We played Civil War pretty much every day in the summer. Almost every day we rode bikes out to the open space at the end of the park where there's this tree that's really good to climb because it's really big and it has all these big fat fucking branches that come down really low to the ground so that you can get up in the tree. The tree was our base when we played Civil War. There's a trail and a creek and a dam for the creek and a bridge and an old barn that we're not supposed to go in because our friend Bobby fell on a nail in it once and got tetanus. You can walk across the dam because the water that goes over it is really shallow, just like a centimeter. Usually we played Civil War in between the tree and the barn. The tree was the beginning of where we played and the barn was the end of where we played. Usually when we played Civil War it was me, Tommy, Tommy's little brother Andy, Jeff who we all fucking hate, my little brother Jacob, Bobby and Bobby's "brother" Danny, who's this really skinny weird-looking Chinese kid who never says anything and who Bobby's parents went to China and got one time and brought him back and all of a sudden were like, here, play with this kid, but you have to be really nice to him because he's been living in this orphanage because his whole entire family was killed by communists.
Bobby and his brother didn't play with us all that much because their family lived really far away in the neighborhood, like ten blocks down. Me, Tommy, Jeff, Andy and Jacob all live in the same cul-de-sac, which is the one at the very end of the neighborhood that's right next to the park. Me and Tommy were always the main generals when we played Civil War. Tommy played Union General Ulysses S. Grant and I played the Confederate General "Stonewall" Jackson. Andy got to play General William Tecumseh Sherman and Jacob played General Robert E. Lee. He always played Lee because I always wanted to play Stonewall Jackson. I knew that Lee was actually the main General in the Confederacy and Stonewall Jackson was his sidekick, but it was the other way around when we played because I thought Stonewall Jackson's name was cool. Jeff didn't care who he was. We would always tell him shit like, come on, there are lots of other generals that aren't taken yet, like General Ambrose Burnside, General P.T. Beauregard, General George B. McClellan. But Jeff didn't really give a shit who's what General, he just liked playing war. Whenever Jeff played with us, we asked him whether he wanted to be Union or Confederacy, and he was always just like, I don't care, I just want to play. And then we were like, what the fuck do you mean you don't care? Whether you're Union or Confederacy is a pretty big fucking difference.
We all live in Clear Lake, Texas. This was the summer The Land Before Time came out. Jacob had just turned six and I was ten. I'm twelve now. Tommy's a year older than me, Jeff is my same age, and Andy is about my brother's age.
Tommy and Andy came over to our house and rang the doorbell. Me and Jacob were sitting on the couch watching TV and eating Twinkies. I went over to the door and let them in. Our mom was outside gardening or something.