the brothers stood sweating in the warm kitchen not saying a word. johnny was the first to move. he went into the living room and made sure the screen door was latched and the front door locked. moving through the rest of the house he went room to room closing blinds and drapes. jimmy stayed in the kitchen not moving. johnny returned to the kitchen and shoved jimmy into the living room and onto the shabby couch.
johnny, i think i’m going to be sick.
alright but not here. go into the bathroom and make it quick. we have to be quiet.
jimmy scurried off to the bathroom. he wasn’t sick but he took a long leak. flushed and came back into the living room. by then the sirens had stopped. the boys knew the police and maybe an ambulance were at the dairy. several minutes passed in silence. johnny got up and used the bathroom. when he came back a siren started up and soon faded into the hot sweltering summer air. the boys imagined it was the ambulance taking eddie otto to the hospital.
johnny what are we gonna do? mom and dad…
shut up jimmy. we have to be real quiet. i’ll think of something. you just be quiet. ok?
no crying either.
yeah. ok. shit.
it wasn’t long after that they heard a car pull up outside the house. johnny crept to the front window, shushed jimmy, and peeked out through a small crack in the drapes. it was a police car. two cops were getting out and heading up to the house.
it’s the cops, jimmy. be real quiet.
the brothers heard one of the cops climb up on the porch and saw his shadow as he passed to the front door. the cop began knocking on the front door. between knocks johnny and jimmy heard the crunch of gravel as the other cop made his way to the back of the house. soon there was pounding on the back door as well.
johnny put his left index finger to his lips. jimmy put his right index finger to his. both boys nodded. the knocking at the front door stopped but the cop stayed where he was. a few seconds later the pounding at the back door stopped as well. soon after they heard the other cop walking on the gravel back towards the front yard.
back door is locked too. the garage was clear.
ok. i’ll call in and we’ll just sit tight until one of the parents gets here. they must be in the house or in the wind. i’ll get some other units to cruise the area.
sounds good. i’ll go around back again and wait there. we’ll keep both doors covered.
alright. yell if you see or hear anything.
one of the cops went out to the car and talked on the radio for a few minutes. when he was finished talking he got out of the car wiping his brow from the heat. he walked up into the yard and stood in the shade of the large walnut tree that stood in the corner of the yard. a few minutes later several other cop cars pulled up in front of the house. johnny was still at the small crack in the drapes by the front window. he could see the cops talking. the cop in the yard gestured up the street and the other cars slowly pulled away to search the surrounding area.
the two brothers were scared, exhausted and soon fell asleep. johnny on the floor by the front window and jimmy on the couch. they were both awakened by a car door slamming. johnny looked out the front window. it was their mother. she was climbing out of a cop car. the cops had gone to her work and picked her up. not good. he knew their father would be arriving home soon as well. not good.
johnny made a quick decision. not one of his best but in the grand scheme of things certainly not one of his worst. he bolted for the kitchen and the back door.
johnny where you going? johnny?
jimmy stood by the couch wiping his eyes. he was still half asleep, tired and now bewildered. he’d almost forgotten what had been going on that hot afternoon. as he stood there he heard the back door open and the voice of the cop in the backyard.
hey! stop right there!
luckily for johnny the cop had been distracted by the horse the next door neighbors kept. he was in the corner of the yard by the fence. by the time he got moving johnny was around the corner and heading down the driveway at full tilt. johnny was moving well on the gravel even in his bare feet. the cop in the back yelled to the cop in the front that one of the kids was heading his way. also that the back door was open and he was going in.
johnny was flying down the gravel drive. he blew past the cop in the front yard. his mother and another cop near her. he’d made it to the end of the drive then made a hard left into the empty lot where the neighborhood kids played baseball. his mistake was staying near the street. not much foot traffic there as everyone cut across the vacant lot. johnny had run into an area where the puncture vines held sway.
johnny had traveled maybe thirty feet from the driveway when he realized his mistake. he’d ran right into the center of a very large spreading puncture vine. he hopped to a stop. both feet filled with the nasty sharp dried needle like balls. he fell to his butt getting some stuck in his hands and ass as well. one of the cops scooped him up and carried him to the front lawn where he began to remove the stickers.
johnny’s mother was livid. she was yelling and ranting uncontrollably. one of the other cops had to restrain her in order to get her away from her son. the cop from the back yard opened the front door. he had jimmy by the hand. johnny and jimmy basura’s first crime spree was over. sadly, there would be many more to come.
the rest of the day and night was a blur for the two youngsters. their mother yelling and crying. their father yelling and threatening all manner of retribution. the cops were in and out as well. they weren’t yelling. more like mystified by the brothers savage attack on the hapless teenage dairy attendant. eddie otto would survive. the last stab to his neck just missing his jugular by mere millimeters. though there was the fact he was now sporting close to one hundred stitches covering a large portion of his body.
the stitches hurt and stung but eddie figured that at some point that would stop and the scars along with the story about how he got them would become sort of a babe magnet. eddie otto was right about that. while he was in the hospital he might also ask a doctor why he could blow cigarette smoke out of his ears. he never did. no sense ruining a good thing.
as for johnny and jimmy they were placed in custody of the court for a time. the court figuring that maybe their crazed parents had something or another to do with their going off on eddie otto. they spent a lot of time with social workers and psychologists. both trying their collective best to try and figure the two brothers out. though being in the mid 50’s it was early for both fields and nothing much was really uncovered. the boys soon learned the ropes and after a year and a half the court decided the two kids were ok enough to be sent back to their parents and their home. both parents had calmed down and had received some of the same treatment the boys had. it worked about as well on them as it did their kids.
things at the basura household actually went well for a few years. the boys and their parents getting along reasonably well. reasonably well until the two youngsters hit puberty. even though johnny and jimmy were a year apart they hit puberty at the same time with a vengeance not often seen in those calmer and saner days of the early 1960s. johnny and jimmy basura were to become, what one wag would later say, the vanguard of what was to become of american youth.