Route 7 Review - Page 102

trust one of them. Something hurts in you, worse than that time you were playing football with the guys and Frank Popovich tackled you into the cement-block wall. You know if you tell your mom Ted said this word, you would never be allowed to come back here again. Ted flips the burgers. They’re almost done. You hungry? he asks with a smile. No, you shake your head, you’re not hungry anymore and make up something about going home. You cross inside to get your coat and backpack because your bike is parked out front. You pass the Sam Cooke record still playing and you reach for it, yanking it off Ted’s expensive record player. You break it in half, hurting your hand, and throw it on the floor as you run out the front door. Jumping on your bike, you push it off their porch, slamming your feet on the pedals as you ride down the street. You pedal faster and faster until everything around you is a blur because this makes sense to you, this you can understand even though you still love him and you don’t. Ron Burch’s short stories have been published in Mississippi Review, Cheap Pop, PANK and others. He’s been nominated for a Pushcart, and his first novel “Bliss Inc.” was published by BlazeVOX Books. www.ronburch.com.