Blank Confession

Blank Confession by Pete Hautman

Book: Blank Confession by Pete Hautman Read Free Book Online
Authors: Pete Hautman
mirror, but guys do stupid stuff when they get mad. You ever do anything stupid?”
    Rawls thought about losing it that day in the McDonald’s parking lot.
    â€œNever,” he said.

29. MIKEY
    It wasn’t just me that Shayne decided to unfriend. The next day he unfriended Marie, too.
    I passed them in the hall that afternoon. Marie was firing all her guns—playing with her hair, batting her eyes, licking her lips, the whole package—but Shayne had on his impenetrable, invulnerable, hard-eyed face, the same look he’d used on me at lunch. It gave me a little boost to see Marie about to get the same treatment.
    At the end of the day, right as I was leaving school, I saw Marie in the parking lot by the motorcycles, talking to Kyle. Shayne, whose bike was parked a few spaces down, walked right past them. Marie never looked his way. She knew he was there—Marie’s guydar is practically a superpower—but she pointedly ignored him. Shayne got on his bike and sat there. Marie went into her hair-flipping, lip-licking routine with Kyle. It was all for Shayne—Marie was not interested in Kyle. But a few seconds later she climbed onto the back of Kyle’s bike and rode off with him. Shayne watched them until they turned out of sight, then started his bike and headed in the same direction.
    Apparently, although he had unfriended Marie, he still cared what happened to her.
    Even then, in the midst of my feeling sorry for myself and resentful and angry and all the other negative crap that goes on along with being told to get lost, I understood what Shayne thought he was doing.
    He thought he was protecting us.
    I took the long way home and found myself walking past Pépé and Mémé’s place, so I stopped by for a visit. Pépé immediately got out the checkerboard. Mémé was lying down with a headache, so I didn’t get bombarded with food, but that was okay. I really just wanted to ask Pépé about
djabs
. I waited until we were several moves into the game.
    â€œI’ve been thinking about what you said, about
djabs,
” I said.
    â€œThat was just an old man talking,” he said.
    â€œYeah, but it kind of made sense.”
    Pépé pushed one of his pieces forward, offering me a jump. I examined the board carefully. If I jumped him, he would get a double jump and have one potential king on my side of the board. I tried to think it out, then saw how I could advance another piece and force him to make a jump that would set me up for a triple.
    I made the move. Pépé grinned.
    â€œWondered if you’d see that,” he said, resignedly making the move.
    I said, “Do you think people are like checkers?”
    â€œNo.” He sat back in his chair. “I think checkers are like people.”
    â€œWhat’s the difference?”
    â€œPeople came first.”
    I made my triple jump. “King me.”
    Pépé kinged me.
    â€œThese boys you know,” he said. “They are just boys. Not checkers. Not
djabs.
You should stay away from them, even the one who takes your side.”
    â€œNo problem there. He doesn’t want to be friends anymore.”
    â€œYou see? A
djab
would not give up.”
    â€œI didn’t say he’s given up. I think he doesn’t want to be my friend because he thinks it’ll make problems for me.”
    â€œMaybe he is right.”
    â€œYeah, but why would he do that?”
    â€œThat is one thing you don’t know—what is in another person’s head. What of the other boy?”
    â€œHe still thinks I owe him money.”
    â€œThat is not good.” Pépé moved a piece forward. “Your mémé may be right. Maybe you should talk to your teachers.”
    â€œJon hasn’t been in school. I think he dropped out.”
    â€œThen the police.”
    I imagined myself walking into the police station. What would they do? Nothing. I had no proof of

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