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The Rush-Chapter Three

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Chapter Three

By the time we got back, it was around three in the afternoon. I told Mom to stop by the tennis court since everyone was still there. She got out of the car with me and walked over to ‘get a better look’ at everyone. This would be interesting. Across the court, Wes was turned a laugh into a cough after he took one look at the speculative expression on my mom. Vinnie did the same but ran over.

I didn’t exactly know how to go about this. I turned away from my mom for a second and made a desperate, ‘please act normal’ face to everyone. Then I turned back to her and said, “ guys, this is my mom.”

They all ran over and stood across from her, making their first impressions. It was a rather uncomfortable moment. She made a small smile and waved without saying anything.

I pointed to each of them as I spoke. “And Mom...this is Vinnie, Seth, Clifford, know Wes.”

Mom got confused when I introduced Clifford. “Clifford? That’s an..... interesting name,” she stuttered, trying to be polite.

Clifford smirked, “Psshh, yeah. Good thing it’s my last name.”

“Oh, what’s your first name?” She actually sounded like she cared.

Clifford rolled his eyes and mumbled, “Sean.”

Vinnie chuckled and made a face, but Mom didn’t notice. Jimmy was almost a Sean. “That’s a good name. Sean.”

Vinnie laughed again, louder this time. “Sorry, man,” he choked out between uncontrollable outbursts of giggles.

“You better watch yourself, Vin-cent!” threatened Clifford, making his name sound ridiculous.

This would create a great first impression in my Mom’s book. “Ugh, seriously, you guys?”

Wes saved my life with his knowledge of how to act like he had a sophisticated and courteous upbringing. “Well, it was very nice to see you again, Mrs. Barring, but if you’ll excuse us, we would like to finish a game. Perhaps Mavie would like to stay?” He looked at me and nodded.

“Uh, yeah! Actually, Mom, we record the results and find an overall winner. I’ a lot of blank spaces to fill.” Her lack of sports knowledge was a full proof weapon.

She gave me a suspicious look, but let me go after I didn’t smile. I did that when ever I tried to lie to her. The reason I appeared honest was because it was true. I did have spaces on the score chart to fill. It probably wasn’t what I was going to do, but it wasn’t a legitimate lie. Jeez, I could be a very good lawyer if I wanted to.

After a minute, Mom gave up and said, “Well, it was nice to finally meet you, Mavie’s staying, and....I will take the boys home.” She gave me one last look to check for any doubt. “Bye, honey. Don’t be home too late.”

“I won’t.”

She walked away and so did we, but Vinnie lingered behind for a few seconds. He was staring after my mother. After she was out of hearing range, he tapped my shoulder. “Why Mavis,” he murmured in a mockingly pleasant voice. “You never informed me of the MILF you lived with!”

They all laughed out loud as I slapped his shoulder. “Shut up!”

“Be respectful of me now, Mavis. I could be your new stepfather.” They all laughed more.

I couldn’t keep the image out of my head no matter how hard I tried. I grimaced. “Jeez, I’d KILL myself if you were related to me in any way.”

He sighed in satisfaction. “Then I’m doing my job.”

“Scumbag,” I said under my breath, looking down.

“Young lady, how dare you?” he bellowed, deepening his voice.

“Hey, man, c’mon!” Clifford intervened, throwing a play punch at Vinnie. “Shaw’s is closing at like four thirty today. We goin’?”

We all stopped walking. “We’re goin’ to Shaw’s?” I asked.

“Yeah,” Wes answered. “I need more score paper and Vinnie hit all the balls out of the court. We can’t find ‘em.”

I looked at Vinnie now. “Aren’t you still banned?”

Vinnie shrugged and made kind of a sorry face. Not one of the thief who was sorry he stole, but one of the thief who was terribly sorry he was caught and on the highway to hell. “Only when Joan’s workin’ and she has Thursdays off.”

“Alright, let’s go,” Wes concluded as we started down Beaver Street towards School Street. We would go down that street and walk along the East Main road down to Shaw’s. It could take a good twenty minutes to a half hour, but it became faster every time we went.

“You guys got money?” Seth asked quickly. “I’m broke.”

Clifford was always carrying money he stole from his unsuspecting parents. He was always sneaking peeks at them when they thought they were alone, which when it usually all came out. I mean money. “Yeah, I got a twenty. My mom keeps her stash from my dad under the couch. She’ll still blame him if she finds anything missing.” He sounded like he didn’t give a crap if they fought and paid no attention to him whatsoever. It was the only reason he went goth at the beginning of the school year. Any noticeable change would make them look at him, even if only for a little while.

This confused me. “You want your parents to fight?”

He shrugged. “They’re gonna fight no matter what the heck I do. Don’t give a s***.”

That was all the incentive I needed not to change my opinion at all. I knew how much he hated it. He couldn’t hate them as much as he wanted to since it hurt him so much that they hated each other. It would hurt anyone.

With the end of that conversation, we continued on out of the neighborhood. We just prattled on about random stuff that seemed to be worth talking about when it was just the five of us. We did that a lot when we were just hanging out.

Shaw’s Supermarket was the only convenience store close enough to our neighborhood to walk to if we needed some quick supplies for whatever we were doing. They had no problem with most of us hanging around the store sometimes. Most of us meaning not Vinnie. He has a history of stink bombs, rewriting prices on women’s products which causes complaints, and several other things. Most of the staff shouldered it and stayed quiet since their pays weren’t deducted whenever there were huge problems created. Joan Lance being the exception to that. She was the hard-a** assistant manager that hung around almost all week. The real manager was almost never there. He just sent the checks around every month and that was it. That’s why Vinnie only really got problems from Joan.

But Joan was a notorious b****; she didn’t just f*** with Vinnie. Rumors would have you know that a long time ago, presumably during the stone age, Joan was married to this guy, Randolph Mikzit. Big, twitchy guy, looked like he could be a plumber that molested three year-olds on the side. He had the thinning hair that was reduced to a dark, three-quarter full band around his shiny egg-head, the goatee, the potbelly stove shape to his body, the layers of flesh that made the rest of his body blend around his head, EVERYTHING. Anyway, he taught first grade at the elementary school at the time he and Joan were married. You know how some teachers keep coffeemakers or toasters in their classrooms back by their desks? Probably ‘cuz they let themselves go and don’t take shame in letting a bunch of snot-nosed kids watch them snack all day. Right? Well, Mr. Mikzit kept a blender to make smoothies. He hated them, but apparently he wasn’t getting any from Joan. So, he upperclassmen told the first graders if they got a question wrong, they would get mixed up in the blender and then get slurped up.

Mikzit lost the weight, but he still looked like a raccoon that was dragged up a dirt road off the back of some fat guy’s junky truck which is why Joan still didn’t blow him. He took off to Vegas, having decided he’d become a soprano the rest of his life if he did get it from Joan, anyway.

The staff members and customers all hated her, too. Everyone except the manager who never saw her work because she was never there. It was common knowledge of Wilmington that Joan Lance was the Nurse Ratched of Shaw’s Supermarket. That’s why the staff stole the key to her office and made copies for everyone that worked there. They gave it out to anyone who wanted to prank her and things like that.

Vinnie’s reputation at Shaw’s didn’t effect the rest of us as much as it could’ve since we were always seen hanging around with him, but if the staff were our parents, we would’ve moved away long ago to get away from him. Especially because of the vulgar comments he made to the check-out girls every time we went.

By the time we got there, the store only had an hour left until closing time. There were only a few people in there when we walked in and Vinnie’s favorite check-out girl was there. I looked down and pretended not to notice when he called over to her, “Hey, Rita, baby! Haven’t seen you ‘round here in a while.”

Rita Frasure. The seventeen year-old curly brunette that was standing at the nearest counter looked at him with blank shock. Her clear skin always looked windblown, especially on her cheeks since they were always a soft shade of rosy pink. “Vincent Howard you better move your hide!!” Rita had moved in from South Carolina a year or two back and she had a very strong accent. Vinnie didn’t take this lightly.

“I’s jus’ comin’ round here to get me some balls,” he mused, making fun of her accent as he always did. He slapped his hand on the small of his back and bumped his hips.

Rita scoffed. “Bet my next pay check you are. Just keep it real’ quiet.”

“I thought Joan wasn’t working today. ”

She sighed and looked around before she added, “No, but she pays some o’ the staff extra to spy for customers she hates.”

“Ugh, ok, thanks.” He paused for a minute and turned to Clifford. “You go get the stuff. Everyone else follow me.” He started walking into the store, looking for one particular isle.

“What are you gonna do?” I asked nervously.

“Leave me best lady, Joan, a present. And,” He stopped walking and turned to me. “.....get the stuff we came for, of course.”

We continued to follow him while Clifford paid for the paper and tennis balls. Vinnie always got very absorbed when he was preparing something good. The place could’ve been burning down and he would have no idea. We walked silently through the isles as he continued to mutter things like, ‘where the heck is it’ and ‘it’s gotta be around here somewhere’. None of us asked what he was looking for, though. Pranks were his thing and his thing only. Just like Seth’s drawings or Wes playing basketball.

I kept looking at Wes with a questioning look and even though he was presumably the leader for those who needed an explanation, he didn’t interrupt Vinnie either.

Finally, after fifteen minutes of following Vinnie around, I had to ask, “So, what exactly are you looking for?”

He answered instantly without looking at me. “Diet Coke.”

That’s easy. “Oh....that’ Six isles down there,” I answered, gesturing my head to the left. “What do you need it for?”

“Joan always keeps a jumbo bottle of Diet Coke in the mini-fridge in her office because she has a cup every morning. Rita said she’d give me the key if I cooked up something good enough.”

We started going the three isles down. Wes and Seth lingered behind, watching us, but I was gonna stay with Vinnie until I found out what he was doing.

“So what are you gonna do to the Coke?”

He looked back at me with mock darkness. “Things.”

“What kind of things?”

Vinnie stopped walking for a second and grinned crookedly. “Well let’s just say I would go take a piss right now, but I’m gonna wait a few minutes. And it’s not because the bathrooms here are nastier than the s*** that goes in.”

Oh, okay. I got it. I can take a hint. Loud and clear. What he was gonna do was so mean and vile, but I bursted out laughing anyway. So did Wes and Seth behind us as we continued walking.

I tried to speak quietly without sounding hysterical in case of any staff members that weren’t in on it. “You’re gonna-” I cut myself off. He knew what I meant.

He looked back at me again and nodded. Then he stopped in front of the isle that had soft drinks and grabbed a bottle.

We brought the bottle up to the counter where Clifford was waiting for us and had already bought everything else. After Clifford and Rita knew the plan, we used to leftover money to pay for the Coke. Rita slipped us the key and said to pretend it fell off the counter and that we just fell into the room if anyone on Joan’s side asked.

We snuck to the back of the store into the room that had JOAN LANCE-ASSISTANT MANAGER written in bold on the door. We were careful to shut the door quietly before anyone walked by.

Vinnie was careful to dump some of the new Coke into a cup until it had the exact amount in it that Joan had used up as the other one. Then he dumped extra to make room for, er, other elements. He said it was important to keep enough Coke in a cup in case we dumped too much. It scared me that I remembered everything he said even though I was as positive I would never to anything like what was happening. Then he told us to get out and wait for him outside so he could finish the job. We complied without hesitation.

When Vinnie came out, he smiled arrogantly. He smushed his hands into fists, pulled his elbows back and his chest forward; stretching contently. “Well, old Joan’s gonna have a great day tomorrow!” he smirked.

After a few seconds I realized that we would have no way of seeing the best part. “Too bad we’re not gonna be there to see her drink it.”

Vinnie stomped his foot. “Ugh, WHY didn’t I think of that?”

Seth suddenly started running towards Rita in the front. I caught up with him while everyone else lingered behind, always eager for me to do the talking. “What are you doing?”

“Rita’s gotta know something about the security cameras. Maybe we could hook one up in her office or something.”

“Good idea. Then one of us could come in and get it at the end of tomorrow after Joan leaves. Rita’ll still hang around.”


It turns out Rita did have a camera we could use, but it was hers, not the store’s. The quality wasn’t as good, but it was stealthier and Joan wouldn’t notice it. She said we could put it in there now, and she would come in early to turn it on in the morning. It would record the prank and she would get the tape out after Joan left at night. She would hang around outside until one of us came and picked it up.

After confirming the plan, we started home. It was a half hour before the store closed that we re-entered the neighborhood. We went back into the tennis court and I filled in most of the ‘blank spaces’ I had mentioned earlier. I beat Clifford, Wes, and Seth, but not Vinnie. It was a very close game that nurtured his ego when he won after several deuces and only being ahead by one. Then later Wes started us shooting hoops with the basket that was inside in the court and ball that was lying around in the field around the court.

We goofed off like that till dusk when Vinnie and I had to go home. The others were gonna stay. Wes’s Aunt Rhonda didn’t give a crap what he did as long as the police weren’t involved; same went for Clifford. Seth would get beat no matter what he did or didn’t do so he figured he could stay out as long as he wanted. if your on crack, you barely notice what’s around you.

As me and Vinnie started walking down Beaver Street towards South Main and Church, I realized I hadn’t told him he was right about PopPop coming to live with us. I couldn’t get over how weird it was, but the whole thing about pissing in Joan Coke and recording the reaction tomorrow with Rita had made me forget.

“My hermit grandfather I was talking about on the phone is coming to live with us,” I mentioned as I looked at the array of colors in the sky. Vermont had colorful sunsets and rises all the time.

Vinnie looked at me like I was from The Shining. “What?! Since when?!! MAN, I wanna meet this man!”

“No freaking way you’re meeting him, he’ll think we’re dating!!”

His eyes widened like a pervert at a strip club and whistled. “Now I REALLY wanna meet him!”

I hid my face in my hands and sighed. “He says he wants to spend more time with us and, quote, ‘meet my boyfriends and girlfriends’ so he’s gonna stay with us for a while to get used to Wilmington. There’s nothing to get used to in a town this small, but whatever.”

He chuckled menacingly. “Doesn’t he like hate your mom, though?”

I spoke slowly for emphasis. “He sued her for everything because he thinks the woman who brought me and my brothers up killed her husband.”

He continued to laugh. “D***, this is gonna be cool! The paranoid old man moves in with the widowing milf! Awesome!”

I stopped walking and planted my feet. “Oh my God, will you shut up? You really don’t get it, do you?”

He got confused. “What are you b****in’ about? It’s not my fault your mom’s a milf!” His eyes lit up, but he didn’t laugh like he wanted to.

“You know, you really are a d***, Vinnie! Seriously! Why do you think my mom just found out about you guys today? Why do you think I don’t care about only going home to sleep and sometimes eat? I’m ignored no matter what happens and now, you know what? Now, I’m gonna be hated since I gave PopPop the idea without thinking about it!!”

“You brought it up!” He was calmer, but still joking.

I found myself smiling and almost laughing a little at how impulsive it was. Heck, it was easy as breathing out. I guess I just didn’t expect words to come out. “Ha, yeah.....I did.”

We started walking again. Vinnie’s feet started toying with a small stone that was lying in the middle of the sidewalk. “S***, Mavie, what are you thinkin’?”

At this, I hesitated. “I.....I don’t know, I mean, I don’t hate him. It’s just my mom and now she’s gonna hate me. It’s okay being ignored knowing that at least I don’t bother anyone. But now that she hates me its like, there really is no reason for me to stick around anymore.” I discovered all of this as I was saying it. It all seemed to make sense for improv. Clear, sad, horrible sense.

We were both quiet the rest of the walk until we got to the intersection. It was only one block anyway, it didn’t matter. He would cross the street and continue until he reached his house at the end of South Main. I would turn at the sign and go to the second to last off-white house on Church Street, just like I had been since I was two.

“So....I’ll see you tomorrow,” Vinnie said quietly, kicking to stone into the grass aligning the curb.

“‘Kay,” I mumbled, using my automatic response since I was in no mood to say anything else. I snapped out of it just as he started across the road. “Vinnie?”

He jerked his head up silently and met my gaze. His expression was as close as it would ever get to what’s called serious. It was as foreign and unknown to him as the universe was to us.

“Uh...sorry, I mean....yeah, sorry, man.”

He shook his head. “Eh, don’ worry about it. ‘S no big deal.”

“Thanks,” I said without looking up. “See ya.”

“See ya.”

We both took our directions without another word. I was still overwhelmed with my out-loud epiphany that had taken place. Usually when I said things like that I had spent time thinking them over. When I didn’t I ended up sound like an idiot. That may have been the first time I had made sense just talking to keep words coming out of my mouth.

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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

JRsingersongwriter This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 24, 2010 at 8:49 pm:
i esp. like this chapter cant wait 4 the prank!
anneliese S. replied...
Sept. 24, 2010 at 8:55 pm :
Thanks, I'm working on it right now.....
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