A Flash Fiction by Jeff Harvey
With his toothy smile and black hair, Robbie reminded me of Donny Osmond. On Labor Day weekend his mom found him in a shed with their preacher and kicked him out, but she continued attending the same church. My mom let him stay with us until graduation. He slept on an air mattress in my room and always wore a red Speedo. I listened to him for hours insisting President Nixon worked for the Chinese government.
On New Year’s Eve, we hung out alone at my church rec hall playing ping-pong and chugging wine I’d stolen from my dad. Robbie asked if I would ever get married. I told him no because I preferred men. He threw the paddle at me and called me queer.
That spring Robbie started speaking with me again. He’d met the director of a local theatre group and was using expressions like drag queen, fag hag, and what a dump. I wanted to be his friend, but he scared me when he talked about the voices. At the end of May, we graduated and went to another kid’s party. After smoking weed, he jumped off this kid’s roof in an attempt to fight the man. I felt relieved when Robbie moved to live with his dad in Ohio.
Jeff Harvey lives in San Diego. His fiction has recently appeared in MoonPark Review and Potato Soup Journal. Find him on Twitter @JeffHarveySD.
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It must’ve been a massive relief. Some kids just keep drifting, stumbling into adulthood. Great story! 🙂