“The Blue Maverick Crew”

Last night the Blue Maverick Crew smashed several windows at Deirdre Schenk’s house and fled to safety through the woods. Running after us was Deirdre’s drunk father, a six-foot-four inch truck driver and former college defensive end with a bum knee. We had no idea he was chasing us and only found out the next day at school when Deirdre accused us of breaking the windows and suggested her father would have torn off the arms of our leader Dave Hills if he’d caught up. Deirdre is Dave’s ex-girlfriend and Dave is having trouble forgetting her.

Before Deirdre’s we smashed Joe Kingman’s bay window with a barrage of black walnuts. Joe is on our shit list because we don’t like his taste in music. I don’t think we legitimately have anything against Joe, we just need a reason to get out and rampage. We’re hooked on vandalism. It must be like the drugs we’ve never tried.

The blue Maverick is old and rusted-out, its three-on-the-tree shifter a constant source of annoyance to Bobby, our driver, who rips the stalk shifter up and down and curses maniacally when the car won’t go into gear. The transmission is shot and the Maverick’s days are numbered, but it keeps us on the road and away from our homes, where nothing interesting ever happens.

Yesterday we collected three bags of black walnuts from my backyard. My mother thought we were doing yardwork. Black walnuts are useless to most people. They rot, turn black and stink. Pick up a semi-rotten black walnut and your hands will be stained with an oily Mountain Dew-colored slick that’s impossible to scrub off. We prefer black walnuts that are hard as baseballs.

Tonight I am in the back seat of the Blue Maverick, feeding walnuts to Dave in the front passenger’s seat. He’s flinging the walnuts in a hook shot motion over the Maverick’s roof at passing cars. The drivers of these cars have no idea where the thud is coming from. We scream with delight when a walnut impacts a passing car, ricochets, and then impacts our car. This goes on for fifteen minutes when I notice a car tailing us. The guy is surging forward and dropping back, surging forward and dropping back, leaning on the horn. He motions for us to pull over. Bobby hangs a panicked right into a neighborhood we do not know, then a left, and we’re at a dead end.

Our pursuer screeches to a halt, gets out of his car, and charges toward us. He leans into the driver’s side window. He is extremely tall and bulky, he has a huge head topped with curly blonde hair, an evil-looking needle nose and his face is fireball red. He produces a billy club and starts smacking it into his open palm.

“All I wanna know is which one of you pussies did it.”

The three of us apologize at the same time, then Bobby and Dave turn and point to me. I’m groveling at this point, it’s actually quite embarrassing.

“Please sir, I’m so sorry, please forgive me.”

He steps back, looks around, and leans in again. I piss my pants.

“Life’s a bitch. So don’t throw shit at my car.”

With that he’s away and no one says anything for about ten seconds. Eventually I scream at my friends for selling me out and tell them I’m done with vandalism.

The following Friday Dave catches me at my locker and indicates that Joe Kingman has worn a Duran Duran concert T-shirt for two days straight. That evening we’re out in the Blue Maverick again, off to Kingman’s house where a new bay window has just been installed.

About John Meyers

John Meyers' poems, stories, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in The Louisville Review, Fiction Southeast, The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun and elsewhere.  John has a degree in Journalism from the University of Maryland and he once worked for Ringling Bros. Circus.  He can be found online at http://www.johnmeyersauthor.com