So then I ditched my Lutheran friends, went running with the kids from the junior high. One of them carried a gravity knife, had big hands, knew how to bridge-shuffle cards, throw a bomb, catch a bullet. I was smart and stupid, a work-in-progress. Danny could drive the lane, palm a card, cup a cigarette. “Here’s how you break a full nelson,” he’d say, and next thing, I’d be on my ass. “What kind of crap you using on your hair?” he’d say. His looked like a wheat field in the wind. “Here’s how you jump from this roof to that without getting killed.” There was nothing to it, really, once you knew what not to do. That summer we stayed out till 9:30, 9:45, playing stickball, punchball, manhunt, tearing around the project. One night fooling around on Tremont we got jacked up by three guys with car antennas. Some friends of Danny’s lived near there, and we chased the punks. Got home after 10:00, Mom crying into her S&H Green Stamps dishtowel.