Published on July 9th, 2009 | by TLV News0
“What the Faulkner Presents: Adventures with Pinecone” by Charles Hale (From TLV #84)
I had learned two things from hanging out with Pinecone the last couple of weeks. First, that little kid could eat some McRibs. Three or four times he called me up and asked if I could take him to get one. He always had money for his two-dollar sandwich and enough to buy me something if I wanted. Sometimes I ate and sometimes I didn’t because French fries and burgers weren’t something I could eat everyday and no matter how much Pinecone prodded me, there was no way I was going to eat a McRib; even when he called me a sissy. The second thing I learned was that Pinecone’s sister, Shelia, was very elusive. Most of the reason I agreed to pick him up all the time was my hope that she would answer the door. But the only time she did she was on the phone and only held up a finger to tell me to wait while she went and got Pinecone. I wanted that number.
Pinecone was whispering when he called me on the afternoon of the fourth. I was throwing horseshoes and sipping on my seventh PBR. Needless to say the last thing I wanted to do was go grab a ten year old for the evening, even if his sister was coming along. With the way my luck had been going lately I probably would have gotten a DUI in front of his house and had a kid named Pinecone laugh at me while I had handcuffs on. He asked me a couple times if I would take him to the fireworks, then I finally asked him why he was whispering.
“I’m grounded,” Pinecone whispered. “I’m not supposed to be on the phone so if you’re coming to get me park down the street and I’ll jump out the window.” Seven PBRs is enough that I laughed at Pinecone, which I’m pretty sure was not the response he wanted.
“I’m drunk, dude,” I said blatantly. Then I asked him what he had done to get grounded. Pinecone said that the day before he and a buddy from the neighborhood had stolen some fireworks. He said they had thrown M-80s at squirrels for nearly an hour and almost blew up a couple of them. Then they took a bunch of bottlerockets inside and taped GI Joes to them. Pinecone said his sister was in her room talking on the phone when she should have been watching them. I didn’t say it to Pinecone but as he was telling me this part of the story I was wondering what Shelia was wearing in her bedroom. Maybe a nightie or a little pair of gym shorts—the kind that don’t cover all the creases all the time.
“I was worried she was in danger from the terrorists,” Pinecone said. “So we launched a bunch of the GI Joes into her room on the bottlerockets to protect her. It didn’t go over so well.” The kid was top notch, a handful, but the beauty was I could always give him back. I was standing in the grass over at a friend’s house wondering if anyone else had a ten-yearold friend that wasn’t related. It was my turn to throw horseshoes so I hung up on Pinecone and threw a ringer.
I wanted to tell the other folks at the cookout about my renegade little friend but now that Michael Jackson is dead I didn’t want them thinking I was the number one Chester the Child Molester, so I had another beer and tried to throw more ringers. Later that evening when the fireworks started popping like bottle caps at the bar I thought about Pinecone and wondered if he was able to see them out his window. My friends were all right, but I was thinking that I really wished I had been tossing M-80s at squirrels the day before, so I decided I’d call his mom the next day and see if he could leave the house for lunch. But I wasn’t going anywhere near a McRib.
This is part 3. To read part 2, click here.
This article was originally printed in The Local Voice #84 (published July 9, 2009).