She whispers her shouts of elation. The first rays of early sunlight peek through her cupped hand. Mooreston is beautiful in the morning. The Jackhammer’s firing up a plate of pancakes. She pats Frank on the shoulder, a pat of rapturous victory, of being right.
–– There it is! There it is! See? Told you so. Angry tracks. Beady was right, he knows where everything is, where everyone is. If you ask him right.
Frank sees it: the brownstone and the black Plymouth. The headlight is missing. The car isn’t engulfed in flames. It sits, parked in front of the fire hydrant, up on the curb a little, as though the events of the night hadn’t happened, as though nothing had happened between its doors, as though the girl standing next to him wasn’t wearing a mask of powder and thread. He sees the fire through her mask. Angry tracks.
–– It’s not gonna explode so we don’t have to worry about you jumping me again. You’re not gonna jump me again, are you Mister?
Frank shakes his head.
–– OK, good. That’s good. We’re gonna make it quick. Check out the car. Get the necklace. Get back to me. We both get on home. Though I’ve got to get to work. Gene hates it when I show up late.
–– You were just there.
–– A new day, right? You heard him say it. Car. You were hell-bent on checking it out earlier. Get started. Get home.
Frank crosses the street. He peers through the Plymouth’s window: footprints on the backseat, scratches from her tiny heels against the leather. Nail scratches in the upholstery. He scans the floorboards, the seats. Nothing, except for the nice jacket on the passenger seat.
He turns to her. Shrugs his shoulders. She runs across the street.
–– Look under the seat.
–– It’s locked.
–– The window’s glass.
–– It’ll make a ruckus.
–– I’ll make a ruckus.
She grips The Comic by the corners and pulls. Paper tears. Frank grips his wrist and pulls his arm back. He winces in pain. His elbow bounces off the window. Curls rolls her eyes. He tries again. Shards of glass fly all over the seat, all over the nice jacket. He looks under the seat. The necklace gleams. He hands it to her. She takes the string from around her neck and gives it to Frank.
The brownstone’s outside light clicks on. It illuminates the door.
–– Shit. Mister
She runs. She turns. She motions for Frank to come to her. She waves with The Comic.
–– What are you doing Mister? We’ve got it!
The red door.
The one that made us fall in love with the place.
He raises his hand to knock.
The door opens. Jacket stares at him, his hair wild, blood crusted around his nose.
She sees me. After all these years, she sees me.
The blade of the knife.
Sammy comes downstairs, his blanket in hand. Mommy, who’s that? he asks, rubbing his eyes. Left one first, just slightly. He’s a lefty too. She doesn’t say anything. Just a smile and a nod. Sammy drops his blanket and rushes to the door.
Frank opens his arms. Jacket lunges. The knife blade gleams.
We laugh as he damn near knocks his beautiful mother over. I pull away just long enough to open my jacket and give him the gift I brought him, the gift I’ve kept these months, my chance to come Home. His eyes light up.
The knife plunges into Frank’s stomach. Jacket falls on top of him. Frank stares at Curls pulling Jacket off of him by the arm. She wraps hers around his and pulls. Hard. A snap. Jacket screams and falls down the stairs. Right hook. Jackhammer lesson. Frank embraces air. He holds the string tight. He looks up. Curls helps him to his feet and down the stairs, blood all over the skirt of the polka-dotted Patton. He laughs. She drops him into the backseat of the Plymouth. She gets into the driver’s seat. No key. She fumbles through the jacket pockets. Key. She puts it in the ignition. Jacket reaches his good arm through the window. He grabs her hair. She struggles. She grabs a shard of glass. She squeezes tight. Her hand bleeds. She slams the piece of glass into Jacket’s forearm. He screams.
We’re a family again. Tonight.
She makes angry tracks and throws the jacket out the window.
Tonight’s the night.