Friends can often surprise you
| Pete's Smelly Feet
He pulled the brim of his hat down over his eyes as he propped his torso against the trunk of the willow tree. The warm summer day had lured him to the tree in hopes of stealing a lazy afternoon nap. Roscoe seldom did this in the middle of a work day, but two unexpected factors allowed for the midday break. The water main breaking one block away and a construction partner late returning from lunch were the gifting culprits. So, Roscoe snoozed in his middle-aged girth wrapped in dungarees and sweat filled beard, oblivious to the little boys spying on him.
"Pete, get the jar ready," Micah instructed from his crouched position behind the bush.
"All set, when you are," Pete giggled the response in his excitement of the impending treachery.
School had ended less than a week before and the boys had mapped out their plans for the mischievous summer deeds. There would be no summer camp or sports challenges for the pair. Swimming holes and jaunts through the park with family were nonexistent dreams. Pete was an only child of troubled parents, who at times failed to remember they had a child. A score of drugs or alcohol for the day was their only standing interest. Any roadblock to the quest for the ultimate high usually resulted in bad happenings for Pete when he stayed around home.
Pete's salvation was meeting Micah. Similar backgrounds and an unregimented freedom from parental guidance ensured a fast and hardy friendship. Pete, being only nine, admired Micah for the strength he felt he lacked. He saw Micah as two years closer to being done with the nonsense of childhood and the parental bullying that the duo endured. He willingly handed his power over to the best friend he ever had.
"We have to be very quiet, so we don't wake him."
The pair tiptoed closer to the tree with Pete holding close to the jar in his hands. He loosened the lid when they reached the base of the trunk. He waited for orders from Micah before he would remove it. Both boys bent down behind Roscoe, eager for their moment of fun.
"You need to pour them inside his overalls," Micah whispered.
Pete nodded in agreement as Micah raised his right forefinger to start the official little boy count down. When his right forefinger popped into the air, he waved wildly at Pete with his left hand. Pete moved in silently to complete his mission. He removed the jar's lid and carefully dusted Roscoe with its contents. Fire ants, red and angry from their brutal confinement, charged furiously down Roscoe's bibbed chest. The boys scampered to the bush to watch the action in relative obscurity.
Roscoe woke swatting at his chest and rising quickly to his feet. He howled like a dying animal as his awareness of the acidy burn on his skin registered. His cries turned to shrieks of terror as the stinging bites of fire engulfed his private parts. Roscoe ripped at his overalls desperately trying to tear them away from his body as he ran. He stumbled many times before he managed to escape the burning denim. He tore at the Saint Louis Blues shirt, shredding it to pieces like the Hulk in a full ogre rampage. Roscoe continued his wild run down the street by streaking in his tidy whites and sneakers in search of a pool in which to dive. Barely audible was his one word rant of "water". His body was painted in red welts of varying degree in size and fury. The man's wails never ceased as he scratched franticly at his beard. Passersby watched in horror, unsure of how to assist the distressed and naked man. One level headed lady screamed and waved her arms at Roscoe, as she opened the gate to her back yard leading to a swimming pool. She dialed 911 just as the man crashed face first into the water.
Pete and Micah, hidden behind the bush, roared in laughter as the scene unfolded. Ecstatic with the results of their prank, Pete only wished he had been able to get a picture of the man in his underwear. The boys watched until the ambulance carried poor Roscoe away, not knowing or caring about his fate.
"We better split up for awhile, so they don't pin it on us," Micah said.
"Okay, you go first," Pete said, as he pushed his red-headed friend away from the bush.
Pete counted to one-hundred in his head giving his friend a chance to get away, before sliding himself out of the greenery. After looking around for anyone that might notice his presence, he darted off in a full sprint towards home. He ran so quickly that he failed to notice the large pile of dog poop before he skidded across the grass. The goo squished into the webbing of his shoes attaching a stench to the boy and his feet. He picked himself up and continued his jog without noticing the unpleasant aroma.
Once home, he entered the house warily, hoping to avoid any interaction with his parents.
He didn't hear his father's voice until it was too late for a safe retreat.
"What the hell is that smell you carried in here?" the man yelled into the boys face as he lifted him into the air by the shirt collar..
"I don't know...what...smell?" the boy whimpered in fear..
"Dog shit...you idiot! I'm gonna beat you ass!" the threatening scream echoed in the foyer of the small home. The broad shouldered man began to strike the boy repeatedly across the face.
Pete trembled, trying not to cry, as he withstood the onslaught of the man's insanity. Just as he was ready to blackout from the violent blows, he glanced into the corner and spotted Micah.
:"What are you doing here?" Pete spoke in a hushed and broken cry.
"Always here for you, friend! Look what I got, our friends the fire ants. This should take care of that pesky old fart," Micah said as he hovered in a cloud above the head of Pete's father. Pete grabbed the jar from him and released the ants into the man's face. Instantly his father fell to the ground in pain. Pete crashed to the floor with a thud as his father's grip released.
"Get up! We're not done!" Micah screamed from his fuzzy stance in the atmosphere.
"It has to be done. Now we add real fire to those ants. We can't let him hurt us anymore! Grab the gas can, now."
Pete followed the instructions, dousing the man as he wriggled helplessly on the floor.
"Throw the match when you're out the door."
Pete could feel the heat on his face when flames engulfed the room. He tuned out the screams of the burning man and the stench of melting flesh.
"Let's go wash your shoes off or people are going to start calling you Pete with the smelly feet." Micah said.
Pete could feel Micah's imaginary arm around him. "Micah, what would I do without you? You are such a good and true friend."
Word Count 1193