Hot July, the taint of creosote. My brother sniffled, wiped his nose with the back of a dirty hand, leaving a brown smudge. Converse sneakers shifted, dragged.
“Well? Go ‘head.”
“Just a sec.”
Steven Santilli’s sand blond hair, damp with sweat, leaned over the gleaming red, white and blue Evel Knievel on his stunt cycle. The five of us stood back, holding our breath, heat shimmering off the newly done driveway, waiting, waiting for Evel to go soaring off the plywood Steven’s father had set up.
“We don’t have all day, asshole.”
“Just a SEC.”
My eyes shot to Sal. I’d punched him once in his filthy mouth, knocked a tooth loose, would do it again.
“Shut up,” I growled, menacing in miniature.
He made kissing noises at me but said nothing.
Steven exhaled. With one hand resting on the base, he revved the crank, the grinding louder and higher pitched until he sent Evel flying, rapidly at first, but clipping the ramp with a bounce and tipping over.
“You gotta put it closer,” Mark motioned with one hand.
Steven scraped the base nearer to the edge of the plywood with a blue-gray sneaker, the same color as his eyes. I sighed, remembering his birthday party the day before…
“Only Maggie can chase me.”
He reset Evel, repeated the sequence. Better this time; Evel flew triumphantly up, up, over the edge of the plywood and bounced on the asphalt, his helmeted head parting from his body and spinning to a stop in the newly mown grass.
“Holy shit.” Sal again.
With an eye roll, I picked up the head and the body, clicked them together. Nonchalantly, I thrust it at Steven.
“Here.” It glittered.
He smiled. Totally worth it.