* * *
“Hurry up, man, someone’s gonna bust us!”
Joaquin ignored Tyrone, and focused on working the slim jim. “Chill,” he replied.
“You said you did this before,” Tyrone wheezed. His wheeze subsumed to a wet cough.
Joaquin paused and met Tyrone’s eyes. “You need a hit?”
“Bitch, you ain’t my momma.”
Joaquin focused on Tyrone’s bulging eyes and pale lips. “Look like youse dyin’, man.”
Tyrone gave him the finger, and reached into his jacket, and pulled out his inhaler. He breathed out twice in rapid succession and depressed the cylinder.
Joaquin returned to jimmying the lock on the Plymouth Duster. He couldn’t quite work the thin metal correctly. The only other tool they had was a flat-head screwdriver for the ignition. Be easier if we just smash the window, he thought, ain’t nobody gonna send a couple fourteen-year-olds to jail. Especially since… It was easy for him to justify stealing Tyrone’s mother’s white boyfriend’s car. Poor white families had been moving into his neighborhood for years. They thought they could get cheap property and fix it up. The racial divide in Seattle wasn’t as bad as LA, but you still had to watch yourself.
Joaquin felt his arm jostled. “Check out this bitch,” he whispered.
Joaquin turned from the Duster and saw a white kid, about he same age as them walking down the sidewalk brandishing a wooden sword. Every few steps, he would swing or stab at imaginary foes.
Joaquin grinned, elbowing Tyrone. “Probably fightin’ ninjas an’ shit.”
The white kid slowed his roll and watched them. He sidled up to them. “Yo, Dawg, you need help?”
Joaquin closed his eyes. “Whaddaya know ‘bout jackin a car, uh dude?”
The white kid smiled. “Andy, Andy Kitz.” He ran his fingers along the slim jim and it swayed back and forth. “You can learn all kinds of stuff on Youtube.”
Tyrone smirked, but Joaquin stepped away and motioned for Andy to prove it.
Andy dug his fingers into the seam where the door met the frame. He pried the door away, and shoved his wooden sword into the gap. He pushed on the sword until the gap was big enough to get his small hand and arm in. Andy grunted as his fingers brushed against the door lock. Finally, he gripped the cylinder between his knuckles and the door popped. “Where you guys headin’?” he asked.
Tyrone gave Andy a shove. “Nunya business, homey,” he replied at the same time Joaquin announced, “The beach.”
Joaquin sighed. “Fine, we headin’ to Whidbey Island.”
Andy nodded, shrugged his shoulders, and turned to walk down the street.
Joaquin grabbed him by his skinny arm. “You know what happens to snitches, right?”
Andy shook his arm free. “You don’t have to worry ‘bout me,” he declared, “They’re always watching.”
The Duster purred to life. “Move over, bitch,” Joaquin barked at Tyrone, “We got places to be.”
They drove past Andy and his wooden sword and made their way to Whidbey Island.