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Chapter 8: Scene 27: What a way to waste a Saturday morning


ThinkLink: Do you have to do chores where you live? Are there any you especially like or dislike? Have you ever know somebody who blames other people for all his/her problems? Do you think time seems to move faster when you keep looking at a clock, or when you just keep working and donít worry about the time?

       "What a way to waste a Saturday morning," Pat grouses. "We should be in the sack, making up for sleep we didn't get 'cause we stayed out all Friday night. Or we should be getting ready to cruise on Saturday night."

       "Speed it up," the weekend staff guy calls. I mutter along with all the rest of the guys in Taylor while we change sheets on our beds.

       Randy yells from out of the bathroom, where he's mopping the floor. "How come we gotta work on Saturday mornings? We ought to have a union . We got to strike ." He gets a few weak cheers, but Delgado, the weekend guy, stands up from the desk in the office and glares at us from behind the glass.

       Pat leans close to me. "Delgado's one tough dude. A county deputy sheriff all week. Moonlights here on weekends. Sometimes he pulls a Friday night shift before he gets to Taylor Saturday mornings. Not a good time to tangle with him." He goes back to stripping his bed.

       "Boring." Tony pulls a long face. "This place is starting to rack me. I'm sick of playing the man's game." He pulls the sheets off his mattress and tosses them into a laundry cart standing in the aisle. "At least it ain't our turn to wash toilets today."

       Pat whines, too. "Cleaning the kitchen's the worst."

       Tony snarls at him. "Can it. Think about when you get back on the outs ." Pat puts on a dog-that's-been-kicked face and moves off.

       I pull clean sheets flat and poke them deep under the mattress. I'm used to working on Saturday mornings. I help Mom in the house, or she has me weed the garden or water it. Sometimes I help Red clean up the barn . Then we'd go into town, get groceries, go to a movie. Doesn't bother me it's boring here. A little work's not going to hurt them.

       Today's the day I get to call home. It took me a lousy two weeks to get my privs , but today should do it. If nothing happens. I give my blanket an extra pull to make it tight and flat. "I'll bring the laundry cart, Mr. Delgado," I call down to the office. Maybe he'll notice I'm offering, and give me extra points.

       "Look at mama's boy , brown-nosing the man," Randy sneers. He's come out of the bathroom and is making his bed down by Delgado. Davis moved Randy and Hi-Lo down near the office, where a desk light's always on, making it easier for the night man to check on them. At least I sleep better, not expecting Randy to jump me in the middle of the night. When I told Tony I thought Randy blamed me for being moved, thought I'd snitched on him, Tony told me, "Hey, man, don't sweat it. Randy'd blame somebody for his own shit."

       I wheel the cart wide around Randy and into the entry where the guys on laundry duty'll pick it up. The grumbling's louder when I go back into the sleeping area. "Shut up, you guys," Tony warns. "Tonight we get to watch TV. Don't no one ruin it for me."

       Then Pat comes up, all excited. "You guys hear? Macky did hisself in."

       "For real?" I say.

       "For real. Put a bag over his head and squirted in hair spray, or deodorant or something. Right before he was going to kick off he said, 'Tell Darlene I love her.'"

       Tony snorts and walks away, but Randy leans in to hear more. "Yeah," he says.

       Delgado walks up behind us. "Yes, Macky's in the infirmary . Lucky for him he got caught. Maybe you haven't seen what happens, but I have. Purple face. tongue sticking out. He wouldn't be passing on any romantic messages, believe me." He walks away, shaking his head and muttering to himself.

       The day drags on. I stare at the wall clock every time I pass it. Twenty minutes past one. It's only five minutes since I came by the clock the last time. I push a cart of clean sheets down next to the showers. They even keep the linen closet locked. Do they really think we'd steal towels?

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 Updated on 5/13/04

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