I can’t see anything out of the ordinary, only Olvie’s backyard. But I hear it. Words my mother has heard slammed in her direction.
“<N…> lover!” the boys chant.
Five of them emerge from the backyard bushes and run towards the front yard.
I grab a frying pan and head for the front door.
“Cooking out tonight?” Olvie says.
I ignore her and run outside.
Boys scramble in the cab and the back of the pick-up truck and shoot me the bird. Kent, the last one in, glares at me. “Beam that Fry pan over your own head, Grace. You’re not thinking straight.”
They peel off. Hearing the frying pan slam the sidewalk gives me a bit of satisfaction. But not enough.
Olvie stands on the porch, her eyes pinched and curious. “Somebody got shot?”
The damp cloth feels good on my forehead, but I could forego Gladys’ positioned arm against mine.
“Want me to call that imbecile Garvey?” Olvie says sitting next to me on the leopard skin couch.
I shake my head. “He couldn’t do anything anyway. Name-calling’s not against the law.”
“So, who were those ragamuffins?”
“I only know one of them. They called me a <n….> lover.”
“Next time,” she says, “Don’t be so stupid. Pull out the cast iron skillet instead of that cheap enamel one. No, never mind that. You’re too scrawny to lift it. Be best if you grab the baseball bat under my bed. But if you swing it, don’t miss.
“I don’t want to be violent,” I say, trying to sound like my parents.
“You hear what I said? Don’t miss.”