That Love
Andrew Roe

The dog came screaming at him. He ran but fell, hitting the ground hard, the sidewalk. He probably had it coming. He'd been dicking around a lot lately. He told his parents he was going to get a tattoo that said THUG LIFE. The dog was a neighbor dog, a little of this, a little of that, sharp teeth and devil eyes. He'd been dicking around and teasing the dog. This out on the sidewalk in front of the neighbor's house, the neighbors who threw a mattress out their bedroom window and it stayed on the front lawn for weeks. He thought the dog was chained up because it usually was. He felt those teeth now, right thigh, and he screamed. Screamed himself. It surprised him, like it was someone else and not him. He had it coming, had it coming. His mom smoked and smoked. About the tattoo his dad said: Do that and then don't bother coming home, buddy boy. The name Thor or Sarge or Tank. He was a mix too: Mexican mom, White dad; his dad's mom telling him not to stay in the sun too long because he'd get too dark. That one time they went on a vacation, they came back and someone had broken into the house and stolen the toaster. Why the toaster? Chances slim, at this time of day, mid-day, mid-week, of anyone being around and helping out. Probably some pit bull in there somewhere. This girl from another school who he met at a party and was maybe interested but hadn't called back yet. One of those days where he just wasn't going to be making it to school, no way. Your blood: it never looks how you think it'll look. It's always darker. Or is it brighter? Something else entirely.