Man of Straw
By Russell Nichols
I pissed my PJs when I saw that scarecrow.
It was the middle of the night and everybody was knocked out. Marcus, my big brother who died the week before last, had his door cracked. I heard him snoring under the hum of the refrigerator. The carpet creaked under my feet as I stepped into the dark living room. I wanted to turn back, but I had to pee so bad and Mama told me Jesus didn’t shed blood for bed-wetters.
I never made it past the living room. Because that’s where I saw it: that stuffed body in our front yard, grinning at me through the window, face colored black, egg shells for eyes and straw sticking out the top of his head. My scream came out the wrong hole, wet and warm, streaming down my flannel Captain America pants.
I ran back to my room.
“The hell you doing?” asked my brother, Nick, on the top bunk. My adopted brother.
I was fumbling in pitch blackness, trying to change, trying not to think about what I saw, but couldn’t shake the image: that face, those eyes, the straw.
“N-nothing,” was all I could get out.
Nick reached down to cut on the light, catching me in my soaked boxers. “Damn, man, again? Marcus got you shook?”