“You’re going down, Billy.”
“Yeah right! I’m beating you by a
“Dude, I’m right behind you.”
“Oh yeah, well check this out.”
Billy hit a button on his X-Box
controller and his car sped up to one hundred fifty miles an hour.
He rode away so fast I didn’t even see the car on the screen. I was
frozen with a surprised look and a beaten feeling. He won the race
by a mile. Billy jumped up and did a little happy dance. I stared
at the television and said, “I hate video-games!”
“Oh, you’re just saying that ‘cause
you always lose!” replied Billy. That was actually true. Thirteen
year-old Billy O’Connor is my best friend. I’ve known him since I
was eight years old, and we’ve always been playing against each
other in video games. Billy usually beats me. After he beats me, he
usually rubs it in my face, and performs a little dance that he
knows drives me crazy. Sometimes I just feel like punching him in
the face. But after a few minutes I would steam down and we would
both be cool again. He’s a great kid, except that when he comes
over my house, he empties out my food cabinets since he eats so
much. He claims that he has crappy food back at his house.
However, he isn’t fat, as you think he may be. He plays many
sports: Basketball, baseball, football, tennis, and golf. And he is
great at playing all of them. He’s very athletic, you could say.
He has a freckle face, more freckles than I’ve ever seen in my
life. He has a huge bicep muscle and is very strong.
On the other hand, I am different
from him. I am not a freckle face, I don’t eat like a pig, I’m
skinny, and I’m not very muscular. But I do play basketball,
baseball, tennis, and golf like him, and I’m the same age as him.
The differences do not keep us apart, and the similarities give us
things to do like shooting hoops, having a catch with a baseball,
playing a little ball game called “pepper”, and video sport-type
video games. We also watch a lot of TV and movies together. He’s
probably my best friend of all time. We are very close, and
sometimes we act like brothers.
So, we’re done with video games,
and Billy looked at his wristwatch for the time. His eyes grew to a
“Aw, crap!” he said, “My mom’s
coming in like five minutes! She’s picking me up for football
“Whoa, Billy,” I said, “Why didn’t
I know this?”
“’Cause I forgot to tell you,
alright? I tried not to forget, but I did. I forget things a lot.
I brought my stuff. I’ll just run and go get changed in your
Billy grabbed his duffel bag and
ran out of the room, down the hall to the bathroom. Earlier today I
had wondered what was inside of that duffel bag. Now I found that
it’s full of football equipment.
I felt awkward just sitting in my
room on my bed doing nothing. So I got up and walked into the
kitchen. My mother was in the kitchen baking a cake for her
“Mom, did you know Billy had
football practice today?”
My mom stopped the mixer and paused
for a moment.
“No,” she replied, “when is it?”
“In like three minutes,” I
answered, “but he’s changing right now.”
“But it’s July. I thought football
starts in the fall.”
“So did I, but apparently, it
Billy O’Connor has been playing on
the Cheshire Rams, a traveling football team representing the town
of Cheshire, Connecticut, for three years now; this year is his
fourth. He is one of the best players on his team; I’ve seen him
play. He is fast, strong, tough, and very determined to win.
Now, it’s 5:43 pm and Billy’s mom
is supposed to be at our house in two minutes. My prediction is
that practice starts at six o’clock. I don’t want Billy to be late
for practice. If he is, it is our fault, and the coach will make
him run suicides. Football is a hard sport.
It’s 5:44 now and Billy comes
strolling out of the bathroom with his uniform on. My mom goes up
to him and says, “Billy, would you like something to eat to give you
a little energy for practice?”
Billy was always in the mood for
food, but surprisingly enough he replied, “No thanks. I’ll be
“Are you sure?” I said, “’cause we
have tons of food.”
“Yup, guys, I’m not hungry.”
So we sat and chatted for a little
bit, while waiting for Billy’s mother to show up. His mother has a
knack of being late for things. She finally showed up at 5:48,and
Billy walked out of our house, yelling, “Bye, thank you for having
I watched Billy hop into his
mother’s car, a navy blue Volvo that was bought pretty recently.
Billy’s mom gave us a wave, and they were off to practice.
Weeks passed, and it was now
mid-football season. The Cheshire Rams weren’t doing so hot. Their
record was 1-5. I had gone to see them play a couple of times, and,
well, let’s just say they aren’t the greatest team in their
league. Let’s just say their coach isn’t the nicest guy when
they lose. Sometimes I kind of chuckle from how pissed off the
coach of the Cheshire Rams gets when one of his players doesn’t do
The Cheshire Rams practice every
night of the week for two hours each night. Their coach pushes them
very hard. We’re talking sprints, push-ups, sit-ups, laps, and
hell. It’s hard for Billy sometimes of his asthma, but he always
has his inhaler to give him some air. I like watching the Cheshire
Rams because they suck, but they never give up. I think their coach
used to be a military drill sergeant.
Football season is now almost
over. The Cheshire Rams are 3-7. Billy has to stay over my house
for a week because his parents are going away. He brought a giant
duffel bag full of clothes, toiletries, and, of course, football
equipment. My mother has to drive Billy to practice every night.
She doesn’t mind though. She knows she’s doing a nice thing, so
that is what keeps her happy.
So, one night, my mom drops Billy
off at practice and comes right home. She finally gets home and I
say to her, “Mom, do you hate driving Billy to practice every
“Oh, no, no, of course not,” she
replies, “it’s just that it’s very humid out today. Billy must be
very hot in all that equipment.”
A few hours later, the phone
rings. It’s about time for my mother to leave to get Billy, but she
picks up the phone anyways.
“Is this the residence of the
guardians of William Christian O’Connor?” says the voice on the
“Um, yes, it is. His parents are
out of town,” replies my mother, “You can call him Billy.”
Yes, uh, William…um, I mean, Billy
has…passed away just about half an hour ago. We’ve lost him from a
severe asthma attack.
“Dead. Billy is dead.”
My mother drops the phone. The
batteries pop out of it. I stare in a frozen shock. I must have
stared for at least five minutes because my eyes had tears in them.
Or was that from the sadness? My best friend of all time is gone.
No, no, it can’t be true. No! Asthma attack? He had his inhaler,
didn’t he? What the hell? I ran into my room, sobbing to death.
Billy O’Connor has passed away.
I cried in my bed for hours. I bet
my mom was sobbing greatly as well. She really liked Billy. We
were great friends with their family.
I looked at Billy’s clothes on the
ground. I saw all of his stuff. It just made me cry even more.
And then I saw something. A hackysack in Billy’s bag. It consisted
of small squares of different colors. I took it out of his duffel
bag. It seemed to stick to my hand. I looked into my mirror, and I
saw him. Billy O’Connor.
“Hey Will,” he said.
“B-B-Billy,” I replied.
“As long as you have this hackysack
in your hand, you can talk to me in this mirror. I know how much
you miss me. Whenever you’re in need of a friend, or you need to
talk to someone, I’m here. Pretty strange, huh?”
“Um, yeah. How did you…Nah,
nevermind. Let me go get my mom—
“No, Will. Only you. You’ve been
the greatest friend I’ve ever had. Only you.”
“Only me? Why me? Why not your
“They need to move on with their lives. They
need to be strong. But as long as I still have a friend, I’ll be
“Um, okay. This is very queer, but I will
accept it. Billy, I’m so sorry. A kid doesn’t deserve to die at
this age. But, didn’t you have your—“
“Look in that front pouch of my
I looked there. There was his inhaler. Billy forgets
things a lot.