Garage

The plan is simple: my sister
and brother break into Fiske Elementary School
while Alice and I keep guard
in the garage. We have a clear view
of Mom and Dad’s room, and can climb
out the side window
if the lights come on.

We see them off behind the Magos.
I owe you, my sister says, smiling.

Don’t mention it, I say.

Yeah, you do, Alice says.

We look at our wrists.
If we’re not back by 3:30
you know what to do.

We all nod.
And they’re gone.

With the window propped
and our supply of granola
and candy bars ready,
we ease into our lawn chairs.

You know, she says. I’ve been looking
forward to this.

Really?

Yeah. You’re way into your sci-fi
thing. I think that’s cool.

I don’t really know what to say
for a while.

Hey, I’m, ah… I never apologized
for trying to eavesdrop on you
a few months ago.

Oh, that? Forget about it.
I thought the black eye
was enough.

I wince and smile at once.

Well, but we were being stupid.
I’m sorry. I think I was trying
to be Brock Livingston
or something.
I’m obviously no good at that.

Thank God. Alice pauses.

I appreciate that.
She winks at me. It’s not as if
you were going hear anything
worth repeating.

I chuckle. Give it time.
I’ll learn all your secrets.

Alice guffaws loud enough
she has to cover her mouth.

She smirks.
You know, your brother
just apologized, too.

Really?

She nods. You boys sure like
to take your time.
It was the sweetest thing.
He gave me a record, and said
it was the one you were listening
to that night. He said now
I could listen in on your conversation.
He even stammered.
It was adorable.

I blink a few times
and nod.

Good for him, I say, surprised
by how much I mean it.
I hope it was the Terry Riley.

It was.

Hey, Alice nods toward my bike.
Why aren’t you going with them?
Don’t you love riding around
after midnight?

Oh, yeah. Something weird happened
to the derailleur. I have to take it
to the shop when I have
enough money.

The derailleur? she says, rising
from her chair. Let me take a look.
Your dad have a set of screwdrivers
in here?

Half an hour later I pedal around
the room in disbelief.

How…?

Magic, Alice says.
Easy magic.

I offer Alice the granola.

Not unless you’re going to feed
them to me, she says,
holding out her hands.

Right. Sorry.

She winks.

Hey, I’ve been wondering…
what did she leave at Fiske
that’s so important?

Alice lowers herself
into her chair, smiling
bigger than before.

You know, I don’t know.

You don’t??

No, she wouldn’t tell me.

Wow, so she was telling
the truth. I thought she was just trying
to keep me in the dark.
Must be privileged information.

Alice shushes me
and I make out the faint pull
of bicycle chains behind the fence.
I look at my watch; they made
good time.

Oh, she says. You have lots
of privileges. I may even let you in
on them some time. This
just isn’t one of those games
you get to win.

Added: March 14, 2013 | Last changed: June 7, 2014