Red Head Archie sat up on the small bunk at the rear of the sleeping bay at the downtown YMCA. Bunk number 777. It was BOBO’s bunk.
Archie leaned back and interlocked his tiny arms behind his neck. His greasy red hair rested ever so coarsely against a dull, declined ceiling that jutted down and gave way to the wall.
Archie had hundreds of freckles all over his face, which made him all the uglier. He also had a nervous disorder, which caused the right corner of his lip to sneer up and twitch involuntarily. This made people dislike him even more.
Like Archie’s dead brother, Gene, he always wore the same white T-shirt and leather jacket. Archie always kept a pack of cigarettes rolled up at the top of his left sleeve and pretended to be tough.
Red Head Archie was the runt member of an outcast, no-name gang up in Los Angeles. They had all vowed to kill the rat if they ever found him. He was on the run.
Earlier, Red Head Archie spotted BOBO shining shoes. Archie said to himself that he would “get that stupid nigger” when BOBO retired to the bay for the night. So he waited.
“How we doing up there, BOBO?” Archie whispered.
BOBO’s heart skipped a beat, and he turned to see Red Head Archie close the bay door behind him.
“I… I fine, Red Head Archie… BOBO is fine.”
He yelled at BOBO.
“What’s your fucking problem, nigger? I told you not to call me that! It’s Archie! Plain and simple… just like your retarded IQ, you dope! Simple!”
BOBO defended himself, but he never could gather up the strength to look Archie in the eyes.
“BOBO is not retarded… he is only a little bit slow.”
“You’re a retard! Hear me! Repeat after me. Say it! ‘I’m a retard!’”
BOBO bit his lip and silently refused. Archie responded by jumping up and landing an open hand across BOBO’S mouth.
BOBO covered up his huge body, dropping quarters all over the bay. Archie raised his hand again.
“Okay, ppp… please dd… don’t hit BOBO no more. I am a retard. BOBO is a retard.”
“That was for running to Sergeant Dick to tattle on me! You’re a god-damned sissy, you are, BOBO!”
BOBO raised his chest a little, but he still kept his hands up to ward off another one of Archie’s blows.
“Sergeant Frick!” BOBO insisted, in his friend’s defense.
“Dick! I said Sergeant Dick! You don’t fucking correct me, or I’ll whack your head open!”
Archie began smacking BOBO repeatedly now. BOBO covered up as much as he could to protect himself.
“Where’s my fucking money, huh? Give me the goddamn money!”
Archie forced his tiny, freckled fingers deep down into BOBO’s trouser pockets, and all BOBO could think to do was hysterically cry, as he was once again robbed of all his money.