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Dyin'

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I had a child, didn't I?

Once. A really long time ago. He was a beautiful baby, with ringlets of golden hair and a coo that made your eyes water with joy, even if you'd never seen him before. He was interested in anything and everything, and his eyes were just so smart. I could tell he was going to be President. Or something that requires you to have smarts. I just knew it.

You know, I think that child might be you. You look just familiar enough.

You're a plumber, aren't you, Billy? You fix sinks and stuff. I think you might have fixed ours a couple of times. But that's okay. Your hair's grey now, but you still have that smarty look in your eyes, so you still have the smarts. That's good. You might have gone to college or something, done something other than become a plumber. I imagined you as a Nobel physicist, you know.

Don't give me that look! Did I ever say being a Nobel winner is a good thing? Well . . . it is, but did I ever say that being a plumber wasn't as much as a good thing as winning a Nobel? Of course I didn't! It takes a special kind of smarts to be able to fix stuff. I'm very proud of my little baby boy. If you are him.

And you. Your hair's whiter than his now! Hard to tell you're five years younger; you look ten years older! No. Don't take offense, Alyson, please. I'm just kid - oh. I'm sorry, Penny. When you get to be this age, you get all your kids mixed up. Yes, with the ones who died when they were two. Oh . . . poor Alyson. Here, let me cry a minute.

There. Now, Aly - Penny. When I saw you, I knew you were going to be a ballet dancer. I signed you up for all those dance classes, and you just hated them, didn't you? Couldn't do a twirl to save your life. That's really funny. So I gave up on that real quick. Then, to my surprise, you just started jitterbuggin and beboppin and doing all those crazy modern dances. Not as crazy as what they have now, but pretty crazy. Never thought you'd make a career out of it. There should be a Nobel prize in photography, Penny, there really should be.

And you. You in the corner. Come over here; I want to see you. Who are you? I don't think I've seen you before . . . or at least, I haven't seen you in a really long time. Is that . . . Charlie? Is it really you? Oh, Charlie! It really tickles me, it really does. It's been so long and you've got a gut bigger than your brother's now, isn't that sweet! Oh, Charlie, Charlie, Charlie.

Now you were the one who did just what I expected, didn't you? You popped right out of me - don't give me that look - and the first thing I saw in your sweet gooey face was . . . garbage man. Yep, I knew right then and there that you would be the best darn-tootin' sanny-tation engineer in the whole daggon state, I knew it.

And what do you know? I was right! When you got that first job on that first truck your daddy wasn't too proud. He said it was a menial job. He said it was for inferior beings to us. But I said - you know what I said? I said, "Ozzy, you put that old tongue of yours back into your mouth this instant and let the boy do what he wants." And you came right back and said that you didn't want to do it; it was the only job you could get. But I knew that deep down you were driven towards garbage truckin.

And ain't your momma right just about all the time? You shot right up and became head of the whole daggon trash company! You fill those landfills like no other, boy. Your momma's so proud. So proud.

So proud of all of you, really.

And you know what? You know what? I love you. I love all three of you and those nasty little brats you call children too. I'm sorry to leave you.

But I have to. Now get out of here. I have a date with your late daddy.



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CarrieAnn13 said...
Jul. 25, 2011 at 10:32 pm
Another great story!  I just wish there wasn't that stupid &quot formatting.  (Don't worry I know it's not your fault.)
 
LadyJaneGrey This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Jul. 25, 2011 at 10:51 pm
Thank you so much! 
 
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