First published in Atticus Review, January 2018. Copyright 2018 by Tetman Callis.
Bobby had a harness over his face. Leather straps held together with stainless-steel studs. There was a chain running back to
Bobby was on his hands and knees, trying to get
There was a hole broken through a thick stone wall. The wall was painted faded orange. Bobby’s chain was pulled taut back through the hole. He was wearing a brown suit.
I always remember that he was wearing a brown suit.
I don’t remember what Johnny was wearing. Johnny was behind me, and I think he was wearing a dark blue suit. Maybe charcoal. I wasn’t watching him. The guys were clubbing him to death and I didn’t want to watch. I watched Bobby.
he wasn’t screaming, but he
The straps on the harness didn’t look like they’d be strong enough to hold. But they held. Bobby was
he was scrambling
He was pulling as hard as he could. I think it was as hard as he could. It looked like it. There were these guttural screaming noises he was making and he was trying to break the chain and get to Johnny. He was pulling at the straps and at the chain. Beside him there was an open doorway and a couple of the guys stood there and watched him. They were wearing suits, too, and so were the guys who were taking care of Johnny.
There were girls in the theater dressed
the girls in the theater were schoolgirls wearing schoolgirl uniforms. White blouses and blue woolen skirts that went down below their knees. They all had dark hair. I don’t remember a blonde
there were no blondes
Not Bobby, not Johnny, not the guys, and not the girls.
The girls were happy. They had a secret
everybody had it, everybody was happy
Not everybody was happy because the guys weren’t happy. None of them.
Everybody knew the secret but the guys didn’t want anybody to know, but the girls knew it and the guys were beginning to suspect the girls
The girls shouldn’t
It didn’t make sense that they were happy at all, unless they knew
So the girls were in the theater. They were watching the film and whispering to each other “Did you hear?” “Did you know?”
Yes, they all had heard and they all knew. They didn’t want the guys to know they knew. There was no telling what the guys might do. The girls didn’t think it would be as bad for them as it was for Bobby and Johnny, but you never could tell. Some of those guys might do anything.
The film ended and the girls could barely keep it in, how happy they were. They knew it wouldn’t be long now.
In the hallway near the stairs, one girl carried a tray of fresh papas fritas. Another girl bumped into her and knocked down the tray and the potatoes, and the girls fell down together, laughing. And the potatoes were still hot. Somebody could’ve been hurt!
They shouldn’t have been laughing, but they couldn’t keep it
And then they started singing.
And now the guys knew. It was too late. The secret hadn’t been kept and the guys were no match for these girls.