Kim's Story (by Bernard Fancher)
We met on the playing field behind the boys' dorm. After that first practice, he asked, 'Will you be my friend?' To cement the bond, he gave me a bracelet made with leather charms strung on a shoestring.
His name was Kim Nhway. His father, an official in Liberia, entrusted Mr and Mrs Reese with his care. They said it was good Kim had me for a friend.
Kim wasn't the player I thought he would be. His start and stop, jerking approach with the ball attested not to skill but diffidence and insecurity.
En route to our first game, the biggest boy on the bus locked on to Kim's scalp, rubbing it with his knuckles, calling him a bonehead. Kim smiled desperately at us as if to show he got the joke. The name 'Bonehead' stuck, of course.
We won only twice that season. In the end, Kim and I barely conversed.
When I wrote the class fortune, fancifully depicting each of our futures, I put 'Bonehead' Nhway and his tormentor-turned-missionary companion together in some remote jungle village, the joke being Kim would be having the other for dinner.
Recently I attended Mr Reese's funeral, whereupon I inquired about Kim. Mrs Reese told me he was killed in an uprising fifteen years ago.
I think I will ask if she has the father's mailing address. I would like to tell Mr Nhway his son once had a friend here in America, and after all this time he is missed.
[The short short story comp is announced and explained here.]