Quinn Dalton

Roy’s not. But the word got out about his box, and now they call him li’l bit at school. He thought he could deal, but then Hector—his friend—called it a doll house, and Roy blanked after take it back, and now Hector’s got a cracked rib and a busted eardrum, and after that it doesn’t matter that last summer Roy carried Hector’s little brother up eight flights of steps to their mama when he cut his cheek open trying to clear a fire hydrant on his bike. Or that Hector and Roy go way back, living on the same trash street, in the same four-room crib, just on different floors, the projects like fat square monsters up on the hill, gonna crush them.

Hector’s mama called Roy a menace. Now Roy’s mama got to stay up after her nightwatch job and ask the principal can Roy come back. Send me begging, his mama say. You want that? She’s up there now, and Roy’s waiting.

Roy’s brother Damen says motherfucker had it coming. Roy’s sister Tamika says he better watch his crazy self if he wants to get anywhere in this life. She brought him the notebook, helped him make his house pictures look real. Perspective. Means things up close are large and things far away are small. And everything comes to a point. She wrote it in his notebook, and he copied it until it seemed like something he could say.

Wood crate came from a Dumpster. Roy sprayed it red, painted windows too with Wite-Out he stole from Ms. Fulson’s desk. Inside, matchbox beds in all four bedrooms with dishrag bedspreads, everybody gets one. Pictures on the cardboard walls cut from magazines. One of Tamika’s glitter earrings for a hanging lamp. Big-screen TV (an old eye shadow box from his mama) in the living room.

Roy’s looking, planning for what to add next, when his mama come in crying. Says he got to go to special ed. For motional problems.

Motional? Roy’s got no problem with motion. He raises his arms straight out. He’s flying over the house in a plane. He’s seeing everybody in there now, happy. Everything small because it’s so far away.


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