At home, her brother lay under his car in the sandy driveway. As she walked by, Little Diogenes gave his sneakerfoot a kick, knowing that he was too immersed in the cartilage of the Stingray to give chase. He did grunt and kick back, though.

She went inside to get a snack before heading out to the beach. Not the ocean, of course, but the lake out behind the highway. Summer people swim in the ocean, and Little Diogenes wasn't sure that she was ready to become summer people. Summer school aside, she was poised to make it out of town on scholarship. One year from now, she'd be packing for Harvard or Yale or some other good school, and her mom would cry. Oh, shit, she'd have to become a lawyer or something else very stupid.

The answering machine of the house was bleeping when she entered. Derrick had probably gone directly from his job to fiddling with the Stingray, without bothering to go inside. The first message was from her mother.

"Hi, babies, this is your mother, and I would like to remind both my angels that they should clean up the back porch today, because their little nephews will be coming on Friday, and they will need a place to sleep. I will be bringing home dinner tonight, so Little Diogenes, you do not have to cook."

Like most things her mother said, this was an instruction and a warning. She worked as a nutritionist at the Mass Maritime Academy, and dinner usually came off of an industrial (3 x 5) baking sheet: lasagna or shepherd's pie, or a tough shingle of square pizza. It was better when Dad brought dinner home.

Little Diogenes was forbidden from using her allowance to buy food, so under normal circumstances she would have allowed her brother to steal something from the the Lobster Pot, where he worked as a steam cook. But it looked like he'd taken the lunch shift.

The second message was from her friend Crystal.

"Ohomigod, Little Diogenes, you've GOT to come over. My brother and cousin are here and they're acting totally retarded."

Little Diogenes had been thinking about the future a lot over the summer, and had decided that her formative experiences were nearly over. She needed to kiss Crystal's cousin Zay before it was too late. It would be Moses' fault for being out of town. Crystal's brother, Patrick, was back from the the Navy, so he would have good stories, too.

Little Diogenes quickly changed out of her stale school clothes (summer school doesn't deserve a real ensemble), into something smaller and cooler, and then threw her older brother's puffy satin Red Sox jacket over it all. Like Alyia, she thought, street but sweet. Alyia was Little Diogenes' secret hero.