This is the second part of

"The Greatest Night of My Life"

In the time-honored style of the first thing that you put your newly-sharpened pencils to each fall in school: "What I Did Last Summer"

By David Primmer

Mario's up. He's running for the kitchen. I see him squeeze into the broomspace between the refrigerator and the wall. There's a knock on the door. The gun's in the middle of the floor and I'm standing looking at it. From outside I hear: "Diane!" I notice that there is a chain lock and a deadbolt on the door. Why isn't Diane up? I run to the kids' room and the lights are out and they're sleeping. Maybe I'm just freaking out? Then the window over baby Mario's crib explodes. All that glass.

Diane comes running in with a baseball bat in her hand and I have to step to the side to let her in. "Get the fuck outta here!" She screams. "Aw, come on Diane, I know he's in there. I just want to see my kid." Diane says: "I'm calling the police! I'll kill you motherfucker." To me: "Go call the police." I'm just standing there. Suddenly I don't see him at the window and I follow Diane to the front door. She looks behind the drapes by the door and then starts to undo the locks. She opens the door, goes out and closes the door. Nothing. Mario is squished in next to the fridge with a broom in his hand.

A minute later Diane comes in and says: "It's alright now. He's gone. Go to bed." She heads into the kids room to clean up the glass and Mario and I sit down on the couch. When Diane comes out she is in a bad mood. In the mean time I've gotten a little more info about which kid this guy is the father of, and a little bit more info about some of the other fathers of Diane's offspring, and soon the story telling has calmed us down. I don't remember what happened the next day but I do know that uncle Mariano just laughed when we told him about it.

You should also know that 6 years later, when I am 19 I will be working as a playground construction man in Berkeley, California. I will see Diane supervising some kids at the playground. I will be shoveling sand and working my ass off and there she will be. Still ugly as ever but older and more peaceful. How can this happen? I won't say anything to her but I will have to stop working and run to the other side of the playground. It is kind of like the end of a horror movie, in that last pastoral scene where you get just enough of a sketchy glimpse of the mass-murderer to make you realize that HE IS STILL ALIVE and the nightmare is not over.

So, back to the trailer: We've got some babysitting to do. Diane lets us know that they'll be back from the bar around three and says not to let the kids stay up too late. They leave and Israel and Theo start playing video games, punching and screaming at each other occasionally. A typical sentence coming from the little gamers starts off with a couple words at normal volume and then climbs into the shriek register before it ends with a punch. I could kick both of their asses at Nintendo but I just watch.

I sat down on the couch next to Angel and tried to talk to her. Angel, at age 11, is out of my league. She's a beautiful girl, a mix of Asian and African. She has breasts and has already had sex. Only a few days ago she called me and Mario into the bathroom to watch her take a shit. She wasn't going to let me watch at first, only Mario, but Mario convinced her and she stood up on the toilet seat and squatted and we looked under her to see the turd fall into the bowl. What a fantastic woman.

One night the year before, Angel and her friend Martha were getting into trouble with the adults in the trailer. They wanted to come over to the foosball room and hide out with us. Mario wouldn't let them in. He said they could only come in if they were naked. They were gone for a few minutes and we figured that had scared them off. Then we got a knock at the door and it was them, wrapped in a blanket. They decided to do a striptease for us. It seems improbable, but we weren't really interested in these little girls prancing around naked in front of us. We let them in anyhow and I put on "Cat Scratch Fever" – my favorite. After that, we paired off to "make out". I always got stuck with puny little nine-year-old Martha. Mario and Angel made out even though they were cousins. Martha despised me so we just sat and watched the cousins. I always thought Martha was going to be prettier when she grew up than Angel.

Still, I was enamored of Angel and she was letting me get a little closer this summer. She had done that thing that young girls do where they give you less attention than if you weren't even in the room. This year Angel gave me a little more attention and even walked with me to the irrigation canal to go swimming. The canal was fun because it was in the middle of nowhere, some field with no houses as far as you could see, and the current was so fast that you could just sit down with your feet out in front and it would drag you past all the big grass and metal pipes hanging out. It was a quite a ride and you rode it all the way down to where a big steering wheel was sticking up, that's where you climbed out and walked back up the dirt road in the sun. Before taking another run we sat on the cement wall and talked. The water seemed to bead-up on her skin like nothing I'd ever seen.

I was going to High School the next year and I sometimes I could keep her attention with stories of the adult world I was about to enter. I knew she was damaged and I felt lust and pity for her. I tried to convince her not to get pregnant by her 12-year-old boyfriend John but she insisted that she wanted a baby. By telling her about High School I thought I could give her hope for the future and convince her to wait for all those older, more mature guys. When we came back to the trailer that evening we were taunted by all the adults playing cards. They said they were not going to let us be together any more. I tried to explain that I had nothing but the purest intentions. Maybe they were more worried about Angel ruining me.

While Angel, the kids and I, were in the trailer's living room, Mario and David the mental patient were in our room having a "hobo smoke". David swore by the hobo smoke: you take a piece of newspaper, rip a long strip, roll it, light it, and smoke it. Tobacco was optional. If you were living it up that day, you could gather all the cigarette butts you could find, empty them onto the paper and smoke that. There were hundreds of cigarette butts on the ground around the trailer, but thanks to David and us, there wasn't a lick of tobacco stuck to any of them.

David was your basic crazy person. Slightly overweight, untidy, large, childlike, and scary as hell. His fingers were yellow with nicotine stains and if he didn't take his medicine his head would jerk 90 degrees to the left and he'd get all stiff and start babbling. Diane told us not to try and give him his medicine at that point – just stay away. Let an adult help him. He told Mario and I that he didn't like to take his medicine because that's the way they control him. The spasms turned him into a big wind-up meat toy, but he said that even though it looked like he was writhing in pain, it actually felt really good. Mario and I were fascinated, amused and frightened of him.

Angel and I walked into the bedroom and sat down on the bed. I looked at her brown legs. She had lime green shorts on. This went on for a few minutes and then I heard Mario growl, "Israel!" I jumped up and went into the kitchen. Mario was trying to pull Israel and Theo away from the fridge. They'd gotten into the box of white wine. As soon as Mario pulled Theo away, Israel would lunge in, push the little plastic tab and thrust his head under the spout. I thought it was funny. Mario was trying to keep them from drinking and after a chuckle I helped out. We picked them up and threw them on the couch and I went back into the kitchen and poured myself a glass.

As soon as we sat down again they were back at the spigot, knocking each other out of the way to get their mouth underneath the dribble. I said, "Just let them get drunk. They'll puke and never do it again." But Mario said, "That won't work. Iz is a little fucking lush. He's been drunk before and he knows what he's doing. Besides, we're supposed to be babysitting."

The kids were getting out of control. Theo, a white kid with a V-shaped head and yearning, yet sinister, golf ball-sized eyes, could turn into demon-spawn at any moment. His smarts showed clearly when he was trying to manipulate you. He was even a little too crazy for this family to handle. A few times they'd had to send him to a foster home because he burned something or bit someone. At this point, Theo couldn't even pull the "I'm a helpless little cute kid" routine to get out of trouble. It didn't even work on his own mother. True damnation is to be disowned by this family. We all predicted an early jailing for Theo.

Israel, on the other hand, was very cute and pathetic. The stupid half of the dynamic cartoon crime duo. He was little so you could still put your hand on his head and hold him off while he tried to swing and hit you. He had a speech impediment that made him talk kind of like Buckwheat, which was what Mario's nickname for him was. Israel, or "Iz" as we called him when the mood struck us, was exuberant, stupid, and coldly calculating all at the same time. No one knew who his father was but he looked kind of middle-eastern. While Theo drew curses, Israel just got made fun of.

I was getting drunk. The night wore on. David wandered off. Mario chased the kids. I found Angel sitting on my bed, went over, and sat next to her. We sat facing each other, with one leg Indian-style on the bed and the other on the floor. I imagine myself staring deeply into her eyes but frankly; I don't know what I was doing. I do know it was enough to get Israel pissed-off. He came into the room and stood about eight feet from us holding a pump-action Daisy BB-gun. "I'm dunna toot you," he said. "Shuddup Iz," I said. Apparently he was pissed about me flirting with Angel. He stood the gun on its end, climbed onto the pump lever, and pushed it down. "I'm dunna tooooot yooooou." He pumped another 9 or 10 times and I just ignored him and kept talking to Angel.

The next thing I heard was Mario's growl, "Israel!" as he entered the room. Israel had the gun pointed at us but I knew he wasn't going to shoot. Mario reminded me that Israel wasn't supposed to have his gun -- his mother had hidden it from him as punishment. I guess I wasn't a good babysitter. I looked back at Angel and "Crack!" the gun went off. I heard something hit the bedspread near my leg and swiveled my drunken head in Israel's direction. I said, "That little fucker. I can't believe he shot at me." Mario grabbed the gun in one hand and Iz with the other and dragged him out of the room.

I looked at Angel and said, "That little fucker. I can't believe he just shot at me." She looked down at my leg, saw a few droplets of blood running down it, and said, "He shot your leg."