Things Will Be Better
By Ronald Cypress
The body lying in the sandbox was the first one to be touched by the children. The first game they played with the young man’s corpse was to pour sand onto the body, covering mostly his face. Then they began to count the holes they could find.
“There’s four of them.”
“No, there’s five. Look at this one right here on his shoulder.”
“Man, someone really got this guy.”
A few of the kids began to stick their fingers into the holes, squealing as they touched whatever lay beneath the skin and the blood covered their hands. A few of the kids poured sand into the holes that were in the young man’s back and arm.
The next game they played was shoot him up.
The kids used their fingers to make guns. They pointed their newly developed weapons at the young man’s body.
“Bang! You’re dead, fucker!”
When they got tired of played with their guns a few of the kids left the body and went elsewhere on the playground. The ones that stayed behind decided that the only thing left to do was kick the body as hard as they could. They kicked and kicked, not stopping until they heard a cracking sound.
The woman’s body lying several feet away from the seesaw hardly got any attention. A few of the children took note of the needle in her right arm. One of the kids thought she looked familiar and believed that it could possibly be the mom of a neighborhood boy. The children began to take turns at flicking the needle, barely touching it until one hard flick knocked the needle out of her arm.
“Do you think she was sick?”
“I’m sure she was. They usually are.”
One of the kids, the second biggest boy on the playground at that time, kicked the woman in the mouth. The kick forced the head to turn to the side.
“What you do that for?”
“Whore deserved it.”
He spit on her face.
And on the swing set hung another woman’s body. Several of the children who took the time to look at the body commented on how young the woman looked. They tried to guess her age.
“I think she’s about twenty.”
“Younger than that, man. Has to be about sixteen.”
“Dumbasses. She’s no older than my sister who’s twelve. I say thirteen at the oldest.”
“I’m surprised that belt hasn’t broken yet.”
One of the kids went to push at the body but was stopped by another child.
“Just leave it be for now. They’ll deal with it later.”
The hours went by and more kids began to show up on the playground. They spun around on the merry-go-round with the man who put a shotgun in his mouth. The children laughed at how slippery the blood and other bodily things made the merry-go-round. They laughed until the body became too burdensome. Once that happened. A few of the kids threw it to the side before jumping back on to spin around in what the man had left behind.
It was early in the evening when the authorities finally arrived. By that time, many of the children knew about the body of the boy who had been superficially buried beneath the monkey bars. The boy was their age, and many of them knew him. The familiarity was enough to hit home. Many of the children were sobbing as the authorities began to handle the bodies.
None of them spoke to the children; they simply focused on cleaning up. The children knew to move out of the way when the authorities began to work in their area. The body beneath the monkey bars was the second to last one to be removed. Just about all of the children cried out as the authorities began to place the body in a bag.
“It’s just not right!”
“It’s not fair!”
“How could you let this happen?”
The children never received an answer. The authorities took the body away and placed in the back of a van with the other bodies that were being removed.
A few inquired about what could have happened to the dead boy who had once been one of them.
“How did it happen?”
“No one knows. Some think strangulation. Someone said stabbed, but I didn’t see no blood on him. He looked all right to me. Just dead.”
The girl hanging from the swing set was the last one to be taken away by the authorities. Many of the children were starting to leave the playground by that time. They were too upset to play anymore. The sight and knowledge had been too much to take. It wasn’t supposed to happen to one of them.
The last body was thrown into the back of the van, and the playground and its inhabitants were absolved. About ten minutes after the authorities departed, a group of nicely dressed men showed up with smiles on their faces. The talked amongst themselves for a while before the kids overheard one of them urge another to speak up. All of the children left on the playground were anticipating what would be said.
A heavyset man stepped forward and began to speak.
“Hello all,” he said. “I am sure that you have all seen plenty of disturbing things today, and I also certain that you are all probably upset by the things you have seen. I would like to assure you all that we are working to make things better. We are working towards improving your future. And things will improve. We can guarantee you that. Things will improve. You mark my words. Now, I will leave all to resume your play. Please try to enjoy yourselves and continue to have fun. You are still children after all, and you have a great future to look forward to.”
The heavyset man waved to the kids before he turned and walked away from them, going back his group. A woman in the group also waved to the children just before she turned and joined the rest of her group. The children watched them go. Once they were gone, they resumed playing. They decided to play until it was late into the night
They would go on for as long as they could.