1. We meet at the base of a tree in the center of town. We've both worn the trench coats we agreed upon when first delineating our bylaws, so thank heavens there is fog.
2. We meet at the base of what everybody in Birmingham used to call the hanging tree before that sort of thing reminded us of shit about ourselves we'd just as soon not think about.
I've brought two peanut butter cups and you've brought a box cutter.
3. We meet at the base of the hanging tree. I ask you your name as per Article II, Section 7 of our bylaws, and as per Article II, Section 7 of our bylaws you give me a nome de guerre: Mr. Mercader. We split an apple you stole from your father. It's fucked up that you have to steal apples from your father, but there it is. I have a cigarette and we share it.
4. It is summer now, and we meet at the base of the hanging tree. You've ridden your bike and I've ridden my bike and here we are, swiping at flies and swatting mosquitos flat. One mosquito in particular you allow to fill up good and plump, articulated belly all red and distended, and you say to me, “Oswald, look.” As per Article II, Section 7 of our bylaws, I am Oswald and you are Mr. Mercader. You say "Oswald, look," and I look. You pop the fucker and the spurt splatters a little trickle onto your forearm. We are 14, and the world can suck our dick.
5. We meet at the base of the hanging tree, but we don't say much. Your lip is split and I've known you for years, so it's not like there's any big mystery, but what else do we have? We have this tree and we have our bylaws. Nothing honest, nothing true. You are Mr. Mercader. I am Oswald. We are 14 and the world can suck our dick. What happened to your lip? What happened to your eye? You know damn well what happened to my lip. You know damned well what happened to my eye. I was attacked by a muslim who sliced my lip and eyebrow with his mohammadan scimitar right before I filled his terrorist belly full of buckshot.
6. Nothing honest, nothing true. We have to live by something, so I promise from this moment of bylaw delineation which we've already agreed to seal with a small bit of blood that under the hanging tree will be our sacred space. Nothing honest. Nothing true. An apple. A cigarette. Peanut butter cups. Mr. Mercader. Oswald. Trench coats. We are renegades and thieves who'll never get caught, and the world can suck our dick.
7. We meet at the base of the hanging tree in early autumn. I've brought a Hershey's and you've managed to spirit away with your father's .22, which we’ll refer to as “the purloined cannon.” You learned the word “purloined” in class today, and I just learned it now when you told me. I am 14 and you are 15, and the world can suck our dick.
8. It's early autumn, and it's just me at the base of the hanging tree, because Mr. Mercader got busted trying to steal a killer-ass knife from the Army Surplus. I only know that you got busted, but I don't know whether you were arrested or just released into your father's custody. But I know the latter is significantly worse and certainly inevitable. I don't know when I'll see you next, and I wonder where you are right now, and what you're doing.
9. I am at the base of the hanging tree. It is autumn, and the world can suck my dick. I wonder where you are right now, and what you are doing.
10. We meet at the base of the hanging tree. I've stolen two trench coats from Army Surplus so now we can have real trench coats and not that gay pretend shit. Fuck that. We are 15 and the world can suck our dick. We're at the base of the hanging tree, and we each have a trench coat and we both have killer knives Mr. Mercader stole from the Wal-Mart, plus the purloined canon. Things can't fucking keep fucking going like they are.
11. We meet at the base of our town's hanging tree. Fuck it. We said it. Hanging tree. This ground is drenched in historical blood. Fuck everybody.
12. We meet at Mr. Mercader's living room. You won't tell me that you stabbed your father this morning, because even though we're not at the hanging tree, this is a hanging morning. And so... bylaws.
13. So you don't tell me. You just meet me at the door with blood on almost your whole body, and you point back to your father's room, and I go back and see what you've done. I never knew there could be that much blood in just the one person. The sheets and carpet are saturated.
14. We meet at the front of Mr. Mercader's house for one last time. Oswald and Mr. Mercader regard their cache: 2 peanut butter cups, two trench coats, the purloined cannon, and two killer knives. Plus bikes.
15. You and me, we get on our bikes and get ready to ride right up to the base of the hanging tree. There I'll ask you something and you'll tell me a lie. Then you'll ask me something and I'll answer with a lie. And then, for one brief shining afternoon, this whole goddamn cocksucking fuck of a country will know our goddamn names.
About the author:
B.B. Sevilla is a former truck and taxi driver living in Pueblo, Colorado, where he practices massage therapy and walks his dog along the Arkansas River. His work has appeared in The Blue Mesa Review, Parched, and Avery Journal.