Page 34 - WTP Vol.VII #3
P. 34

Vigil (continued from preceding page)
his death with an impromptu party. Maybe even get It was Tyler.
tattoos to commemorate the years the boys had played sports together.
“Just can’t stop thinking about that little prick,” Camp- bell said.
 So between the beer and the pot that his friend George Humphreys had brought, Campbell and his friends were feeling pretty good when Missy Rogers started to hand out candles. Everything would’ve gone smoothly if this geek, Robert Hammersmith, a short kid with black curly hair, hadn’t tried to hit on Missy. Like he was worthy of her, Campbell thought. I mean, come on.
“You’re drunk, Campbell. A little touchy.”
“Do you believe that little prick,” Campbell said, taking a toke from a joint.
“I do,” George Humphreys said, though all the rest stayed quiet.
“He’s okay,” Tyler Whitney said.
“Well, I’m outta here,” Tyler said. “But I’m telling you, Alex wouldn’t have wanted this.”
Tyler was one of them but always tried to be fair to everyone, which was why he was class president or vice president every year. In spite of that, Campbell put up with him because they’d been teammates since first grade.
“We talking about the same Alex?”
“You aren’t going to start that nice-guy shit again, are you?” Campbell said.
After Tyler left, Campbell complained for about ten minutes, then let it drop. Most of the beer had been drunk, and there was only one joint left, which got passed around. When everyone started to leave, Campbell and his friends got up and stretched, as
“I’m just saying that these other kids probably don’t get why we’re partying.”
if warming up before a big game. They probably would’ve gone home peacefully if Campbell hadn’t noticed two guys arguing in front of a car parked il- legally on the street.
“Who cares?”
“I do,” Tyler said.
“What’s that about?” he said, moving toward the com-
A few other guys agreed and asked Campbell to tone it motion.
But when George Humphreys likened Missy’s vigil candles to rectal thermometers, and Campbell said they resembled dildos, the kid named Hammersmith asked if he could help Missy, probably wanting to steer her away from the action. And that really pissed off Campbell because he knew if Alex was alive, he would’ve thrown these assholes off his property.
Jim Keegan stared at himself in the bedroom mirror, wondering who this stranger was. He was getting ready to drive to an outdoor vigil for Alex Youngblood, a student of his, who had been inexplicably murdered two nights ago. It seemed like a nice gesture—a teacher comforting his students―but Jim knew he was going for another reason. He had overheard Patti
After that, there was some arguing until Hammersmith Rizzo say she’d be there, and he needed to see her.
and Missy and the kid named Barney walked away. But Campbell was still mad. He went quiet, like he always did before a fight. He eyed his backpack, think- ing about his father’s Glock, which was hidden under some gym clothes. He’d been carrying it around for months, not exactly sure why, though knowing this wasn’t quite the right time to use it. Still, he had to un- load on someone, right? Preferably Hammersmith, and that’s what he was about to do, when he felt a hand on his shoulder.
“What time will you be home?” his wife asked. She was holding the baby. She looked tired but, as al- ways, beautiful. She was intelligent, too, and nice, and thoughtful, and unselfish—even athletic in bed. Yet here he was, going off in the middle of the night, hop- ing to catch a glimpse of one of his female students.
“Chill, dude.” 27
“I won’t be long,” he said. “Promise.” He went over and kissed her on the forehead, then bent down to kiss the baby, who looked up with vacant blue eyes.
Campbell looked around until he spotted the kid named Hammersmith again. “I need to talk to that guy,” he said. “Any of you have my back?”
“Whatever, I’m gone,” Tyler said, then headed toward the street.

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