My Tent


My Tent


Before my mom and dad got a divorce, we had a dog. I don’t remember her name. She got into some poison my mom put out for ants or roaches or something. Her eyes were bugging out. I don’t know what happened to her.

After they got divorced, we moved to a little white house about two blocks away. I shared a room with my brother, and my sister slept with my mom. There was a bunk bed and a twin bed in my room, so maybe my sister slept in there sometimes. My babysitter’s name was Julie. One night she brought over a record album and played it for me. It was The Rolling Stones. I was a member of the Cowsill’s Fan Club. I was in love with Susan Cowsill.

We got a new dog.  And a new lawn mower. I took the mower engine completely apart, and then put it back together. We had a steel glider that my mom painted blue and white. Someone scratched something naughty in the fresh paint on the arm. My mom tried to make me admit that I did it, and she punished me for doing it. But I didn’t write that there, and I never said I did. I took the punishment.

My uncle gave me a tent. A brown canvas tent, with wooden poles. He said it was his tent from the Korean war. It had stains on it that I was certain were blood. I don’t know how he got it home from Korea. I camped out in my back yard, in that tent, a lot. I had friends who came over to spend the night in that tent. We stayed up really late. Once we peed on a cat that came walking by.

My mom had a boyfriend. He had a light blue Mercury, with a white top. It had a white cat in the back window. A really furry cat, with red eyes that lit up when he put the brakes on. He had a pistol, a German Luger. He took me out to the country and we shot it. He had cherry bombs too, and we blew up a coffee can with them.

They used to take us on their dates, to the drive in. Once we saw Old Yeller, or My Fair Lady. After that, when we got home, there was another dog inside the fence around our back yard with our dog. My mom and that guy were really upset. The other dog ran away. I was upset too, because my dog had chewed up the tent that my uncle had given to me.

I don’t know what happened to that dog either.