Prodigal Jimmy by Brian Hadd by Brian Hadd - Read Online

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Prodigal Jimmy - Brian Hadd

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Sunlight came off a windshield: Brad turned the handlebars and before the car his bike carried along. The driver, motionlessly rocking, activated his horn, he called a curse. Brad reckoned neither.

He opened the door of the corner shop.

Is Jimmy in here? he asked.

The man behind the counter fixed him over rims.

Good morning! he said. Do you say, good morning?

Brad nodded.

Prove it, the man said.

Good morning.

Good morning! How are you?


Now, what did you need?

Is Jimmy here, do you know?

Is he the boy I see you with?

Yes, Brad said.

He’s not in the store, the man said. He lifted himself and moved around a counter. He looked, looked at Brad.

Do you have a penny? he asked.


Not going shopping, I see. He lowered himself before a tray of sweets, before the counter, and plucked two. He approached Brad with the plastic droplets bright. And Brad took them.

Thank you, he said.

I want you to tell your parents something, the man said. Say that Gregory Feldman is glad they’re here, he welcomes them to the neighborhood. I’m happy you’re here. Are you playing with your friend, today?

Brad nodded.

Will you remember to tell your parents?


He came into the bright, the sunful, coldness. He sat on the curb, near his bike. His shoes, he examined.

The hush of invasion turned his head.

He punched the approaching tire, left, and said, Nope.

You want to go to the Point?


They pedaled to the edge of the water, they pedaled to the edge of the water. Curbs and bumps in the road were ramps, stretches tracks for speed, neighborhoods where attitudes could be seen, dodged larger groups, older and bigger groups.

Let’s go north, Jimmy said.



You want to?


They went neither north, nor south. On the complication of a school, halls and walls, they spent time. And on a road, turned west, away from where they had been going; and where they were was covered as comforting, as soon the barriers of where they’d been would be unfamiliars and soon the unknown would be the barrier but then, the familiar areas, they capitalized, they coveted, because, soon, they stopped. The ends of their known experience, then, anticipated, as they were, as ends, made of their known experience, ends. Because this road they rode on their bikes had never carried the quality of haven it had then; having what it never had before, the boys had already gone exploring. At the absolute limit, then, of what they had known, the area where the road went into indefinity, the obscurity of the unknown, unrecovered, made already into areas they knew, they had recovered, was less of a shock than it might have been.

Up a length of buildings they looked. Their road, the barrier of their road, went west.

If the road went to the left, was their discussion, it would run into the rail that ran, for their view, parallel to the road: but the rail ran north, they knew, all the way to the center of the city, and all along a freeway that ran all along the lake, so, completely, if the rail and the freeway met, squeezing all the neighborhood out from between them, and if this neighborhood, came not to want them, they looked, possibly, on the one way to escape.

What happened when precautions looked on events that never took place? Did they lie, in the pair, as a bond, shared imagination? Did they form, for each, character?

Beginning from that final road, then, they looped and pedaled to the north.

Yellow seemed to be the dominant color of the area. And, a lack of buildings on the east brought the sun down hard, then. This duplicate brightness gave them the sense of riding along the outer peel of the lemon, the lemon with the rot in the center: this rot suggested by the rail with which they were familiar, which remained in their minds as the definition of the area until release from the area circumventing the railway barrier could be assured; and rotten, this definition, this center of lemon, simply because of the purple and dank timbers that established the truth of the rail. Nothing on their right turned their attention to the west: where it always was anyway. The right, the east, was, with the development of the journey north, put aside as interesting for the moment, as other considerations: the appearance of boys who did not know them, who were therefore enemies; the considered evaluation of all they saw, the accurate assessment of the character of the area; and, of course, their boylike talk: remanded the importance of the surf, of the park trees, of the peoples there playing, talking, who they knew, who they did not know, who they met under a truce from the violence and convulsions of the city, of the urban. Gold, resembling, this experience, the boys deferred. They looked through the wall, the wall of yellow buildings they rode upon. The buildings built their experience, building by building. Between them, between the buildings, they caught experience, and the caught experience glowed: other buildings, mostly, but history, rows of history they had and could not lose; and, again and again, the people of this neighborhood made themselves known. They moved behind windows, conducted conversations Brad and Jimmy could put words to, could swirl their wheels in the road and hear the conclusion of an idea of of, could collect in their minds as having a thing happen; and, that they moved from the way, a car moved. The man behind the wheel stared down the road, back down the way they came: stared he, at that intersection, in anger, for allowing them? Thought, the man, of ways to evict them, ways that would come into being after his disappearance—would they see him again? His car brake lights flashed, he turned right, west, along the road that had been a border, that was now an unfamiliar, vacant street they rode on the new border, plunging upward into untracked north. Another woman insisted to a child, the child resisting. Their melody, their vocal melody, played out wordlessly, but tunefully, sure. The low bass of the father played. They rode north.

The road crooked left, ominously, truly. The freeway along the lake obviously ran to the west, barely; the freeway ran along the coast, they could see the coastline tending to the west (to the left) and they (the two of them) could see (the unaccompanied two boys could) the center of the city, the nexus, the node, off which, their own several lives determining, played, as well as they could bass, tenor, soprano, voices, a million, five million, a million, milling millful mills, undesisting, doing everything and undesisting. And did the boys go, went Brad and Jimmy, Jimmy and Brad sang, or rested, as the group would have them and as not sang and rested and Brad and Jimmy, Jimmy and Brad sang.

That, Brad said, is going to run into the tracks.

Unless the tracks go along the same direction, Jimmy said.

What do you mean.

"They could go north-northwest