Good Ol' Boy

I'm thirteen years old again, and it's cold as hell outside. My hair is spiked forward like a little idiot would have it, and the gel soaked tips are slowly freezing into a crown of tiny icicles. It has just snowed a considerable amount, and as I get closer to home I realize just how much shoveling I'm going to have to do. But first, I think I'll need a hot chocolate.
As I round the corner onto my street, I'm alarmed. A police car is parked outside my house, barred out by the snow. A single set of footprints infiltrate the blockade, some sort of work shoes. The car is empty. For the next twenty seconds, my thoughts swirl into a dark mess of possible reasons I would have to be afraid of an officer's presence.

I enter the house and see my mother seated in the living room, and the officer sitting in the chair at the far side of the room. Both pause as they watch me enter the room, and as I do I greet my mother, pretending not to notice the officer's presence.

"Peter, this is Officer Findlay."
"Hello Peter."
"Hello Officer. I think I recognize you, you talked at my school about violence a while ago."
"Which school?"
"Saratoga High School."
"Oh yes, yes I did. You know violence is never the answer, Peter." I nod with approval. "No matter what the situation, or what somebody has done, violence is never the answer." I manage a gulp and a quiet acknowledgement, just as I do with my mother when I'm in trouble and all I want is a cookie. He looks at me with the tiniest, most microscopic squint, searching for something deeper in my approval of his message. I ask mom where the shovel is, and continue outside.

Why did she call the police? Did she get into my computer? Did she find the knives in my stash? Can she read my mind? These questions and more orbit around my icy brain as I slowly chip away at two feet of snow in the driveway. Suddenly, like an idiot, I get a brilliant idea moments later than I should have. I bring the shovel with me and crouch under the living room window.

"I deal with a lot of troubled kids Mrs. Hoskins. Peter isn't one. A lot of times, all misbehaving kids need is a tap on the shoulder from the authorities to remind them that they can't do whatever they want."
"But he gets so angry, all the time. He reaches a point where he just loses complete control."
"He's a child, with hormones and a temper."
"I think you should come back to check in on him again."
"If you think it's necessary. Call me when you wish, and we'll schedule a time to--" I don't need to hear the conclusion of the discourse to know Officer Findlay is about to exit, and I return to the driveway to make it look like I've been shoveling the entire time. I work three times as fast as I normally would, my shoulder aches as I heave snow into a mound, and my nose runs along with the sweat from my forehead. I hear the seal of the door break and immediately slow myself to normal shoveling speed as Officer Findlay says his goodbyes and exits.

"How are you doing at Saratoga, Peter?"
"All good, sir. Straight shining B's." He manages a short laugh as his instincts fail him ever so tragically in front of my pimply little face.
"That principal of yours is a bit hard, isn't she?"
"Not so bad if you know how to behave well." Another failure, this time a smile of approval at my maturity, like a father seeing his son build his first birdhouse.
"Stay that way, Peter."
"No problem, sir." He gets in his car and drives off the street. The hideous creature that has become my anger at my mother lies caged and sedated behind a mask of good ol' boy as I finish the driveway at the quickened pace, jabbing the snow with my shovel, imagining I'm slicing away at a screaming foe.

From the moment I stop shoveling to the moment I move out of the house, my true nature never rears it's head. At my worst, at the pinnacle of my anger, I remain caged, and build up an immunity to letting myself boil over. My mother is slowly convinced that I'm scared straight. Officer Findlay never returns. And for the rest of the winter, I jab away at the snow, like it's just pretended to know the first thing about my brain.

The End

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