"Buying Local" by Dillon McLaughlin

In stereotypical nosy neighbor fashion, Mairead Murphy pulled one of the slats on her blinds down and peeked out the front window of her rowhome. She looked down her street at the kids standing on the front porch of the corner house. “Of all the gin joint corners on all the streets in this forsaken city, those dicks sell drugs on mine.”

Mairead's younger brother, Jack, was unimpressed with his sister's attempt at eloquence. He kept channel surfing, offering only a noncommittal, “Huh,” in response. The TV stuttered through its programming.

Mairead's older sister, Rachel, stuck her head through the kitchen doorway. “What'd she say?”

The three of them had met at Mairead's before heading to their parents’ house because Mairead had a convection oven. Rachel found it gave her a more even bake on her cakes and cookies, though it also heated casseroles more evenly, which is what she was bringing with her that night. Jack was there because he planned on drinking at his parents’ house and needed somewhere relatively close to his own house to leave his car and Mairead was his ride.

Jack didn't take his eyes from the television and spoke out of the corner of his mouth closer to the kitchen. “Gin. And joints. Something about gin and joints.”

Mairead clarified. “I said those four dicks are still hocking whatever narcotic is rampaging up the highway from Florida.”

Rachel kept shouting from the kitchen. “Graffiti dicks?”

“No, dicks as a disparaging term for people.”


“Those dicks.”

“Who's a dick?”

“Those kids up on the corner.”

“The ones selling drugs?”

“Who the hell else hangs out on street corners all day?”

She was suddenly at Mairead's shoulder, wiping her hands on a dishtowel. “I don't know. Prostitutes? Oscar the Grouch?”

“These kids aren't spewing morals out of trash cans. And I haven't seen Big Bird for at least three weeks.”

The two of them stared out Mairead's front window. Fifty years before, the street was Rockwellian. Row homes of clean red brick sat a few feet back from the sidewalk. Most houses sported a sizable wooden porch, usually painted, with decorations changing depending on the closest holiday. Most windows, if they were the appropriate size, had shutters. Flower boxes were common.

On porches, people sat and sipped iced tea and evening cocktails and gossiped with neighbors. In the street, they washed and waxed massive Oldsmobile, Ford, and Chrysler boats or walked to corner stores for the random household odds and ends. As for children, co