“Little Petey”

We’d all gone into the house. Little Petey stayed behind, sitting in the car. He sometimes did that so I didn’t think anything of it. 

Five o’ clock rolled around, then, and Little Petey was still sitting in the car. Actually he had the windows up and the car didn’t have air conditioning, which kind of freaked me out. I looked at his face and it was incredibly intense, focused, but mostly just disappointed. 

“Hey,” I said. “Whatcha doin’?”

“Tryin’ to find a song on the radio better than ‘Boys of Summer.’”

“Oh,” I said, kind of chuckling to myself, partly because it was kind of funny and partly because I knew he couldn’t do it.

“What about ‘Just Another Day’ by Jon Secada?” I asked. 

“They haven’t played that one,” Little Petey responded, sort of in monotone, maneuvering his finger once again to the “seek” dial.

“Well,” I continued, “have you at least seen a woman walking by really slowly, smiling at everyone?”

It was then that Little Petey gave me a glare that would have shattered stone. I decided to leave him alone and go back into the house. Bizarrely, he still hadn’t been showing any visible signs of dehydration, other than of course the irritable temperament he was exhibiting. 

My uncle was in there watching the Cubs game on TV, drinking a Miller Lite. I cracked one and sat down next to him. 

“You know what Illegal Pete’s doin’ out in the car?” I asked. 

“What?” asked Rusty. 

“He’s sitting there flipping the dials, listening to all the songs, trying to find a song that’s better than ‘Boys of Summer.’”

Rusty chuckled. 

“I always liked that kid,” he said. 

“Yeah,” I responded. “Me too.”


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