Stace Budzko

Space Monkey with Boo

Because they are kids and because that’s what kids do, play Space Monkey with kids like Boo, who use words such as whatever and meh in the company of grownups, things are bound to happen.

Tom James would be the first to admit this, if he was still breathing. He would probably also tell you he enjoyed the high especially when Boo did it to him because she was the most caring. She held his neck the longest. Never with an obvious belt or ordinary rope. Always with hands.

In the hours leading up to this event, Michael Roy challenged Tom James to a winner-takes-all of Rock Paper Scissors to see which of them Boo would choke first. Both were wanting. Roy lived with his mother in an apartment above a convenience store. James lived with his dad in a house built with construction scraps. Both were 13.

When Boo first arrived at school prior to this happening, the other schoolgirls took notice as well. Soon they knotted their shirts in front like Boo, their bellybuttons exposed, their breasts appropriately accentuated. In time these schoolgirls are walking the halls as if adolescence is one glamorous runway.

Before that, when Boo moved into the neighborhood, the local girls noticed. Soon they were wearing makeup the way Boo wore hers. Eyeliner, thick. Eye shadow, dark. Lipstick, MTV glossy. In time they are pouting and preening as if sex is just what you do after Hide and Seek and Kick the Can are no longer interesting.

In the weeks leading up to her arrival, Tabitha "Boo" Harris spends her days in a gated Westchester County community suggestively called Cloud 9. Afternoons while her parents work in Manhattan at important jobs with titles like CFO and SLA she undresses at her bedroom window. Instead of completing her honors homework, she poses for the neighbor. When done, she looks through college catalogs her parents have left out for her on the kitchen table. They are splayed like a deck of cards. Next to them is this note:

Dearest Tabs
What you witnessed last night was not what it seems. I meant no harm to your father. Although it may have appeared I was trying to hurt him, in fact I was not. I love your father with all my heart. I'm sure you understand.

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