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A LONG SUNDAY / Maximilian Schlaks MOTHER SAID get the paper, get the bread, you lazy bum. It's not cause it's Sunday you should stay in bed all day. I'm outside, crossing the short garden, passing under the alamandas and the bougainvillea. The sun is low and already bright, the sky is blue gray. My eyes hurt a little. I rub them. Tm wearing a brown cotton shirt; it's too tight, so it's for when Tm not in school. Tm walking on the dusty path and I see Josef in the field across, and he waves at me with his machete and I wave back. He's bringing water to the oxen. My foot hurts. I stop and bend down to remove a pebble that got in my plastic sandal. I walk down the path to the road, and I hear the coins Mom gave me jingling in my pocket. Old Casimir sits in front of his blue cabin; he's smoking a pipe. "Nice day, Tibitin," he says. I wave and say, "Did you see Peter and Charley?" He sucks on his pipe once or twice, his eyes almost closed, and Tm already past his cabin when he looks back at me and says, "They up to no good, you just go and do whatever your momma tells you." I hear a car so I step to the side and let it pass. It shoots by, the engine whining and black smoke coming out, dust flying everywhere. I get back on the road and walk faster. I better hurry, or Mom will get mad. Then I think that Peter, Charley, and the others might be by the mango tree. I decide to cut through Mr. Wilson's sugar cane field. I start to run; I don't want to get in trouble for being late with the bread and paper and all. "Tibitin! Tibitin!" I hear voices from the road. I turn my head and see Peter and Charley before I trip and crash on my face. I was running too fast, I think. My knee hurts, and I lie there without moving, just thinking and hearing "Tibitin! Tibitin!" I know Charley and Peter are approaching fast, and I want to get up before they see me Uke this and laugh. I put my weight on my hands and push myself up. My right hand hurts, too. Tm on my feet' before they arrive, brushing the dust and pebbles off my knees and hands. "Tibitin, you okay?" says Charley, out of breath. "Yeah, Tibitin, you fell flat on your face," adds Peter, out of breath too. 74 ยท The Missouri Review "Tm okay. Real fine." I slide my hands in my pockets. "Shit! Shit!" "What is it?" says Charley. Both of them have their slingshots hanging out of their back pockets. "I gotta find the money. I lost what my mother gave me when I fell." I search the area where I fell. Charley and Peter look too, but they don't really care. I get on my knees and search through the dry grass. "My mother'U give me a beating," I say. "Sure as hell she'll give you a beating," says Charley. Peter laughs. They both laugh. I get up and glare at them. "We gotta run, we gonna get hummingbirds today." "Yeah," says Peter, and he takes out his slingshot, bends to pick up a rock, puts it in the pouch, extends his right arm and pulls back the band with his left hand. He aims at a frigate flying very high, and releases. The rock whizzes into the sky and disappears, but nothing happens. We're all three gazing, speechless, at the sky. Peter puts his slingshot in his pocket and turns to go. "You gonna join us?" asks Charley. "Later maybe. Gotta find this coin, and I don't got no sling to shoot no poor bird." Charley laughs again, showing his white teeth. One of the front ones is missing. He's sweating. "If you want to meet up, boy, we'll be at the mango tree after twelve." He looks at Peter who has stopped and is facing...


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