Home Alone IV

Kevin McCallister, 15, shakes his lighter for a flame and sucks hard on the mouth of a sticky Diet Dr. Pepper can he found in the recycling bin. The smoke drifts over to the neighbor’s yard. The neighbors are having a birthday party for their infant daughter. One of the guests calls the Winnetka police, who know the McCallister’s address well.

- - -

Home Alone V

“I got the free crib,” Kevin McCallister, 19, says to the girl from Lake Forest. “Drive slowly, please,” she says as they climb into his Cherokee. “The roads are crazy icy. My friend plowed into some trash cans this afternoon.” Kevin blasts the heater. The tinted windows rattle with bass. “I heard about your brother,” she says. “That’s so cool.” They slip around corners and barely pause at stop signs. “Let’s change the subject,” he says finally. “Okay,” says the girl, drawing it out. She eyes him, blinking with building regret: Gold chain going green against a bird chest. Sunken cheeks with angry patches of acne. Stiff blades of hair shiny with product. He’s distant, jittery, but has a semi-rep because of his brother Buzz. “So, why’d you get thrown off campus?”

- - -

Home Alone VI

Tiki torches burn on the back deck of the McCallister house. People around the keg are chanting something. Two girls lean against the screen door that leads to the kitchen.

“He’s here all alone? Where’s his family?”

“They go away in the summer. Some lake in Wisconsin.”

“He’s cute, I guess.”

“Trust me, you don’t want to get mixed up with that. First of all, he’s like 23 and fresh out of jail, okay? He’s still on probation. Every Tuesday he has to squeeze clean urine through a fake plastic dong. He showed it to Michelle. And the girl’s family sued his family for a shit ton of money. His dad, like, hates him.”

“Yeah, but didn’t his brother play in the NFL?”

“Please, he was on the Browns’ practice squad. Not exactly the same thing. Last I heard he joined the Marines.”

“Shhh, he’s coming over here.”

“If he asks us up to his room, we were just leaving.”

“What if he has coke?”

“Well, then, yeah.”

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Home Alone VII

Kevin McCallister, 26, fidgets in the teachers’ lounge of Old Trier, where he has been employed as a substitute history instructor for almost six months. “It’s not just frowned upon, it’s against the law,” says Mitch Murphy, his closest friend on the faculty. “I’m begging you, do not send her that pic.” Kevin frowns, takes a sip of his Styrofoam coffee. “Yeah, but Mitch, when am I going to have a chance at a babe like this again?”

- - -

Home Alone VIII

Using an annoying social media service a girl checks into a restaurant all the way across town from her place. Kevin grabs his tools and borrows his brother’s van. He rifles through her delicates, searches her medicine cabinet, leaves with her laptop, some David Yurman and the bottle of vodka from the freezer. When he gets home, he pours a glass and searches for his name on her email. Besides an old Evite, nothing. He pours another and calls Harry.

- - -

Home Alone IX

Buzz confronts Kevin at the foot of the stairs. He’s got a prescription bottle in one hand, the wheel of his chair in the other. “Are you stealing my meds?”

“No.” Kevin avoids Buzz’s eyes, feigns a text.

“Kevin, my man, if I call in a refill right now they’re not gonna give it to me. They’ll think I’m selling them, or popping them like mints, or cooking them up and sticking them in my fucking veins.”

“Buzz, what kind of person would steal drugs from their own brother, a certified war hero?”

“I don’t know. I don’t know what kind of person would do that.” He wheels Kevin into the wall hard, banging the steel toes of his boots against his brother’s shins.

Kevin shoots him the famous, maddening grin before twisting away and taking the carpeted stairs two at a time. “See you later, Buzz.”

“Right,” says Buzz, picking at the Velcro on his gloves. “See you later.”

- - -

Home Alone X

Kevin McCallister, 29, sits alone in his attic bedroom, scrolling through the pay-per-view menu. He hears the tired shocks of the airport shuttle as it enters the driveway. He hears his parents in the foyer, talking like spies, rattling the umbrellas in their stand, zippering their puffy coats and then, finally, opening the front door. “Goodbye, Kevin,” his mother calls up the stairs. “Can you leave the gas card?” he shouts, but they’re already gone, off to scatter Buzz’s ashes at the stadium, and so Kevin stares at the blue screen and listens to his voice echo through the many rooms of the empty house. After a few minutes he gets up and walks down to the kitchen, pours a glass of wine from the open bottle in the fridge and, finding nothing to eat but his mother’s bean curd and beet soup, dials Lil’ Neros. “Hey, Craig,” he says into the receiver. “It’s me.”