« on: April 13, 2012, 10:31:39 am »Message ID: 520106
Now some people like to act like things come easy to them, won’t let on that they practice. Not me. I’ll high-prance down 34th Street like a rodeo pony to keep my knees strong. Now you take Cynthia Procter, for instance. She’s just the opposite. If there’s a test tomorrow, she’ll say something like, “Oh, I guess I’ll play handball this afternoon and watch television tonight,” just to let you know she’s not thinking about the test. Or like last week when she won the spelling bee for the millionth time, “A good thing you got ‘receive,’ Squeaky, cause I would have got it wrong. I completely forgot about the spelling bee.” And she’ll clutch the lace on her blouse like it was a narrow escape. Oh, brother!
As for me, I stay up all night studying the words for the spelling bee. And you can see me any time of day practicing running. I never walk if I can trot, and shame on Raymond if he can’t keep up. But of course he does, cause if he hangs back someone’s liable to walk up to him and get smart, or take his allowance from him.
So I’m strolling down Broadway breathing out and breathing in on counts of seven, which is my lucky number, and here comes Gretchen and her sidekicks: Mary Louise, who used to be a friend of mine when she first moved to Harlem from Baltimore, and Rosie, who is as fat as I am skinny and has a big mouth where Raymond is concerned and is too stupid to know that there is not a big deal of difference between herself and Raymond and that she can’t afford to throw stones. So they are coming up Broadway and I see right away that it’s going to be one of those Dodge City scenes cause the street ain’t that big and they’re close to the buildings just as we are. First I think I’ll step into the candy store and look over the new comics and let them pass. But that’s chicken and I’ve got a reputation to consider. So then I think I’ll just walk straight on through them or even over them if necessary. But as they get to me, they slow down. I’m ready to fight, cause like I said I don’t feature a whole lot of chit-chat.
“You signing up for the Field Day races?” smiles Mary Louise, only it’s not a smile at all. A dumb question like that doesn’t deserve an answer. Besides, there’s just me and Gretchen standing there really, so no use wasting my breath talking to shadows.
“I don’t think you’re going to win this time,” says Rosie, trying to signify with her hands on her hips all salty.
“I always win cause I’m the best,” I say straight at Gretchen who is, as far as I’m concerned, the only one talking in this ventriloquist-dummy routine. Gretchen smiles, but it’s not a smile, and I’m thinking that girls never really smile at each other because they don’t know how. Then they all look at Raymond who has just brought his mule team to a standstill. And they’re about to see what trouble they can get into through him.
“What grade you in now, Raymond?”
“You got anything to say to my brother, you say it to me, Mary Louise Williams of Baltimore.”
“What are you, his mother?” sasses Rosie.
“That’s right, Fatso.” So they just stand there and Gretchen shifts from one leg to the other and so do they. Then Gretchen puts her hands on her hips and is about to say something but doesn’t. Then she walks around me looking me up and down but keeps walking up Broadway, and her sidekicks follow her. So me and Raymond smile at each other and he says, “Gidyap” to his team and I continue with my breathing exercises, strolling down Broadway toward the ice man on 145th with not a care in the world.