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Bryan and the Mystery of the Disappearing Playboys

When I moved to Utah, I felt like I was as out of place as a kid could get. That was last year. I’m 14 now so things aren’t that bad anymore.

I guess.

I moved here from California because my parents thought I would have to join a gang or something to get along in school. That was crazy. I’m white and I’m a nerd. Guys in gangs at my old school were tough Hispanic kids. I got offered weed one time, but that’s not like joining a gang. (It was on the playground when I was in fifth grade. I said no.) So, the summer between my last year of elementary school and my first year of junior high, we moved to Utah.

The adjustment to the people was the weirdest part. I’m not Mormon and everyone around here seems to be. I talked to some missionaries, but I really don’t care about going to church. (I’d rather role play at my friends house on Sunday than hear about God. I had plenty of that when I was in Catechism in California.) But it’s not just the religion thing, everyone around here seemed a little bit less like they were living. None of my new friends had even seen a Playboy until I moved in.

I wasn’t some porn-fiend or anything and Playboy isn’t exactly hard-core, but my Dad had had a collection of them going back to before I was born. He still had a subscription that would arrive like clockwork every month in a black plastic bag. The new issue would rest above the toilet in his bathroom while the last months issue would be put in the locked crates in the garage. That’s where he kept his collection.

It wasn’t so hard to get into the locked crates. My hands were small enough to pry open the doors of the crates with one hand and squeeze my other hand in and take out a magazine. When I first moved in to the neighborhood, I had no idea how rare Playboy’s were in the area.
My new friends had only heard about them, they were that scarce. They didn’t faze me anymore, I’d been around them as long as I could remember. In fact, they didn’t even really do anything for me.

But that wasn’t the point. I wanted to show my friends the magazines just so they could have that experience. I felt obligated to.

This story appears as part of the collection "The Cruel Kids: Four Short Stories".  You can get it for the Kindle or the Nook.
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