A Story by K. Mascis

A couple kids consider the small town they live in.


“I can’t help myself,” Jacob shuffled his feet. “So I’m trying to find someone to help. You know, get out of my head for a little bit.”

            “Yeah, but if you can’t help yourself, then how are you going to help someone else?”

            “I don’t know, but it’s got to be easier than dealing with my own mess. I can think with a clear head about someone else’s problems,” he scratched his forehead, “but how can I diagnose myself with my own mind? That’s faulty equipment. My mind has to jump through a lot of hoops.”

            “You’re crazy man,” Steve chuckled.

            “Yeah,” Jacob threw another rock across the street, “I know. That’s probably the problem. I don’t think it’s the biggest problem though, there are a lot of batshit crazy people who seem fine. They at least know how to be crazy.”

            “Yeah, but they aren’t fine. They think they’re oranges or something. Why would you want to be like that?”

            “Why concentrate on oranges?”

            “I hope that wasn’t a real joke.”

            Jacob just smiled in response.

            The boys continued to skip pebbles and pieces of pavement across the street. The neon light from the convenience store only stretched out so far, and with the slight bump of the road, they lost sight of the pebbles quickly. They relied on the sound to see how far they went.

            “Let’s go,” Jacob stood up, wiping the dirt off his pants.


            “Over there,” he nodded down the road to the Exxon sign next to the Burger King across from the Pizza Hut.

            “There’s nothing over there.”

            “There’s nothing over here.”

            “Slush puppies.”

            “I don’t have any money. Let’s go.”

            It was dark, not tragically dark or summer dark or crisp as frost, winter dark. It was dark, like a school night. It was only getting darker. The boys hopped on their bikes and peddled towards the slight increase in commerce. Only one car could be seen in the distance, but it was far away pushing farther. It eventually turned away into the nothingness around the corner.

            It had always amazed Steve at the expanse of where people lived. This certainly could not have been anyone’s first choice. It was in the mountains, first of all. Not the “Oh Honey! Get the camera!” mountains, the “we’re almost there kids, only another hour or two” mountains. People lived here! What had kept them from going somewhere else, somewhere with some form of excitement? He guessed that traveling must have been much harder back in the day.

            Jacob, on the other hand, wondered if there was a standard pocket size, and if so, how had it been determined. He tried to think of some sort of way he could start a pocket reform, but realized he had no standard in mind that would be more efficient then the one already in use.

            Jacob pulled into the gas station first. It was empty if not for the 1997 Impala filling up. Inside was an Indian man who was going to start calling the store the quickie mart if he got one more “thank you come again” from someone. Jacob parked his bike and went into the mini-mart. The door made an electronic beep sound. It made Jacob think he was in a video game. He intended to buy a pack of gum, then looked at the selection of colas, then looked at the chips, then didn’t buy anything.

            Steve thumbed through a magazine. He knew Jacob would never buy anything. “Gotta be good with money, Steve. Good to it, good to you, you know?” Steve always said no. It tweaked the kid. Steve bought a Popsicle, the kind you can break in half, and waited outside the door.

            Jacob stepped outside and was greeted by half of Steve’s Popsicle and the quiet chill of the night. He loved purple flavor.

            “You are the cheapest b*****d.”

            “Cheapest b*****d holding a Popsicle.”

            They watched a car drive by. A breeze rustled the dehydrated leaves across the street, swirling them on the pavement. Another car pulled in to the station.

            “What if I got into that car?” asked Jacob.

            “You’d probably never go home.” Asking why was always useless. There was never a why. “I mean that in the worst way possible.”

            The popsicle slightly disappointed both of them, in the way that popsicles always disappoint. They’re packaged in a way that makes them seem greater than the frozen sugar juice they really are.

            The man who had pulled in, who drove the Camry that was currently waiting by the pump, exited the store with a pack of cigarettes in his hand. He looked young for a man you could no longer classify as a young man. He wore a suit, grey, with leather shoes, black, and concentration on his face. He took a second to light his smoke and possibly to think.

            “North or south?” Jacob interrupted.

            “Huh?” said the suit. Jacob was now on his feet, standing by the side of the man, staring at the same nothing as the man. He sucked his popsicle.

            “Goin’ north or south?”

            “North.” The man pulled away.

            “Me too! Mind if I hitch one off you for a bit?”

            The man shot him a questioning look, then regained himself. He got back in his car, confused and seemingly somewhat offended. Jacob returned to the curb with his uninterested friend. They sat and enjoyed their frozen treats while the man gathered himself in his car before starting the engine. The man pulled back, paused for a moment to adjust his rearview mirror, then pulled up to the boy’s curb.

            Jacob got up quickly. The man rolled down the window.

            “You kids better consider what you do. Not everyone’s going to let you off like this.” He took one more look at Jacob, raised his eyebrow a bit, shook his head, then drove off.

            “Man,” Jacob slumped back onto the curb.

            “You’re an idiot,” said his friend.

© 2010 K. Mascis

Author's Note

K. Mascis
Hope you enjoy!

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Wow!! Frickin' SWEET STORY, Kyle! I love the characters! N' the story you're telling feels like a small scene from something bigger, way bigger, humungously huger, like maybe it's a piece from somebody's last-gasp memory of life 'r something...like pages from a big fat novel.

Your mastery of language is to be mega-applauded (n' your dialog is envied by li'l ol' me! FANTASTIC STUFF!). You don't overwrite, n' you don't underwrite. Just enuff to set the stage n' help the reader really SEE n' then you're on to the next thang.

You wowed me right off the bat, n' never let the pedal off the metal! COOL, COOL, COOL AS HELL! ㋡

Posted 13 Years Ago

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1 Review
Added on April 8, 2010
Last Updated on April 18, 2010
Tags: Young Adult, Teens, Kids, Bike


K. Mascis
K. Mascis

New London, CT

Hey Internet, So, like most of you on this site, I like to write and have been doing it almost exclusively for myself for years now. It still scares the hell out of me to share my stuff with other .. more..

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