“The curb’s burning my butt cheeks,” Pedro complained. “I’m going back inside.”
“Fine,” I said, peering down the vacant street. “More ice cream for me.”
“Your fat ass better come get me when the truck gets here.”
Pedro punched me in the arm. He jumped up and ran across our dried lawn, going indoors to the refuge of our fan-blown room. Video games weren’t as fun when the ceiling fan was only stirring up hot air. Felt like you were playing in the rainforest or something. Only instead of swinging from vines we had our Sega Genesis cords sticking to our legs.
I’d saved up the three dollars needed to buy our two popsicles from the ice cream truck, who usually made his musical entrance around this time. The scratchy speakers were always blaring things like “Joy to the World” or “Yankee Doodle Dandy.” I don’t know what the hell either of those two songs had to do with selling ice cream. Whenever I’d hear them, my mouth would get dry. I’d feel like one of those dogs you read about in school. The ones that start to drool when they hear the bell.
Pedro was right. I was roasting out on the curb. July is the hottest month. It’s gotta be why they kick us out of school for the summer. It’s too expensive to cool. I peeled my sweaty, green Ninja-Turtles shirt from my chest, and looked like a drooling dog down the street again. No truck, but someone was coming. A girl.
I knew her. She was in my older brother’s class, I think. She had a crooked nose, but her smile made up for it. She wore a lot of dark make-up around her eyes, and her black hair was done up in a braid. I always thought—whenever I’d see her running around the neighborhood with the other kids—that she had friendly eyes. They were big, brown, and sexy. A guy could get lost in those eyes. When she waved, my hands decided to stop working. I acknowledged her with an embellished head raise, feeling like an idiot.
She sat beside me. Her tight, jean shorts were barely long enough to keep her skin from getting burned on the curb.
“You’re Pedro’s brother?” she asked.
I struggled to speak. An “uh-huh” was all I could manage.
“Hot today, you know?”
“Yea,” I sputtered. “G-gonna get ice cream?”
“Nah. My mom took her purse to work. She don’t trust me.”
“For what?” She began fanning her glistening face. “You didn’t take her purse.”
I nodded, feeling stupid for the apology. Pedro always told me I apologized too much.
Just then I heard a drool-inducing sound. “Joy to the World” was coming around the corner. The ice cream truck rolled onto our street. I didn’t see anyone else running outside. Me and the driver locked eyes. He probably had been expecting me.
The driver stopped and opened his window. I stood up and scanned the pictures on the side of his truck. I already knew what I was getting: two ninja-turtle popsicles with blue gumball eyes. I stared back at the girl with brown eyes watching my transaction unfold. I pulled the crumpled three dollars from my shorts pocket.
“One ninja turtles…and one Power-Puff girls.”
With the money exchanged, the driver handed me the two popsicles. I turned and held out the pink popsicle for the girl. Her face brightened.
“Ah, thank you,” she said, sweetly. “You’re too nice.”
“Well—you looked hot. I mean, cause its hot today.”
“My favorite,” she said, peeling back the wrapper.
I felt a punch on my shoulder then. Pedro was there beside me. He snatched the other popsicle from my hand before I could protest.
“Hey Pedro,” she said, giving my brother the biggest smile.
Pedro was already sucking down a gumball. “Hey Chica. Looking good.”
I took their trash and went inside to play some Sega.