Free Read Friday: Everett Park

© Can Stock Photo / Anna_Om

E is for Everett Park

Part 2

Read Part 1 HERE! 

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The population on a playground rarely varied, there was always several distinct groups of children. Some might call it clichéd but wasn’t life the same way? We were born, we lived, and we died. The routine never varied. Our successes and failures in life were merely a by-product of our upbringing, and if one were to look a little closer they would find so many similarities that they only conclusion that they could draw was that life itself was clichéd.

On any playground you had the regulars, a tight knit group who had grown up together, who rarely, if ever, allowed new blood into their midst. They might let the new kid on the block hang out with them, but that new kid would never know the intimacy of the inner circle, forever banished to the periphery of the group, a satellite always orbiting the nucleus.

Then you had the new kids who bounced back and forth between the regulars and a loose knit coalition they formed to counter the regulars. There was the older kids in the neighborhood, the teens who would come to hang out on the swings and smoke, cracking jokes while sometimes drinking what they managed to swipe from their parents.

Usually in a small corner you would find the undesirables who always managed to gravitate to one another. As if they had some instinctive built in search ability that sought out others like themselves. These were the less popular kids, the overweight and the underachievers, the socially inept who would never be able to operate smoothly in a public setting.

Last but not least there were the predators, the bullies who roamed the playground at will, seeking their next victim. They usually operated alone or in pairs, sometimes in rare instances they would appear in threes. These were the kids with a chip on their shoulder, and a desire to share the pain of their existence with anyone stupid enough to draw their attention.

That was Everett Park. Like any other playground one might wander into, whether you were from the east coast of the west, or anywhere in the world. It was the same clichéd setting occupied by the same clichéd groups. Predictable. Even the bullies were the same, to a point.

Jeremy and William, not Bill, don’t ever call him Bill. His dad’s name was Bill, and his dad, according to William, was a pussy. He wouldn’t stand up to anybody, not his wife, his kids, or even the neighbors who took every advantage of him. William wasn’t like that, he was strong, and mean, like his real dad who once played professional football.

William could never come up with his real dad’s name, and there weren’t many people with the guts to call him out on his story. But according to William his mom had dated a football player named William who had been sent to prison for killing a running back while tackling him during a game. After the football player was sent away his mom, alone and pregnant, had latched onto the first guy that would take her.

Together Jeremy and William made life miserable for those of us confined to the far corner of the playground. A rusting sliding board that no longer worked, and the merry-go-round that rocked back and forth with a loud squeak every time you turned it were the only pieces of equipment we could use. The merry go round had once been blue but rust had overwhelmed the paint to the point it was just a memory. The swings, monkey bars, and a massive steel robot we all called Gigantaga was the domain of the more popular groups.

Jeremy and William were not restricted as we were, they had full access to the entire playground, and took every opportunity to make their presence known. More so with our little group than any other. They were mean but bearable, that is until Arnold joined them and the pair became a triad of terror.

Arnold had a look that told you to stay away. With red hair and freckles he was endlessly teased by the older kids who were large enough and mean enough to beat the crap out of him if he retaliated. With bright green eyes that carried an expression of abject cruelty, we had little idea exactly how far he would go, but we quickly learned. Unlike Jeremy and William, Arnold could not tolerate our presence and from day one set out upon the task of scaring us away for good.

To be continued!

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