The Backup HTML version

Rye Dano
Copyright © 2010 Rye Dano. All rights reserved.
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this
publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any
form, or by any means (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise) without the
prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
* * * *
The Backup
by Rye Dano
I looked down at the dirt. The hole. Empty.
It seemed like only yesterday that I was a boy here. On this street, among these houses. Some
were different, but the area, surprisingly, still looked pretty much the same as when I was growing up.
Not much had changed since then. Not much at all.
I was eleven when it happened. My best friend, Matt and I had walked by this house a million
times. We always threw a rock at the big blank wall on the east side of the house, the one where there
was only the small attic window and a tall brick column that stretched up high, taller than the house,
even. Aside from that and the small window, which we shattered long ago, the rest was all target. It was
great fun to see what kind of marks we could make on that wall. The street had lots of little rocks
perfect for throwing, but not so good at making a big mark. Matt and I had always planned to bring in
rocks from the quarry down past the power lines, but we never did.
One day, when standing in front of the house assessing our hits, we decided to do something
more daring. Throwing rocks wasn’t even daring, since no one stopped us from doing it. Actually, the
folks in the neighborhood encouraged us to throw rocks at that old, empty house. It had a funny feeling,
knowing that parents wanted you to throw a rock at something. But we didn’t mind. We loved it. But
that day, we got gutsy. One of us was going inside - inside that house. That was for sure.
Matt, my best friend and a sturdy kid with nerve, had what it took, I told him, to go in and
check out the place. He didn’t want to, really. But I convinced him it was going to be easy for him. He
let me convince him. He was able to do stuff like that, dangerous stuff, unlike me. I had trouble with a
lot of the daring stuff. I thought about it a lot, but I rarely acted on it. My desire was there, but I was
never really equipped for the task. I always felt others could do a better job. I don’t know if I was
always right about that, but I was sometimes, I’m sure. Matt agreed to do it; but only if I backed him
up. No sweat. I’d be backup. I think I was suited better as backup anyway.
Climbing the fence was easy. Chain link was made to be climbed. As long as it didn’t sway.
Then it would bow under like the cargo net in gym class. We picked a section that was tight. Up and
over. Easy peasy.
The ground near the spot we jumped was covered with small bushes and a large pile of round,
cut sections of dead trees. Tree wedges. We didn't know why someone would pile them up like that, but