society’s rejects.

when driving toward my parents’ house, i take a long look at the neighbor’s. until fairly recently, one of the boys would be standing in the yard, waving at cars. now, as my dad relays, the older one, eighteen, is arguing with a man who wants him to stop yelling at small children who pass. he tells the man to fuck off.

the older one found a dead body in the woods once, a guy who had taken his motorbike off-road, hitting a tree and splitting his head open. the older one poked him with a stick. he’d also been shipped to military school because he wouldn’t recognize authority. on another occasion, my ex- reached deep into the trunk and, when she backed up, he was pressed up against her. he said, hi. later that day he would hurriedly tell me, hey man, your girl has big breasts, bye.

we used to play hockey, he and his brother against me, in my garage. he now lives in his own garage. late at night, the light on, and in the driveway, one of the following cars (or, more often, a combination) is parked: a bright orange one with black racing stripes, one whose front half has been involved in a wreck and the owner hasn’t had painted back to the original white, the earliest mini van in existence. during the day there are kids roaming the lawn with baggy pants and gauged ears or running out of the house when their parents arrive to pick them up.

my dad sees this whole situation as if he were a small country with a weak military adjacent to a country test firing nuclear weapons and making threats of war. every time i come home he makes me go back outside to prove that my car doors are locked. he comes running upstairs to give me updates when a police car stops next door or there’s more than two kids in the yard. my dad tells me that while i was away, an ambulance came to the house and a bystander asked the older one what was going on. they feared that a friend had overdosed on caffeine. maybe we should put up surveillance cameras, maybe we should build a security fence (or a moat), maybe we should train a fleet of attack dogs.

through his teeth my dad often says, just the ugliest bunch of kids you’ve ever seen — society’s rejects. i know rogue nation is on the tip of his tongue. my sister and i share a laugh in private, as they remind us, to the letter, of her friends at that age.


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One Response to “society’s rejects.”

  1. the decline of the american empire. « the vignettist Says:

    […] dictates that i update you about the house next door since it’s been almost a year since i’ve written about […]

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