Sam jumps up on my legs. I never call him Sammy, but I still love him. I love my dog. He's my best friend, he and my teddy bear. My teddy bear's name is Joe. I named him after my Uncle Joe, but my aunt divorced him, so I call my bear Joey now.
Sammy is part poodle and part terrier. We don't cut his hair like a poodle. It's black and curly and wild and matted, My dad cuts it with tin snips.
I don't like most of the kids at school. They don't like me – even the girls. Well, Steve likes me, but no one likes him either.
Steve and I are making a movie. We are using an eight mm camera and his action figures. I think I accidentally exposed the film, but I haven't told him yet.
Sam is on his back legs, his paws on my stomach. “Get Down, Get down.”
He wants to go down the ravine. It's behind my house. It's behind all the houses in the neighborhood: Steve's, the Miller's, Mrs. Rodenbough's.
There's a creek at the bottom of the ravine. It's full of weeds and junk and dirty magazines. You see the magazines under shopping carts, in hollow logs.
We're going to play war – a bunch of kids, our block versus another. It's hard to know when you've been hit when your guns are sticks. I guess that's why, once, some kids brought BB guns. I came home with welts on my back and arms.
I was so mad. I hated them. If I was the Human Torch, I would have burned them, burned them till there was nothing left.
The bb's are one the the reasons I don't take Sammy. Another is that Mike might be there.
Mike's older than me, but sometimes he asks me to play. We play down in the ravine and sometimes in his room. He's got two brothers, but he and I don't play with them. When we play I'm usually the boy, but sometimes I'm the girl. It's OK. He's my friend.
I know what I'm going to do during war. I'm going to wade into the creek, get on my knees, make it so just my eyes and nose are above the water.
I head down the hill. There are itch weeds and sticker bushes everywhere. Something's going to happen. It always does.
About the author:
Richard Wagle is a writer and artist living in Cleveland. He also works as a doorman at a rock club.