“Jacob, I’m sorry. Was that candy bar yours?”
When I told her it wasn’t, she shouted to Sam in the TV room, “Sam,
There was a pause before he gloomily answered, “Whatever.”
One of my brother’s many defects was that he preferred Daredevil to
Spider-Man, so I bought him two issues that I planned to tell him some-
one had left on the bus. When I handed them to him in the TV room,
he eyed me with suspicion. On the episode of Cops he was watching, a
police officer with a buzz cut was pulling a man out from under an RV.
“Why don’t you want them?” he said, like he thought they might berigged with explosives.
“Because Daredevil sucks.”
He grinned and snorted through his nose. He and Dad had always
joked hard with each other, and I could tell he missed it.
“He could beat the shit out of Spider-Man,” Sam said.
“If he did, it’d be the most interesting thing about him.”
Sam laughed, and I surprised myself by casually slapping the door
frame on my way out of the room, calling out behind me that there was
mac and cheese in the kitchen. Sam was already looking through one of
the comics and responded with a distracted “Nice.” Mom had gone back
to sleep next to her empty chocolate wrapper so only answered with a
I grabbed a bowl of macaroni in the kitchen and went back to my
room to whip up Ronny some blood.
I delivered it the next morning, two liters of dark red syrup in an old sodabottle. In addition to the bodily smell, the beef broth gave the clown-nose red of the food dye an earthy brown tint. As I approached Ronny’slocker, he was on his hands and knees holding his blue notebook in hismouth like a dog while he searched through the mound of loose papersand fast-food wrappers at the bottom of his locker. He stood up whenhe saw the blood, folding his notebook in half and tucking it into thefront of his pants before taking the bottle from me. He shook it up, thenscrewed the cap off to take a sniff.
“Fuck,” he said, recoiling from the smell and putting the cap back on.
“Where’d you get this?”
I was about to make something up, but he raised his hand for me to