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Don't Cross The Street

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"I'm running away from home," Dave says as he drags his overstuffed back pack across the cluttered living room floor. He's had enough of this. Enough of the puppet ass, the wires everywhere, and the shitty swords in the fridge. He's also had enough of Bro telling him he to go to school, do his homework, time for practice, kid go to bed, and no you can't have that new sword. So he's decided he's going to go live the life of a vagabond. He'll be the next Black Bart only no politeness and a metric shitton of ill rhymes and sick beats. He'll be the Rappin' Robber, yo.

"Okay," Bro says from the futon. He doesn't even deign to look up from the video game he's enthralled in. "Just don't cross the street, kid."

Dave acknowledges this with all the power of a child who knows the rules. Streets are dangerous, bro. He's been warned about them.

He manages to get the door open and slouches out into the hallway. He glances down it hoping that he won't have a run in with the crazy old lady from three doors down who smells like cats and likes to pinch his cheek and comment on how he's grown. The cookies she shoves down his throat are disgusting. Dave hates oatmeal.

She's not around so he's not forced to defend himself and possibly start his life of crime early. Murder wasn't on the list anyway—not ironic enough. Bro would never approve. He shuffles down to the elevator and glares up at the button panel through his Pointy Strider Shades. He'd forgotten how high the thing was. Sometimes Bro would pick him up and let him push it.

Dave stands up on his tiptoes and reaches for it, fingers spread wide and his arm straining as far as he can. Failure. Abort. This isn't going to work. He rocks back on his heels and frowns just a bit. Or maybe more. He's not going to admit to it if he did.

He loiters around for a bit, occasionally reaching for the buttons with stubby fingers. He even tries using his backpack as a stool. It doesn't work. Eventually he gives up and heads off to the side where the big industrial steel door hides the stairwell. It's propped open on a slab of wood like always. Dave is small enough that he can squeeze through without any problems. On the other side it's cool and dim. Sounds echo up from somewhere far below like a well in a horror movie.

Dave drops his backpack on the landing and edges over to the metal railing. He peers down at the gray abyss and is pretty sure the abyss is peering right back. He looks down the stairs and it's like they're swaying this way and that and about to rear up and eat him.

Dave admits defeat, plunks himself down on the top step, and digs out the peanut butter and jelly sandwich he made himself for lunch. He might not be able to get out, but he's still not going back! He'll be a stairwell monster and ambush people for food. They'll tell each other they warned them about those stairs!

Just over an hour later Dave is woken up from the nap he's fallen into, curled up there on the stairwell as Bro lifts him up in one arm and grabs his backpack in the other.

"Didn't even make it to the street, little bro?" Bro laughs at whatever expression Dave just made at him and says, "You can try again when you're a little taller."