Johnny thought long and hard about what had happened to him, his face turning red turnip and his eyes with streaks of red lightning jettisoned from his black pupils.
Instead of joining in the Sunday morning street hockey, Johnny just stood on the corner of Third West Avenue and McBride and stared at the broken window where Dairy Queen used to be.
A boy named Doug walked up the street, smiling for whatever reason and stopped when he came up to Johnny. He looked at the broken window, its new sharp angles that looked like murder, the blinds falling upon the edges as a martyr would. The whole scene looked a crucifix.
“Hey,” said Doug, who was a boy Johnny was familiar with through back conversations he’d had with friends but not one who went to his school and not one he knew much about. The only fact he was aware of was that he was to leave him alone. But he was there.
“Did you do that?” asked Doug.
Johnny just shrugged his shoulders providing no answer and turning his sight back to the street. Across McBride was the Jehovah’s Witness Church, the notice board reading: Watchtower awareness week.
“I said did you do that motherfucker?” asked Doug in a bully like tone.
The wind was pulverizing Prince Rupert that day and it seemed to be in synch with Johnny’s heart, which gusted gale force blood through his chest.
“Doesn’t matter if you did or didn’t, someone is going to think that you did because you are standing here staring at it. Me, I don’t give a fuck, know what I mean. I’ve broken a share of mine. It’s cool that you did. And if you didn’t, it’s still cool,” said Doug in a much cooler way of saying something, like he was Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction. “Because you look like you appreciate that kind of thing. It’s in your eyes. They say broken windows, broken system, broken arms, broken hearts. It’s all good. Me too.”
In fact that Pulp Fiction idea struck Johnny in a particular way seeing as how he had just watched the masterpiece last night just after the obvious news hit home. Dad was long gone. Mom was out of work. No money was coming. So the family was now on the welfare – the system.
Only one day on, and it was already hard to be on the welfare. Somehow Johnny took it as a sign that he was not good enough to be good enough and that stood as proper rationale for him to not share his new family finances with his friends, who even in their best days were jerks and certainly not this new kid, Doug.
Two friends of his, Jason and Aaron, made their way up McBride. They looked well dressed in clean black slacks, a pair of white dress shirts and black ties, dressed like they were off to a funeral.
By the time they reached Johnny, Doug had receded to the background, somewhere Johnny couldn’t find him.
ONE MORE SMOKE FOR THE ROAD
9 years ago