Incomplete: A short story by Shubricca L Bell

Part 1

Third graders are brutal

“I haven’t always been this way- despised by society, broke (in more ways than one), inadequate, and discarded… like toilet paper after a good sh.” “Shhh, Ms. Angeles said, interrupting Aspen. “You can’t use that language Ms. Lewis,” Ms. Angeles said. “Oh, my bad. My bad kids,” Aspen said.

She was high on marijuana. “It smell like weed,” a kid yelled. “Billy, quiet please. Remember, we must close our mouths in order to listen,“ Ms. Angeles said. “How do you know what weed smells like, Billy?” Jeff, a classmate said. 

“I know that when my brother tells my parents he’s going over his friends house to study, he comes home smelling like it smells now, and my brother’s friends are stoners,” Billy said. “Hey kid, give me your brother’s phone number,” Aspen said. “Ms. Lewis!” Ms. Angeles shouted. “I’m just joking with the kid,” Aspen said. “I’m a comedian. 

Jolene didn’t tell you that I’m a comedian? Baby girl, you didn’t tell them that I was a comedian? Well I could’ve been a comedian, but that dream has sailed and sunk like the Titanic. Anyway, as I was saying before, I wasn’t always a “loser”, Aspen said, putting her fingers in quotation. Once upon a time, I had mad potential, but that was a long time ago. 

Let me start from the beginning,” Aspen said. The kids were intrigued by Aspen. Although she smelled like weed, and looked like she had rolled out of bed and walked into the school. The room of third graders were interested in what Aspen had to say. “I still don’t know why baby girl asked me to come here today. 

I’m not like most parents you’ve probably met during bring your parents to school week. You’ve probably met a lot of doctors, lawyers, and scientists, huh?” “Umm excuse me ma’am,” Jeff said. “You must not be from around here, because the only scientist around here are the ones that work in meth and crack labs. Ain’t no doctors and lawyers around here either,” he said. 

“Actually, I am from around these parts, but you’re right, times has changed. When I went to this school, many of my peers parents were doctors, and lawyers,” Aspen said. Billy turned to Jolene. “Your mom went to this school? Dang, this school is old as dinosaurs probably,” Billy said. 

“She’s not old, she’s just tired,” Jolene said. “Maybe she can help us search for dinosaur bones during recess,” Jeff said, with a laugh. “And maybe, I can punch you in the mouth, so that you learn to shut up and listen,” Jolene said. Aspen gasped. “Jolene, I’m so disappointed in you. 

You know I’ve taught you better than that,“ Aspen said sarcastically. “No punching during school hours. Anyway, getting back to the story,” Aspen said. “Children please be respectful of Ms. Lewis. Please continue,” Ms. Angeles said. 

“Thank you Mommacita,” Aspen said. Ms. Angeles shook her head no. “Oh, my bad. I just thought because you’re a kinda spicy, like a jalapeño, you,” Aspen said, before Billy cut her off. “Hey, that’s racist,” he yelled.

“You’re saying she’s spicy like a jalapeño because she’s Hispanic,” he said. “No I’m not. I said that she’s spicy like a jalapeño because jalapeños are spicy,” Aspen said. “Yeah, sure. But if someone said,” Billy stopped mid sentence, because the entire class of kids turned towards him waiting to hear what he was about to say. 

“Yeah, choose your words carefully Billy. Your classmates look like they’re waiting for you to say the wrong thing. Back off kids, you’re scaring the boy,” Aspen said. Never mind,” Billy said. “Yeah, that’s what I thought,” Jolene said. 

“Yeah, you’re cool Billy, but you have to watch what you say around these parts my friend. You might get yourself into something you can’t get yourself out of,” Jeff said. “Yeah, because I’m the minority in this class,” Billy said. The class of students looked at Billy with a serious face. “Mannn,” Jeff said, as he rubbed his head.

“You keep digging a hole for yourself,” Jeff said. “Okay, the next person to interrupt will receive an F for today’s class session,” Ms. Angeles said. “I can’t get an F. My parents will take my game,” Jeff said. “Better be quiet then, huh?” Jolene said.

The bell rang and the students got up to leave. I’m sorry, we’re out of time Ms. Lewis. Would you like to come back another day?” Ms. Angeles said. “No, I have things to do, but thanks for having me,” Aspen said. Aspen and Jolene walked out the classroom. 

“Sorry you didn’t get to tell your story mom,” Jolene said. “It’s okay baby, but I didn’t know that third graders could be so brutal. Can you believe they called me old? Not just old, but dinosaur old,” Aspen said. “Sorry mom, you are kinda old, but I did try to help you out,” Jolene said, before getting into the backseat of the car, which was filled with baskets of clothes and trash from fast food restaurants. 

Ms. Angeles looked concerned as she waved Jolene and Aspen goodbye. “Do they live in that car?” she said to herself. Tell me your story mom,” Jolene said. “But baby girl, I’ve told you that story at least a hundred times,” Aspen said. “I know. 

I just like to hear you to tell it,” Jolene said. “It’s kind of a sad story Jolene, but I’ll tell it, because you’re the best part of it,” Aspen said. Let’s grab something to eat first, and we’ll get a hotel room tonight, and I’ll tell you the story before bed, okay?” Aspen said. “Yay! We’re getting a hotel room tonight?” Jolene said.

“Yes, temperatures are going to be below freezing, so I got us a nice and toasty room for the night,” Aspen said. Jolene loved getting hotel rooms, even though the rooms weren’t the fanciest. Sometimes, the rooms had roaches and dirty sheets, but Jolene would pretend that she and her mom was rich and famous and living a lavish life. 

Getting a hotel room for the night was her escape from her and Aspen’s harsh reality, but as long as she was with her mom, she was happy. 

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