Ruckus

Do you remember Little Jordy Buchanan? You know, that kid who used to pretend he was a dog all the time? He lived at the end of our street. He must’ve been six, maybe seven. Tell me you remember him. He used to run around on all fours, digging holes into people’s lawns, burying what appeared to be bones. Is this ringing any bells? I used to be out working in my garage, and I’d hear him in the street, being loud, always causing a ruckus. He’d be chasing a vehicle, or clawing through someone’s trash, or barking at a seagull. There was even this one time he started barking at my baby girl. I remember it perfectly, the way he scampered on over to our property, practically naked, woofing and slobbering and acting crazy. It terrified my baby so bad she started bawling from right there in her stroller. So I started yelling at Little Jordy Buchanan after that, trying to show him some discipline, but do you think the kid listened to me? Of course not. He just spun around in circles chasing his non-existent tail. But that was Little Jordy Buchanan for you. He was an odd one, I swear. You remember him now, don’t you? How could you forget any of this? He lived with his parents at the end of our street, in the corner house, the one with the yellow garage doors. His father was a dentist and his mother was a painter. I liked them both. They seemed relatively normal aside from the fact that their son ran around licking people. Damn, that kid was weird. His eyes were constantly in motion, pupils dilating in and out, and his hair, it always smelled like insect repellent. And he was dirty, filthy, the least hygienic thing I’d ever seen. One time I even caught him in the street playing with a dead raccoon. He had it impaled on the end of a stick, dangling off of the tip like it was a roasted marshmallow. The poor raccoon’s guts were spilling out all over the curb in front of the Webbs’ house. You have to remember that at least? The dead raccoon? Still nothing? I can picture it all like it happened yesterday. Everything. The way Little Jordy Buchanan’s breath smelled after he ate dog food, or the way a fire hydrant smelled after he urinated on it. And the poo! My God, how could I forget about the poo? One afternoon, the Vassermans’ teenage boy goes out to mow their back lawn, and guess what he sees? Little Jordy Buchanan defecating in Mary Vasserman’s vegetable garden. I swear to God, I am not making this up. Don’t you remember? Everyone was talking about it at the May Two-Four barbeque. Mary Vasserman telephoned the Buchanan household after that, threatening to call child services, but do you think they did anything about it? Tell me, do you think anything changed? Hell no. Less than a week later Little Jordy Buchanan was causing more trouble, and then soon after that he wound up in the hospital… What? Yes! Yes, he had rabies! You remember! No, I’m not entirely sure how it happened. He was probably French kissing a wolverine or something. Anyways, point is, Little Jordy Buchanan got released from the hospital a few weeks later, and then shortly after that the Buchanans’ moved away. So I haven’t seen any of them in, how long, maybe ten years or so? That is until last week. I couldn’t believe it. I ran into him at the grocery store, I swear. It was quite surreal. Little Jordy Buchanan, now an Average-Sized Jordan Buchanan. I kept expecting him to bite me or something, but he didn’t. He acted rather polite, rather ordinary. He was clean-shaven, dressed in a preppy, blue collared shirt and black jeans. We shook hands. He had a firm grip. He remembered me, and asked how my family was. The whole thing didn’t feel right though. The normalcy of our conversation I mean, it made me feel uneasy, like everything I’d ever known was suddenly off-kilter, suddenly deteriorating. Does that make any sense? Do you understand what I’m trying to say? I started to sweat. Profusely. Jordan Buchanan asked me if I was okay. I grabbed a bag of peas off one of the shelves, threw them down an aisle, telling him to go Fetch! He looked at me like I was demented. Since when did I become the weird one? A store employee asked me to go pick up the peas. His tone of voice was civil, yet stern. Customers were looking at me. I didn’t like having all those eyes on me, so I decided to leave the store. I told Jordan Buchanan I needed to go. He just looked at me, along with all of the other customers. It was rather depressing, but I guess that’s all he was now, no longer Little Jordy Buchanan, but just another average-sized person shopping in a grocery store. I reminded him about the dead raccoon before I left. I told him it was disgusting to watch. He just continued to look at me, not saying anything. What else was there to say? I found the exit and was gone.

————————

Mark Jordan Manner is currently a student at York University where he received the 2011 President’s Prize for Fiction. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Ricepaper Magazine, Word Riot, Bartleby Snopes, Red Lightbulbs, among others, and his story ‘Poem About Writing A Poem’ recently earned 1st place in Bartleby Snopes Third Annual Dialogue Competition. Feel free to discover more of his words at: markjordanmanner.blogspot.com.