So my cousin gives this evil laugh as we're sitting on the steps leading up to my Aunt's house in the hills. It's my aunt's birthday and all the adults are inside drinking wine while all the kids (me, my sister, my cousin Ray, and my other cousin Veronica) play outside at the bottom of the steps making jack-asses of ourselves playing some good guy bad guy game. Ray's laughing all over the place like he's some mob boss who's just shot some poor kid's dog or something and my sister Julie, who was seven years old at the time playing a female ninja turtle, starts crying about it and tugs at my shirt to make him stop. I hate to see my sister cry, so I came up to his level on the steps and looked down at him, at the time playing a ninja-pirate, mostly ninja because goddamnit, everyone knows ninjas are better than pirates.

At the time, we were all roughly around the same age. I was eight, Ray was nine, Veronica was six, and as I mentioned before, Julie was seven. But I don't know if it was the milk or the McDonald's but I was a tall ass motherfucker for my age. Among these kids I was like Shaquille O'Neal in China, man, I was so tall.

So Ray's looking up at me, giving me this imitation Robert Dinero gangster face and pisses some words out of his mouth. "Whata'matta' you? Eh?" It was the worst damn Dinero impression ever, I'm telling you. Even Veronica, the little six-year-old Transformer was bawling, I mean damn, it was bad. So I'm trying to hold a straight face while Veronica's spilling snot all over herself from laughing so hard and Julie is standing behind me, smiling--- when I see Ray's face.

Ray's face was red, I mean tomato red, I mean red like the red writing on your test paper when you multiply seven times seven and you write sixty instead of forty-nine. He pushes me to the railing and I hurt my back a little. Julie quickly came to my aid and rubbed my back like she'd seen mom do to me whenever I got hurt at soccer practice. "You ok Tim?" She asked. I nodded and just wiped my nose like Bruce Lee after he'd been clawed in the chest or something and I put my hands on my waist and stood real tall like, laughing like some sort of valiant-knight-guy.

So Ray get's even madder and now he's throwing punches at me as if I'd just shit on his face or something. I'm just standing there blocking my goods and Veronica's still laughing. The little girl really knew how to laugh; drool, snot, and all this other shit was running from her face. Julie was smiling again. After a while I said to myself, you know what, I've had enough of this shit, I'mma end this thing and get some soda. So after I took a little bit more of his shitty hand pummeling I brought my knee up and kneed him in the chin. It was the best knee-to-the-chin ever. I was so much taller then Ray that my knee didn't even go past my waist. When my knee connected with his chin Ray just flew backwards and hit the wall side of the steps head first, HARD. He was bleeding and man, I felt like a badass, a freakn' champion, a freakn' badass-champion-Ninja Pirate.

I never understood the way people laugh. In movies the villains in black and white and red and blue always have a smile that look like they're about to explode into laughter. My sister calls it an evil smile, a grin or a snare. But can a smile really be that bad or that good? Doesn't a smile represent many things just like a laugh? And if that's true, does that laugh come out when we release our real feelings? I guess that's why it's so easy to distinguish fake laughter from the genuine kind. Ever since that time Ray never stops laughing about it. Actually he never stops laughing about anything. When I go to visit him at this new place he lives at with white walls and barred windows I can't tell if he's happy or extremely happy to see me. But when I hear him laugh I can't help but laugh with him.