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It's the hottest damn day of the year and midtown is the worst. All that asphalt, all that brick, and all those people, and nobody’s really interested in half-off developing or thirty percent off on prints so I dump my coupons on one of the punks I’m supposed to supervise with the handing out. For all I know he’ll dump them all in the sewer and go to the arcade, but by now, I don’t give a fat one.

I ride the 104 uptown and walk into Riverside Park. All the benches are taken, so I go inside the basketball court and lean on the chain-link that faces the West Side Highway and the river, and I catch enough breeze to make the trip worth it. I normally don’t pay much mind to the kids playing ball or the kiddie playground, but this time, something catches my attention. It starts with the sound of the ice cream cart playing one of those ice cream songs. I know those are real songs with words, but to me, they just mean an ice cream sandwich or a sidewalk sundae. I’ve got a little change in my pocket and figure on a Big Dipper. What the hell. Just to cool off.

My ears must be playing tricks on me because for a second, I can’t see where that ice cream song is coming from. I think the wind and all the yakking from the basketball games is throwing me off. I keep looking all over the place. I can still hear the tune. I think the words to that one, if somebody was to sing it, have something to do with baby chickens.

Then I notice all the kids right at the edge of the playground. It’s a small ice cream cart, and you can hardly see it with all the kids in front. The guy selling the ice cream, I’m guessing he’s Puerto Rican. I don’t think you’re supposed to call them that, but I don’t know what else to call him. I get on the line and wait. I mostly look at the picture on the side of the cart to see if he’s got the Big Dipper in his small cart, but once I notice the two boys in front of me I can’t stop looking at them.

The bigger one of the two boys, something doesn’t look right about him. It’s the way he turns his body and moves his head from side to side like he’s trying to dance, and the way he keeps looking at his hands like he just figured out he’s got hands and looks up at the sky like he forgot he’s on the Earth. I’m not the only one who notices. The whole line of children is just staring at him. Some of the kids are pointing at him. One kid behind me asks someone, “Why does such a big kid wear a diaper?”



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