Mick Harte Was Here
Umm, Just let me say, right off the bat, this isn’t the kind of book where you meet the main character and you get to like him real well and then he dies at the end, ’cause I hate those kinds of stories. See, I don’t want to make you cry. I just want to tell you about Mick. But I thought you should know right up front that, well he’s not here anymore. I just thought that it’d be fair to you.
So, it was an accident. And I mean about as “accidental” as you can get, too. He was riding his bike. Like Mick wasn’t riding crazy. Or dodging in and out of traffic. And his hands were on the handlebars. His front tire hit a rock. And he skidded into the back of a passing truck, and that was it. He wasn’t wearing his helmet. He said it made him look like a “doofus.” And not looking like a doofus was pretty important to Mick, actually. It’s not that he’s conceited. It’s just that when he was eight, my mom made the mistake of showing him his christening gown, and he never really got over it.
I’m only ten months older than he was. I was “planned.” Mick was a surprise. He loved it too. He was always teasing my parents about it. Telling them that even before he existed, he could outsmart two chemistry majors with birth control pills. He was funny.
We pulled some pretty big “capers” together. The biggest was probably when he was in kindergarten, and we had just had a new driveway poured next door. So Mick and I ran outside, grabbed a stick, and scratched the letters F-A-R-T in the driveway. We didn’t do it to be bad. It’s just that I was learning how to spell. And mick was learning how to print. And the cement sort of just called to us, I guess you could say. But, well… It’s amazing how a little fart in the driveway can totally lose its humor when your father sees it. And so my mom makes us line up and “solemnly swear” to tell them the “complete and honest truth.” And when she asks who did it, Mick steps...