These kids, who wear mud boots on rainy days, will grow up to work a job where the use their hands and their brawn. They'll show up early, leave on time and collect their paychecks each Friday. They'll spend their evenings and weekends in the woods or on the river in their caps and camouflage, or they'll drink their paycheck away until they wake up Monday morning knowing they have to go back to work to build up funds for the next weekend's bender. They'll work. They'll party. They'll make more kids who sit outside on picnic tables each morning clad in camouflage and caps.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
They Sit on Picnic Tables
They sit on picnic tables each morning, wearing camouflage jackets and the UGA caps they carry an entire day, wedged in a pocket or bag, just to don them for these 15 glorious minutes when they stand outside, fenced in so they don't escape. It doesn't matter if it's cold or even raining. They only come inside and forsake their hats for the hardest of downpours. If it's cold, they hunch their shoulders and huddle closer. If it's hot, they sweat in their boots and caps, leaving that dark ring lined by that telltale white line of salt. They'd rather stand outside, as close to freedom as possible, than to spend any more time inside than necessary. When students from a neighboring shop class walk out back, dumping the scraps of the day's class, the boys, and the strange, tough and needy girls who keep them company, crowd the chain link, fingers intertwined with metal, shouting conversations like puppies barking from their pen, more for attention than anger or warning.