But I didn’t get the ball, see. I couldn’t. I knew — just knew, somehow, deep down, the way you know when someone’s coming up to you to say something you don’t want to hear — I knew if I reached down to get that ball something bad was gonna happen to me. And I turned to Jason, and he sorta looked at me all funny, and asked me what was wrong. I didn’t say anything, I just looked back at that ball, and backed away from it. I don’t know why, but I moved real slow. Slow, like I thought maybe if I moved too fast something would … I don’t know. Pounce maybe. Snatch me. But if I just kept moving back, just kept a slow, steady pace … well, I’d be okay then — if I got back far enough. You know — out of reach.
So I did, and Jason kept looking at me, and when I got close to him he grabbed my arm. And when he did, see I was still creeped out by the moving ball, the whatever, and had that spooked kind of sensation in my jelly bones and my slick oily insides, see, and when he grabbed me I jumped, I mean jumped real bad. I screamed too, I think. And Jason, he just looked at me weird, like he wondered what the heck was wrong with me, and he let go of me. Then I ran — ran and don’t know why, even now I don’t know why, but I ran. I ran home and Jason called to me but I yelled over my shoulder that I didn’t feel good, and needed to go inside, and I did go inside, in my house and slammed the door. I slammed it hard enough that my mom started yelling about not slamming the door, but that didn’t feel good enough, you know? Like maybe that wasn’t quite enough, to just be inside, and so I locked the door, too, and put the chain up.
Boy was my old man pissed when he got home, ’cause he couldn’t get in. He unlocked the door all right but couldn’t get in with the chain on the door, and my mom was in the crapper and I was in my room, sorta hiding from whatever, and he stood out there yelling and banging on the door for, like, ten minutes before mom finally let him in. You know, when she came outta the crapper. He wanted to know why I locked the door and put the chain on when it was broad daylight and I knew he was coming home. He asked me when he found me in my room.
But I couldn’t tell him. I just said I was sorry.
Later that night, someone banged on the door pretty good. It sounded like they were beating on it with a hammer. My old man, that ticked him pretty good too. He ran to the door ’cause he said if he didn’t the damn person out there woulda put a hole right through it, banging like that. So he jumps up and runs to the door, and opens it, and there’s a couple of cops out there, and they want to talk to me.