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yellow shapes 2 by Ira Joel Haber 








Candy Corn










Tobi Schultz

            Mikey pulled another handful of candy corn from the bag and munched on a few as Shannon weaved toward him through a pack of trick-or-treaters.  From the look on his face Shannon seemed a little disgusted at the kids in their bright costumes, but Mikey couldn’t understand why.  Mikey himself loved kids, and he fully intended to have some one day if he could stay out of jail long enough to meet that special someone.

            They were just a few blocks off Main Street in a vaguely familiar residential area, but then again the town of Clayton’s Ravine was small enough that everything was only a few blocks from Main Street.  Shannon had chosen this as their meeting site because it was close to the place Shannon had just stolen from and far enough from either of their homes that, according to Shannon, it would not arouse suspicion if they were just hanging around.  Something about that logic did not seem quite right to Mikey, but he did not dare question it.  Shannon was always the brains for their scams while Mikey was just the…well, he couldn’t actually say what part he played.

            “Did you get anything?” Mikey asked.

            “Yeah, I got something,” Shannon said.  He waited until there were no trick-or-treaters in the immediate vicinity, then held up a clenched fist in front of Mikey and opened it.  He had a small black velvet-covered box in his hand, and Mikey had to blink several times when Shannon lifted the lid.  There was a diamond ring inside, probably intended as an engagement ring, only it was the biggest diamond Mikey had ever seen outside of movies or TV.  The diamond shimmered in the fading daylight, and Mikey tentatively reached out to touch it when Shannon snapped the box closed.

            “Don’t fuck with it, man,” Shannon said.  “You can get a closer look at it later before we sell it.”  His eyebrows furrowed as he looked at the orange-colored bag in Mikey’s hand.  “What the hell are you eating?”

            “Candy corn,” Mikey said.  “Want some?”

            “Yech!  Are you kidding me?  That shit’s nasty.  You’re the only person I know disgusting enough to eat that crap.”

            “Actually, I heard on the radio that candy corn is the most popular candy in the whole world.”

            “Then the whole world is just as disgusting as you.”

            Mikey thrust the bag at him.  “Go on, try some.  It’ll put some meat on your bones.  You’re getting super skinny.”

            “And you’re becoming a giant fat-ass.  And I’m only getting skinny because my bitch of a sister stopped buying my food for me.  Says I need to get a job and learn to take care of myself or some shit.”

            “You mean your sister Geri?”

            “No, I meant the other sister I live with, dumbass.”

            “You have another sister?  I thought there was just the one.”

            “I was just being sarcastic.  Jesus Christ, you’re a moron.”

            “Hey, have you ever noticed that you have a girl’s name and your sister has a boy’s name?  That’s kind of messed up, huh?”

            For a moment Shannon looked like he was about to say something back, something that would have involved a great many cuss words, but then he stopped and looked with wide eyes over Mikey’s shoulder.  “Aw crap.”

            “What?” Mikey asked as he started to turn his head to look, but Shannon grabbed him by the chin and forced him to look straight ahead.

            “Don’t look over your shoulder,” Shannon said.  “In fact, don’t look at anything.” 

            Mikey tried his best not to look at anything, but no matter where he pointed his eyes he was still looking at something.  It was hard sometimes trying to follow Shannon’s orders.  “What’s behind me?” Mikey asked, but before Shannon could answer he heard several sets of footsteps on the sidewalk behind him.

            Shannon looked around in a panic for a second, then shoved the black box into Mikey’s hands.  “Hide this, quick!  Put it in your pocket or something!”

            “But I….”

            “Just do it!”  Shannon looked over Mikey’s shoulder again, and Mikey stashed the box .  “Good evening, Officer Perelli.”

            This time Mikey had to look, and Shannon was not quick enough to stop him.  A man and a little girl were approaching.  Mikey had never seen the little girl before, or at least he thought he hadn’t.  It was hard to tell.  Her face was painted green with a long and warty plastic nose protruding from it and she was wearing a big floppy pointed black hat and matching cape.  She was also carrying a bright plastic jack-o-lantern about half-full of candy.  She couldn’t have been more than six, and she looked absolutely adorable.

            The man, however, Mikey recognized with no difficulty even though he wasn’t in his customary uniform.  Every time Mikey got in trouble for one reason or another Officer Perelli was always the one who happened to end up on the scene.  He was an extremely tall and muscular man, yet he tended to speak with a soft voice.  Usually he treated everyone with dignity even if they were in handcuffs.  None of that, though, made Mikey fear him any less.

            “Shannon Rappaport,” Perelli said, “and Michael Spiegel.  Mind explaining what exactly you guys are doing around here?”

            “Um, nothing, uh, officer,” Shannon said.  “Just out for a stroll.  Uh.  Enjoying everybody’s costumes.  Um, yeah.  What about you?”

            “I live here.”  Now that the officer had said it, Mikey remembered why the neighborhood felt so familiar.  It wasn’t just Officer Perelli who lived in this neighborhood.  At least two other cops lived on this street as well.  He saw that Shannon realized that, too, because despite the cool autumn air Mikey could see him begin to sweat.

            “I was just taking my daughter trick-or-treating,” Perelli said.  His daughter waved at Mikey and Shannon, and Mikey gave a little wave and smile back.  Perelli raised an eyebrow at that but directed his next comment at Shannon.  “Had to cut it short, though.  Had to go down to Merriman Jewelers and had no choice but to take her with me.  It wasn’t exactly fair to her.”

            Mikey stooped down to the little girl’s level and gave her a sympathetic frown.  “Aw, I’m sorry to hear that.”  He held out his bag to her.  “Would you like some candy corn?”

            Perelli looked down at him and frowned.  “Don’t you dare give my daughter anything.  I don’t trust you for a second.”  Mikey actually felt deeply hurt by that.  There were many things he would do that he shouldn’t, especially if Shannon told him to do it or there was money to be made, but he would never do anything to hurt a kid.  As Perelli turned away from Mikey and back to Shannon, Mikey reached into his bag, pulled out a handful of candies, and quietly dropped them into the little girl’s bucket.  Then he held up a finger to his lips in a shushing gesture, and the girl mimicked it back with a smile.

            “Seems a ring was stolen from Merriman’s,” Perelli said to Shannon.  “I don’t suppose you would know anything about that, would you?”

            Shannon shook his head, but his lips were trembling as he spoke.  “No, officer.  Can’t say I do.”

            “Really?  ‘Cuz the guy behind the counter caught a glimpse of someone running off, and the description sounded a lot like you.”

            “I’ve been with Mikey this whole time, officer.  Haven’t I, Mikey?”

            Mike started to shake his head.  “No, don’t you remember?  You just….”  He caught the nasty look Shannon was giving him.  “Oh yeah.  You were.  I forgot.”

            Officer Perelli sighed and put a hand to his forehead.  “You two.  Tell me something, Michael.  Why do you continue to let this guy drag you down?  Why even keep hanging out with him?”

            “Because he has an Xbox 360 and I don’t,” Mikey said.  That earned another glare from Shannon, but Mikey just shrugged at him.  “Well, you do.”

            Perelli shook his head and sighed again.  “I’ve got to take my daughter home and then get into uniform.  You two better hope that ring shows up before I find you again.”  He took his daughter by the hand and led her past them down the street.  The instant he thought they were out of earshot Shannon turned to Mikey.

            “Give it back.  I’ve got to find a place to hide it.”

            “Give what back?”

            Shannon stood there staring at him with a blank look for several seconds before his lips twisted into a snarl.  “The ring, dumbshit.  What the hell else would I mean?  Take it out of your pocket and give it to me.”

            “But I tried to tell you before, I don’t have any pockets in these pants.”

            “Oh.”  Shannon blinked several times, looking very confused.  “Then were did you put it?”

            “In my candy corn bag.”  Mikey held out the bag for Shannon to see inside, but Shannon’s confusion did not go away.

            “I don’t see it.”

            Mikey pulled the bag back and started rummaging through it.  “But I know I put it in here.  Where else could it have gone?”

            Mikey and looked at Shannon then looked off in the direction of Officer Perelli and his daughter, and Shannon followed his gaze.  They were quite a ways down the street, but Mikey could still clearly see as the girl first tugged at her father’s shirt and then pointed at something in her plastic jack-o-lantern.  Officer Perelli leaned down to take a closer look at whatever had caught her attention.

            “I hate you,” Shannon said.  “I’m never letting you play my Xbox again.”

            “That’s what you always say,” Mikey said as Officer Perelli reached into his daughter’s candy bucket.

            “No, this time I really mean it.  Perhaps now is the point where we should run?”

            That was exactly what they did.  Mikey, though, turned back to look once.  It was hard to tell as they were trying to get away, but it looked like Officer Perelli held something small and dark in his hand.  It also appeared that he was laughing hysterically.

Tobi Schultz bio goes here