Joseph, Jr. (excerpt)

Joey and I are both thinkers, get lost planning these big ideas and schemes. When I was his age, fourteen, I was really into mechanics. I built a go-kart with a 6 horse engine, chrome wheels, even a little cup holder—all from junkyard scraps, not even a kit. I just knew how the parts went together. Joey’s got these skills, too. So I bought a couple of hobby magazines the other day so he could try building something. In the back of my head, I was thinking I could have been real good at this if my old man hadn’t called me a dummy whenever I showed a little enterprise. Maybe I could’ve even invented something.

But Joey wasn’t interested, kept shredding the waxplant and looking out the window behind my shoulder. “Pay attention,” I said. “You’re always spacing off.”

He gets all upset, saying it’s not his fault, how he’s been diagnosed with Attention Deficit Disorder. I think it’s one of those bullshit things the school came up with to explain his low grades. “I never had that,” I tell him. “When my pops locked me in the garage for an afternoon, I took apart his carburetor”

“Too much concentrating is a sign of it, too. You probably weren’t taken to the right doctor” He stands up, casting a shadow over the table, and I realize, shit, he’s already almost my height, although he’s scrawny through the chest, like a starving dog.