Grady stood outside the back window of the Wallace’s trailer listening to his brother Denny and Matt Wallace whoop and holler to the video game they played inside.
Grady laughed at the sound for a couple minutes before knocking on the glass. The ruckus stopped and the curtain pulled back to reveal two faces.
“Come on outside, Denny. I need to talk to you.”
Denny and Matt looked at each other uncertainly. After a moment of quiet deliberation, they slid the window open.
“We’re on level eight,” he complained. “It’s almost the last boss.”
“Just come outside, man. Please?”
Denny looked suspicious. “Are you mad that I didn’t visit you in the hospital?”
“No, I’m not mad. I don’t blame you at all.”
Grady stared at Matt until the boy melted back into the room.
“Look, I know I’ve been a bad brother to you, Denny. I know it. But I’m asking you right now to give me a chance to make up for it. I just want you to come help me with something.”
Denny looked his big brother up and down, probably checking for weapons or other mischief. “Are you really sick?”
“Yeah, pretty sick.”
“You don’t look sick.”
“You think I’m some kind of sissy?”
Denny cracked a smile before catching himself and reforming his guarded expression.
Grady got down on his knees, held his hands up in supplication, and begged. “Please, Denny. Please come outside to hang out with your big brother. Please.”
Despite his best efforts to remain stoic, Denny cracked up laughing. “Okay, I’ll come out. But if you pull anything, I’m coming right back in.”
Grady met him in the Wallace’s driveway and shoved him a couple times as they walked up the lane between the rows of trailers. “Thanks so much for gracing me with your presence, your highness.”
Denny tried not to smile and kicked at imaginary rocks. “What do you want?”
“I’m holding a human sacrifice and I need a virgin.”
Denny punched him in the back and let a cockeyed grin through.
“We’re going to make a movie,” Grady said. “You, me, and the guys. Right now we’re going to meet them so I can give out the orders.”
“What kind of movie?”
“I’ll explain it in a bit. When that’s all done, I want to talk to you about something else. It’s a secret. Just between you and me.”
“What is it?”
“Like I just said, dingbat, it’s a secret. We’ll talk about it later.”
They walked for a while through summer air that smelled like freshly cut grass and croaked with insect songs.
“So you’re really sick?” Denny asked
Grady shrugged. “Yeah, pretty sick.”