It was December, I was in the park staring into the empty house of my ex-best friend. I was taking notice how the city came in and gutted the house and redid the lawn. Then as the snow fell and melted over the asphalt streets a colossal moving truck arrived. It carried colossal people, one named Anne.
As an eager attempt at curiosity I approached the yard. Her mammoth father Leroy was outside screaming at their dog Buster. Anne was a flirtatious blob, awkwardly directing the moving guys on how to organize her things. With frowning eyes, they did her biding. Leroy noticed me watching the event. "Hey kid, yeah you Scrappy! You live around here?" He said. I explained I lived a block over and I asked where they moved from, like a polite young man.
Leroy went on, in true Midwestern babble, about where they came from: some state I had never knew existed. He inserted words like God, Jesus, church, and work. I couldn't pay attention to him. His voice a fog horn, his mouth just an instrument its only purpose: to shake his jowls. Side to side they shook. I imagined being a little man scaling the lard cliffs of his fat face, discovering hairs, eyes, and pockets of pores never seen by man.
His monologue still droning, I noticed Anne looking at me strangely. She was blushing. Then my attention was moved to Buster, the dog. He was eating shit, while taking one on the front step. I started to laugh.
"What are you laughing at Scrappy?"
"Mister your dog's taking a shit."
Leroy ran off to beat the dog and Anne swept in. She asked me things. Stupid things. She told me she was also in eighth grade. She talked like her father and she droned just the same except in a higher pitch. She was very excited about the ice skating rink in town. I didn't even know we had one. She told me her cousin was a girl in our grade named Penny Shalot. My brain came to a stall. The name typed in bold font streaming through shallow pools of thought strung along like smoke signals. Forming an unknown teenage language of fear. Penny Shalot was the most popular, awful girl, in school. On a witches broom she rode. I couldn't believe she had such a fat cousin.
"Penny told me the ice rink was where all the popular kids hung out. Do you hang out there Sam?" She asked.
"No I've never been there before." A solid answer I didn't care to lie and impress her.
"Well, good it'll be a first for both of us!" What! Did she just tell me where I was going? "Penny is going to be there tomorrow night. I haven't seen her since we were... Oh gosh, I don't know. Since we were five I guess. I suppose I've changed a bit. Ha ha. Either way I need a date and you're coming with me. That is, if you're not busy?" Well shit, I wasn't busy. I had no friends since Johnny was gone and I almost felt bad for her. I wonder if she knew how horrible Penny had become or if Penny was always like that.
"Sure I don't think I'm doing anything." My brain scanned over a completely dateless calendar. "You're sure your Mom won't mind?" she asked. I thought. Well Friday night was Mom's night to get drunk and stick her head in the oven.
"I don't think she'll care." I responded.