I was young then, playing beneath the palm trees.
“You’re dead Angel,” said Frankie while pointing his right hand, which was shaped like a gun, at me. “It’s sad, but that’s the way of life. I’ll go make love to Eva Greece while you rot.” We both giggled. I was nine and he was eleven.
“Who the heck is Eva Greece?” I asked while rolling around on the grass..
“The Bond Girl!” He shouted as if I should have known. Two months ago we had sneaked into a showing of Casino Royale. Frankie became obsessed. After it was over he said, “When I’m old enough, I’ll move to Europe and become a cop.”
“James Bond isn’t a cop,” I told him.
“Yeah but he’s not real either, Angel. What are you stupid or something?” I laughed at that. No matter what he said it always seemed like a joke. He had a goofy bucktoothed smile and big cartoon eyes.
Back in front of his house I tried to correct him once more. “Her name is Eva Green, not Greece! Greece is a country!”
“Just because something is a place doesn’t mean it can’t also be a name. Haven’t you ever heard of that Detective Columbia?”
Now I was astonished. “You mean Columbo!?”
His eyes got small. “Whatever. You wanna drink some soda? My Mom bought that vanilla kind.”
“Yeah! Why would you even ask?”
“Well I don’t know Angel, I thought you might argue that soda can’t be called vanilla since it’s an ingredient. And according to you words can’t be used for multiple things”
I stared at him for a moment. “Was that supposed to be a comeback?”
Then he started cracking up. “Yeah, but it made sense in my head.” I was silent for a while then began to chuckle uncontrollably. In seconds we were both rolling on the ground, faces red, trying to breath in between laughs. Looking back, I don’t know why that made me laugh so much.
As we stepped onto his porch and began to open the door, there was a loud screech behind us. The sound of tire on asphalt. We turned around and saw a truck barreling towards his house, only to stop at the last second and turn so its side faced us.
Sitting in the truck’s bed were two men with black bandanas over their faces. Then I saw they had guns.
Frankie must have saw them too because he tackled me to the ground. Laying over me he covered my head. I still heard the shots though. It seemed like they lasted for hours, days even, it was the longest moment of my life. When my ears stopped ringing I opened my eyes and pushed Frankie off of me.
Instinctively the first thing I did was look at the street. They were gone. A bunch of shells littered the ground, but the truck was gone. Then I said, “What.” I meant to say a lot more, but that was all that came out.
I turned back to Frankie. He wasn’t moving. I pulled over his body and looked at his face. I must have been crying because everything was blurry. It was all red, yellow, and mangled. He looked like a lump of meat with bits of bone or teeth mixed in. His features were gone. His personality gone.
Standing up, I opened the front door and fell into his house. I think I was looking for someone to help him. The whole place was a mess. Bits of broken glass and ceramic pottery across the carpet floor. I called out for someone, no one answered. I probably should have went back outside, but I didn’t.
I found his mother in the kitchen. She was leaning over the counter top with blood leaking from her back.
Next I saw his father in the bathroom. The place smelled. I walked back out to the porch and clung to Frankie as if maybe that would save him.
Eventually the ambulance came, entirely too late.