when i am twelve years old, i take the bus to the middle school. i take the bus to the middle school because i am twelve years old and it is too far to walk.

when i am twelve years old and on the bus, i receive terrible news. i hear that my school friend, earl humerus, was hit by a car while crossing the street to get to his bus stop. he isn’t actually my friend. he is actually someone who sucks just less enough at sports and lives just close enough to fill in on backyard football games.

oh, poor earl humerus. another car accident for poor earl humerus! there is a myth about earl humerus that his penis was run over by a car and replaced by a plastic tube. i never think about how that could have happened, but every time i think of poor earl humerus, i think of pee dribbling out of his pee tube like an upside-down lemonade.

when i hear that earl humerus has been hit by another car, i ask around to find out how serious it is. i ask around, but nobody knows. nobody knows how serious it is. i wonder if poor earl humerus is in an ambulance with his face smushed into an oxygen mask. i wonder if there is blood. i wonder if his bones are breaking through his skin. i wonder if the ambulance driver sees his plastic pee tube.

as i am wondering, i feel like crying. i feel the air in my stomach being sucked out through the tear holes in my face. i feel like crying because i can’t help picturing my face on earl humerus’ body, my face paper-dolled on his broken body crumpled up like a re-used shopping bag in the back of an ambulance.

when i get to school that morning, i don’t think too much more about earl humerus. i don’t think too much more about earl humerus because i am thinking about my homework, i am thinking about whether the whitehead i squeezed out that morning will re-accumulate, i am thinking about what i will say if anyone asks me what i am thinking.

my daddy comes home from work at 4:30 pm, like he does every day. he looks at my mother in a way that i have never seen him look at her when he comes home from work.

“you'll never guess what happened to me this morning,” he says.

she looks worried in a way that i have never seen her look worried before.

“this idiot kid,” he says, “this idiot kid ran right in front of my car this morning. he didn’t even look. he ran out from behind a parked car on the street. i didn’t see him until i hit him.”

Wren James lives quietly by the ocean with his wife and children. Recent work has appeared in the EEEL, Atticus Review, and is forthcoming in Lockjaw Magazine and the Doctor T.J Eckleburg Review. Find him: @wrenajames and