Johnny was returning home after another long day at the bank. Today, he would take a route that would lead him through a few alleyways. He was still upset about the night before, and didn't want to confront Lisa right away. The sight of the red bricks and silver garbage cans seemed to match his ever darkening circumstances.
A voice came from behind him. Johnny recognized it instantly as Michelle's boyfriend, Mike.
"Hey Johnny, what's going on, man?" he said.
The two embraced in greeting. "Oh hi Mike, what's new? What's going on man?"
"Actually, Johnny..." Mike started, "...I got a little bit of a tragedy on my hands."
Johnny nodded for him to continue.
"Me and Michelle. We were...we were making out, uh, at your place."
Johnny laughed to himself. Those two!
"And, um, Lisa and Claudette sorta...walked in on us, in the middle of it."
Mike paused to gauge Johnny's reaction. Johnny simply stared at him with squinty, sagging, empty eyes.
"That's not the end of the story."
"Go on," Johnny invited, "I'm listening"
"OK. We're going at it, and I get out of there as fast as possible. I get my pants. I get my shirt. And I get out of there, and then about half way down the stairs I realized that I have misplaced, um...I have forgotten something..." Mike stammered, "...uh, my underwear."
Johnny laughed again. Mike shook off a his own giggles and continued with the story.
"So I go back to get it, you know? And I pretend that I'm looking for my book. You know, I'm like, looking for my book. And then I reach in and put my underwear in my pocket and just try and sort of slide out real quick? Well Claudette, she saw it sticking out of my pocket, so she pulls it out," he mimed stretching out a pair of underwear, "And she's uh, showing everybody...me underwears."
Johnny scrunched up his face in laughter, "You must be kidding, underwear! I got the picture!"
Mike shrugged, "I didn't know what to do!"
"That's life!" Johnny said, patting Mike on the shoulder. Both men shrugged it off.
"Hey Johnny!" it was Denny for some reason, also in the alley. The boy ran up to the two older men with a spring in his creepy steps. "Hey Mike!"
"Oh hey Denny!" Johnny greeted.
Denny had the football with him.
"You guys want to play some football?" he asked cheerfully.
"I gotta go see Michelle in a little bit," Mike said, avoiding Denny's invitation the best he could, "...to uh, make out with her. So I'm sorry."
Denny wasn't buying it. "Come on!" he pleaded.
Johnny agreed. "Come on! Let's do it! Come on!" he said.
"All right, all right whatever." Mike grabbed the football from Denny.
"Let's go for it!" Johnny said, and moved into position.
"I'm going out!" Denny proclaimed excitedly, running a few paces opposite of Mike. Mike threw him the ball and Denny caught it happily.
The three friends stood a meter apart from one another, tossing a football around in the alley like friends do.
"I'm sorry you had to see that." Mike said, throwing the ball to Johnny.
"I'm not...sorry!" Denny said, and the three laughed. "Studying right!"
"I don't study like that."
Johnny smiled, "He doesn't!"
"Hey Denny, what's up!"
It was Mark, who was also there, in the brick alley way, for some reason.
"Hey what's up Mark!"
"Oh hi, Mark!" Johnny greeted, throwing him the ball.
"What's up Mark?" Mike asked.
"Not to much," Mark replied with a handsome smile, "how about you guys?"
"He's just telling us about an underwear issue he had." Denny started mischievously
"Dude! Don't worry! Don't--" Mike tried to stop him, but it was all ready out. Mark curled his face in disgust.
"Underwear?" he asked, "What's that?"
"It's embarrassing man, I don't want to get into it." Mike replied sheepishly.
"Underwear man? Come on!"
And to emphasize the point, Mark pushed Mike the fuck over into a bunch of trash cans The other three men tried to break his fall, but Mike hit the ground. Hard.
"Oh god!" Mike screamed in pain.
"Are you OK!?" all three asked in near unison, helping him up.
"Are you sure?" Johnny asked, reaching for his arm to pull him up.
"Uh-huh." Mike assured, slowly getting to his feet.
"You want to see doctor?" Johnny asked.
"No, no. I'm good. I'm all right." Mike said, and Mark wrapped the man's arms around his shoulders. "I'm fine."
"Mark, why don't you take him home and Mike, listen, if you need anything call me. Anytime, all right?" Johnny said, patting Mike on the shoulder. "All right?"
"Yeah!" Mike moaned.
"See you guys!" Johnny called out as they left.
"See you guys!" Denny also called out as they left.
Denny sighed and reached for the football. He was still up for another round, but Johnny was done for the day.
"Let's go home, Denny." he said, a reassuring hand over the young man's shoulder.
And the two walked home from the brick alley.