Dear DJ,

You lived in the trailer park down the road with your 20 million brothers and 1 sister who all looked just like you: black hair, baby face, dirt on the tip of the nose.

We hung out at my parents' house most days, except for your birthday, which was also the birthday of your 20-million-and-1 siblings. That was the one day of the year we hung out at the trailer park.

Firecrackers were the main attraction. I hated them. Cylinders wrapped in red paper; I'd watch as people lit them, then let them fall to the gravel road, my stomach mimicking their chaotic leaps and blasts. I never lit one. I refused to. I couldn't stop imagining my hand unable to let them go, the wick slowly burning down, the inevitable explosion in my palm.

On your Twelfth birthday I came over with my hair done up. The mullet was gone, and the hair had morphed from blonde to brown. It looked like a bowl split by an axe in the middle, both sides arching down in the front. The Polish hair stylist at Great Clips called me "cover boy."

When you answered the aluminum door to your trailer, your mom stood behind you, her hands on your shoulders. Your hair was parted down the middle like mine, but the bangs were all wrong. Where mine curved, yours created a triangle.

"See," your mom said, gesturing toward my head with her right hand. "Just like MJ's."

You blushed brick.

- MJ


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