by Elaine Barnard
You’d think I was robbin' the Bank of America, that this was a major heist. They got two squad cars here, four big ass sheriffs with guns and all that crap. I mean fuck, alls I was doin' was waitin' around to grab some old bitch’s bag.
Look at me, just look at me. Do I look like I could pull off somethin' like that? I’m so skinny even my baby sister beats me up. “You gotta get some muscle tone,” my goofy brother says like he was Mr. Universe. He lets me borrow his weights, but it never helps. I is what I is. And that ain’t much.
“Manuel,” Momma used to say. “You got no smarts. If you had smarts you could stay skinny forever. It’s smarts that matters. Now your brother, he has them. Even your baby sister mother’s has some. But you, Manuel, you…”
I was gonna show her different. She’ll never guess where I got the money for her Mother’s Day daffodils and chocolate kisses from the mall. “Next year I’ll get you a car, maybe,” I’ll tell her.
“I don’t drive, “she’ll say.
I’m not so stupid as to tell her, “Yeah, Momma, I got the money offa this fat ol' lady, older than you even. She looked overloaded. I figured I’d help her out.” Now wouldn’t that be a dumb confession? No, I keep my secrets to myself. Even Momma would agree I have a few smarts that way.
So, the cops are still here sweatin in the sun, pads and pens recordin' my info. “Your name, please?”
“Antonio Banderas.” He’s a movie star but I bet these gringos will never guess. They do.
“Don’t have none.”
“Were do you live?”
“Anywhere I can.”And it went on like this, going nowhere while the bank’s customers stared at my bare feet and shorts. I kept my head bowed so I didn’t haveta see them, didn’t haveta feel the way they were makin me feel which wasn’t so good.
Handcuffs pullin' my arms behind me, like I could really run somewhere if I was free. Not with these goons after me with their all-powerful everything.
I’m in the back of the patrol car now. The seat ‘s hard but so is my butt from sleepin' on benches. I tell them it’s fuckin' comfy back here to make them laugh. They don’t. They say I can make one phone call. I got no lawyers, so I guess I’ll call Momma, let her know I don’t forget. “Happy Mother’s Day,” I’ll say. Maybe she’ll smile in that funny way she has like maybe she’s not really smilin' at all. But I hope she will. I hope she’ll say, “Manny, I knew you had the smarts, son. I just knew it.”
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