Unbreakable Man

Kevin is five years older than the boy and was their next-door neighbor in San Antonio. He has an older sister in college and two working parents, so despite the age difference, he spent most summer afternoons with the boy and Stephen. In San Antonio, they played backyard baseball, soccer, and war games. Kevin introduced them to Nintendo and Super Mario Brothers, ultimately getting even their mom hooked on it.

This past summer, they moved to Corpus Christi. Kevin has come to stay for two weeks with them. They are renting a house while trying to find a place to buy.

Today, they are sitting together on the floor in the kitchen. They have three plastic bags of brand new plastic army men. These army men are about 25 percent taller than their old army men, and they do not stand on flimsy plastic platforms that easily bend break. Instead, they stand on their own two feet. They are darker and look more realistic. The package says, “Unbreakable!” Which is great since most of their old army men have guns, arms, or legs snapped off.

Kevin hands out the bags, and they each get a section of the kitchen. The game is to set your men up in attack formation, and then each guy gets a turn rolling a rubber ball. Men that get knocked down are dead. Whoever has the last men standing wins.

Mom passes by with a basket of laundry. “How’s it going with the unbreakable men?”

“Great!” the boy says. “They’re awesome.”

They each setup their positions and take turns rolling the rubber ball. Plastic men get knocked over and go flying. Kevin wins game one.

They setup again. Kevin has just finished his setup and he crab walks backward over his men to get behind them. When he thinks he’s past them, he drops his butt and instantly yells, “Owww!”

“What happened?” says Stephen as both boys look up.

Kevin reaches under his butt, grabs something, and pulls his hand up to view. He opens his palm to reveal two pieces of a shattered man.

He breaks out laughing. “I just broke an unbreakable man.”

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