ever have someone tell you to stand up straight? look you in the eye when they're talking?

and not only was he not his uncle, he never even went to school with his mother

In the shop window he adjusted his do-rag. Tucked his ears into it and straightened out the tail. At the cafe table, his uncle, who really wasn’t his uncle, just someone his mom had gone to school with, took off his ear phones and watched him.

He checked himself at all angles, and when he was happy with his look said to his uncle, “Yo, I’m exullerated. I mean, wait, did I say that right?”

His uncle looked at him. Tied the cord of his headphones into a loop around his thumb and forefinger.

“I’m exullerated. For reals.”


“Yeah, exactly. I thought I lost my phone. My whole life is in there.”

“Well where was it?”

“Man, at first I thought it was in my pants pocket. Then, I looked on the floor by my bed, shit always ends up there. But, for reals, it wasn’t nowhere. Not in my jacket, backpack or or any place. I was even like, ‘yo, moms, did you wash my phone when you picked up my room? You better not have.’”

His uncle rubbed his beard with his fingernails, squinted up at him and into the sun.

“Exhilarated, yo.” With a flick of the wrist, he flipped his phone open and shut. “Exactly. My whole fucking life is in here.”

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