The Boot

The Boot

Light wind blows the rainbow-colored autumn leaves across the asphalt, and is followed by quick-peddling bicycles crossing over the empty residential road. They quickly hop over a curb and disappear into the woods.

The day is September 10th, 2018. Despite it being the age of technology: mindless gadgets, cellphones, anything to distract you from Life’s true pleasures, these rare teenagers do not seem to care. The boys ride through sky-mirroring puddles one after another and approach the property of a decrepit mansion. These grounds have been unkempt for quite some time: messy vines, dead grass, and sculptures of prominent children and men, are chipped and tarnished by the acidity of the rain and give off a light green hue. A church attached to the grounds of the home sits in the distance; the stained-glass is tarnished with Spanish moss. Laying their bikes down on the yellow grass the boys run after one and other through the property. A sign covered in vines reads: ‘No Trespassing’

There was a time that this home belonged to one of the most infamous gangsters in all of New Jersey. So many stories surrounded this once magnificent property. One of the most simple and chilling is that of maid that worked there; there was rumor of her having and affair and getting pregnant – she was cleaning the outside of the window by leaning her head out – the window then came crashing down and broke her neck. That’s a heavy window…or an even heavier hand.   

Harry, a boy wearing bright-red shoes, leads the way through the disheveled land. His friends yell to him, “Slow down,” while catching their breath.

One of the chubbier children gasps for life while he sloppily runs. The chubby boy yells, “Wait up!” while he waddles. THUMP. He falls to the ground hard while the other boys quickly leave his view, then looking behind him he sees a hole in the ground. He looks to his shoe that’s covered in red sludge.

Harry approaches him and asks, “What happened, Chubs?”  

The chubby boy nicknamed ‘Chubs’ looks to the hole and studies it deeper, moving the excess dirt around it. Harry watches befuddled. The two other boys approach them. Tommy and Louie, identical “pretty boy” twins, look to the oddly shaped hole.  

“Fuck me!” Chubs screams while jumping backward.  

“What?” Harry inquisitively says.  

“It’s a skull!” Chubs rises, “I stepped on a fucking dead person!”  

Tommy gawks with big eyes, “Holy shit, it looks so real.”  

“It is real, you dildo!” replies Louie.  

The boys fluster around in a panic. Chubs takes out his cellphone to call the police. “Wait!” Harry yells.

The boys stand in silence, confused and disgusted. Tommy pokes the body with a stick – it SNAPS, causing the boys to jump in fright.  

“What if they think we did it?” says Harry. 

Tommy blurts out, “We’re kids, dude.”  

Chubs stands in the distance with his phone in hand while on the phone with the police: “Yes, we’re pretty sure it’s a body. It smells weird. And pieces of bone are on my shoe.” He cries and attempts to shake the matter from his shoe.   

Louie snarls at Chubs, “Great, now we have to deal with pigs!”  

Later on, after the police had shown up and the boys left from questioning, a mysterious old man wanders the street, looking around, watching from a distance and observing the children. The kids hop onto their bikes and ride down the road while the sun begins to set. The mysterious man wearing a trench coat leans with a slight hunch while he peers from a tall overhang in the distance.  

Moments later, the boys part ways after their event-filled day. Harry waves off his friends, “I’ll talk to you later,” he says while peddling off. His chain falls off – he looks to it irked, “Damn it.” Harry pushes his bike up the tall hills. He lives in a beautiful community (and obviously comes from money) though his dirty sneakers might say otherwise. The old man wearing a trench coat looks to Harry with his long and dreary grimace. Harry pants out of breath from pushing his bike up the daunting hill. He looks up to the man. A moment between the two occurs, a mutual gaze of inquisitiveness. Harry nears the old man while he gazes upon the hill down at the excavation of the murder scene. 

“Hey, you from around here?” Harry says.

The old man turns around and looks to him confused, “I’m lost and I can’t find my home.”

Harry squints his eyes saddened, “I can help you–”

The old man abruptly replies, “Come, Frances.” Harry shyly approaches the confused man, following him to the bench overlooking the excavation sight of the dilapidated mansion. The two sit and overlook bulldozers digging while police-tape fences off the area and police officers methodically direct the diggers on what to do. The two watch closely.

Harry peers to the old man and then sees beneath his trench coat is a gun. “I can call the police if you’d like,” he nervously says. The old man turns to him with a sour face. Harry rises to his feet. All is still.

“Where you going?” says the old man. “Take a seat, I have a story to tell you.” The old man straddles his gun. Harry anxiously sits at opposite ends of the bench.   The old man takes out a cigar and lights it.

I’m going to tell you a story, kid. And it might not make sense to you at this time, but believe me, when I’m finished you will know more about me and more about yourself than you could have ever imagined. Take this as a privilege, a rite of passage, a life lesson. I’d like to start by introducing myself to you. I’m Vincenzo and I once owned that house, and those bodies too. They’ll dig up around 50 or so that are buried throughout the property.

Harry’s breath grows heavy.

Now, you may say to yourself: ‘How could this old man do such things?’ You see, I was once a young boy, like you, but instead of riding bikes I was out collecting for my pops – I was becoming something. Because in the days of the Depression it was more than necessary. You might also ask yourself: ‘Why is this old man confiding in me?’ – and that too you will know in the end. In the end you will know why and how, where and when, and I might even become your old best friend. Now stick around and come for a ride, open your ears and let me be your guide.

Harry nervously gawks to him lost for words.

“Rhymes are good for the mind,” the old man grins. “I gotta keep my mind sharp,” he says while tapping his noggin playfully. He takes a deep breath. “So – where do I begin…?” the old man deeply ponders. Harry looks on to the old man frightened.

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