By Ian Kappos
The Kid wasn’t really a kid. He was maybe sixteen; that was my guess. We still called him the Kid.
We all sat around the living room: Ludo, in his breakers and a dark mood, but always generous with a crooked smile; Leo, shaving the roughness from a pair of chopsticks (he’d finished his Chinese food hours before, but insisted on being prepared for his next take-out); Lonnie, who, for all intents and purposes, was trying not to keel over from the line of whatever it was that he’d just put up his nose (it had been one of many); and Lit, who catered to a customer. I sat next to Lit, fussing with my beard.
The Kid was in the Hole.
“Here,” said Lit to the customer, and handed over something. This was procedure.
“Thanks,” said the customer, receiving what Lit handed over and also handing something over to Lit. This, too, was consistent with procedure.
The customer left.
We sat in silence for a minute or two, save for Lonnie, who had evidently recovered from his battle with gravity and now hunched over a pile of white, dividing it into geometrically immaculate smaller portions of white. He breathed very loudly, did Lonnie.
Ludo, his voice baritone, said, “I’m bored. What’s up with the Kid.”
So we checked the Kid out.
The Kid was up to his chest in urine. The Hole was porcelain and there was no drain, so the urine had nowhere to go but up. A stain of urine around the circumference of the hole indicated that the Kid had drunk some of the urine. What a kick this Kid was.
Lonnie was reading the newspaper now. It was a few days old. He looked up from the newspaper, down at the Kid, an eye lazy: “Hey, Kid,” he said. “They’re lookin for you, Kid.”
Well, now, at least someone was staying up-to-date.
Ludo proffered his crooked smile. “You’re famous, Kid.”
We all got a kick out of that. Except for Lit. He was taking a call.
“No,” he said (Lit). “No--hey, listen, no. Not interested. Nope. Not interested. Listen, listen--the sooner, look… Look, he ain’t shit to me. He ain’t shit. Naw. Hey, that’s his problem. Look--I ain’t gunna talk about this no more. Shit, well, that’s what he gets. Glad someone did the right thing.”
Lit was a real moral champion. We all trusted Lit. Lit was good people.
Meanwhile, I fussed with my beard. I tended to fuss with my beard a lot.
Leo, who’d remained pretty quiet up until now, asked me, “What’s up, Lillard? You worried or something? You seem worried.”
Leo was definitely the sweetest of the group.
“Well,” I said, shuffling my feet. Everyone was looking at me now, the Kid included. He gripped the edge of the Hole with his fingertips, peering over. Nonchalantly, Ludo scuffed the Kid’s fingers with the edge of his running shoe and the Kid fell back into the Hole. “Well,” I said again. Lit was off the phone now, and looking at me with the rest of them.
“Yeah?” they all said. They all were very patient with me. I was grateful for such good friends.
“Well,” I said. “It’s just that there’s supposed to be a meteor shower tonight, at eleven, I think. I was really planning on seeing it, but I don’t know the time. I lost my watch.”
Lonnie released an atonal whistle. Ludo kicked at the Kid’s fingertips again (this Kid was real persistent). Leo patted me on the back consolingly. Lit said, “I’ll check my phone,” and he did. He looked up at me. “It’s 10:58,” he said.
I smiled. Leo clapped. Lonnie and Ludo leapt over to the window, Ludo jogging, Lonnie swaying. Lit and Leo and I joined them at the window. We pulled back the blinds. The sky twinkled, not unusually. Then there emerged from some clouds a vanguard of meteors, but these meteors had wings. As they flew past, gradually descending, I was able to make out some of their finer details.
“Hey,” said Lonnie. “They’ve got tits.”
“Yeah,” I breathed. “They sure do.”
We all watched, mesmerized.
Then Ludo said, “Hey, we should let the Kid check this out.”
“Yeah,” we agreed, and Leo went to retrieve the handheld telescope to give to the Kid.
But when we turned around the Kid was not in the Hole. The urine rippled slightly, adjusting to the Kid’s absence. From the edge of the Hole began a trail of drops that led to a window at the other end of the room. The urine was bright orange.
“We gave him too much coffee,” said Leo, and we all agreed.
“Well,” said Lit, and for once he sounded like he was out of ideas.
“Well,” we all said.
“He’s famous now,” said Ludo, and we all nodded.
After a while we all retreated back to the window to catch the last trickling of the meteor shower, but when we did there was nothing left in its wake but a faint cloud of bright orange that read: You like what you see, don’t you?
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Ian Kappos's short fiction has appeared most recently in Crossed Out Magazine and Grim Corps Magazine. An art school dropout, he lives and attends community college in Sacramento, California.
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