Please read New York, New York Part I & Part II before reading this story.
The bus pulled into the church parking lot after midnight. My mother breathed a sigh of relief as I climbed down the narrow steps and into her spicy mustard-colored station wagon.
“How vas it?” she asked.
“I ate some amazing food, saw all the sites, and I bought you this!” I held up an overpriced “I Love New York” keychain.
“Oh, tank you, Stephie,” she said, snapping the bawble onto her already large collection of keychains. “So, did anyvon try to bodder you?”
“Nope, I felt completely safe the entire time. It was awesome!”
“Vell, make sure you call Anita vhen you get home, she called like four times, I tink she had sometink to tell you, I dunno vhat.”
I thought better of mentoning Anita’s fear of Mole People to my mother.
I arrived back at the house and curled up on the bed with our old rotary phone that was the same exact color as my mother’s station wagon. “Hey, Anita! Just calling to let you know that I am alive! What did I miss?”
“Oh. My. GOSH,” she said. She took in a deep breath. “Sooo…I was bored because you guys were gone, so I called Tony, Crystal, and Allen to hang out a while. We decided to go to the QuickCheck to get some hoagies. Well, while we were walking back to Tony’s place, he remembered that he had forgotten spray cheese…”
“What the heck did he need spray cheese for? That stuff is nasty.”
“Yeah. That’s what I said. But you know Tony…he wanted to freak out random people on the street by screaming ‘I am a human penis!’ whille spraying cheese out of his mouth.”
I groaned. “Wow. Either Crystal needs to dump that guy or we just need some new friends.”
“Uh, yah, that’s what I said. So ANYWAY, he made us go back to get his stupid spray cheese, and I kid you not, as soon as we got out of the store, these three guys held us up with a knife.”
“OH, MY GOSH! I can’t believe you’d get mugged outside of a QuickCheck in freaking rinky-dink Piscataway, New Jersey. Are you okay?”
“Yeah. But they took everyone’s wallets, Tony’s backpack, Crystal’s beeper…and they even took our hoagies.”
“And the spray cheese?”
“Gone forever. Some other a-hole is probably spraying it in or out of his mouth as we speak.”
“Well, if it’s any consolation, at least they are slightly closer to getting cancer.”
“Yes, if living in New Jersey doesn’t do ’em in, then the spray cheese will! But seriously, good thing you and Bob were in New York!”
“Yeah, I didn’t have any trouble with the Mole Pe-” I was cut off by a knock on the door.
“Hold on, Anyu, I’m on the phone!”
I sighed. “I gotta go, Anyu’s freaking out for some reason, talk to you later.”
I opened the locked door. “WHAT???”
“I vas listening in vit your conversation vit Anita and dis is terrible news.”
“Anyu! STOP picking up the other line to listen to my phone calls!” I said in my whiniest teenage voice. “That is SUCH an invasion of privacy!” I went over my brief conversation with Anita in my head to analyze if I had said anything incriminating.
“It vas an accident,” she lied. “But no more QuickChecks for you!” she commanded. “Dey are DANGEROUS! Dah robbers vill steal you!”
For the next few years, every time I went to a QuickCheck, I had to lie and say that I was going to a 7-11. Because there’s no such thing as a shady 7-11, right?