“Can’t you run any faster?” He pushed Derek, his younger brother, down. “You keep letting that geek catch us.” Derek got up and tried to run away but Eddie tripped him. Vinit helped Derek up. Eddie tagged Vinit. “You can’t catch me, Vinnie,” Eddie said.
As Eddie ran away Vinit stuck his foot out, right between Eddie’s moving feet. His fat body came tumbling down. Derek ran away. Vinit stayed where he was. Eddie rose to one knee. Then he charged Vinit. He kicked him in the knee. Vinit fell down. Eddie straddled him with his knees. He punched him in the face. Eddie stood up. Both feet crushed Vinit’s gut. Vinit struggled to breathe. He tried to push Eddie off, but his arms trembled. He was too small.
“You shouldn’t of done that, dot head!” Eddie spat as he spoke. He unzipped his fly. He pulled his penis out. Vinit stopped struggling. He closed his eyes. The pee was hot. Soon it was over. Eddie stepped off him. “You better not ever trip me!” Eddie said, then he ran off to his brother who was standing behind a tree, watching.
Vinit picked himself up. He dripped. He wiped his face with his hand, then dried it on his shirt. He walked down the front lawns to his house. He went inside. He got a towel from the bathroom. He wiped himself dry. He turned on the water in the shower. With his clothes on, he stepped under the water and lathered his hair, face, arms, and clothes. His mom opened the bathroom door.
“Vinit, what are you doing? You already took a shower. I can’t get you in there for a week and now¾. What did you do?”
His mom came in.
“You have your clothes on. What’s the matter with you? Those are new clothes.” She went into the room and stuck her arm past the curtain to hit him, but he was already crying. “What? I haven’t hit you yet.”
Vinit wiped his nose. He held his hand up into the water and let it wash the mucous off.
“What happened to you?” She raised her voice. “Vinit! Tell me what happened or¾”
“Eddie what? What did that stupid boy do?”
“Pissed on me.”
“He did what?”
“Pissed on me.” Vinit put his head in his hands.
“No.” She turned the water off. She grabbed Vinit’s wrist, yanked him out of the tub and to the front lawn.
“Mom, no!” He cried harder.
“Not my son.” She marched him back up the lawns to Eddie’s stoop. She knocked a few times. After a pause, she knocked hard¾seven times. She paused, then pounded continually.
“Jesus, what is it?” The door swung open. A dyed-blonde with thick black eyebrows and a telephone answered the door. She looked down at Vinit. Hiya Vinnie. What happened to you?”
“Look at his face!” Vinit’s mom said.
“Let me call you back,” she said into the phone. “Why are you all wet?”
“Your stupid boy, that oaf, peed on him. That’s why! Where is he?”
“What? Derek would never!”
“Oh, Eddie.” She thought a moment.
“What do you have to say? He humiliated.”
“I am so sorry.” She retreated into her house. She sat down on the second step of the stairs. “Oh my god.” She put her finger to her mouth and bit her nail. She put the phone down. “Eddie!” She got no response. “Come in. Let me at least get you a towel, here, in the kitchen. “Here, not this is wet. This one. Have seat, Mrs. Ahuja. Oh, come here Vinnie,” she toweled off his face and hair. “My stupid Eddie. He’s going to get it this time. This time. I’m so sorry, how can I make it up to you, Vinnie. You want some ice cream? A soda?”
“No thanks Mrs. Cox.”
“He’s always so polite. Vinnie, you’re such a good boy. My Eddie¾”
“Ice cream will not help, Mrs. Cox.”
“Where would he learn such a horrible thing. It’s the parents. The parents.”
“Maybe he saw it on television.” She stared at a crack in the kitchen tile. “So what can I do?”
“You can’t do anything, apparently. Start with an apology.”
“I’m so sorry. I’m so sorry.
“Not from you. From your son.”
“Right. I will. I will make him.”
“You have to teach that boy some respect. You cannot treat us like animals.”
“I know. You’re right. Of course. He should know better. My sons love people from all walks of life.”
“Well then, have them act like it.”
She took Vinit back home by the wrists. Vinit sat on the couch. He turned on MASK, his favorite cartoon¾a cross between GI Joe and transformers, where a secret group of commandos fought evil in transforming vehicles.
After the show was into its second half hour an knock came at the door.
Vinit opened after his mother was standing behind him. Eddie stood there, looking uncomfortable. His mom held her hand on his back. He looked smaller with his mother towering over him.
“Edward, don’t you have something you want to say to Vinnie?” Mrs. Cox said.
“Okay.” Eddie shifted weight from one foot to the other. “I’m sorry, Vinnie.”
Vinit and Derek continued to play. After a year Vinit started to come to the Cox house sometimes. He didn’t like Eddie but Derek and Eddie played separately when Vinit was around. Eddie got real loud when Vinit came over.
Derek and Vinit watched MASK while Eddie played with his transformers.
“I’m gonna get you, Optimus Prime. The Decepticons will rule the world! I spit on you in your stupid robot face! Thuuuhghgh!” Eddie said in a deep voice, trying to imitate Megatron’s scratchy, evil voice.
“Hey Vinnie,” Derek said. “Did you see my new MASK toy?”
“Look, I got Boulder Hill. The gas station that turns into an attack hideout.”
“Wow, the billboard flips into a rocket launcher. The roof flips over into a shield.”
“It’s so cool.”
“I love MASK. I wish they had more toys.” Vinit opened his book bag. Inside he had his notebooks. He opened one to a drawing of a black pick-up truck. “Look.” The vehicle was neatly measured. He flipped the page. “This is my idea. I’m going to send it to them. Maybe they’ll make it.” On the next page was the same pickup but the back was flipped up and guns came out like turrets. There was a chair in the back up the pickup so that a person could fire the guns in safety. “Do you like it?”
“Wow, Vinnie. That’s so rad!”
Eddie no longer made noise. Mrs. Cox came into the room. “Boys, dinner is ready. Derek put your toys away. Vinnie, always studying,” she said with a wry smile. “Put your books away.”
“No, Mrs. Cox, they’re designs I made. See.”
“Wow, these are some drawings. Like a professional architect.”
They put their things away. Eddie watched from the stairs, still quiet. Derek and Vinnie sat at the table. Mr. Cox smoked a cigarette. “So, the boy wants to be an architect. Your folks let you be anything but a doctor, boy?”
“Vinnie’s gonna make a new MASK toy. It’s gonna be the coolest.”
“Going to,” Mrs. Cox said.
“Let him talk how he wants. We can’t all be doctors.”
Mrs. Cox put a corning dish of spaghetti with a big greasy slab of butter dripping down it. “Eddie, get in here right now!”
Upstairs, Eddie had Vinnie’s drawings in his hand, freshly ripped out of the notebook. He left them under his bed. His footsteps thumped down the stairs. Then he burst into the kitchen.
“What the devil’s gotten into you, boy? When your Mamma calls you, you come. Now sit down and eat.” Eddie was the first one into the spaghetti.
Vinit sat on his bed. His little brown room had a bed, a desk and a bookshelf. A light with a yellow cover gave off a dismal glow. He sat on his bed with his MASK toy: Condor. It was a green motorcycle that turned into a helicopter.
“Vinit, did you finish your homework?” His mom called from the other room.
He opened his backpack. He fished through and pulled out his math book. Before he started his homework he wanted to look at his plans for his MASK pickup truck. He opened to the page but saw only little scraps of torn paper against the binding..
“Mom! Mom! Mom!”
She came running to Vinit’s room as he ran out. They met in the hallway. “What? What happened? Are you okay?”
“My book. My pages were stolen. They had my drawings.”
“Drawings?” She laughed. “You scared me, I thought it was your homework.”
“No! They were important. I designed a toy.”
“Well, Vinit, you can design another toy. You have plenty of notebooks.”
“No. I worked so hard. You have to get Mrs. Cox to make Eddie give them back.”
“I can’t bother her. How many times have I told you not to go into that house. It’s your fault this time. Enough. I don’t want to talk about it. Did you do your homework?”
“Homework? I don’t care about homework!”
“Vinit.” She slapped his arm. “Homework is the only thing that matters. Now go to your room. Forget your drawings.”
“No. They’re mine. Mom, you’ve gotta believe me. You know the toys you buy me. They’re expensive. Dad always says so. And I made one. Really. Derek said it was the coolest thing he’d ever seen. Mr. Cox said I could be an architect.”
She laughed. “Architect. You’re going to be a doctor.”
Vinit put his head down. “Forget it, Mom.”
She kissed him on the head. “There, there. Do your homework now.” She left the room mumbling, “He thinks they’ll make his toy.”
The very next morning Eddie got up as soon as the alarm went off. He showered. He waited for his mom and brother downstairs. At school he ran off the bus. Instead of meeting his friends in the hallway he went straight to the art room. Mr. O’Brien was in there, unshaven, scratching a charcoal drawing with a razor.
Eddie showed him the drawings of the pick-up.
“Edward, I had no idea you possessed this kind of potential.”
“What brings you here early in the morning?”
“I want to send it to MASK so they can make it into a toy.”
“Right, the cartoon.” He put the razor down and leaned back on his stool. “They’re made by Kenner toys. A buddy of mine works for Kenner. Well, a guy I went to high school with. Here, I’ll draft you a letter.”
Mr. O’Brien had a letter ready by his third period art class with Eddie. Eddie signed it, and put it in an envelope with the drawings. Mr. O’Brien sealed it.
“Now we just have to wait and see, Edward.”
Vinit had art class last period. He told everybody about his MASK idea and how Eddie had stolen it.
“Vinit,” Mr. O’Brien said. “Don’t envy your fellow student’s success.”
“But he was the envious one. He stole my drawings. How could you believe him? He can’t draw anything.”
“Yes, but skill and imagination are different things, Vinnie. You should be happy for your friend. I helped him mail them to Kenner Toys. Perhaps we’ll soon have our own toy designer right here in Claremont Middle School.
In time Vinit’s protests died down. He continually asked Mr. O’Brien if they had received anything from Kenner. A response to the letter never came. In six months the second phase of MASK toys was released for sale. There were eight new products. Somebody in Vinit’s class was the first to bring in one of the new toys. It was a pick-up truck where the back covering came up revealing a shielded seat that sat at the controls of a turret.
It came with no mention of Vinit nor any mention of Eddie. Made by Kenner, Incorporated.
This was previously titled "Made by Kenner" many years ago.
This was previously titled "Made by Kenner" many years ago.