Owen had invited his best friend over after school. Derick came over a lot to hang out and play. They usually did their homework together also. This was the first time Derick had been over since Zaiden was shot.
“I bet I can go higher than you.”
Owen looked at Derick and laughed. “You say that every time, but you haven’t yet.”
“I will this time. Just wait and see.”
The two boys spent an hour outside playing before going inside. The plan was to go down to Owen’s room and just hang out. That was the plan. It changed when they saw Zaiden passed out on the sofa.
“I need to get home.
Owen followed Derick to the porch.
Derick looked at his friend. “You know what people are saying, don’t you?”
Owen shook his head. “I don’t listen to what people say. It is rarely the truth.”
“They are saying that your dad is part of a gang and killed a bunch of people when they wouldn’t give him drugs.”
Owen felt his hands ball into fists. “My dad is not in a gang. He never killed anybody. And he doesn’t do drugs.”
“Owen, your dad was shot. He is passed out on the couch with a pill bottle in his hand.”
“Those pills he got at the hospital.”
“He was at the hospital because he was shot. Everybody knows why except for you.”
Owen wanted to punch him in the nose but knew he would get in trouble if he did. “I hate you, Derick Strauss-Lewis. Go home. I never want to talk to you again.”