Jumped In

Free Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott

Book: Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott Read Free Book Online
Authors: Patrick Flores-Scott
around, otherwise why bother, right?”
    I give him my number. He dials it and waits for the message to pick up. My message is embarrassing. I remember rerecording it a million times and never being satisfied. I can hear my muffled voice against Luis’s ear. He doesn’t react to how stupid it is, though. He snaps his phone shut and just like that, I’ve got a gangbanger’s digits locked in.
    â€œThere it is. You’ve got my number, and I’ll be calling yours, so don’t forget to carry that celly, yo!”
    We say good-bye, with plans to meet tomorrow morning.
    I say good-bye to Leticia. She tells me I’m welcome anytime.

 
    MUST BE NICE
    O N THE WALK HOME , I think about what it’d be like to have a mom there for you. To razz you about your life. To give you a hard time. To cook you burgers. To be there. If not every night, then some nights. And on nights when she’s not there, you still know she’s thinking about your dreams.

 
    HELLO, SAM
    I GET HOME AND GO STRAIGHT TO BED .
    But I can’t sleep.
    I don’t know.… This stupid funk has been weighing me down for a while, so hanging out and writing some silly lines with Luis is the most fun I’ve had in a long time.
    I’m awake in bed, staring into the shadows. Thinking about how I used to do this. I used to write stuff. I used to write lyrics in my notebook all the time.
    Why did I stop?
    I want the morning to come so we can get back at it.
    I try to lock my eyelids and count some sheep.
    I’m too amped up.
    So I slip out of bed and walk into the living room and find myself standing outside Gilbert’s cage. I watch him for a while. Watch him breathing, his black beak buried in his feathers as his little chest goes up and down with each breath.
    Without thinking, I lean into the cage … and I start talking to Gilbert. I whisper, “Hello, Sam. Hello, Sam. Hello, Sam.” In the friendliest voice I can manage.
    Over and over.
    Hello, Sam . Hello, Sam .
    It’s worth a shot.
    Over and over, until I can’t stay awake.

 
    WAFFLES
    I T’S S ATURDAY . I got my phone in my pocket and I’m running for the door, trying to slip out like always.
    But Ginny’s standing at the stove.
    In my way.
    She’s got one hand on a hip, a spatula waving in the other. Her bluish-white hair wrapped in pink curlers to match her pink sweatsuit.
    She’s damned perky at seven in the morning.
    â€œWaffles?”
    The knee-jerk no is about to hit my lips. Then I think about eating dinner with Luis and his mom. And I can’t say no to Ginny.
    So I sit.
    In a second, she’s got a hot waffle on my plate. The waffle is great but Ginny’s smiling and bouncing around in her squeaky tennis shoes, asking all these questions about my new friend .
    â€œIt’s just a project for school,” I say. “No big deal.”
    That gets her even more excited.
    â€œA project? Really? That’s wonderful, Samuel! Tell me all about it!”
    I can’t stand all the positivity , so I bolt. I jump up and set my dish in the sink. “Thanks for the waffle.”
    I head out. But I don’t get anywhere.
    I gotta go back inside.
    I gotta not be an ass.
    I poke my head in. Ginny says, “You back for lunch?”
    â€œYeah,” I say. “We put in a good five seconds of work and now I’m starving. You got a sandwich?”
    â€œI got a knuckle sandwich, sonny.”
    â€œNo thanks. How about another waffle?”
    â€œThere you’re in luck.”
    I grab my dish out of the sink and by the time I’m sitting at the table, Ginny’s got another waffle ready to go. She takes a seat and I ask her the question.
    â€œWhat did you and Grandpa Bill do at Boeing?”
    â€œWhere did that come from?”
    â€œJust curious, I guess.”
    â€œAnd did you want to know if I was single when I started out on the assembly

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