robert a. dollesin
Freddy, the kid who lives in the house four doors from mine, has club hands. His fused fingers are folded inward into permanent fists.
Sometimes -- all the time, really -- we consider his oddity and allow special concessions. When we play Red Light, Green Light, we pretend not to see him or the extra step he sneaks when everyone else freezes. We make believe he’s invisible when playing Dodge Ball, never pelting him. And in Hide-n-Seek, we always ignore him.
Yesterday, on Freddy’s porch, we were playing Rock, Paper, Scissors. Of course we always came up scissors, so his permanent rock could crush us.
Freddy’s mother noticed, and when he went to the bathroom, she confronted us. “It does more harm than good to treat him special.”
So today, playing Rock, Paper, Scissors, our paper palms shrouded his fist. After shuffling in Red Light, Green Light, he was sent to sit on the curb. Playing Dodge Ball, I hurled the ball so hard it blasted his head and left a purple bruise on his face.
It occurred to me while playing Hide-n-Seek that Freddy’s mother was right. Every time we dragged him from his hiding place, he screamed joyfully.
Robert A. Dollesin is a previous contributor to Dogzplot. He was still a kid when he left the Philippines, and he now resides in Sacramento, where he pens out short stories here and again.