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The Pivot and the Brawls


If were a betting man i'd wager the better part of the fruit snacks i stashed under the floorboards in favor of the theory that minnesota women have a funny bone that autumn hits. They look at me with fresh cool eyes but my history of finding true kinship with my contemporaries is something i can't shake, like the duck dynasty merch at the long prarie walgreens. maybe the women will suit me better as I inch closer to 10th grade. Sometimes i think about my brother, like in the wake of donovan's meeting with the pivot in minny this week. I smiled, imagining what the pivot was thinking during that key sequence - when Steve came up behind me - "I thought you was scooter boy!"

Scooter boy was my bro, who went down to Perpich to pursue his dream of being a contemporary poet. More recently we had spent a few long weeks of the summer together. I was down and out, so far out I saw Dennis Hopper when I looked in the mirror. Scooter Boy somehow knew when I needed him most and even if he was fine tuning syncopation for a first trimester exam I would see that razor, shining in the sun and easing through the thick ditch grass until I heard him approach me, flying by, and crashing. Those old breaks still weren't fixed. That was one thing everybody thought about when kids said "Scooter Boy." Stain on his image or central to the local legend after he made waves as a Freshman

by leading the police on a slow paced chase to the bog, determined to free the fabled Fighting Fish mascots that represented our alma matter. "He's crazy," they told me, but I knew. My family has a gene in it that makes (some of) us highly observant. I viewed him with great reverence, and once more asked - "can you tell me about the brawls?" He shook me off, and I wasn't sure if it was authentic then, but either way he did his best to affirm his belief that the historic truce between the scooters and the Schwins was for the best.

I could almost see Donovan riding a Schwin and my brother picked up that metal frame. It was banged up in a way that made it - and him - appear more rugged and brash than he wished he could be seen. But a kid with a knack for modern prose and a serious gushers habit doesn't stand a chance, and it was then that I wondered if others saw me like the Pivot. Was I dull, just an old Micky Rooney simping for the band kids because I actually believed art still meant something? I felt the allure of the brawls again and I think it clicked right there and then. Peace sounded easy but played hard, like the back 9 at Treasure Cove.

Scooter boy met me just before I went down to cover the karate point championship for my middle school. Hungry to advance my career and defending a bird, I got heated and the truce was toast. The Schwins rode in that night. I thought the summer heat was a raging fire, but now that the rain clouds of the truce were lifting I had no chance. That was when the first brawl in years began. "Not so fast," we all hear, aluminum sparkling over by the tracks, and that sweet silver gold made things pause just long enough for the hall monitor to snitch. My brother laughed, and I wondered if he was crazy.

Why were the fish with him? Why did he need to get them to the bog? One day it will make sense, like the truce, like the brawls.

But in the cool autumn, it seems so distant. Steve looked at me and quipped: "will ya' tell me about the brawls?" Journeys are lessons, and since we are always on a journey, we're always learning a lesson. But when life throws you a fastball you need to sit on it. I spent the rest of my lunch money and picked up a half dozen fighting fish, headed outside to the playground, grabbed that old metal frame and started off toward the bog.