White Oak Road II

Nonsense. Here, I’ll make breakfast.
Can’t have you painting
on an empty stomach.
How many eggs would you like?

Thank you, Mrs. C. Two eggs
is great.

Three?

Two is enough, but thank you.

Two eggs, two pancakes,
coming up.

There. Ready to work?

Yes, thank you, it was delicious.
I think I can finish my half this morning.

Remember, I’ll pay you
for whatever you get done.
If you paint 60%
of the back wall, you’ll get $60.

Yes, Mrs. C. Thank you!

I’ll send Michael out when he’s awake.

Dude, why did you get here so early?

The sun. Last Saturday
was pretty hard by 11:00.

Well, yeah, but you said
we’d start at 10:00. I was up
till 1:30 playing Pong.

You were?

Yeah, and I beat it.

No way.

Really.

And your mom didn’t turn it off?

I turned everything off and jumped
behind the couch when she came in.

Prove it.

It doesn’t save
anything; you just had to be there.

So are you going to do it again?

Well, yeah, of course, soon as—
hey, how come you’re working
on my my side?

Your mom said she’d pay
for as much as we do,
remember?

But that means I get less.

You were sleeping.

Because I had to beat Pong. Besides,
my dad said we each get $50.
That’s what everyone agreed
at the beginning of the summer.

I guess your mom changed
the deal.

No, that’s not fair. Give
me your brush.
Stop fucking painting.

I look up and point at the wall.

I already did half
an hour on your side.

Mike almost laughs.
Well, fucking stop!

I can get Amazing Adventures and
the new Justice League and Thor
with the extra ten bucks. You stayed up all night
and I got up at 5:30.

What about my car? You know
I’ve been saving forever. Hey, I said stop
painting!
He grabs the brush
out of my hand and throws it on the grass.

I stand up.

You’re not going to lose the Camaro
over ten dollars.

Yes I will. My dad said I have
to come up with a year of payments
or he won’t sign for it.

When’d he say that?

Last night.

Seems like a lot of things in your house
change overnight.

Mike straightens his back
and looks at me a long time.

Sorry, I don’t live in your house
where nothing moves and no one changes
their mind.

That’s not true! Things change
all the time, you just spend
all your time playing video games
and making dirty movies of your sister,
so you don’t see it.

Mike’s hand moves in a clear, fast
shot, right under my right eye
and when I can see
again I’m in his kitchen, alone
with his mom.

On the other side of the house
we can only hear his dad
shouting.

The smell of bacon
fat is in everything,
like a stupid stranger
who jumped in the middle
and doesn’t understand
why we were fighting.

Added: January 12, 2013 | Last changed: January 23, 2015