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Chapter 8: Scene 29: Saturday night



"If it's Saturday night, it's gotta be hamburgers," Tony says.

       Instead of eating dinner, I push my food around with my fork. When I finally try to spear a soggy French fry, it flies off my plate. Tony sticks his hand out, catches it and stuffs it in his face. "You gonna eat your other hamburger?" I shake my head and Tony scoops it up.

       "OK if I take the rest of your fries?" Pat asks, holding his fork up, ready to stab.

       "Sure. I don't care." I don't feel like eating and I got to think about something besides my flop of a phone call. I bring up the most boring thing I can think of. "Tony, you say we get to watch TV tonight?"

       "Yeah, if you got your privs . It's me starring in a chase movie."

       Kids yelp and boo at the other tables. Randy yells over, "Those creeps you play nursemaid to all day have fried your brains. Those mentals got a bed ready just for you, loony ."

       Staff takes a van load of guys to the state hospital for work duty. They help take care of disabled and retarded kids every school day, right after lunch. Tony snaps his chair back down on the floor and growls at Randy.

       Randy backs right off anyway. "OK, I ain't saying nothing against your little friends." I grin inside. Randy's not about to take on Tony.

       Tony settles back down in his chair. "What does that creep know about real jobs? They got him mopping floors over at the big kitchen," Tony says, gulping half of my hamburger in one bite. "It don't take any style to deal on the street like he does. Any dopester can do that." He looks over at Pat and lifts his shoulders up. "I mean like Randy." Pat puts his face down close to his tray and shovels a fork full of fries into his mouth, acting like he hasn't heard.

       "I like taking care of those kids," Tony says, turning back to me. "Their legs are all twisted up, and some of them ain't too smart, but they really like for me to come." He gulps down the last of my hamburger. "But for some big time fun, give me breaking-and-entering any day. This last time, before I got picked up, I was doing two, maybe three jobs a day. I'd hang around a row of houses, see who went off to work, who stayed home, and then I'd pick my mark."

       "You mean in the daytime?" I try to keep him talking. Take my mind off my own crap.

       "Sure, no use waiting 'til night, when everybody comes home. Guys keep guns in their houses now. I'm not about to stumble across some dude who'll blow me away."

       "They come home in the daytime, too," Pat says, getting in a dig to pay back Tony. "You told us how they picked you up this time. That was in the daytime, wasn't it?"

       Tony puts his arm up over his face, faking shame. "Yeah, right. Caught in the act. But that's the kick you get. Never knowing what's gonna happen, being in their house, going through their stuff." He laughs. "Y'know, one time, the only thing I took was fifty dollars from this guy's pants pocket. I came in through an open window, and I didn't touch another thing, so it didn't look like I'd ever been there. I bet that guy's still yelling at his wife for taking money out of his pants." He points his fork toward me. "I'll give you some pointers. Might come in handy."

ThinkLink: Write about a time that you decided not to do something because you were sure that you’d get caught.

       Not me. Once in here is one time too many. "Don't waste your time. I'd just get caught."

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 Updated on 5/13/04

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