“Anyu, Youth Group is having a trip tomorrow. I just need you to sign this permission slip and I will be out of your way ALL DAY tomorrow. Isn’t that great?”
I carefully placed the paper down in front of her and crossed my fingers. She glanced down and her face twisted into a horrified expression. “NEW YORK CITY? NOOOO! Somevon will steal you!”
“I’m 16, Anyu. And I’ll be with a zillion other people, including Pastor Jim, who’s a 6’3″ former biker gang member that allegedly has weapons training.” My mother looked even more horrified. “Well, uh, before he converted and became a super nice non-violent Youth Pastor. So. I think we’re okay.”
“No freakin’ way, Mr. Jose. New York is dangerous.”
I threw my hands in the air, stomped out of the room, and started dialing. “This is SO unfair!” I whined as soon as my best friend, Anita, answered the phone. “Mom won’t let me go to New York with Youth Group because she’s afraid gypsies are going to kidnap me or something.”
“Well…” she started, “New York is kind of dangerous. I was reading this book about Mole People that live underground and snatch women.”
“Anita! Stop reading those stupid ‘Weekly World News’ Magazines that my mom gives you!”
“No, seriously. Dad got me this cool book and it confirmed that the rumors of the alligators and mole people in the sewer. In 1994, there was this incident where-”
“Don’t listen to him! Your father is just as crazy-paranoid as my mom.”
“Fine, then, don’t go calling me when the Mole People are mugging you.”
Just then, my pager started vibrating. I looked down and saw the numbers “808 58008 07734 “. I turned it upside down and saw that the numbers resembled the words “HELLO BOOBS BOB”. I sighed. “Anita, Bob’s paging me in stupid leetspeak again, I’ll call you back tomorrow or something.”
I dialed Bob and he answered, “HELLO, BOOBS, IT’S ME, BOB!” He cackled like a maniac.
I groaned, “Hard to imagine that your dumbass is turning 18 in a few weeks, you act freaking 13.”
“Well, I wouldn’t page you if you got Call Waiting.”
“I’m in the Old Country over here. I’m using a rotary phone, forget about call waiting. And speaking of Old Country, I don’t think I can come up to New York tomorrow, mom’s having a cow.”
“What’s her problem this time?”
“The usual. She thinks someone is going to steal me. And Anita won’t back me up! She thinks we’re gonna get mugged by Mole People or something.”
“Cool, I wish that would happen! We’re probably just gonna watch some stupid musical and get hot dogs. You know, boring stuff.”
“Yeah, well, tell that to my mother.”
“Seriously? You want me to talk to her?”
“Meh. Give it a shot if you think it will help.” I held my hand over the receiver. “ANYUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUU! BOB WANTS TO TALK TO YOOOOOU!”
“Oh, my God, he’s not here is he? I need to fix my hair!” She ran into the bathroom in a panic.
“NOOOO, HE’S ON THE PHOOONE!”
“Vhat? Vhat does he vant? Is he on his vay over? He can’t come, dah house is a mess!”
“NO! He just wants to talk to you, come over here, already!”
“Oh. Okay.” She picked up the phone. “Vell, HALLO, Bob. How’d you modder?” I walked into the other room and played some Road Rash 3 on my Sega. I knew this conversation would take a while.
After about an hour of knocking 64-bit animated characters off of motorcycles, my mother called my name. I rushed to her side.
“Okay, Stephie, you can go to New York. Go talk to Bob.”
“Oh, my gosh!” I said, picking up the phone. The receiver was burning hot and a little damp from my mother holding it tight to her ear, but I didn’t care.
“You owe me big, Yuhas.”
“How the heck did you convince her?”
“Well, I had to promise to protect you. And then my mom got on the phone and said that she would be sad to know that you weren’t going, and that this is a necessary step in your adolescent development, blah blah blah. And then I suggested that you pick up some pepper spray before the trip tomorrow morning.”
My face fell. I looked at the clock: 10: 15 p.m. “Oh, God. Bob…what have you done to me?”
“What do you mean?”
“All the stores are closed, Bob. Where the heck am I going to get pepper spray by 10 am tomorrow? I don’t even know where they SELL it!”
(to be continued)