An eleven-year-old convinces his mother to buy him a wrist-rocket when they vacation out of state. Wrist-rockets were really no different that any other slingshot you could buy, but "wrist-rocket" was a much more A-Team sounding name, so they tended to be more popular with the armchair commandos of 1986.
The eleven-year-old walks to Oak Grove cemetery with his pal & his pal's little brother to try the wrist-rocket out. The pal brings his black folding knife with panther insignia on the handle, the most ninja thing he could buy at Mr. Han's Army-Navy Surplus. The little brother carries ammo for the wrist-rocket.
The three kids only get about thirty yards into the cemetery when they run into another two kids on BMX bikes. These two were the arch-enemies of the week, selected for their special role due to an altercation earlier that same day. One of the BMX bandits tosses a flare grenade, freshly concocted with a home chemistry set and a white-out bottle. The malfunctioning flare grenade bounces off the eleven-year-old's leg, unharmed by the grenade sparks. He fires off two rounds with the wrist-rocket, and the BMX bandits ride off. Our three heroes are victorious.
Until they turn around and see the patrol-car pulling up.
The cop questions the eleven-year-old about the wrist-rocket. The kid says the three of them were walking back from a friend's house, and he was just bringing the wrist-rocket home. They weren't in the cemetery to shoot anything; they were just taking a short cut on their walk. The cop asks the other kid if he has any weapons. The kid lies about the panther pocket knife. Almost satisfied, the cop asks the little brother if he has anything on him.
"Just some rocks," the little brother replies.
The cop takes the wrist-rocket and drives off.
Twenty-one years later, the eleven-year-old is a cop, dead at thirty-two from what sketchy newspaper articles report as a self-inflicted gunshot would.
This is the second instance of something horrible happening with someone I grew up with in my hometown. Last year a guy I used to skate with back in high school actually killed someone. I used to think that my hometown - Fall River - was just another broken-down town to escape, hopefully with all your marbles intact and without knocking someone up. Now Fall River really seems like something to survive.
Back in Los Angeles I'm still trudging along with my handful of projects. One of the projects was recently shelved by a writing partner - which fucked my shit up pretty badly - but at least I learned something about writing in the process, and obviously life could be much worse. After finishing up the Sistene Buckle I may try writing something about Fall River...if I can get a handle on what Fall River does to the people who live there.