My life sucks. Sitting in the police station, it’s hard to ignore. Oh, to turn sixteen and feel the wind in my hair. Yeah, right. Instead, my dad got an attack of the 'It’s all about me’s,' divorced mom and married some twenty-year old hoochie mama who jacks my clothes when I visit. If he’d just stayed with mom, I’d be driving his slammin' Toyota Supra, but no….. No car, no dad. Headed for the slammer. My life is over.
Since things are tough now on mom, I’m forced to do menial labor, working at the local Taco Bell. Ever since I was a tot, I’ve been wishing on a star for this opportunity. NOT. I smell like a giant taco. Mom has to drive me there in the Mr. Softee truck she got at an auction. It has a huge swirled ice cream cone on the top…with eyeballs on it. Ten on the suck-o-meter. Eat your heart out, Paris Hilton: Mr. Softee is mine. When mom and my little brother pick me up at the high school, he likes to press the button and make the tune play. Kids from as far away as France begin to line up, coins in fists. Did I mention I hate my brother?
“Hello, Savannah,” the cop says as he quickly refers to my rap sheet. “How’s your day going?”
“My joy overflows. I am without words to express….” I drip sarcasm like Mr. Softee does oil.
“How old are you?”
“Old enough to know better.”
“Now, there’s no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. We won’t be throwing stones here!” Great. All the tough cops around and I get the Jesus freak. Shine a light in my face. Give me Chinese water torture. I’ll confess to the Lindbergh baby kidnapping, but don’t even think about pushing Jesus. What’s he done for me?
“Savannah. That’s a pretty name.”
“Thanks.” If my parents wanted to name me after a place, they should have just named me after our town. Then, for once, I could be ‘Normal.’ I can just hear it on the national news. ‘Normal Collins of Normal, Illinois, was arrested today on suspicion of vandalism at the local Taco Bell.’
“I hear you took a water hose and sprayed it all over the East Main Taco Bell last night…”
“C’est moi.” Throw the book at me. At least my stepmom won’t want to jack my orange jumpsuit. Ahhh…..me and my peeps……carless…..and on the highway to Nowhere.
“Suppose you tell me what happened?” He took a sip of his coffee, then settled back for the show.
“Mr. Schwultz asked me to clean up. You get extra money when you work clean up. He said it was simple: just take the hose and spray everything down with it.”
“So I did.”
“The computerized cash registers, too?”
“He said, ‘everything.’”
“Well, I guess he did. Ha!"
“He was totally flashin’ …”
That story reminds me of something I did when I was young, only mine wasn’t accidental.”
“Uh-huh….” Don’t even. Captain Nerdlington probably stayed up past bedtime.
“I was about your age. I was standing on Beaufort Street, watching the ISU parade. There was a lull in the action, so I lined the crowd up, making them wind around a corner, completely blocking the correct parade route.”
“Shut up!” Impressive.
“No, you DIDn’t!”
“Yep. The band played, ‘When the Saints Go Marching…In’ into a dead end. Parade over!”
“Did they catch you?”
“I left the scene faster than Lindsey Lohan on crack. None of us is without sin, right?”
“So what are you going to do with me?”
“Drop and give me twenty….donuts!”
“Are you nuts or something?”
“Probably. I have a two year old. Now, get out of here…but, first, I have a parting gift!”
“Tell her what she’s won, Don.” He’s pulling something out of his desk. Maybe I’ll get lucky and he’ll shoot me. “You have won a slightly used copy of the book, ‘The Purpose Driven Life.’ I’ll clean everything up with Taco Bell, excuse the expression. But there's one condition…”
“Read the first sentence of this book tonight.”
Whatever. I crawl into the back of Mr. Softee. My brother’s finger finds the tune button. Like I care. I turn on the fluorescent overhead light and open the book.
“It’s not about you.” Duh. So I’d noticed. I’m going nowhere, anyway. Just one more page….
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