Buddies by Ethan Mordden

By Ethan Mordden

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He would babble in his sleep, and—aside from an occasional romantic confession—the burden of his nocturnal text was “Pizza and hamburgers,” repeated over and over, sometimes for an hour. Naturally, he became the most intent of us all on afternoon pizza breaks. Sometimes Mother would agree, sometimes not. One certain day, Andrew demanded, and Mother resisted. Tomorrow, she said. But tomorrow she was too tired. The next day. The next day she had a headache. Another time. No. Andrew would not budge, and the rest of us stopped to wait.

Mother raged. ” she kept asking. ” Years later, he and I reviewed the event, and he pointed out how senseless these questions were. “It was an accident,” he insisted. ” “It doesn’t just happen that you lose a raincoat hood that doesn’t come off,” I told him. “That’s like losing a leg of your pants. ” “Well, what about the other times? ‘Why did you lose your hat? ’” The foolish boy; one must interpret. ’” I explain. ’” Actually, Andrew sometimes got into scrapes that made my antique wars look like a scuffle over dominoes.

We ordered in an atmosphere laden with airs of betrayal and counterbetrayal. But the pizzas came, hot as hell, and Andrew, forking his in a hell-for-leather escapism, accidentally flipped it up into the air and down onto his lap. ” Mother cried. “Now you see! Now you’ll learn! When I say no, it’s no. But you insist, do you? So! God hears us. God sees! And God will make punishment! ” The hot cheese was eating right through Andrew’s shorts; in fact, steam was rising in their color, and he looked as if he were in shock.

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