Danny's Girl - 5- Note

bobbi2.gif     Danny's Girl

5. Note

by Wanda Cunningham


 
I heard them knocking on the front door. "Bobby," Danny called. "We got you breakfast."

"Give me a few minutes, I'll be out," I called back.

I heard Danny laugh. "Gorls. They always take a long time to get dressed."

And Steve said, "Para entender a una mujer, duerma tarde y sueá±o de despertar en otro dá­a."

Danny laughed again. "You got that right. I feel like I woke on a whole 'nother day. Hey, we'll be eating in the car, chica!" He added to Steve, "I thought you weren't going to speak Spanish?"

Steve said, "Está¡s oyendo espaá±ol, no puede probar es lo que se hablando."

"Your verbs are too tense, pendejo," said Danny. "That's how I know it's you talking. Let's go and let her get dressed."

They left. I sat on the closed toilet seat for a minute or so longer before taking off all my clothes so I could get dressed.

Ten minutes later, I headed out the door. I locked the front door, I had a key, but I could not latch the screen door from the outside. I still wasn't sure why it had got latched the night before with me out. But no matter, I didn't worry about that.

I walked slowly toward the big, old sedan Danny drove. The clock in the kitchen had said 8:55 so I had already missed homeroom and almost half of first period. No hurry now, I wouldn't be any later, officially, as long as I got to the office before second period started.

Danny saw me coming and got out of the car to lean across the roof at me. "You get in front, chiquita. Tell that pendejo, Esteban, I said so." He grinned.

"I can hear you, you know," said Steve. He'd evidently given up the language game for the moment. He opened the passenger door and got out. "Hi," he said to me. "Danny says you're a girl. What should I call you?"

"B-bobby," I stuttered. "My name is Bobby." I stopped a few feet away.

"How do you spell it?" he asked. "With an 'i' or an 'ie'?"

"I told that Cora last night your name was Barbie," said Danny. He put his chin down on his hands on top of the car. From where I stood on the sidewalk he looked as if someone had decapitated him and handed him his head to hold, like a cartoon about the French Revolution.

Steve looked at Danny then at me. "Same question, 'i' or 'ie'?"

I opened my mouth but nothing came out. I glanced at Danny then away.

"She spells it with just an 'i' and draws a little heart above it cause it's cuter that way," he said, grinning at me. "I know you wearing them, 'ey?" he asked.

I knew what he meant. I nodded, still unsure of what I might say if I spoke.

"Get in," he said.

Steve held the door open for me and I slid onto the big wide front seat but when I reached for the door, Steve motioned me to scoot over farther. "I'm riding up front, too. It's where the food is."

I looked. Danny had laid out breakfast on the dash in boxes from Barney's. Breakfast burgers, hashbrown sticks, cinnamon egg sticks that are kind of like French toast, dippers of ketchup, hot sauce and maple syrup, cups of coffee and orange juice.

I settled into the space behind that big, ugly shift lever, feeling happier than I had in some time. "Which burger is mine?" I asked.

"Take you pick," offered Danny. He pointed. "Ham, sausage, egg and cheese or hamburger, bacon, egg and cheese or double sausage, egg and cheese."

"Oh, so we're all out of spam, spam, egg, cheese and spam? That's my favorite!" said Steve in a squeaky voice, scooting in beside me.

"Shut up. They've all got tomatoes and onions and lettuce, though you can take those off."

"And the hamburger ones have relish, 'cause I asked for that," added Steve. "And you can't take that off without making a mess."

"You guys ever hear of cholesterol?" I asked, smiling while I picked up one of the ham-and sandwiches.

"Cole Esterhall? He play third base for the Padres?" asked Danny, grinning. "You going to want more than one sandwich?"

"Uh, no," I said. "How many have you guys had?"

"Just one each so far," said Danny. He picked another one up and began unwrapping it. "They're kind of small."

I rolled my eyes.

"We have any left over, we'll give them to Gio at school. He's the bus barn guy, sleeps in the middle of the day and wakes up hungry about 1:30."

I knew who he meant though I had never known the man's name; an old janitor/mechanic who had an apartment on top of the bus garage.

Steve took another sandwich, too, and we ate. They made jokes over my head, insulting one another and acting clownish. Danny ate a third burger, leaving two for Gio. When we finished, I gathered the trash in one bag and the leftovers in another.

"Gio's gonna appreciate that," said Danny as he started up the big noisy engine.

"Thank you for breakfast," I said. "And, um, the package." I probably blushed.

"You welcome," said Danny, looking amused. "Now you for sure don't want to go to P.E. last period, 'ey?"

I shook my head.

Danny steered us out to the highway and toward the high school which was just south of downtown on the edge of the original residential area back when the city was a small cowtown. "You probably wondering why I brought Estéban this morning, 'ey?"

I looked at Steve who said, "Yo no sé también."

"Besides being a smartass who speaks seven languages, Steve is also a forger," said Danny.

"You want me to write him a note?" asked Steve.

"Her," said Danny.

"Her," said Steve. "Hey, that'll work for today and maybe for three days but she'll have to have a note from a doctor for longer than that and they always call to confirm those."

"I know," said Danny.

We got to the school, parked in the far lot since all the closer ones were full. We stopped at the lunch tables in the little green area between the rows of cars and the actual street. Steve took out some paper and pens. He asked for my father's name.

"Walter Bowes," I said. I spelled the last name; it's pronounced Boze, not Boughs or Bowus.

"He sign Walt or Walter?" Steve asked.

"Uh, Walter usually."

"What's he call you in a note like this?"

I blushed. "Robert," I said.

Steve went to work, producing a note at Danny's direction that read:

Please excuse Robert from being tardy this morning. He's been sick during the night and has to see the doctor this afternoon at 1 p.m. Please excuse him at lunch so he can go to his appointment, too.

Thank you,
Walter Bowes

Although the wording did not really sound like my dad, Steve somehow gave the document an air of genuineness by nothing more than wrinkling the paper just enough. Then he folded it in four and handed it to me.

"Leave your afternoon books," Danny said. "You won't be taking them. When lunch comes, meet us here and I'll take you to the doctor."

"Huh?" I said.

He grinned. "I really got you an appointment with a doctor. Don't worry, he's a good guy and he'll give you an excuse for the rest of the year, you don't gotta go to P.E. and show those pendejos your cute panties."

Steve's eyebrows went up but he didn't say anything.

I looked at Danny and he waggled his eyebrows at me. My face turned pinker.

I looked back at Steve and he waggled his eyebrows, too, first one then the other then both. It was so ridiculous.

"Cabron!" someone said from outside the car on Danny's side.

Some rapid Spanish followed, too fast for me to understand or note, though there were words of English here and there as Danny talked to another of his friends.

"Pinche norteá±o Spanglish," commented Steve.

I could see the other boy talking to Danny and thought I recognized him. Albert, the teachers called him, but his friends seem to know him as Chango. He stood about five-six with short arms and legs for his height, a very hairy body, short black hair on his head and a mustache. I remembered him as always smiling. We had several classes together because he was also a junior and smarter than he looked.

"Chango's going to be your escort," said Danny to me. "He'll be around when I'm not."

"What?"

Albert, or Chango, stuck his head in the left side window and said, "Hi! You need to go to the office first? We better get going, second period starts in less than ten minutes."

Danny let me out on his side, I grabbed my books and Chango and I headed off to the office. Danny patted me on the butt as I left.

"Meet us back here at the car at lunch," he said. "Sylvia will be here, she wants to meet with you."

Chango grinned at this but I nodded.

"Steve and I got shop second period, we gonna give Gio his burgers, too," Danny said, retrieving the Barney's bag. Steve got out on the other side of the car and they headed toward the shops and athletic buildings at one end of campus while Chango and I aimed at the Administration Center at the other end.

After we crossed the street and went in the gate, I asked Chango, "Why do I need an escort?"

Chango slapped his forehead with a wide, short-fingered hand. "I forgot, I'm 'sposed to tell you, carry your books like a girl."

"What?"

He motioned. "Hold them in front of you, not down at the side."

I stared at him.

He motioned again. "Danny said to do that, don't carry them like a boy."

I changed how I held my books, both arms around them against my chest. It did feel more comfortable that way.

Chango nodded. "That's why you need an escort," he said.



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This story is 1725 words long.