Loopholes, Chapter 5

(Previous chapters: 1, 2, 3, 4. And hey—daily? Weekly? If you have an opinion on timing of installments, let me know.)

We went inside and she yelled at me for a while about homework or neatness or something, and I tried to stay calm while running under her voice was this low murmur like the words running under a newsperson on TV when there’s an emergency: Contact my mother. She has something for me. Connect with those in a similar situation. And along with those: Oh My God A Lizard Just Talked To Me. And what are “those in a similar situation” supposed to be? No one is in a similar situation except for Pinky and Jacob.

They got home from getting candy and you could tell right away that we weren’t going to be mad at each other anymore. Pinky even let me have one of his M&M’s. And I tried to figure out what I should tell them, or if I should even tell them anything.

Because of course it was impossible that a lizard actually talked to me, right? That was something that didn’t happen. That was something that people hallucinated, that was all. And I started to wonder if I’d dreamed it, or something close to that—somehow imagined it and then forgot I imagined? Except that if it had talked to me, things were bad. Really bad.

I wanted to talk to my mom.

So when I’d done everything my grandma asked me to, including finishing my dumb Florida homework and setting the table and straightening out my half of her room—yes, I was sharing a room with my grandmother—I used my best, obedient, normal-girl voice and asked, “Grandma? May I please use the phone? I want to call my mom.”

Doesn’t that sound like something anyone would say yes to?

Jacob and Pinky were in the living room playing checkers, and they both turned to me and gaped because—well, I never really sound like that.

She looked at me. I’d changed into clean clothes. I’d even brushed my hair. I was officially perfect. And she said, “No. You do not need to be all the time on the phone.”

“But—.”

“No!” She brushed off her hands and went into the kitchen.

I stumbled into the living room in a daze. My grandmother was banging pots and pans in the kitchen, and I sank onto her incredibly uncomfortable couch and tried to remember what the lizard had said. I also tried not to want to kill my mother for thinking I was “too young for a cell phone.” She wanted me to “experience life and person-to-person interaction.” I am guessing sitting in the living room thinking about how horrible my grandmother was wasn’t what she meant.

I sat next to their checkers game and tried not to explode. When I had calmed down enough to form words, I said, “Jacob. My room.” My grandmother slammed the oven shut in the other room.

“Don’t get me in trouble,” he said out of the side of his mouth.

“I won’t get you in trouble,” I said. “Just…come.”

7 thoughts on “Loopholes, Chapter 5

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