It was hot that day, hot for the morning and hot for April and with a stickiness in the air that suggested something had to break. I was headed up the street to ask my neighbor Meech to give me a jump when I heard a scream come from the fourplex next door. Between there and Meech’s was this big-ass bright-blue bouncy house leaning like it was about to fall over. Not a soul was out on the block but me and the bouncy house and that scream, and so for a moment I was tripping, thinking the bouncy house had screamed. But then a girl rumbled out of the end unit; she was around twenty with cornrows that had been in too long, and she was both juicy and droopy, like anything is when it just dropped a kid. She gripped a bundled blanket, and when I think of it now, my mind insists that the blanket and her nightgown and as well the old bummy wifebeater I wore had the same print: rows of small peach and red flowers.

“YOU,” she said, like an announcement, and zoomed right at me.

I put my hand on my chest and also turned around to see if there was somebody else she might could be talking to, but this was on me.

“Help my baby,” she said. “HELP.”