We ride our bikes further down the paved road, through the trees. Shaun leads us on his bike to a paved path that turns and twists and ramps up, moving up to the top of a great stone tower in the middle of the woods. The path is broken up and ragged and the turns are sudden and sharp. The brakes on my bike hardly work, so I have to walk it up. Shaun and Doug D are ahead of me, Jarrod and Adrian behind. The great stone slab rises even higher than Josh Kramer’s house. Moving up the ramp, we encounter a woman who was riding down in a motorized wheelchair. She’s Josh Kramer’s mom, who turns around and follows us back up to the top. Three sides of the slab have stone walls that are covered with graffiti and artwork. Phrases, pictures, drawing hanging up—I take pictures of them with my futurephone while the others park their bikes and look. Shaun finds a piece of chalk and starts writing on the walls, improving a story about JFK being shot. He lets the words come out, telling the story out loud as he writes it. Whenever he stumbles, whenever a word doesn’t come automatically, he looks to the rest of us, to everyone who is listening to him, which is everyone but me, and the wiggles his fingers back and forth, and he takes the first word he hears, making it part of the story and moving forward from there. When he runs out of space, he simply moves to the next area of bare wall.
I’m not paying attention as Shaun tells his story. Josh Kramer shows up, from his house I guess, and says I should check out this story that Shaun is telling. I start to listen and I take pictures of Shaun with my phone. Shaun notices, but pretends not to. I notice that he hasn’t shaved today, that he has enough stubble that could turn into a full beard if he let it grow. I think it’s strange to see such a thing on a face that I knew so well from when I was a kid, from when we played basketball every weekend and were chased up hills by men who lived in the woods.