I don’t remember much about him. In fact I probably only ever seen him twice. The second time being the last I’d ever see him again. Years later I’d come to realize why the kids at school called him “E.T”. He was skinny with a shaved head. Sort of like one of those poor souls from those feed the children infomercials. From what I could tell the nickname wasn’t malicious. It was kind of endearing.
At the time I had started skipping school with a boy named Francis and another called Julian. Sometimes others would come along or we’d meet up sporadically somewhere. A free shuttle program was soon introduced in the city and our group was now able to travel as far as the beach and back.
One day we didn’t take the shuttle and instead went to a local pool with a couple of older boys who were twins. I ended up drifting to a deeper part of the pool and because I wasn’t tall enough and couldn’t even swim I soon realized I had no footing and panicked. I flailed my arms wildly and began choking on the water. Francis simply pointed and laughed at my manic expressions. One of the twins however jumped in and saved me.
Days later Francis tried getting me to go along with him to the beach. E.T was with him. I told him I couldn’t go because I had to take my SATs. In truth I was turned off by his attitude the day I almost drowned. I gave him a dollar or two as a little token and they left. A day later Julian was confronted by a group of kids. Something had happened to E.T and they were also looking for Francis. Julian kept insisting he wasn’t involved in whatever had happened but it did little good. Random punches and kicks found their way to his face. He barely made it off the school grounds.
I was never questioned and Francis never showed up for school again.
I later heard E.T’s bloated corpse was found floating in the ocean.