“We should head for the ware houses on 87th” Nibs never had to lick his finger, or read a thermometer, he just knew. Now that I look back, I should have realized how much it annoyed Tink.
“Why?” to get back at him, I think, was why she taunted him in this way. Of course, Nibs, so naïve, so trusting and never thought that Tink would make these tantalizing comments on purpose, so he always churned out a reliable textbook answer, which Tink took as a challenge.
“Because this zephyr is heading— He started. I could see that Tink was on a roll. We were friends, but more like siblings. And hey, siblings fight all the time.
“This what? Plain English for us simple minds, please”
“This zephyr, this warm breeze or gust of wind swept off the surface of the ocean itself onto prior mentioned nearby mainland or Manhattan Island, is westbound, and very short-lived. Adding 2 and 2, we should head for the warehouses. Is that ok with you?” that last sentence was so typically Nibs. He was either defending his right to be all knowing in the fields of both oceanography and meteorology, or dead.
On a more sarcastic note, Tink didn’t back down.
“Gosh Nibs, what’d you do, finish 10th grade or something?” she meant it as a harmless joke, but our intelligent surfer boy was strangely distant when it came to his background. He was distant, for that matter, with all topics that involved parentage or being raised at all. The rest of us, Tink, Slightly and I kidded jovially about our subconscious memories of any education or guardians of any kind. Well, I had almost forgotten about Slightly. At times like these, when the others were having a little spat, he would sit and look across the island to New York, and Ms. Liberty, as if she were the mother he had so wanted to take care of. But more on that later, for he now kicked aside the small pebble he had been playing with, and spoke up.
“Nibs, Hey man it was a joke right?” he whispered tentatively. He could see the cold visage, still darkening before him. Apparently the concern slightly showed was mirrored on both of Tink and my faces, because Nibs quickly recovered.
“Oh, yeah! Ha, not quite Tink.” He laughed, but he didn’t smile. His face slid back into a grimace when we looked away, for the time being, fooled by his sloppy assertion.
Tink looked at me; I looked at Slightly; and Slightly went back to kicking his rock. We trudged for 10 minutes, all the way past the Bone yards and we were turning into the alley behind the warehouses. “If you close your eyes right now, seek a vision you can listen to. Open your eyes and close your ears. Close your ears and open your eyes. You are blind to what you hear. Reach for roots beneath the trees.” As four genuine, 21st century Manhattan hippies, all of us loved searching Tink’s old wireless for a good folk tune
“Has that song ever made you wanna cry?” surprisingly, it Slightly who spoke. “I mean, it makes no sense, yet it’s the most sensible thing I’ve heard all day.” His voice cracked slightly. “Nozuka really knows what it means to start a revolution. I only wish” but exactly what Slightly wished, we never found out.
At that very moment, the ugly twisted face of one Jas Hook, Chief Manhattan Truant Officer glared from behind the trash bins.
“What is that awful smell? I fear a dog must have pizzled here during the might. Or else, yes, too rotten to be dog’s pizzle. It must be, a street rat!” his strong English accent did nothing to mask his equally strong and ever present odor of cooking sherry.
“It’s Hook, well I fear we may have to vacate the vicinity for the time being” taunted Tink, poking fun at his accent. Reaching up, she grabbed his shiny metal badge, and delicately plucked it off. “What’d you think I’d get for this at ol’ Starchy’s? You know the place, Hook. The pawn shop you always pick a fight in, the fights that we always win?” and she was off, dodging Sleepers and flipping over lawn chairs. In seconds flat, she was down the alley and out of site. This was like a ritual for The Lost Boys. One of us would taunt Hook, run off to Starchy’s and wait for the rest of us to show up, arms full of items, begged, borrowed and stolen from innocent bystanders along the way. Hook was our entertainment, every few days or so. He provided a nice little income for us to get the next meal with.
“You know, one day your gonna pick someone’s pocket, and they wont just scream, they’ll call me, and I know where you little skunks hang out. I’ll be waiting at ol’ Stanley’s or whatever it was. Just wait.” We knew he wouldn’t get us. He gave us a similar speech that varied with his mood every weekend.
“Take a pill man! Relax.” I yelled over my shoulder, as the last vestiges of heels disappeared into the swallowing darkness.