The First Summer

by: Gildarts Winters.

Chapter 1: Creeper Catchers:

The bell rang for lunch just at half past eleven at Shreev Port High. Justin's cell buzzed as he was closing his world history text book. It was Ryan. Justin didn't have to open his phone to know that is was Ryan. They had been best friends for the past fourteen years, and they had fallen into a ritual since arriving here. Captial -H-. Here. At highschool. Finally. Ryan was going to be fifteen on July fourth. Justin's birthday had been on January first. That was one they both had in common. Kinda weird birthdays. The first of the year, and the fourth of july. Independence day of all things. Justin always joked that he would get some fireworks, and a star spangled cake for him on his brithday one year. "I know." Just muttered as he typed his reply to Ryan. See you in a sec. Justin shouldered his bag, and walked out into the crowded hallway. Drizzle or no, today was special. It was the end of school, for the year.

"Yo, Jay!" A voice called out jovially.

"Simpson?" Justin asked innocently.

'You make that joke every single time I yell your name." Ryan complained. We grew up in the midst of a black tide. Not cool, man. O.J Simpson died in prison you know. In some parts, he is still the juice, man"

"No, no no." Justin said, shaking his head as he and Ryan filed out of the school with the other students.

"No what? No that people would be offended if they heard that O.J joke? Man, I am telling you. You might as well ahsout about cotton round here." Ryan got a few dirty looks for that. "I didn't say it. Jay did."

Justin sighed. "This isn't our old school.

"I know. But-"

"But your ass, Ry. We now have more black people here than in our old school. Our middle school. Not only are we loosing our,highschool swagger factor, as you call it, but we nearly got into three fights the first day. All thanks to you. I know your Dad is a biggot, and you aren't but, people won't get your sense of humor. Trying to make all who can hear you smart to the fact that you are not your Dad. It's good that you think like him, but broadcast the fact in ways that won't get us lynched. Alright? You understand?" Ryan just chuckled.

"You just sounding more, and more like your Dad now." Ryan responded. They'd stopped in front of the school.

"And stop talking like that." Justin said, annoyed. Ever since the trip he'd gone on to new York with him Mother, Ryan acted like this. Like he hadn't grown up around black people.

"Like what?" Ryan snapped back.

"Like what you think black people sound like. There's a reason they call you, white out. Just because you watch some M. T.V bullshit doesn't mean you know everything about black culture. It wasn't cool when Menem did it. It was not at all cool when John Cena did it, and a hell of a lot less cool, not at all actually, when Vanella Ice did it. Marky Mark too. That is not black culture. That is just racist." Justin said. People said that Justin was mature for his age, but he didn't see it. His Father had taught him to have respect for everybody.

"Who are you, man?" Ryan demanded. A black jeep was pulling up in front of the school. Justin's ride.

Later, Ry." Justin walked over to his Dad's jeep, and climbed into the cab. The back of the jeep was jilled with cages, traps, nets, and all kinds of other tools of his Father's trade. He owned a business called Critter Catchers. Justin helped him out sometimes. The worst day was going into a mobile hom that had been cramed with roaches, bees, and other things. That was on the weekends. Or, during school vacations. "Hey, Dad." Justin said as he shoved his book bag down between his legs. "Good day today?" His Father harrumphed.

"Couple of rats in somebody's chest freezer, and an escaped python from a local reserve. All we had today."

"That blows." Justin said. Two job days sucked. Six was good. Twelve was the best day. Dell Wade owned his own business, and had four people working for him. Two of those were his Uncle Brad, and older Brother Clint. The other two guys were old friends of the family's. Ben, and Chuck. All really cool people. Justin had know them all since he was a really little kid. "Clint help out today?" Justin asked. Now is post school's out attitude was ruined. He just felt disconnected with the world at the moment. His Father looked it too.

"Off with Kellie."

"Damn it. He's supposed to be helping you." Justin said, wincing. He'd punched the dashboard in frustration.

"Hits jeep had enough done to it over the years. Stop that." Justin's Father admonished. "Besides, it's his problem."

"How many times have I heard you say that a problem that exists with this business, is one that exists with this family? We gotta stay fed. Then there is upkeep of the tucks, and all." Justin was angry because he knew that his Dad wasn't. He was just hurt, and disappointed. Justin's Mother was still in jail. After developing an unhealthy affection with alcohol, and cheating on his Father, Justin's Mother went and stabbed a woman over twenty bucks. Killing her. Jannis Wade, Kaufer, was doing time for man one. She blamed it on Justin's Father's traveling. It didn't matter to her that he was gone a ton of the time for work. No. She wanted attention. So, she had acted like a child, and was punished for it. Grandpa Wade had been horrible to both his Wife, and Son. A nasty drunk with a worse temper. And the Kaufers had their fair share of drunks also. Justin's Father decided that he wanted out of that trash one day, he never told Justin the reason, and stopped drinking himself. He claimed that it was due to money. But, Justin knew better. It was because of Jannis. He refused to call her Mom anymore. She would be Jannis in his mind. Clint drank. Every time he slapped Kellie around, she'd cry to one of her other boyfriends, and they would corner him up in some bar or other. Wanting to fight. They would bring plenty of friends, to get the job done. Clint would mostly get the better of them though. Clint was big, and knew how to handle himself. If he had to, which he did almost on a weekendly basis. Lately Justin's Dad seemed distant, but still friendly. Clint was just more distant. "Damn you, Clint."

Ignoring this subject, Del spoke up. "You know...I've been thinking..."

Justin was still off in his own head about Clint, and how must of an ass bag he was to leave their Father high and dry like that, that he didn't hear his Dad. "Kellie is always going to be an appetizer girl. Never one to sit down to the big meal. She'll get full off of some that guy then, that one. Until she dies of old age. Probably have twenty cats like old lady May too."

Neighbors will be pissed but, I think I can get you twenty cats for Christmas." Del said.

"Huh? Why the hell would I want twenty cats, Dad?"

"Well, there is more than one way to skin a cat. Maybe you will find twenty of em. Kinda like playing twenty questions, but for keeps. At least for the cats."

"What?"

"Well, Justin, you see...how to put this politely...nah. Since you weren't listening to me, I thought it was my turn to not listen back. See how that works?"

Justin's anger at his older Brother ebbed away into a wave of shame. Why did shame have to be so hot though? He smiled apologetically. "What were you saying?" He asked.

I had an idea. But, we're home now. It's too bad you didn't wanna listen to me. Now, I guess you'll never know" He sighed as he exited the jeep. "Ah life. It fucks you in the ass an inch at a time. I guess I should just pull my pants down, bend over, and assume the posistion. " He pointed to his ass. "Stirke me down, God. Right here!" He shouted. "Bring the lightning!"

Justin knew that this is how his Dad repelled the sting of things. He laughed them all. As his Dad walked into the house, Justin's phone buzzed again. It was showing low battery life. He flipped it open, and checked the messages. Only one. Ryan asking if Justin wanted to go out with a bunch of people tonigh. He wrote back no. Then a tongue attacked him before he could get out of the jeep. "Hi, Poseidon!" Justin greeted their S.T Barnard. Justin's Father had named him after the Greeek God of the sea because of the oceans of piss the dog left in the back yard. Clint wanted to name him Everest, for other reasons. Dad had shouted him down though. Poseidon it was. They all just called him Po for short, normally. But, Justin liked his full name and so, used it. Besides that got confusing when one considered the crow they had named Po after Edger himslef. Po only knew one word however.

"Nigger!" The bird shouted as Justin made his way onto the glassed in porch. They had found the bird with a broken wing when it was young. Now, he was Po. And lived here. Ryan had called the bird nigger bird for so long that the word nigger stuck. Just had hoped the word bird would stick instead but, one couldn't have everything he supposed. "Nigger!"

"Hi, Po."

"Nigger!" The bird responded, almost sounding as if he were stating a pedantic factoid about the world today.

"That's great. But, what about your day? How's it been?"

"Nigger!" The bird affirmed.

Justin took off his shoes, and hung his bat on a nail by the door which lead into the medium sized house. "Well, I am going inside now." Justin told Po.

"Nigger!" The bird screamed back happily. He even flapped one wing, as if to wave goodbye. It was easy to imagine Po saying goodnight also. Perhaps to have sweet dreams.

"Yeah. You too, Poo."

Poseidon followed Justin into the kitchen, and began to eat his food. "What do you want for supper tonight, Justin?"

"I don't know." Justin called back to his Father, who obviously taking a leak in the tiny bathroom just oof of the kitchen.

"Come on. You gotta let me know. Squirrel stew, or cockroach Casserole?"

Justin got his humor from his Father. The only issue was, none of it was all that funny. Not after the first seven of one's life of hearing it. Plus was still in a bitter mood, to spite getting out of school for the summer, because damned Clint. He sat himself down at one of the six kitchen chairs. His Dad came out of the bathrom just as Justin's phone beeped, an indexation that it was now dead. He hoisted his lanky frome off of the chair, brushed his brown hair out of his eyes, and went to plug it in. His room was small. A bed, desk, and dresser. Clint's bedroom was right across Justin's, and the other two rooms were upstairs. AA walk in cloest served as both pantry, and coat closet. It stood between the two rooms.

"I'm seeing a steak in here."

Justin's Dad had opened their freezer. Justin walked out into the living area, which was fair sized. "Cool." He said. Poseidon took up his station next to the stove. If anything dropped, it was his. House rule after the great finger tip loss mishap of ninety seven. Dad's finger tip. Flopping into one of the two easy chairs, Justin flipped on the t.v. Local channels only. Again. Though, they were lucky to get toonami, on cartoon network, from time to time. A show called Dragonball was on. Justin became engaged. He liked this show.

"Done!" Dad caleld from the kitchen. Just then, they both heard a noise come from the porch. A loud, and familiar noise.

"Nigger!" It was Po. "Nigger, nigger, nigger!" The bird chanted in almost a sing son, happy tone of voice. His welcome call for more than one person coming into the house. "Nigger!"

It turned out to be several people. Somehow they had managed to arrive a pretty much the same time. Uncle Brad, and Chuck presided Clint, and Kellie. "Clint." Justin said, standing.

Chapter 2: Blood And Bones: