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Chapter 11: Scene 37: Thinking what I'll say to Mom


ThinkLink: Did you ever try to tell someone you thought they were making a mistake, but they wouldn’t listen to you?

       What happens at the hearing is we both lose our privs and get two days in lock-up. Tony's right. It's a real vacation to be all by myself for a couple of days. I catch up on my sleep, do pushups, walk around in circles for exercise and read a crummy book.

       After I've been back in Taylor Cottage for two weeks, I get my first-level privs back. It's all I can do to hold myself back when I see Randy and Hi-Lo go down the hall, but I think tags. I'm sitting on a bench, waiting my turn for the phone, thinking what I'll say to Mom. Davis calls me into his office. "You're up next," he tells me. "Don't talk more than five minutes."

       Lori answers the phone. She's so excited to talk to me she goes on a-mile-a-minute. "I drew a picture of me making a snowman. I drew most of it yesterday, but I finished it today. I love first grade. I love my teacher, too."

       "What'd they give you for lunch?"

       " Busgetti and green beans. They didn't have chocolate milk, so I had regular. John, when can you come home? I want you at my birthday party when I'll be seven. You can come? Please come."

       "I don't know, but I'll send you a birthday card."

       "Mom's going to let me have a new cat. Norman's cat had kittens and I get to pick the one I like best. We couldn't find Poppy anywhere. Nick helped me look and look."

       "I bet you felt bad losing Poppy." Wouldn't you know Norman'd have a cat who had kittens. Seems like he's got everything. "Sorry about Poppy, but I'm glad you can have another cat."

       I can hear Nick yelling behind her. "It's my turn. It's my turn."

       "Let Nick have the phone, Lori. I'll talk to you more next time."

       There's more scraping and pulling sounds, and then Nick gets on. "Hi, John. When're you coming home?"

       "As soon as I can." I change the subject quick. "What did you do in school?"

       "I had PE today. The teacher showed us how to play soccer. Norman's going to get me a black and white ball like the one we have at school."

       More Norman.

       "Norman took Lori and me and Mom to a movie Saturday. It was kinda spooky. Lori was scared, but I wasn't."

       "You like him? Norman, I mean."

       "Yeah. He's really nice to us. And Mom likes him, too. I saw him kiss her. They didn't know I saw."

       "You better let me talk to Mom, now, Nick."

       She takes the phone. "John, are you all right?"

       "Yeah, Mom. Did the new lawyer see Judge Shields?

       "Honey, why haven't I heard from you? I've called and called. All they'd tell me was that you'd lost your telephone privileges ."

       "I'm OK, Mom. Another guy and I got into it."

       "A fight? Did you get hurt? That place. Are you sure you're all right?"

       "I'm fine. I got my privs back again. Mom, what did the new lawyer say?"

       Her voice dropped. "I'm sorry. We haven't seen him yet. Norman's going to drive me over again Wednesday. Norman took all the information in last week. He said for us to come back after he'd had a chance to go over everything."

       "Norman? Why is he driving you over? Did the car break down again?" The old wreck needs a new battery, new tires, new everything. "What happened to the car this time?"

       "It's running fine. Norman took it over to the garage near his place. He's been very good to us, John. Norman took Lori and Nick to a church carnival in Philmont, over near his ranch . They really like him, and you will, too, when you get to know him."

       "Yeah, I guess so, but remember what I told you about not getting too involved with him."

       She sounds stern, almost mad at me. "John, this is something you're going to have to let me work out."

       Yeah, sure. It's my life, too. Why should I care?

       "How about Red? He ever say anything about me? Does he want me to come back?"

       "He said to tell you hello when you called." She waited.

       I try again. "How about Pete? Have you talked to him? Will he let me come back?"

       "I tried. It's pretty uncomfortable around here now. Even Red stomps around when he does come in the house. They both spend a lot of time out in the barn lately. Sometimes I think Pete's afraid if I stay on here, I'll go to court and sue for squatter's rights or something."

       "Maybe you should."

       "John, I'd never do that. They've got the legal deed . I'll never fight that."

       "I know, but..."

       "It's OK. It's just until things work out."

       Yeah. Like us winning the lottery. But now it's time for my news. "They finally had my staffing yesterday. All my reports should be all right, so it looks good. Don't worry, Mom."

       "I do wor --, think about it all the time. And, John, I'm trying. There's not a whole lot I can do ... yet."

       Silence swells up on the line and I can't say anything. Then I squeak out. "I know." Davis waves in the door of the office. "I gotta go. My time's up. Bye."

       "Good-bye, Honey. I love you." The back of my neck warms up.

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 Updated on 5/13/04

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