Somebody Else’s Kids

Free Somebody Else’s Kids by Torey Hayden

Book: Somebody Else’s Kids by Torey Hayden Read Free Book Online
Authors: Torey Hayden
even.” A hand slipped over her mouth as she laughed devilishly. “And guess what else besides that?”
    “What?”
    “I’m going to scare my sister. I got a better costume than her. She don’t got any warts ’cause she spends all her allowance on candy.”
    “Oh Lor, she better watch out, huh?”
    Boo and I had our own plans for the afternoon. He still was not toilet trained, but I hated keeping him in diapers all the time because it made training so much more difficult; and on those rare, rare occasions when he did attempt to use the toilet, he had missed a couple times because he could not break the tape on the disposable diapers. Recently, however, my guesses had been off and there had been a lot of puddles. I found intensive work in this area difficult with Lori around. So he and I were headed for some heart-to-heart moments in the rest room. Afterward I was considering taking a trip over to a nearby grocery store with him. Boo had never been to one and I wanted to buy new ingredients to try the ice-cream recipe again someday. That would fill our time together.
    It was late afternoon, after recess. Boo and I were still in the girls’ rest room. With a copy of
Toilet Training in Less Than a Day
face down on a sink, a bottle of orange juice nearby to keep Boo supplied with liquids and the door propped open to warn any unsuspecting visitors we were hard at work, I had Boo on a toilet in one of the stalls while I searched the bottom of a potato chip bag for something to make him more thirsty.
    “Torey!” someone wailed from the corridor. “Torey!”
    I came to the door of the rest room and looked out. Lori in her witch’s costume was struggling down the hall. “Torey,” she cried when she saw me.
    I could see tears coursing down through witch makeup, leaving big black smudges on her cheeks. “What’s wrong, honey?”
    “I got scared when I couldn’t find you.” She pressed her face into my jeans.
    “What happened? You were going to be in Mrs. Thorsen’s class all afternoon, remember? Even after recess. Did you forget?” I pulled her chin up. A fake wart was left sticking to the waistband of my jeans. Boo came hopping out, his pants around his ankles.
    Lori would not look at me even as I held her face. She jerked her head from my hand and leaned back against my side. Finally I bent to pull up Boo’s pants and fasten them. “Do you want to come back with us, babe?” I asked her.
    She nodded.
    In the room Lori went over to the worktable and flopped into a chair. I was still unsure what had happened to upset her. The black witch’s hair was skewed to one side, the pointed hat was too large and came down almost to her eyebrows. I found the incongruity between her costume and mood pathetic. Coming over, I sat on the tabletop next to her. “What’s wrong? Did it just scare you not finding us here? Was that it?”
    She paid me no attention. Another wart loosened by her tears dropped onto the table. Lori smooshed it with a fingernail.
    “Did something go wrong in class?”
    She nodded.
    “Maybe if you told me about it, that would help.”
    She shook her head.
    “You don’t think so?”
    Another shake.
    Across the room I saw Boo begin to unbuckle his pants. I rose to see what he was planning to do.
    “Stay here with me,” Lori said.
    “Okay,” I sat back down and gave Boo the evil eye to leave his clothes on. He flapped his hands at me.
    “Mikey Nelson says I’m retarded,” Lori muttered. “He says this is a retard class.”
    Her head was still down; she twisted a strand of mop around one finger.
    “He said I was the retardest kid in the whole school. He said I couldn’t even read baby books like the kindergarteners have. I’m that retarded.”
    “You know that old saying, Lor? That one about sticks and stones can break my bones but names can never hurt me?”
    “Yeah.”
    “Isn’t very true, is it? Names do hurt. A lot.”
    She nodded.
    Another stillness.
    “I guess it don’t matter so

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