Any Kine Boy
Melissa Llanes Brownlee
Kea wen almost try kill me again today. Sometimes, I stay think he neva mean it. Sometimes, I stay think he does. I was trying for ride the ten-speed dad wen pick up for me from his friend at the National Guard. It was cherry. Still good even though stay used. My first bike was used too. Dad wen buy em’ off one neighbor. I don’t know how much it wen cost but mom probably wen think it was too expensive. That bike wasn’t as cherry as this one. Kea was pedaling his brand new BMX hard down the hill, trying for race me. Lolo kid. I wen decide to slow down so he stay even with me but then I wen see him look at me and he wen smile. Then he wen pull his bike in front of me. I wen hit his front tire and wen fly over my handlebars and slam my head against the street. They neva take me hospital. I wen try for stand up but I wen palu. I neva eat pineapple. Why every time you stay throw up get pineapple? Kea was crying. Garans, he stay acting. The front wheel on my bike was all kapakahi. I neva even ride ‘em for one day. No way they going try fix ‘em. I going probably get dirty lickins for that.
My parents let Kea get away with choke kine stuff. One time, he wen want candy, so he wen open all the army C-ration cans in the closet for get the gum, candy and cakes inside. When my dad wen find out, he neva even get dirty lickins. I always get lickins for small kine stuff. No clean our room. Lickins. No cook the rice. Lickins. Watch TV after school. Lickins. He stay eat mom’s Oreos. He wen lie. I get lickins. He neva do his homework. I get lickins. He my kuleana they wen say. My kuleana? My okole. He neva listen to me. I try for tell them that but Kea just say he always listen to me. I cannot even give him cracks because he going cry and I going get dirty lickins for hitting him.
One time, we stay walking home from school. I just wanted for go home, do my homework, clean da house and watch He-Man. Kea was talking story. I wasn’t listening. I was wishing I had the power of Grayskull and I was making sure the big black dog in the house down the street was in the backyard and not in the front. And real fast kine, I wen feel his shoulder hit my side just as one pickup truck came cruising past us. He wen try push me into the road and he just wen laugh.
“Why for you do that? I wen almost get all buss up.”
“Cuz funny that’s why.”
“I going tell dad.”
“So? I no care. He not going give me lickins anyway.”
I wen walk behind him and I wen totally forget about the big black dog. He wen rush us. He was growling and barking. Luckily, he was on one chain. I just wanted for go home but Kea wen stop.
“Look at that stupid dog. You always stay scared of him.”
He wen pick up one rock from the sidewalk and he wen throw it at the dog. It wen go flying and hit the dog on the head. The dog wen shut up but I wen grab Kea’s arm and I wen start running. I neva like the neighbors know it was us. He was laughing and trying for keep up with me.
“Ho you wen see that stupid dog’s face when the rock wen hit him?”
“We going get dirty lickins if the neighbor find out was us.”
“I not going get dirty lickins. They stay know you the one who stay scared of the dog. I just going tell ‘em was you.”
I neva like hassle with him because he stay right. They always believe him. One time, we wen go boogie boarding down White Sands. I was just riding the waves. I neva even cut him off and he wen try choke me with his boogie board leash when I was trying for paddle out for catch some more. I wen tell on him because I wen almost drown and they neva believe me.
“Kea neva do that. He stay so small.”
“I bet you wen just swim through his leash cuz you was daydreaming like you always stay doing.”
“You should be watching your brother. If I catch you daydreaming out there, I am taking you to the car.”
I wen just keep my mouth shut and watch him smile as we wen walk back to the water. My neck had one mean leash burn on it. I neva even like surf anymore but if I neva go out, he was going cry and tell on me.
He was sitting on his bed watching me trying not for palu. I wanted for sleep but dad wen tell me I couldn’t yet. I wen au au earlier for clean the pineapple off me. I was sitting up in bed in my sleeping clothes. I couldn’t see good and I wanted for close my eyes.
“Hey, no go sleep. You not supposed to.”
“I not going sleep. Just go away. I no like talk story with you.”
“Mom going give you dirty lickins when she get home.”
“She not going. I neva do nothing.”
“She going send you back to your mada when she find out you wen make your bike all hamajang.” I wen try look over at him but my head wen start to pound.
“I neva even. You wen make my bike all kapakahi. Was cherry.”
“Not even. Was old. Not cherry like my BMX. Now, your bike is all buss like you.”
I stay tired of his hassles. What he wen say was true. Mom would probably give me dirty lickins and tell me she going send me back to my mada. She neva going believe me. I neva even tell dad. Kea wen know I wouldn’t tell on him. I neva see his bike but I bet he going tell ‘em stay my fault if stay broken and I going get it for that too. I neva like go back to my mada. I wen neva live with her even though sometime she come by and take me go visit my other brothers who live around the island. I know she my mada but that’s it. One time, Kea wanted for go too but mom told him no because she wasn’t his mada and they wasn’t his brothers. Kea wen call me adopted. It was the first time he wen ever do that. I wen get angry and I wen tell him at least I stay chosen. I think maybe that’s when he wen start making any kine to me. My head wen feel so heavy and light at the same time. I wen know I neva going say anything about Kea to our parents. He stay my little brother and he stay my kuleana.
Melissa Llanes Brownlee: "I am a Native Hawaiian writer. I received my MFA in Fiction from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. My work has appeared in Booth: A Journal, The Notre Dame Review, Pleiades, The Citron Review, The SFWP Quarterly and elsewhere. I was a finalist for the 2018 New American Fiction Prize and the 2019 Brighthorse Prize. I like to talk story at melissallanesbrownlee.com and retweet @lumchanmfa."