Five bangs on our screen door startle me from my magazine.

“Police! Open up!”

John glares across the living room, shakes his head, and returns to his book. I stay on the other couch. My finger marks my place halfway through the article. Another bout of knocking begins, and it doesn’t stop. The screen door’s metallic clatter matches our saggy couches and dirty yellow walls. My housemate sighs, rises, and opens the front door, and Kenny’s not-quite-there laugh explodes through the screen.

“Tha’ was a good one, wasn’ it? I got you, babe!” He claps and snorts. “How’re you doin’, man? I know them classes ain’t fun. You doin’ okay?”

“Yeah, I’m doing okay.” John’s lack of enthusiasm rivals Kenny’s abundance.

“That’s good, babe, that’s good.” I can’t see Kenny from the couch, but I hear the screen door screech open. “School’s really somethin’. I shoulda gone to more school, you know? Man, I mixed up in all sorts of bad—but not anymore. No way! I turned my life around. Got Jesus, you know? Now this is all for Him. Just me tryin’ to be good for the Good Lord.”

“That’s good to hear, Kenny.”

“Brothers in Christ, babe! Us two, we is just brothers, man. Brothers. Hey, you got any of those cans or bottles lyin’ around?”

Josh deLacy