Before I could answer, he held up his index finger and read his own
definition: “It’s how big something is and how fast it’s moving in a di-
I sat there blinking.
“Fine, Jesus,” he said, mistaking my silence for stubbornness. “Jacob
Dixon it is.”
He wrote my name in the notebook and flipped back a few pages to
where he had taped the piece of paper with the school’s lunch menu in
“Jacob, the results from our experiment were awesome.” He tapped
the page with his index finger. “But I got questions.”
“Sure,” I said.
He flipped to a blank page. “Did you shit blood?”
“Did it hurt coming out?”
He made a notation. “What did the paper smell like after?”
I pretended to give this some thought. “Like poop,” I said. “You know,
“But just like normal shit smell?”
“That’s great,” Ronny said before writing for what felt like a long time.
When he was finished, he asked if I wanted to make some moremoney. He explained that the digestive stuff was interesting, but Hyde’slectures on the circulatory system had gotten him into blood. Was itflammable? What did it smell like if you boiled it? Could you turn it intoscabs yourself? He might have gone on listing questions forever, but Itold him it wouldn’t be a problem. I could get him some blood.
That night at Food Town I bought some Karo syrup, a plastic vial of redfood dye, and one can of beef broth. At home we’d eaten pizza all week,so I also bought a few boxes of macaroni and cheese, which I figuredI could slip into our cupboards without anyone noticing. For Mom, Ibought a chocolate bar with the word Melodious written on its wrapperin dark red calligraphy. I placed it on the end table near where she wassleeping on the couch. I’d planned to tell her I’d won it at school, but assoon as she woke from her nap she sat up and ate it without question.Only after she’d finished did she call out to me where I was heating water in the kitchen for macaroni.