I am nine. It's 6:30AM and the school bus is honking from across the street, waiting for the usual hoard of kids to come running. We are always ALWAYS late for the school bus. Partly because we hate going to school, partly because we can never find our shoes, and also in part because we stayed up way past our bed time to watch The Simpsons. When we were finally ready to go to sleep, we were forced to listen to my mom and her friends party into the wee hours of the morning. We are dead to the world most mornings. Today, however, I am wide awake and I feel a thrill of excitement that the school bus is honking because I know something he doesn't know. I'm not going to school today!
My aunt Margie's trailer (which is right across our wide gravel driveway) caught on fire early this morning. And my cat, Milo, is having a litter of kittens in the hall linen closet. We probably wouldn't have gotten away with staying home if it was just one or the other, but both!? At least 11 kids were absent that day from Palo Verde Elementary. I know that because all of these kids either live with us, live near us, or they're my cousins that live in the trailer that's burning down. I am thrilled. This is an excellent excuse to get out of school.
As I'm nursing my cat into her millionth litter of kittens in the hall linen closet, a fire truck crunching into our shared drive way, I'm distracted by a horrible thought. My damned aunt had borrowed our Tater Twister! The Tater Twister is by far my favorite kitchen appliance. You'd get a potato and put it on this thing, then some blades spin around and make the most excellent, super springy curly fries! I was pissed about this. My annoyance is cut short as a kitten grunts into life. I would never see the Tater Twister again.