“And anyway, you’ll be doing me a favor,” he said. “He’ll just drink
He threw the wallet back into his father’s lap and gestured for me to
follow him out the front door. He let me go out first, then held the screen
door open and called back into the house.
“Knife! We’re going to Arby’s.”
At the word Arby’s, Knife shot out of the house and sprinted to the
driveway, where he leaped into the back of the old red pickup and started
Ronny insisted that dinner was his treat as we pulled into the drive-through. The attendant was a boy only a few years older than us with apatchy mustache. He laughed when he saw two kids alone in the cab ofthe truck. Ronny handed him a twenty-dollar bill and told him to keepthe change before accepting two giant root beers and the heavy whitebag filled with a dozen roast-beef sandwiches. The attendant gave us a“Keep it real, dudes” and cackled when Ronny revved the engine andpeeled out.
As he drove, Ronny kept fishing out roast-beef sandwiches andthrowing them to Knife through the cab’s back window. Knife caughtthem before they hit the truck bed and ate them, foil and all. I askedRonny if I could unwrap them for him, but he shook his head as hehanded me my root beer.
“He won’t eat them without the foil. I’ve tried it.”
He handed me one of the sandwiches and told me to eat up, then
activated the cruise control and popped the lid off his root beer. Steering
with his knees, he held the cup out the back window so Knife could lap
up half of it.
“Do you have a dog?” he said, lowering his knees and putting his lefthand back on the steering wheel.
I told him I didn’t, and he took a long sip of the same root beer he’doffered to Knife.
“Oh, you should get one,” he said. “They’re wonderful.”
We ate in happy silence, but as the country roads became more sub-
urban, Ronny seemed to be unpleasantly reminded of other people. He
straightened up behind the wheel and frowned at the passing houses
that were suddenly all around us.
“There’s this rumor at school,” he said a little abruptly as we turnedonto Elmer. “People say I drove this truck into a field and knocked thehead off a horse.”