It was already night in the park. Of late the greenery had diminished to a dryer, less vivid shade--what went for the beginning of fall in Louisiana. Though there was no hint of coolness yet, the boy was snug inside his letter jacket. The girl wore a short jean skirt. They were sitting on a bench, hours after the last bus had run.
"I need to be asleep. I got practice."
"It's only nine o' clock."
"I get up at four on practice days."
"You don't ever go to sleep before midnight."
The park was quiet. Everything was black except for the street lights and the tennis court lights and the lights on the other side of the levee, where the river was.
"My mother keeps looking for my pads, checking the garbage."
"Daddy won't let me flush them. I can't hide them from her."
"Put ketchup on 'em."
"It doesn't look right when it dries. It's not the same color when they dry out."
"Red koolaid. Brown koolaid."
"But I think she smells them too. I think I caught her."
"I told you. I can get the money. It's going to take a month. That's all."
"But that's a month. It'll grow."
"Where my problem started."
"It's not like it matters now anyway. The worst thing has already happened."
"Not in the car, OK."
The boy leans in to her, directing her hands. The bench is twenty feet off the street in the grassy area, They hear a squeaky noise. After looking up, the bicycle has already passed.
"That's freaky. It looked like that guy who raped and killed the old lady minister."
"He's in jail. I hope they cut his balls off and make him eat them in the electric chair. That was my preacher."
"You go to church?"
"You know that. You went with me one time."
"Uh-uh. That must have been some other bitch."
"Can we move?"
They get up and walk across the grass to a baseball field, a lean-to over the visitor's bench. The girl prepares matter-of-factly, semi-hidden from the street. Grunts of known caliber issue. Large expanses of mown grass sweep to all sides of the minimal shelter.
"Ooopsy--" and the sudden sensation of mild clomping having ceased. "Oh, I'm really sorry, I thought you lost something, y'all were looking for it, I was just going to help, I'll just scoot on out of here, I'm sorry."
"What the fuck do you want?" The boy is up, wet and unclothed from the waist down, jacket still on, like some bizarre manifestation of a mythological creature, half this, that.
"I's, I just thought you lost something--"
"More like you though you lost your fucking brain. You so desperate to see a little pussy you got to watch somebody else doing it?"
By now the girl is standing also, wet, as if a bucket of water had been thrown on both of them."It is him. My god. Get him out of here!"
The boy rushes Mac in a tackle; Mac falls helpless beneath. "Why the hell did they let him out of jail--aint one poor old woman enough?"
"He probly busted out."
"Get up! Get up!"
Mac waits, shakily rises, only to be tackled again. The boy keeps driving him into the ground. The sound of dry snaps, though Mac is generally quiet, unprotesting.
"Shit Shit." The boy rises, kicks Mac harshly and repeatedly with bare feet. The girl comes over, intensely curious, (not remembering) no attempt to cover herself.
The boy places his foot on Mac's neck. Mac looks up, almost curious.
"It's a good thing you got him before he did something to me."
Mac is not getting much breath now.
"Hell. You could kick the shit out of him by yourself."
As if cued, she steps lightly on Mac's abdomen. "He feels gooey."
"What do you think would happen if I just let him up?"
"He'd do it to somebody else. That's all."
The boy presses harder upon Mac's neck. Mac seems to be attempting to subdue his own arms.
"Look at him. He makes me sick."
The girl puts weight on Mac, the way a child would with a frog.
Ther was another, drier snap, and a shudder seemed to go through Mac.
After that, there was no more struggle.
"Good. I'm glad that's over."
"Ain't you going to thank me?"
"Put your pants on. You look ridiculous standing out here like that."
They begin to dress. Mac lies perfectly still on the grass, eyes cast toward the stars.
"OK. Here it is. We were out here. I walked over to the tennis court bathroom. When I came out the retard was raping you. I came over and saved you."
"Yeah, but there's more."
"Nobody's going to care when they scrape his baby out of you. It's the perfect excuse."
"Take it or leave it."
"Drive me home. I feel all sticky."
"I think you ought to be the one to make the call."