Of Good Times and Boba

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“Dude, I’m so screwed over this,” murmured Gabbus. Hastily brushing her hair behind her ear, she pushed off her red bicycle and pedaled down Main Street.

“Gabbus! Wait up!” Leutgeb chased after her, coiled dreadlocks bouncing up and down against her shoulders. Gabbus slowed down as her friend caught up to her.

She flashed a smile. “Almost missed ya there, Gabbus. What’re you doing over here for?”

Gabbus looked back at her, confused. “I’m going home from summer school, Leutgeb. I’ve got homework to do.”

Leutgeb suddenly snagged onto Gabbus’s wrist. “Not after we make a boba run, yeah?”

“Boba?” echoed Gabbus. She shook her head, but Leutgeb was already dragging her backward to the local tea bar. “Look, Leutgeb, I don’t have time for this…” She struggled, with one arm being led by Leutgeb, and the other pulling her bicycle along.

Leutgeb threw her head back and laughed. “Come on, Gabbus, it’s summer. Chillax a little bit.” She continued dragging Gabbus forcefully with an iron clench over her wrist.

Gabbus struggled and looked around her for help. “But Leutgeb! You’ve spent enough cash on boba this week!”

“Oh, what’s a few twenty dollars here and there?” she responded cheerfully.

“I…I still haven’t started on my summer English homework yet…”

Leutgeb looked back at her and her brown eyes winked. “You still got two weeks to think about the prompt, girl! Plenty of time if you use it wisely.”

The familiar Lollicup sign loomed over Gabbus’s head. Here I go again, she thought. The heel of her flats skidded over to smooth tile as a blast of cool air hit her from the open glass windows.

OoOoOoO

“Order up,” called Leutgeb’s clear voice cheerfully. Automatically, the employees noticed her and a woman hurried over to the register.

“I’ll take two boba milk teas…hmm…and some spicy fries, please.”

The employee rang up the bill and Leutgeb looked back at her friend and nodded cordially. I’ll pay, her expression told her.

Here I am again… It had been a while since she found herself in the familiar atmosphere with funky chairs, quiet nerds glued to their laptops and catchy C-Pop in the background.

Gabbus slumped into the seat in the back and dropped her backpack on the plastic table. Where does she get all that money? she pondered as Leutgeb handed over a twenty.

I’ll try the essay when I get home…I should just work on my Geometry homework now. She retrieved her book and pencil bag from backpack. A nap sounds really good right about now. Grimacing with disgust, she flipped over to her assignment page, bookmarked with her notebook page and started the review.

Leutgeb returned, spilling the loose change in her large capris pockets. “Alright, what's the English essay for?”

Gabbus kneaded her temple with her knuckles. “It’s supposed to be a biography on someone I admire,” she muttered.

"Hmm, cool," said Leutgeb. "What's the big deal about that?"

“Well…” began Gabbus. She clicked her pen nervously. “I don’t know who to pick. Everyone else seems to be writing about a famous person…like Gandhi or JFK…but I can’t think of a famous person that appeals to me.”

“Can't you just pick someone you know?” proposed Leutgeb. “Like your old man.”

Gabbus shook her head. “He wouldn’t be interesting enough…I need someone like a peacemaker that got assassinated or a rebel that laid down his life…for whatever cost…”

“Martin Luther King work fine for ya?”

“Some else’s got dibs on that,” muttered Gabbus. She focused on problem one of the triangle proofs, but the formulas seem to disconnect from her mind.

“Mm mm mm...…” Leutgeb leaned over the table and massaged her chin. “Tell ya what,” she said. From her organic tote bag, she dug out a folded laptop. “I’ll go on the internet and search up some famous people for you while you do your math homework How's that sound?.”

“Geez, Leut,” breathed Gabbus thankfully. “Do you take that thing everywhere with you?”

“'ey, I never know when I’ll bump into someone that I can take out for boba,” chirped Leutgeb with a movie-star grin. “Might as well take something with me I can look at while having some—”

“Two boba milk tea and spicy fries!” called a reedy voice from the counter.

“That’s us!” she announced. “Stay here, I’ll go get it.” She skipped to the counter to retrieve the boba.

OoOoOoO

The boba at Lollicup is delicious, thought Gabbus. It was a while since she had real boba, not the funky cheap stuff they gave her at Chinese fast food places.

“Alright,” said Leutgeb with a flourish of her mouse. “You ready for names?”

“Yup,” she said. “Gimme what you got.”

“Jesus Christ. First on my list.”

Gabbus cringed. “Uh…that’s a little too…heavy…for me.”

“Alright,” said Leutgeb, unfazed. “Next…how about Siddharta Gautma?”

“Any non-religion people?” suggested Gabbus.

“Okie dokie,” said Leutgeb. She scrolled down the page with her mouse. “How's about...Mother Theresa, Joan of Arc, Oskar Schindler, Albert Schweitzer, Paul Rusesabagina, Aung San Suu Kyi and Teddy Kennedy. Alright, which you want?”

“Um…uhhh…” mumbled Gabbus.

“Hey, anyway, while you’re still thinking, check this out.” Hiding a smirk on her face, Leutgeb pointed at the screen and announced,

“100 Ways to Abuse Boba. Number 27…have a regular milk tea versus boba debate with your friend. When she doesn’t agree, say, “can regular milk tea do this?” and shoot boba in her face with a straw.”

“What the heck, Leutgeb?” asked Gabbus. “Where’d you get that from?”

“I’m just checking my email,” she laughed, picking up another spicy fry. “Dina sent me it. I’m supposed to get eaten at midnight by the boba-monster if I don’t pass it on to fifteen people,”

“Oh seriously, Leutgeb,” teased Gabbus. “Who even checks their spam mail these days, anyway?”

“Hey, hey!” said Leutgeb. She posed, pointing her thumbs defiantly to her chest. “I’m an old-fashioned chick, diggit! I wear a pink nightgown to bed instead of boxer shorts and I spend my Saturday nights watching I Love Lucy. Oh, what? What, what son?”

Gabbus started laughing. Leutgeb laughed with her.

Something wonderful clicked in Gabbus’s head. “Wait, I got it now!” she exclaimed.

“You got it?” replied Leutgeb. She clapped her hands and pretended to dance goofily. “Alright, who’s it gonna be?”

“Just keep talking!” Gabbus told her. She ripped a clean sheet of paper from her notebook. “Actually…why don’t you start at the beginning?” She clicked her pen and smiled. Who needs famous peacemakers and heroes when you can have a friend like Leutgeb to solve the world’s problems?

Leutgeb looked confused for a moment, but then, understand spread across her face and she grinned broadly.

Taking an over-exaggerated sip of boba, she chewed expectantly and cleared her throat.

“Alright…then. Ready your pencil,” she said in her smoothest announcer voice. “Let’s see…I was born in the Philippines on September 21st…”





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