If you do it right, it can be a life. The hothouse, the guys, the glory. But just like that, it can all go up in smoke.
In the beginning it was strange, ya know, because of all that we had lost. But there was something about it that felt so good and so right, too: "I´m so proud of you, Russ." "We´ll always be here for you, man." "Heroes don´t pay for nothin´ in this town." It was nonstop. The mayor shook my hand. Ladies sent food. I´ve never eaten so much baked ham in my life.
And now? Now the phone won´t stop ringing from the crazies ready to blame me. My mom has to cry herself to sleep. They take a firefighter, a man, and they pump him up so big. . . . But once they start taking it away from you, they don´t stop until they leave nothing on the bones.
First they needed heroes, then they needed blood.
Chris Lynch is a National Book Award finalist and the author of many highly acclaimed books for young adults, including The Big Game of Everything, Who the Man, and the Michael L. Printz Honor Book Freewill; Iceman, Shadow boxer, Gold Dust, and Slot Machine, all ALA Best Books for Young Adults; and Extreme Elvin. He also mentors aspiring writers and teaches in the creative writing program at Lesley University in Cambridge, Massachusetts.