johnny basura became a low life thug at a very early age. no one is sure just how or why that was only that it was. no doubt about it. not only johnny but his younger brother jimmy as well. the pair had been nothing but trouble since johnny was in the third grade and his little brother jimmy in the second. in the beginning they weren’t too bad really. just normal kids crying, laughing, and getting into the usual kid mischief. nothing very serious. then one summer day things went way south for the two brothers. and way south for the rest of the basura family as well.
the day was hot in the usual southern california summer way. almost 95 degrees by noon time. baking hot. with not even a whisper of a breeze. the two basura brothers had been fooling around all morning playing baseball with some of the other neighborhood kids. the kids stopped their game for lunch. each of them went their separate ways for a sandwich or whatever. with the day promising only to get hotter the boys probably wouldn’t be playing anymore ball until the next morning or maybe after dinner that night. maybe.
johnny and jimmy ate their sandwiches in front of the old b/w TV. they watched cartoons while they ate. johnny spoke.
you want to go get a 50 – 50 bar after lunch, jimmy?
there was a dairy farm a short walk away with a drive thru area where you could buy milk, ice cream, eggs, and bread. of course, for the local neighborhood kids it was more of a walk thru as they ran their milk run errands for their families or scored ice cream for themselves. after they finished eating the boys cleaned up knowing that if they didn’t there would be trouble to pay when their parents got home from work. no sense getting chased around the house by an angry mother wielding a metal fly swatter and swinging wildly at them and often making contact. all the while yelling wait until your father gets home. no, not something the two boys wanted on this hot summer day.
with the temperature now nearing 100 the two brothers gingerly walked barefoot to the dairy. almost burning their feet on the hot asphalt as they ran across the street. the dirt path on the other side was somewhat cooler and they kept their eyes peeled for puncture vines not wanting to step on any of the vicious dried spiked balls of weed with their bare feet. most of the time they were lucky but luck didn’t always hold out. today it did. at least in that regard.
johnny and jimmy always carried a knife. their father mauricio, or maury as family or friends called him, had given each of the boys a small pocket knife as soon they were both walking fairly well. their father thought kids should have some sort of protection as he put it and a knife could be a useful tool as well. most of the time the brothers used their knives for the random whittling of fallen tree branches or other errant pieces of wood. sure the boys often cut themselves but maury said that was just part of being a boy and growing up. well, this day was about to become something entirely different.
as the brothers walked along the dirt path they raised little clouds of dust with each step. they spoke quietly about nothing until johnny put his hand out to stop his little brother. they stopped mid stride in the hot afternoon sun. little jimmy just stood there silently looking at his older brother and wondering what was up. there were no puncture vines close by and as far as he could tell no stray dogs about either. what was up?
jimmy, let’s rob the dairy.
what? are you kidding?
no. let’s do it.
why not? it might be fun. we both have knives. we’ll each order a 50 – 50 bar and when eddie is digging them out of the freezer we’ll pull our knives and tell him it’s a stick up.
are you serious? we could get into big trouble. and mom and dad…
forget that stuff, ok? i’m going to do this whether you go along or not. and you’d better or i’ll kick your ass worse than mom or dad ever did. understand?
ok. since you put it that way. i’m in. you know sometimes i don’t like you much, johnny.
yeah, i don’t like you much either. just shut up and follow my lead.
yeah yeah, sure.
the brothers continued their walk in the sun towards their destiny. when they reached the corner and the shade of several eucalyptus trees jimmy stopped and spoke.
johnny? i’m scared.
me too. but this will be fun. trust me.
ok. sure. shit.
rounding the corner they could see the dairy’s drive thru. there were no cars and eddie otto, the teenage attendant, was sitting in the shade smoking a cigarette. he was always smoking or so it seemed. eddie favored lucky strikes and would smoke them down to nubs. then he’d put on a show for the local kids with the short cigarette butts. he’d put the butt in his mouth. close it then make smoke come out of his nose. open his mouth and roll the still lit smoke around on his tongue. flipping it over a couple of times. close his mouth again and then make smoke come out of his ears. it was truly an amazing sight. even for eddie otto. he had no idea why he was able to get the smoke to come out of his ears. though he really didn’t care much because it looked very cool. regardless. and eddie otto was very cool.
eddie saw the two brothers approaching and waved to them. he drew deeply on his smoke several times in order to get it to the proper length for his little kid show. teenage boys and boredom. both of which were in for a shock that sweltering summer day. as johnny and jimmy neared the driveway they saw eddie hold up the cigarette butt and put it in his mouth. by the time they got to the cash register eddie was almost finished with his act. smoke was coming out of his ears when johnny spoke.
hi, eddie. we want two 50 – 50 bars. raspberry and an orange.
eddie spit out the butt and said.
sure. a dime each.
he turned around to reach into the freezer for the ice cream bars. when he turned back holding the bars he spotted the two knives.
shut up, eddie. this is a stick up. give us all of the cash in the drawer. we’re serious.
what? don’t make me laugh. put those away before you guys get hurt or i’ll call the cops. understand boys?
shut up, eddie. give us the money.
eddie just glared at the two boys then said.
fuck this. i’m calling the cops.
eddie turned towards the telephone on the desk and began dialing the local cops.
johnny was first but jimmy was a very close second. both of the boys dove onto eddie otto and began to stab him repeatedly with their small pocket knives. eddie did his best to cover himself while trying to stop the two now frenzied brothers. he wasn’t very successful at either. johnny had the register open and grabbed the cash as jimmy kept on stabbing eddie. johnny stuffed the cash into a front pocket of his shorts. he lunged towards eddie for one more stab and caught the teenager in the throat with his small knife.
let’s go, jimmy!
the two brothers ran away heading towards home. they left eddie otto sitting on the ground, leaning against the desk, phone in his hand, and bleeding very badly. the two ice cream bars lay melting on the ground in the hot sun.
as the two brothers ran home they barely felt the hot dirt and asphalt under their feet. it was as if something was lifting them as they ran. their feet hardly touching the ground. or so it seemed. they ran home and up the gravel driveway to the backdoor. both boys hit the door at the same time. once inside they slammed it shut and tried to catch their breaths. in the distance they heard sirens.