Bike Ride

 I was too young to remember why the neighbor boys were in charge of watching me for the day. What I do remember are the swear words that they threw out when they took me to their house to pick up something they needed. I hadn’t heard most of them before but the ones I did know I knew weren’t nice. I’d have gotten my mouth soaped if I used any of them.

    After leaving the house, the older, thinner one, Scott, perched me between his handlebars and started pedaling. 

    “Why’d you talk to your sister like that?” I asked.

    He sighed and responded, “Because.”

    I wobbled on the padded crossbar of his BMX bike. “I like her. I don’t think she’s a—
 What you called her.”

    His breath a little more belabored now. “Yeah, she is. You just don’t know her.”

    “She seems nice,” I said, signifying what was, in retrospect, one of my first childhood crushes.

    “Yeah. I’m sure you do.” Scott chuckled. “Because you’re kinda stupid.”

I wasn’t a stupid kid. I may have been a little naïve, but I wasn’t stupid. “No, I’m not.”
    “You’re just a stupid kid.”

    “I’m not.”

    “Okay then, what’s four plus two?"

Math. Easy. “Six!” I shouted, making sure the entire neighborhood could hear.

    “Okay. Spell ‘off.’”

I hesitated for a second, mulling it over. “O- O- F!”

I heard him spelling it under his breath, then he laughed. “No. Close though.”