I found Frank standing with his younger sister in line to get cotton candy. The ugly static of indistinct voices, children laughing and crying, of a band playing a cheesy ballad about springtime mingled in the air. The smell of kettle corn and greasy brots and sauerkraut  filled the air. sauerkraut has always been a thing at The Dallas May Day Festival. Don’t ask me why. I think it’s disgusting.

“Frank, Frank. Yo,” I called to him, sifting myself through the mesh of people.

“What’s up man?” he asked.

“Nothing. Just got here.”

“With the parental units?”

I closed my eyes. I tried not to talk to my friends about my family. The detachment of my mother would have been too difficult to explain. Like confronting her about the teapot at Christmas, telling my friends about my mom would have made the situation so much more permanent and real. It felt as though if I let them in the situation would be set in stone. I’d be Tuck, our friend with a crazy mom. I didn’t want that to happen.

“You want some cotton candy?” asked Frank. “Dad gave us some extra.” He held out his hand to show me twenty five dollars.

“He said that was for both of us,” said Jasmine, Frank’s sister. She was 12 with cornrows.

“Yeah, and if my friend wants some cotton candy we can get him some,” said Frank.

“Naw, don’t worry about it,” I said. “Ever since I helped my dad insulate the shed I’ve hated the stuff.”

“No problem. Jas, seems like you get the rest of the cash anyway. You should thank Tuck.”

Instead Jasmine muttered something about not giving her money away.

Frank stepped up to the window and ordered two cotton candies. One blue, on pink. He handed the pink one to Jas.

“You’d you take the blue one?” she asked.

He shrugged.

“Because I’m a girl?”

“I thought you’d like the pink one,” he said.

“Trade me.”


Jas could be unbelievably bossy. I wondered what it would be like to live with that. “Here,” said Frank, “Take the rest of the money and leave us alone. How about that? Go find your little friends.”

Bribes never seem wrong to small children. Jas snatched the money. I guess it’s because they see the money as rightfully theirs if someone decide to give it to them.

“You see Tommy around?” asked Frank.

“Naw. Not yet. Just got here, remember?”


“Saw Veronica though. She’s with her parents.”

Frank’s eyebrows raised. “How’d they look?”

I shrugged. “Who knows?”

“You saw them,” he said, tearing off a large clump of pink candy and stuffing it in his mouth.

“Yeah, but looks–I don’t know–they looked fine, but how could they be?”

“Yeah. How could they be?”

We talk through the crowd looking for people we might know. We ran into Sally Dortmund, she was hanging out with Makayla and said she’d seen Veronica when Frank asked, but the V had gone off with her parents.


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