Segment 16; When a Third World Came West

I was sitting on my porch smoking watching the mess Kim’s dog had made in the sand when Sam had offered it hot dogs and at the same time I was ringing up my brother and waiting for him to pick up on the other end of the line from back home in Orlando. This was the third cigarette I’d smoked in a half hour and with each time I’d called David they seemed to get shorter because I felt like inhaling them in more quickly. I left a message the third time, tapped my Keds against the wooden floor of the splintered deck and decided what to do next. Just after I’d been biting the end of the phone cord too long my roommate Skye walked in from his day job at Checkers eating two hamburgers wrapped up in tin foil from a paper bag he held onto in addition to a kitchen chair so that he could sit half way inside, halfway out, at the entrance of the screen door. I didn’t wanna go into it about Sam. They didn’t like each other and it was clear by how they moved around each other almost skulking and by how Sam sat me down once in my room to get a direct answer about whether my roommate and I had ever dated ( I’d reassured him that we hadn’t cause we were friends and we probably always would be). But Skye had sat me down too a couple of days ago along with his brother asking all sorts of questions about Sam, where he was from why he was so dark skinned, why…was he really from Italy, why was he here, how come I’d never mentioned him before or called about him prior to bringing him to live here at our house. Skye asked where Sam was and I made a diversion tactic, walking through the space between him and his chair to the kitchen and back through the living room towards my bathroom. In there I sprayed on some of Sam’s cologne next to the sink just to make it smell like he’d been here last night and then I waited for my phone to ring, wishing and willing it to be David calling back in a good mood on the other line with an answer to all my problems. I bailed Sam at around a quarter to twelve with the money I’d put on David’s credit card with a promise that I would pay him back in interest once we received the money back in court in Graham around two months from now. Then I’d gone over to Pizza Hut, picked up some food and brought Sam back so that he could wrap himself in our blue towels, take a shower, take a nap and smoke his Camels out on the front porch. I turned up the stereo really loud once we got home and while he was in the shower I got out my textbooks from under the bed and took a look ahead at the plans on my linguistics syllabus for the next week running through my head what we’d done the last week in class and thinking back on how I’d written half an A quality paper the other night on a British film we’d watched on Tuesday. Sam came out wet from his shower with his towel wrapped around him and half a piece of pizza in his mouth, flipping through a pile of used cds I’d brought in from my trunk and opening a disc who’s cover was cracked in three places. I walked through the screen door outside to the deck to my trunk where I grabbed a black folder who’s plastic had started to peel all the way to the cardboard from the heat and from leaving it in my car too long. I saw the blond-haired neighbor of ours next door studying Sam through the pane in our glass door or someone through it and I stopped to check out what she was doing before walking up the steps and going back once again, inside.


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