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Too Much Money
Everything is about money.
Our car costs money.
My food, too.
I just want a life without money. Everyone wouldn’t have to always be worried about money. Nobody would have to work all day and night to put food on the table.
That is what my Pa always told me. When I asked for a whistle, since everyone had one, he told me no.
“You don’t need no whistle. You need food, water, and shelter. Whistles are wants, not needs”, he would say.
He always told me not to worry about wants.
“I want a drum, but I don’t see no drum! I see a happy family of eight! I see food on the table and water to drink! Be thankful!”
My name is Roger. I am 35 years old and the youngest in my family. I have two brothers and two sisters: Lucinda is 45, Haley is 43, John is 42, Harry is 37 and Ethan is dead. He died in an accident. I don’t know how someone can die from an accident. What kind of accident? Did he wet his pants?
Everyone says I have special needs. I don’t need anything but food, water, and shelter. I live with Harry. He used to be mean to me but now he is nice. He says that he was grumpy and mean because of his old job. He worked at a paper mill. Then he got fired, which means you lose your job.
For a while he had no job, and he told me that we were in tough times. But then he got married to Julia, who lives with us also. She hired him at her business and he started to make money. He started to be happy and he also started to let me pick out my candy at Wegmans. I feel big when I pick out my own candy.
“Roger, the phone is for you.” That is Julia. She gives me the phone.
“This is Paul”. Paul is my best friend. I am excited to talk to him.
“Hey Paul. Are you at work today?” He tells me that it is a Saturday and does not have to work. I work across the street from him. He works at Merrill Lynch and I work at Wendy’s. We always eat together. I bring him food from Wendy’s a lot.
“Hey Roger. Wanna go to the movies today? The new movie, The Highest Bidder, is premiering.” I tell him that I want to and I will meet him at his apartment. He lives out in the downtown area of Las Vegas. He has a nice car. He lets me play with the buttons. But a lot of times he says I overdo it.
“Roger! You wanna buy a $45,000 car? Well than lay off!” I am embarrassed to get yelled at. I sometimes can not control myself. Since I live in Las Vegas, Paul says that I have to do my duty and gamble a little. But Pa always told me not to.
“Gambling? Gambling is for people who are not happy with what they have! I am happy with 6 children and a wife!” But that was before Ethan and mom died. Mom died from cancer. Later, Pa died in a protest against segregation. He got trampled. Harry said segregation is blacks and whites being separated. I know better. I know that anyone can be segregated, like when people call me stupid.
I am not stupid. I have a big IQ number. 64 whole points! Harry says that is a lot. I asked him what his number was and he told me 50. He thinks I am stupid. I know for a fact you have to have a 125 or higher to be a financial advisor. And he is a financial advisor.
Today I saw a movie with Paul. It was a good movie but Paul said he did not like it. Paul was eating popcorn the whole time and did not watch that much of the movie. But Pa would not have had approved of me seeing that movie.
I have a crush on someone at work. She is named Sylvia, and she is pretty. She is 22, and when I tell Paul or Harry this, they say she is too young for me. But I can tell Paul has a crush on her, too, and he would not like me to have a crush on her.
“Roger, we’re going to Washington, DC!” screams Lucinda on the phone.
“Please quiet down, Lucinda”, I say. She seems less happy now.
“Well, we get to go to the White House. Don’t you want to?” She knows going to the White House is my dream. Now I am happy.
“Yahoo!” I say. Harry gives me a dirty look. I am at his office and they are dealing with some sort of case. On the drive home, I ask Harry and Julia what their case is about.
“Some guy named Brock Collins got all his money stolen out of his bank account, and when they convicted the thief, he hunted down the guy and killed him. So we’re working with the thief’s brother to make sure Brock gets convicted. As Pa always said, two wrongs don’t make a right.”
I am sad. The person who stole Brock’s money made a mistake and he got killed for it. I remember when I was in grade school and someone called me stupid. I punched him so hard he broke his nose. But Pa said that nobody dies because of a mistake. But apparently the thief did.
Today something amazing happened. Harry let me mow the lawn, so I went outside and got the mower. I was mowing and I was about to turn the mower. But when I looked down I saw a cute little baby skunk. So I stopped and brought him inside. Harry said I had to return him to the wild. I cried so much that he finally agreed to let me keep him. I was having trouble finding a name until Julia said I should name him Ethan, in honor of my dead brother. So I did.
“Roger, where’s the rake? You used it last!” Harry screams.
“It is outside near the curb.”
“Okay.” I don’t know why Harry needs the rake, seeing as Julia does all the house work. I need to go to work soon, so I tell Harry.
“It’s a Sunday! Why do you need to go to work?” Harry asks. Harry is kind of crazy. I will get fired if I do not go to work. I am starting to worry about him.
At work, Sylvia is working the register. I am happy to see her. But she is mad at Mark, my boss.
“Why is my paycheck $25 less?” she screams.
“Because you took an extra day off!” Mark screams back.
“I live off this! You expect me to accept a check that is $25 less! You are crazy!” They use a lot of bad language. I am scared.
“I quit!” Sylvia screams.
“Mark, Sylvia’s paycheck is normally $25 more. Why is it less?” I say.
“Because she took one day off.” Mark has not noticed me until now.
“You said that one day off was $10 off your paycheck.”
“Okay, Sylvia. You get your normal paycheck.” Sylvia smiles at me. At the end of work, she comes over to me and tells me she loves me. I tell her I love her, and she gives me a big kiss! I am so happy that I forget about buying souvenirs in Washington, DC, and I buy Sylvia a big slurpee at Wal-Mart. She says I am a great guy and other stuff. But I am still thinking about her kiss.
When we get to our gate, I am really excited. I have never flown on a plane before, and Julia let me bring Ethan. Ethan eats his carrot. He likes carrots and he also likes Skittles. Julia tells me I should not feed Ethan Skittles, but I do not care and bring them anyway.
At the gate there is a big airport store with hats, newspapers, magazines and candy. I buy a pack of gum. I like Stride gum because there is a big S that I like very much. I give Ethan a piece but he is not a big fan. I know this because he spits it out at me. We wait until our plane gets called. Ethan starts to get scared at curls up in his plastic castle. The castle was for my hamster, Benjamin, but he died. Ethan is a small skunk, and he fits quite fine.
On the plane, the flight attendant immediately comes around and takes our orders for drinks.
“Sir, what would you like?” she asks.
“Can I have a Sprite, please?” I ask. After I say that, all the adults look at me like I have problems. They are all holding beers and acting bad.
“Excuse me; can I have a Blue Light?” I ask the lady. I know what a Blue Light is because when I empty the trash it is always full of them. She smiles and gives it to me. The other adults look relieved.
I try to open the bottle but my effort is useless. I cannot seem to open it. Everyone looks at me again, as if I am an idiot. Harry slides me his bottle opener. Again, they look relieved.
I am careful now of what I do, because the other adults keep looking over as if they expect something. When I put down my tray, they look closely to see. That is invasion of property and Pa always told me it was illegal.
“If you are invading’ someone’s property, then get out and head to the jail! I won’t take it! No, no way!” he would say. But I figured out in 2nd grade that it was not illegal when Calvin Butler stuck his hand in my desk and took my notebook. He just got sent out in the hall.
In my old notebook I had a lot of drawings and such. When my report was due, I worked hard but still got an F.
By Roger Salvatore
F+ See me after class!!!!!
The mose is a amazing amminal. I like mooses and they are cool. I onec sa a mose in Cannad and I was so happy that I started to be hapy and son enuf I was a famous moose persdon. I know I will be a mooserr when I gro upp. Moosees are the best.
We are almost to Washington and I am really excited. We are going to stay at a big hotel and get a lot of chocolate.
As we leave the plane, I take a Chex Mix out of the bag. I tear it open and stretch. It was a long, 5- hour flight, and I can’t wait to get to sleep. But Lucinda has something else in mind.
“Let’s head to a bar”, she says. I do not want to. I want to sleep. But everyone else wanted to go and I have to be a team player.
We get to the bar, right at midnight. I am normally in bed at 8:30, unless I am put having fun with Sylvia or working a late shift. Then I forget; I have Ethan with me! I take him out and cuddle with him. But the people in the bar are not happy so I put him away. I almost order a soda, but I then remember what happened on the plane. I order a Blue Light, but I realize I didn’t drink my beer on the plane! I have never tried beer, but Harry is patting me on the back and saying that I am good for trying new things. I take my first sip. It is disgusting! But Julia gets a picture of me holding my first beer, and I am pretty happy. But at 2:30am, I am pretty tired. And everyone is too drunk to drive, so I have to drive. I do not drive often, so I had a white knuckle grip on the steering wheel. Lucinda still knew where the hotel was, so we got there at 3:00am.
We are going to the Lincoln Memorial today. It is noontime already, and we are going to hit another bar tonight. We eat cinnamon buns for breakfast and get to the Lincoln Memorial in 10 minutes. I bring Ethan with me, because he enjoys sightseeing also. We see a big statue of Abraham Lincoln and take a picture of me and Ethan together. Ethan is on his best behavior and does not bite or spray. After we see an eyeful, we head to the diner for an early dinner. Ethan eats a cheeseburger and he is happy. I sneak him some Skittles, when Julia isn’t looking.
We go to another bar tonight. This time it is a place called Rizzo’s, and the people here do not care if Ethan comes in. Ethan knows he needs to behave well and he shows it. I will not order a beer tonight. I want to order a sandwich, so I ask if they have sandwiches.
“Do you have any sandwiches?” I yell. It is hard to hear over all the music and dancing.
“Yes! We have a lot!” the bartender screams. He orders a sandwich for me. When it comes, I look at it. It is a big sub, and it looks like it has a lot of meat. I eat it and it is good. When I ask what is in it, I am sick.
“It is shark meat!” the bartender answers. I can’t believe I just ate a shark! I cannot eat for a long time. This time everyone is totally drunk, and when I ask where we need to go they just beg to go back in. I think I might end up sleeping on the ground tonight.
I am cold. I am on the ground of the bar under the stool. It is 6:45am and the party is still rocking. I try to get Lucinda to stop, but she has her credit card, and it is stealing to take someone’s credit card. She has ordered 52 beers, and she is really drunk. So are Harry and Julia, Haley, John and some guy I don’t know is talking to them. They keep laughing and ordering more beers. Then I get an idea. I will get a sheet of paper and put a tally every beer they buy from now on. There is no way it will fill up.
Ten minutes later, I go and ask the bartender for another piece of paper.
We can go to the White House today! But we have to wait until Lucinda is sober again. Soon, we are able to go in.
The White House is amazing. We even get to go to the Oval Office. I even saw a picture I really liked! It was a The Far Side comic of a horse standing up and telling the other horses to go ride their people to the ranch. It was so funny! When Lucinda looked away, I took the picture down and put it in my coat.
I think about the picture all day. Was taking that picture a crime? No, I don’t think so. I will keep the picture.
The next day, the President is on a news conference. He is talking about the picture. He says the thief will get a death penalty.
I am not a criminal. I am not like Brock Collins. I can only think of one solution.