We had a stinking old air mattress (a thing you force children to sleep on when adults are visiting) decaying in the basement (a place where you put the children on stinking old air mattresses). One summer, my brother (a big dumb thing that was stronger than me), my friend Billy (a small thing that would later hang itself), and I (A thing also known as “me”) blew it up and threw it into the lake (a place where you can pee and not feel guilty). We played a game called King of the Hill. One person stands above everyone else on the stinking old air mattress. He is the king (a thing like the grain of sand furthest from the tide). Then everyone tries to knock him off. Once he is down, everyone else tries to take his place, and when someone does who isn’t you, you curse yourself, accuse someone of biting you, then jump back up and try to take the new king down. You do this over and over and over. And your brother always wins. And he stands above you. Glistening in the sun (a thing like a rude star), while you and Billy tread water, breathless, bruised, and burnt, and worry about sharks (you don’t want to know about sharks).
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*originally published in SOFTBLOW