sour patch kids
five steps to the right and i’d be on my way into the mouth of the world.. icy sludge in the middle of the path. better to stay close to the walls of the canyon. especially with my converse sneakers and lack of grace. i climb onto a ledge and through a hole where part of the canyon juts out. i was actually more terrified working with my father, catching 4 X 8 sheets of 3/4 inch plywood on the roof of a two story lakehouse, than i am now, confidently jumping rock to rock like its mission impossible 2. jeanne and mel come out and join me, but jeanne won’t jump the rocks. smart. we look out at the canyon, take a few breaths…it’s breathtaking. yuk yuk.
a little farther down and we pass a blanket of snow to our left. it’s white and crumby, like the bottom of a bag of sour patch kids. being a few steps ahead, i look back to mel, seeing a flicker of recognition. we know what must be done. she bends, scooping the ice in her hands, compacting it with her palm and fingers. i do the same, eyeing her progress all the while. we stand, facing each other. no tumbleweeds, just the wind. it’ll have to do. i throw, she dodges. she throws, i dodge. bloodthirsty, we go for more. i load my cannon hand and hurry down the path. jeanne beside me, in my way; i grab her and move her in front of me. mel stops, waits. jeanne keeps her hands in her pockets, staying out of it, an innocent bystander. innocence, the first casualty of war (platoon, best picture 1986). a few more shots and finally, a hit! right kneecap, the white flakes cascading down her blue jeans. my sneakers and empty grace tank get the better of me and i slip on the icy sludge, bringing back my AWOL common sense: “you’re snowball fighting in the grand canyon, you asshole. watch your step for chrissakes.” my common sense has got a mouth on it.