Sirenum Scopuli

By Bao Phi

So we told him to tell those dudes to meet at the park, on a Friday night, 7 o’clock, and they would get the surprise of their lives. I was working a shift at the grocery store, the stiff apron covered in flour and scarred with dirt, wet from the spray nozzle a crooked crane in my hand. One of us had borrowed an enormous Cadillac. Racially inclusive casting to some, hiring kids from the neighborhood to us. What I remember was how much I wanted to go. It wasn’t so much that we were going to beat the shit out of fake roughnecks from the burbs who had no clue what they had coming. It was because I wanted to be one of the ants in a swarm. All my life I hid in the library reading about Greek heroes smiting their enemies. My best friend in the bunch was trying to convince me to skip out of work, even if it meant getting fired. I owed this minimum wage job nothing. My paychecks mostly went to my mom anyways. This was the critical moment in the hero’s journey and you’re going to miss it, he told me, though for sure he did not use those words. Of course I did not go — not because of cowardice, but for the much more boring reason that it did not seem proper for me to break the promise I made when I took this shitty job, to be there when I said I would, to clean what I would clean, break down what I would break down. They drove to that park as the dusk broke like a bloody egg over the nearby lake, blasting Ice Cube the entire way, his song disparaging Koreans seemingly not bothering the one Korean in the crew, and the suburban boys never even showed up. I am guessing they just smoked a bit and shouted over the too loud music and fit back into the warehouse of a car that could carry their stupid boy bodies over the roads, a Cadillac become Pegasus, none of our dreams having wings.