As the last of the elementary school days dwindled away, two boys sat on a tall beach wall. And, teetered on the edge of innocence and adolescence. Legs dangling. Their homes, a stone’s throw away. Which is what some say.
Across the curve of sky, the sun threw its last, desperate arms of orange. Its pink and red fingers reaching over the faraway metropolis.
‘What do you think of girls?’ asked the boy wearing blues.
‘I don’t think about them,’ said the boy clothed in reds.
‘Oh, come on. Of course you do.’
‘Nope.’ Red spat into the sand below.
Blue laughed. ‘Well, I think of ’em.’
‘Waste of time, buddy. Summer’s coming. Can smell it on the wind.’
‘Yeah? So? You don’t want girls?’
Red nodded. ‘Now you’re gettin’ it.’
‘What’s the deal, man?’
‘Just seems like a lot.’ Red shrugged.
‘Like, if it doesn’t work out, you end up bludgeoning the girl to death with an old hammer.’
Blue giggled, a hyena lodged in his throat. ‘Yeah, that’s usually how things end.’ On he giggled and giggled through his sarcasm.
‘Well, you know? You find a pretty girl. You lose the pretty girl. She finds some other boy. Wants babies with him. You find an old hammer. You bash the girl’s head over and over.’
‘Ha-ha-ha-ha, is that the only way these things can go?’
‘I don’t know. I don’t think I’d do that. But, I hear most relationships end like that. A hammer to the girl’s head.’
Blue look horrified, but still, he couldn’t contain his giggles. ‘Jesus.’
‘He’s got nothing to do with it,’ said Red, pointing upward, into the deep, darkening blues.
‘What if you don’t lose the girl?’ Blue asked.
Red wondered, bit his nails. ‘I think the old hammer always finds its way to the girl’s head. Until the boy can’t tell the difference between his tears and the blood running over his face.’
Blue’s skin crawled at Red’s words. The monotonous tone in which he spoke. He couldn’t tell if this whole conversation was facetious. Or. If it was something grimmer. ‘That can’t be how it always ends. My parents got a divorce! Simple as that!’
‘Yeah, but your dad’s not good with tools.’
Blue nodded. ‘This is true.’
‘Boy, boy, boy. I don’t know. It’s not something I could do. I don’t think.’
Red hopped from the wall. ‘Come on.’
‘Where’re we goin’?’ Blue jumped down.
‘Gotta get the hammers outta my dad’s toolbox,’ Red told his friend. ‘Mom’s been workin’ him up a lot, lately.’
Blue’s eyes widened. ‘Oh, jeez. And your dad doesn’t have money for a divorce.’
They rushed home for the hammers.