I was out front, stretching before a run, when my friend came over. He asked what the hell those kids next door were doing. I hadn’t even noticed. They were climbing a tree, barefoot, dressed in karate outfits. My friend yelled, “What are you doing?” to them, while walking toward their property.
The two kids seemed to fall from the tree and ran over to my friend.
“We give demonstrations,” the tan, fat one said.
“We give demonstrations,” the pale, skinny one said.
“Okay, demonstrate,” my friend said. He knelt on their overgrown lawn as if he were about to pray. I stood back by my driveway and watched from a few yards.
The two kids did a karate routine, then Fatty started doing strange things. He twisted his hands as if revving a motorcycle. “Then,” he said, “you grab the neck and twist.” He stomped on the ground. “Kick to the skull brain. Kick to the skull brain,” he said.
A woman came out of the house next door, wearing a green and gold jumpsuit that matched her sunglasses, jewelry, and hair. She looked good, in a disgusting way. She was having trouble with her car alarm remote as she walked over to us. My friend said to her, “I think they want to kill people.”
I said, “Do you know these kids?”
“Oh, yeah,” she said. “They kill people.” She smiled at me. “I didn’t know you like to jog. You like to jog?”
I nodded, then looked back at the demonstration. Fatty had Skinny in a headlock. “Ichi, ni, son, shi.”
My friend asked the woman, “Which one is yours?”
“Can’t you tell?” she asked, pointing the remote in front of her while she walked toward her car and triggering the car alarm. Fatty, with his free hand, grabbed Skinny’s nuts. “Ichy! Ichy!” he said.
I guess my friend was horrified. “That’s enough,” he said, as he got up and attempted to free Fatty’s hand from Skinny’s nuts. Fatty complied and grabbed my friend’s nuts, and my friend hit the ground.
Skinny said, “Kick to the skull brain. Kick to the skull brain.”
“Ichy! Ichy!” Fatty said.
The woman jogged back over to see my friend trying to undo Fatty’s grip.
“Don’t do that on the front lawn,” she said.
Fatty looked up at her, still gripping. “It’s exercise,” he said. “I’m exercising. Ichy, ni, son, shi!”
“I guess,” she said.
Fatty looked back at my friend, and Skinny started in with more motorcycle revving hand motions.
“You can do that in the house,” the woman said.
A car drove by slowly. The man behind the wheel was wearing sunglasses and a suit jacket, and he turned his head several times at the demonstration. I thought he was going to stop, and he did. But he didn’t get out of the car. I thought he may have been Fatty’s father.
My friend was back on his feet and, with the woman’s help, brushing grass off his clothes. I watched Fatty watch the brushing. Then, off to the side, I noticed Skinny trying hard to catch his breath. He was lying on his back in the grass. That’s when I knew that Skinny was the woman’s son, the other kid just a friend. The guy in the car was probably just a guy out driving. I knelt down next to Skinny and asked him if he was okay.
“Ichy, ni, son, shi,” he said.
“Right,” I said. “But are you okay?”
Fatty came and sat in the grass beside us. “Ichy, ni, son, shi,” he said to me, as if I cared, or understood. He clapped his friend on the shoulder. “He’s fine,” he said to me.
Skinny looked at his friend. “Ichy, ni, son, shi,” he said.
“Ichy, ni, son, shi,” Fatty said.