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  • Writer's pictureLeah Jones

Neighborhood Kids

There are three kids that all the shopkeepers know and keep an eye on in my neighborhood. Two brothers and a sister who regularly bob in and out of every store. Eventually , one shopkeeper talks to another and everyone knows their story. I used to just see them in the store, where they come 18 times a day for water. But now I see them at the laundromat, sitting on my porch, at the coffee shop and last night at the liqour store. I walked in and saw the oldest, only 12 years old, standing at the corner.

“What are you doing here?” I asked.

“What are YOU doing here? Why aren’t you selling ice cream?” he asked right back.

“Yeah,” said the shopkeeper, ” what are you doing here?” I think he was talking to the boy and not me. THe truth is that after 8PM, the liqour store is the only place anyone can get a soda or candy bar in the neighborhood. Wierd, but true. So he stood there trying to count out his coins and then accepting a dollar from a woman who wanted the line to move along so she could get her Marlboro Lights.

I took my time, because even though he isn’t my student, my child, or anyone I am responsible for, I didn’t want him to see me picking up a six pack of beer. I hid in the back, but eventually got in line. “You drink beer?” he asked. “Sometimes.” “It’s not good for you, you know that, right?” “I know, I know.”

Eventually he left and I got my Warsteiner. Today I ran into him and your sister, “How was your beer? Can I have some free ice cream? If I found $1000 and it was yours, would you give me free ice cream? I think I’d rather keep $200 than have free ice cream.”

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