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Josey thought she knew. She took the phone from the boy, tucked it between her ear and shoulder, and listened as the voice on the other end talked her through the steps. The Tigermart floor was greasy beneath her bare knees. She pinched the boy’s nose shut and pressed her lips to his. His mouth wasn’t open; he wasn’t responsive, so she had to tug at his chin a bit, though it was stiff as if he’d clenched his teeth. It reminded her of in high school when they’d dissected a baby pig and had to break its jaw. Though she didn’t remember why, she remembered sticking her thumb in the pig’s mouth and tugging. Josey shivered. She blew a breath in the boy’s mouth then sat up, folded her hands over where she thought his heart might be, did five chest compressions, then did the whole thing over again. She felt hands on her shoulders and the phone fell to the ground as she was pulled away. It was Jefferson, come for his Slushie. He took over for her, pumped and pumped until the ambulance showed and the EMT tried the paddles. In the end, the kid was dead. Josey waited outside with the other boy while they loaded his friend on a stretcher. A man walked up, scuffing across the brown grass between the sidewalk and parking lot, and complained at her about not being able to buy his cigarettes. Josey flipped him off and asked him if he didn’t have an ounce of respect in his body. The boy watched her. She felt her face heat a bit when she turned back to him. “Am I supposed to go to the hospital now?” the boy asked. “Is that how this works?” “I don’t know. Maybe you should call his family?” “He doesn’t have any here. He’s not from Memphis.” “Do you know how to get in touch with them?” “He’s only been my roommate for two weeks.” He smiled a little. “What’s your name?” “Mike,” the kid said. “I liked him.” Josey squeezed his hand. Jefferson stepped up just then. “You two all right?” “Mike here isn’t quite sure what to do. Maybe you could help him some?” “I don’t know his family,” Mike said. “That’s okay. You give me his name and what you do know and we’ll get in touch with who matters.” Josey went back to work, though she squinted through the spaces between the Pall Mall and Coke ads hung in the windows and watched while Mike and Jefferson talked. After a time, Jefferson held the passenger door to his squad car open for Mike. Jefferson got in on the other side. They left. The next day was Josey’s day off. She woke early, her body not used to sleeping much past five a.m., though it wasn’t late enough in the year for that to mean she woke in the dark. She was grateful for

Profile for Kerri Foley

Crack the Spine - Issue 62  

Literary Magazine

Crack the Spine - Issue 62  

Literary Magazine

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