The nice thing about living in a small town is that you can easily keep track of people if you’re nosey enough. I’m nosey enough. When he was fifteen Chad showed up at school with a cast on his right arm. He told everyone that he fell and broke it. A little poking around and I found out that he did indeed fall. He fell two stories into the neighbors drive way after he slipped trying to look in the window at a sixty five year old retired oil refinery worker.
I can understand glancing in a window because you’re a little curious. I can even understand trying to sneak a peak at Kathy McDonald the cheerleader across the street or even Mrs Schulman who lived further down the block who was in her thirties and hated by all the women that weren’t as thin and beautiful as she was. But risking your life to see someone’s grandma naked.
That’s just fucked up.
The beginning of the end of Chad’s time on our street was marked by police cars. Our homes were on a single street of a huge subdivision that never got built past the first two dozen homes. Because of this lack of a real neighborhood a car driving down the street was a good enough reason to run to the window in hopes of excitement . It was Bubba that saw them first and alerted the rest of us. “Cop cars”
There was no need to wonder why the police were there. In the driveway next to their house was Brother Fred’s Chevy Van. All four tires flattened. The early morning sun glittering off of the piles of glass covering the ground. The previous night the van could boast a total of eleven windows. This made for a lot of broken glass.
There wasn’t any need to go poking around for the reason for the attack on Brother Fred’s family vehicle. When we arrived at school we were met at the busses by the representatives of the news grapevine. This story was the most scandalous in our lifetime and everyone wanted to be the first to tell anyone who didn’t know.
Jason Aldon was a senior on the football team and he had been arrested last night. Or he turned himself in. Or he was still on the loose hiding from the authorities. Depending on the story teller and the time of day it was told. Jason had found his mother was having an affair with Fred. Or he caught his mother in bed with Fred. Or, as I heard in the locker room later in the day, Jason caught his mother giving the Music Pastor a blowjob in the van. There were, of course, logistical problems with this racier version. Why was Jason looking in the van for example? But I didn’t bring it up. The mental picture was just too good to dispel.
In most cases of grapevine news the real version of the story was probably the most boring one. Regardless how events really played out I never saw that asshole Chad or his father, Brother Fred again. The kids never returned to school and the family moved out of the house and out of our lives two weeks after the incident.
The only evidence that they ever lived in the house was the pile of broken glass in the yard. I would go to the house and scoop the little clear cubes into miniature mountain ranges and marvel at how beautiful destruction and retribution could look with the sun shining through it at just the right angle. Who knows, I pondered , maybe there is a God.