Filmmaker Matt Richards tells the story of a vulnerable teen who carries a tragic secret that changes his life forever.
A boy shaves his head goes out to meet his friend Patrick. They ride their bikes to a ditch, then the boy asks to see the hunting knife — Patrick stole it from his stepfather. He’s satisfied and sticks it in the back of his jeans.
They spend the afternoon wandering their run-down town and take a break at a convenience store. As they walk up, they run into Matt and his sister Susie. Susie begins to yell insults at the boy and he threatens to knock her teeth out. Then, Matt jumps in and grabs the boy, prompting him to pull out the hunting knife. Susie tells her brother they should just go home.
The boy and Patrick look around the store. When the clerk turns his back, the boy quickly stuffs a drink down his pants. But as he tries to pay for just two chocolate bars, the clerk charges him for the extra drink. He saw them. When the boy insists he didn’t steal a drink, Patrick pulls out some money to pay the clerk.
They sit in the parking lot and eat. Then, the boy tells Patrick to run home. Katya is waiting for him in the car. As she drives, he starts to flirt with her. She complains that he’s been missing for three days. He missed the christening and now her mom doesn’t like him. He doesn’t care.
They go to an empty lot and the boy and Katya have fun driving donuts in the dirt.
Suddenly, they hear a thud. They get out and realize they accidentally hit a rabbit. As Katya cleans the car off, the boy finds a rabbit on the side. They must have killed its mom — it’s an orphan now. So they decide to take it home.
Katya’s dad Leonard is waiting for them at home. Katya tries to show him the rabbit, but he doesn’t want anything to do with it. He tells her to leave it but she insists it would die without them. Leonard then focuses on the boy, asking why he wasn’t at the christening. The boy lies and tells him he was there. And that he should get his eyes checked.
Leonard drives off and the boy and Katya travel to his house.
The boy and Katya leave some food for the rabbit and head to the bedroom. As they lay in bed afterwards, the boy tells Katya he has a present for her — a necklace that belonged to his mom. When she asks if he misses his parents, he says he doesn’t know.
Then, the boy tells her he wants to show her something — but she has to promise not to freak out. He leads her to another bedroom. When he opens it, she sees his uncle’s lifeless body lying on the bed. She panics and runs off. The boy chases after her but returns home. He doesn’t pick up the phone and just opens and closes the door to his uncle’s bedroom.
Eventually, he jumps on his bike and rides around town. When he comes home, he sees the authorities take his dead uncle out of the house. As he pleads for them not to touch him, Leonard grabs and hugs him tightly, repeating to him that everything will be okay. It all becomes real for the boy and he breaks down in tears. Without his parents and now his uncle, he has nobody left.
Later that night, as he rides in the back of the car, he just stares at the abandoned rabbit.
Have you read the original anthology that was the catalyst for The Good Men Project? Buy here: The Good Men Project: Real Stories from the Front Lines of Modern Manhood
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