Runnin’ (Part 8) – The Phone Call Home



Phone Call Home

Finally, Pipes comes back with a greasy bag and hands it to me. “What are you doing hanging out with a guy like that?  Pure trouble.”

“We’re friends. I didn’t know he was in trouble,” I say shoving my face full of fries.

“How’d you get here from Michigan?”


“And how’d you hook up with this one?”

“It’s complicated,” I say.  I don’t know where to start, from our first meeting at a party in some crappy apartment complex in Elkhart, Indiana. Do I tell him the truth: that Pat was just some dread-head hippie boy I smoked a joint with in a parking lot? That he instantly professed his love in the odd way lost teen-ager’s do? It’s hard to shun sheer flattery and desire, even from a sorry looking, skinny boy from Chicago. He stood against a stranger’s Chevy Impala, smiling at me with flashy white teeth.  I thought it was my charm; it was really the weed.   Somehow, he convinced me to hitch with him to a stupid commune gathering in the woods and college towns a across the Midwest.  Sixteen-year- olds don’t think so clearly, especially drunk ones.

“I called your mom,” Pipes says all serious and low. “She’s worried.”

I see my mom, all fat and mean in my mind, yelling with her round, red face.  Telling me it was fine to spend the summer with friends because I just caused troubled.  Yea, worried.  In four months, we only talked twice.

“She sounds real nice.  Like she cares,” he says.

I know this dance.  She sounds so sweet on the phone, rational, but living at home with her is like living in a nightmare carnival with her newest drunk husband and her temper and tears and ‘feel sorry for me, I sacrifice for you’ attitude.  She’s worthless.  I wonder how she’s gonna get out of this one.

“So we need to get you a bus ticket home, but she doesn’t have any money now.”

“Figures,” I say.

“She’d like to talk to you.”

I shake my head no so fast it almost snaps. I think about telling him how much it sucks there, why I left in the first place, but I’ll probably get sent to some shitty home with mean foster parents.  They’ll have a stupid son who’ll try to cop a feel when I’m sleeping.  No way.

“There’s a shelter downtown you can stay at until Monday when Catholic Charities opens. They’ll get you a ticket.”

Great.  Another church handout for our non-believing, trashy family. Like all the “gently used” toys at Christmas with broken game boards or missing pieces.  Or thick blocks of Government cheese that tasted like glue and powdered milk poured into plastic jugs.

“A shelter, yea.  Think not.” I say. I keep eating, reaching into the bottom of the bag to try to rescue any renegade fries that have fallen.


8 Responses to “Runnin’ (Part 8) – The Phone Call Home”

  1. Loving your writing! It’s awesome 🙂 I also LOVE the movie poster graphics. More please, of both!!

    • Thanks! They are actually collector cards from “Mars Attacks.” A friend gave a book to me for Xmas and I thought…hmmm… Aliens…teens…. same thing! Glad ‘yer enjoying them.

  2. You are such a tease!! Just when it’s getting good, you stop! OH! You are good.

  3. This is great writing!! I love the use of movement while talking, and the reflections in between.

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