Kent Szlauderbach

Our Favorite Realtor

My mom calls the police. She is told the social work involved is going to be serious.

Bryce’s girlfriend says to the police that she knew that Bryce had jerked me off that night I stayed with him in Rhode Island. The girlfriend says she knew about the video games. The milkshakes, too.

We were Bryce’s first family. He had screwed a lot of big upward others to get us into that first house on Marley, a street up in the hills against the forest above Woonsocket. After two years of living there, Mom called Bryce to resell the thing, so Bryce had to be at the house. Bryce drove over the curb in a brown Geo and parked it on the huge dark lawn. He slipped out of the car and hugged the FOR SALE sign. He had to moan because he was so nervous to love me like a father, he said, and he didn’t want to watch me leave in a black limo. Bryce resold the house on Marley to Mr. and Mrs. Brady of New Jersey Waste.

We hadn’t seen him since ten years ago in December when he flew all the way from Providence just to visit our new house and bring me a birthday hat with the Chicago Bulls of Michael Jordon. Remember when he visited you on your birthday? Mom said. Your favorite hat? Bryce had gently screwed the hat on my head and then told me to take it off because I needed to remember my manners. I didn’t know my manners back when he came. Mom felt now we owed a visit to Bryce.

I wake up at Bryce’s condo. I like Bryce’s condo when I see the video games. I was tired, so Mom went to see a relative and she drank wine and stayed there, but I chose to stay at Bryce’s condo.
--Do you want a milkshake?
--You came over to my house one time and danced to Billy Joel, he said.
--I did?
--You were young. It was really fun.
Eventually I fell asleep.
I was woken up by the girlfriend. I could hear her on the other side of the door. Every couple of seconds her body wound up to run and the whole building rattled. Bryce came downstairs from the loft and his mouth was unhinged, was screaming that she’s here! I need to close my and eyes pull everything over my head, but I could not sleep with her charging him around the house and her busting through the door and them falling over the kitchen bar. Mom shows up in a few hours and we go home.

This is bad, mom says. She admits it to her friends, throwing up the glass in her hands, saying, I know, Mom’s big mistake, being family friends with Bryce for so long.

That the little man with that honeyed voiced and nervously starched shirt always supported our family and wouldn’t do anything to harm us, yeah right. 
           --And he didn’t, I told her.

I watch a detective in a ratty shirt that’s stained under the button of his tan blazer. He wheels in the chart with an outlined boy. The boy has no head on his penis.

--Did he touch you here, asks the detective.
--All we did was drink chocolate milkshakes.
The Bryce the detective is telling me about is not the Bryce my mom and family knew. People like Bryce have targets, it’s explained to me. It’s obvious, they say, because of the movies. They like to hang out with you.

I study picture after picture of droopy-eyed men with cascading shoulders and puffy faces and they’re all after boys. I’m supposed to try and identify him because they can’t find him in Rhode Island, and maybe he was a repeat. They’re all in orange and look like they’ve been fried by desire.
--I just want to let you know that you’re being recorded. The guy paused. Can you point to where he touched you?
--Did he touch you there?
--Did he talk about touching anyone else?
--We just want you to know you are safe now.

Kent's stories really haven't appeared much of anywhere. He's a student of English at the University of Kansas. Visit www.cargocollective.com/kentszlauderbach or google him.

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