Piñata Monsters

By Daniel Mathewson

In fifth grade, school was cancelled for a week because of snow. Me and my younger brother Mike spent every snow-day on the hill behind our house, sledding with greased-up garbage-lids. Through the trees atop the hill was a dilapidated yellow trailer. Condemned, our parents called it.

“Nobody lives there?”

“Nobody.”

“Why?”

“Asbestos, raccoons, Black-Plague,” Mom said.

Dad laughed, “Monsters.”

Next day on the hill, Mike nodded towards the trailer, smiling.

“No way,” I said. “Asbestos…”

“Pussy.”

“Okay. But then we’re going home. My Willy’s nearly frozen, and MacGyver’s on.”

We trudged through the trees. At the trailer, I boosted Mike up to a window.

“See anything?”

“Bodies. Everywhere.”

“Shut-up. Seriously?”

“Nah, we’ll have to go inside.”

The main door was locked.

“Gimme your library card,” Mike said.

“I know that trick. Don’t fuck it up.”

“Nerd.” He slid my card in-between the door crack, delicately maneuvering it between the lock and plate. The door creaked open.

“Bitches first,” Mike said, pushing me inside.

A TV blared behind a couch. A half-eaten pizza on the kitchen counter. Fresh cigarette smoke. Clothes sprawled across the carpet.

“Mike, I think someone–”

“Yo!” A dude leapt from the couch, gripping a baseball bat.

We scurried back through the trees, down the hill, high-stepping through the snow all the way home into the living room.

“Why y’all so sweaty?” Mom asked.

MacGyver’s on,” I said.

 

We met Adam that spring. Mike and I were shooting ball in our driveway, chain-linked net clinking when with each bucket. Adam emerged from behind our house. His black curly hair was slip-n-slide greasy. His pants baggy, dragging underneath his Reeboks. He wore a backpack and Redskins Starter jacket.

“Redskins suck,” Mike said, dishing him the ball.

“Like your momma,” Adam said.

We liked him immediately.

After a few games of 21, Adam asked, “Y’all ever seen pussy before?”

We crept into our backyard, huddled over a Hustler.

“Where’s her balls?” I asked.

“Chicks don’t have balls, dip-shit,” Adam laughed.

“Duh,” Mike said.

“Keep this one,” Adam said, handing Mike the magazine. “Pop’s got a million.”

Then Adam invited us to his birthday party.

“Sure, where?” we asked.

“The yellow house, back there.”

“The trailer?” Mike asked.

I elbowed him.

“It’s a double-wide.”

“When?” I asked.

“Next week.”

Mom let us go after a week’s worth of tag-team begging.

Halfway up the hill, Mike asked me, “Think that was Adam’s dad we saw last time?”

“Dunno.”

Outside the trailer, Adam was trying to string a piñata over the trailer floodlights, a fat lady smoking a cigarette watching him from a plastic lawn-chair.

“Here’s my friends, Ma. Told you they’d come!” Adam said. Fat-lady waved. “Y’all help me hang this?” The three of us hung the papier-mâché monster. Adam’s older sister Carla came out in some tiny-ass shorts carrying a birthday cake.

Mike whispered to me, “Think she’s got nuts?”

We sang and ate. Adam’s mom let him smoke a cigarette for his birthday. Offered us a puff. Mike tried it. We laughed as he coughed. But when Adam’s dad stumbled out of the trailer with a baseball bat, everyone grew quiet.

“Piñata-time,” he shouted, then looked at me and Mike. “Who’re they?”

“Adam’s friends,” Carla said.

“Responded the girl with no clothes on,” their father slurred.

“Fuck you. You’re drunk,” Carla said.

Their mom lit another cigarette.

“Dad?” Adam said. His pop handed him the bat, then staggered towards me and Mike. Adam began wailing on the piñata. Adam’s dad breathed kerosene in our faces, “I remember y’all.” He began laughing hysterically.

Swisher-sweets, condoms, and Starburst exploded from the piñata.

Spotting a window to bolt, Mike tugged on the back of my shirt. We darted through the trees, down the hill back home. Mike slammed the door, both of us panting as we collapsed to the floor. We began laughing, or crying. Neither of us remembers.

“Back so early?” Mom asked.

“Dad was right.”

 

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Daniel Mathewson

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