The New Kid


This kid I met said his name was Hugo. What a stupid name, Hugo. Hey Hugo, where do Hugo? It sounds so stupid. He looks stupid too. I told him that he has a stupid name. I didn’t tell him that he looked stupid with his glasses and stupid hair cut. I felt like punching him. I was just standing there next to my bike unwrapping a Bazooka bubble gum and he walks up. He didn’t say anything, he just walked up and stood there looking at my bike, real stupid like. I asked him, what his name was. That’s when he told me it was Hugo and I told him it was a stupid name. He asked me what my name was, like we were going to be friends or something. I just said that it was none of his beeswax. He must have just moved here or something but I’m not playing with anyone named Hugo! That’s when he coughed a kind of fake cough and said, “My sister’s name is Olive, that’s Olive,” and he looked over his shoulder. Olive is a stupid name too. Their parents must be really stupid. I looked then and she was kind of pretty, I guess.

He asked me where I got the Bazooka bubble gum. I wasn’t going to tell him but then I said that I got it at the Quicky Mart and I started getting onto my bike. That's when I saw something flopping around in the weeds. He said, “Why don’t you go get that baby bird.” I knew it was a bird. Maybe it was just learning to fly or something. I wasn’t going to touch that thing. It might have some kind of germs.

I said, “Why don’t you go?” I made it sound like Hugo on purpose and I thought it was funny. I don’t think he got it because he didn’t laugh. He called his sister over. She had blond hair and she kept pushing it away from her eyes with one finger. She was wearing pink shorts. When she walked she looked like a pony the way she picked up her long legs.

I said, “Is your name Olive?”

And she said, “Who wants to know?”

Hugo said, “Hey Olive, Go get that baby bird. This kid is afraid.”

I said, “I don’t want that stupid bird,” and I started getting onto my bike again but I stopped and watched Olive. She walked right over and bent down. All her long hair fell forward and for a moment I couldn’t what she was doing. When she stood back up and pushed her hair aside, she was holding the bird in one hand. Then she started sort of petting it with her finger.

When she walked past me she glanced at me real proud like. Still petting the bird, she said, “come on Hugo, let’s go home and feed it.” Hugo turned and walked with her. I got on my bike and watched until they turned the corner and then I got back off and looked around in the weeds to see if there were any more baby birds. I couldn’t find any.

The next day I saw Hugo at that same spot. I said, “Hey Hugo, how’s that stupid bird?”

He said, “OK I guess. Olive gave it some water and it flew away.”

I said, “Well, that’s good.” He had a football with him and he threw it at me. I almost caught it with one hand.

08/09/2017 © Don Lehman