voice reaches around
the room. I swear
I didn’t do that.

We were in line, by the tater-tots.
You said your parents
just got an Odyssey 200
and all three games.
You said it was a party.

The other guys on the mattress look at him.

Well, yeah, I said that,
but I wasn’t telling you
you could come to my house. Besides,
how’d you get in here?

The front door.

No you didn’t. It’s locked.
He looks to his left.

Yeah, another guy
with a high voice says. I locked it.

It wasn’t locked when I got here.
Your mom let me in.

What the fuck, Matt? the last guy shifts
off the bed. You said your folks
were gone all weekend!

They were supposed to be!
Matt whispers.

Fuck fuck fuck, the last one says.

Tell you what, I say.
I’ll keep her busy for a while
and you can clean up
or whatever you want to do.

We doing something that needs
cleaning?

I—I don’t know. I just figured
it was—you were—

Yeah, the last one says.
Maybe you should just go
upstairs and keep Matt’s mom
company.

Matt stands up. I never noticed
how tall he is. Um, thanks, man.
Um, have a good weekend.

No one moves.

Dude, get out of here, Mike whispers.

Are you going to leave, dweeb?

I back
into the stairs
and don’t turn
around till I close
the kitchen door.

I talk to the empty kitchen
for a minute, turn the deadbolt
on the front door and walk outside.
I exhale deep
on my bike and’m about
to pedal when Mike’s panting
voice is on top of me.

Dude, seriously, what the hell
are you doing here?

I balance my bike on my thigh.

I… I don’t know. I just thought
it was a party.

Not a party for you.

What do mean?
Who’s it a party for?

Other people.

The hell does that mean?

It means don’t come back here.

Are you telling me
where I can and can’t go?

There are a thousand places
you can go, but not here.
Just leave and forget you came, okay?

What were you doing down there, Mike?
Making a movie of… guys…
Why did everyone have their pants off?

They’re… it’s just something
they do. I thought it’d be fun
if I brought my recorder. That’s all.

You’re such a perv, man.

I try to say it with a smile.

Wait—do you think I’m…?

I don’t really know,
and I don’t really care, man.
I don’t know who was down there
but that was probably the only time
in his life Matt King will ever thank me.
I’m just glad I’m upstairs.

Hey, you know what?
Why don’t we go to the DQ
on Route 27? Some ice cream sounds
great right now.

Well, you do owe me ten bucks.

What the hell for?

Never mind. Look, you just
go. I left my camera downstairs.
I have to get it
and say goodbye.

No problem. I can wait down the hill.

I exhale.

See you in five.

Sure.

We both know
soon as he closes the door,
and when I hit the hill
and when he steps off the stairs.

I don’t stop at the bottom.
I don’t even turn
the right way.

Added: January 28, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015