Saints of Augustine

Saints of Augustine by P. E. Ryan Read Free Book Online

Book: Saints of Augustine by P. E. Ryan Read Free Book Online
Authors: P. E. Ryan
TV trays, in front of the television. “No,” she saidfirmly. “Any more questions?” Then she handed him the silverware and told him to set the table.
    From the head of the table, Teddy dominated the conversation, churning through another stupid sociopolitical lecture and cracking jokes that made his mom smile and made Hannah practically convulse. “I’m telling you, the good folks down at Ex-Lax don’t make a chocolate patty big enough for the U. S. government. I don’t care which party’s in charge, they still can’t get a darn thing done . It’s like one big digestive track that can’t…poo.” He winked at Hannah. She dribbled milk down her chin. “Roof-Smart’s not much better. It’s just like a little version of the government—lots of backstabbing and lying and what have you. They’d get a heck of a lot more contracts if they listened to me. But they never will. Because the district manager’s a knothead who doesn’t know one thing about marketing, and the assistant district manager’s a bozo fairy who flits around like Tinker Bell, asking you how your day is going instead of getting down to the nitty-gritty—”
    â€œI thought we weren’t supposed to say fairy ,” Sam interrupted, looking at his mom.
    She glanced down at her plate. She wiped her napkin over her lips.
    â€œWhy?” Hannah asked.
    Sam waited for his mother to answer her. When she didn’t, he said, “Because it’s one of those words Mom told us not to say. Remember?” He turned to his mother. “I had to write an essay on prejudice, and you helped me look up examples—”
    â€œI remember,” his mom said over her napkin.
    Sam looked toward the head of the table, into Teddy’s eyes. “So we don’t say that word.”
    â€œHey, fine with me,” Teddy said, chuckling around a mouthful of chicken. “I don’t ever have to say fairy again. You know Spanish? How about mariposa ? The Mexicans in the tile department say it all the time. It means butterfly. I’m telling you, this guy really does flit around the office like a butterfly.”
    Sam looked at his mom again. Say something to him , he thought. Tell him to shut his stupid mouth. But she only said, “I’m not big on politics at the dinner table.”

(Sue me.)
    Charlie sprinted from the baseline to the free-throw line and back. From the baseline to half-court and back. From one baseline to the other, and back again—the whole length of the court twice. It was a quick way to get the blood flowing, to get his body warmed up like he would for a game. Not so easy, because the “court” in the small park at the back of the neighborhood was really just a slab of faded asphalt with a rusty hoop at either end, and over the years the painted lines had been sun bleached and trampled by sneakers until they werealmost invisible. Also not easy because this one set of line drills had him folded over, hands on his knees, winded. Perrin! Coach Bobbit would have screamed. Get your mind off your dick and get the lead out, son! But this was just Charlie, alone, come to shoot some hoops. He had only himself to do the yelling. Up, loser , he thought. Another set gonna kill you? He assumed the position at the baseline and started running all over again.
    What about a third set? Is that gonna kill you?
    A minute later he had his answer: Yes, a third set of line drills would put him in his grave. Breathing heavily, he picked up his ball from the edge of the court and tossed it back and forth between his hands. He ran forward, dribbled, and banked a shot through the hoop. A little on the sloppy side. Too much rattle in the rim. He retrieved the ball and repeated the shot several times, then moved back to half-court and stared furiously at the hoop as he smacked the ball against the asphalt. He ran, dribbling, dodging imaginary opponents.

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