The Tire Swing of Death

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Tamas Dobozy

The Tire Swing of Death



On the day I was fired from Nolan Incorporated, Benjamin had this idea: he’d sit on one of the tire swings in our backyard, swinging around and around in circles, while I swung the other one at him, trying to knock him off. Then he’d post the video on YouTube. It was a typical Benjamin idea—dangerous and idiotic—and the more he hurt himself, falling off and slamming into the ground, the harder he’d laugh, and the more Marcy and me would look at each other and wonder, what’s with this kid?
  I’d just come home from the office—old Bartholomew Nolan made sure I put in a full day before handing me my pink slip—and was standing out there in my suit, shivering in the early spring, water seeping up around my oxfords, holding the tire and thinking: What kind of father tries to make his son fall off a swing? And who’s going to watch this video? Not just Benjamin’s friends, I guessed, and possibly their parents, though they knew Benjamin well enough not to be alarmed, but also complete strangers, and who knew what kind of conclusions they’d come to? That my son was maybe mental, and I was taking advantage of his condition to create a new backyard sport? Let’s get together guys, grab some beers, and take shots at my deranged kid on the tire swing. And you can each pay me ten bucks a shot, because I’m unemployed.
  Benjamin was setting up the camera to record video when I called out to him: “Hey, can you at least get me a mask from the costume box?”
  “Why, Dad?”
  “Uh, it’ll look cooler.”
  “Well, which mask? Superhero? Something else?”
  “It doesn’t matter. Any mask.”
  He ran in and came out smiling a minute later, holding the skeleton face he’d worn when dressed as the Grim Reaper the Halloween before. I put it on thinking it probably looked pretty good with . . .
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