two boys about 8 and 10, one dragging a grocery bag half full of jagged edges, loudly approach the next house. they use the entire width of the sidewalk and beyond, making lighting incursions into the grass and mulch, serpent walking, never two steps in a straight line. they shove and insult each other up the steps to the door. the older hangs back. the younger opens the storm
door like he is breaking in, and sharply slams the knocker five times. metal on metal like firecrackers.
when the door is opened, he looks at the white shirt pocket of the homeowner and says, "you wanna buy some books?" after a pause, he adds, "adult books, kids books." his eyes are on his foot. the older is already looking off into the yard. "we're getting some money for our mother."
his expression is defiant, almost angry as if he's denying a crime rather than selling a book.
he hears the no, turns around, and when he reaches his friend, the wild swagger continues to the next house and they swear.