10/13/15 was a Tuesday, which is the most popular day of the week for new books to be released. This Tuesday was no different except for the fact that the “it” book of the year was being released. No, I’m not talking about my novel; rather a book called City on Fire by Garth Risk Hallberg hit shelves. It was an important day. Why?
Scooby stabbed at a can of baked beans with a switchblade until the torn-up lid fell to the floor of the kitchenette. His scrawny fourteen-year-old arms struggled to dislodge the contents into a chipped pot. A jagged purple scar started under his left eye, wound down his face, and sliced into his nostril. The flap of nose had dangled free following the beating two years earlier, but at least it reattached itself, although crookedly. Doctor bills and proper stitches didn’t take priority over food. Now, with the flared nostril, one side of his face appeared permanently angry.
The kid’s big toes hung through holes in his street-worn Air Jordans, far enough to curl down and scratch the hot asphalt. It was time for new shoes, but Jordans cost more than he had.The busted kicks held on long enough to get him to the Walmart three blocks outside the safety of his neighborhood. As his older brother said, “Long as you ain’t stealin’ from no local shops and you ain’t crossin’ the wrong colors, take what you want. But don’t fuckin’ get busted, mano.”