Chapter 4 Part 3 (97)

I have to make a call. I have to make a call. I have to make a call. I have to make a call. One needs to prepare themselves to speak with strangers; one doesn’t often do well. Stop, stop. Stop referring to yourself as “one” or this definitely won’t work.

The door jingles to alert the clerk that his nap has been interrupted. He rises, rubbing his eyes, from a chair behind the counter. He is taught skin, bones and blood (signified by the veins in his arms and face rising to the surface) wrapped in a translucent skin (almost like undercooked sausage). He wears a once-white shirt.

“Can I do fer ya?”

I bet he wrote that sign. But don’t dig yourself into a hole. You only need to know where the phone is.

“Sir. I have to make a call. I’m afraid it’s an emergency. My parents have left me behind and I need to contact them.”

“You some kinda robut?”

“A what?”

“A. Ro-butt,” he says sounding it out for me.


“That one.”

“No. Not a robot.” You go to school?

“Phone’s in back.”

“I don’t have a quarter.”

“Too bad. Phone only works with quarters.”

“Can I borrow one? My father will give it back to you when he picks me up.”

“No can do little robut boy.”

And my opportunity arrises. A perfect opportunity to take the shiny metal disc from the Give-A-Penny that shall provide my ticket out of this place.


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