Friday, February 20, 2015

Flex

Strike turned and noticed a boy of eleven or twelve standing there staring at Crunch, stick legs in wide-cut shorts, arms crossed high on his chest like an old-time comic-book weightlifter. The kid was giving Crunch the thousand-yard stare, testing himself, putting on his I-ain't-afraid-a-no-knocko face. Crunch, feeling the eyes, the attitude, stared right back. ``What's your problem?''
The skinny boy didn't answer, just kept starting, and Crunch went with it, staring back.
But Crunch couldn't hold it. He started laughing, and what happened next threw Strike completely. Strike expected the kid to go on staring or walk away triumphant, but when Crunch started laughing, the kid laughed too. The kid had play in him. The kid had flex, and flex was rare. Flex was intelligent, special, a good sign, like big paws on a puppy. For a minute Strike lost his anger, entranced by this kid, by possibilities. ---p. 15, Clockers, Richard Price

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