Well all that was for nothing, I guessed. I spent my last BART ticket and got my bike stolen and the day wasted and I didn’t have nothing to show for it except the stupid book by stupid Mark Twain.
Even if I could get to Berkeley and they gave me gold for it, how was I gonna to cash in gold? If I take it to a bank they gonna think I stole it. I swear.
I took BART all the way back to Colma, and walked the rest of the way home. I didn’t see the BNGs around, but I didn’t care if I did. All I had left was the leather folder and the papers, and they could have that for all I cared.
I got home and went straight to my room. I couldn’t even play on my Nintendo DS, I just felt so, I dunno, tired I guess.
I pulled out the piece of paper the guy at the bookstore gay me. I thought about calling, but what do I say? I’m just a kid.
Why should I give the book over to Bob Hirst anyways? He didn’t earn it. It ain’t his. What, just because some guy decides he likes anything that has to do with Mark Twain, then all of it has to go to him? I like BMX, but you don’t see people knockin down my door to bring me new bikes all the time. even if I tell everyone I know, “bring me a BMX bike,” they ain’t gonna do it. If they get a BMX bike, it’s gonna be for themself.
Well, I guess the book’s been sittin in our attic for years, so if I thought about it a little while longer it wasn’t gonna hurt. Maybe if I waited it’d get even more valuable, like my YuGiOh Gladiator’s Assault card which is rare. I could probably get forty or even sixty bucks for it. I can’t believe a Mark Twain book would go for a million. In my mind, I weighed the YuGiOh with the Mark Twain and I have to admit they came up about even. Maybe Mark Twain was a little bit more, so like eighty. Maybe a hundred. No, eighty: you usually get ripped off on trade-ins. Of course if I wait, maybe it’ll go up, but not to a million. So I decided to wait.
Mom came home from work around seven. She brought dinner and so we all sat around and at mac n’ cheese and crunchy spring rolls with red sauce that came from the buffet at Lucy Chances. The spring rolls tasted good but hurt my teeth. Last week mom made lumpia and I kept some extra in my room to snack on all week. When she came home with spring rolls I’d just be all “no, thank you,” and go to my room and pull out a lumpia. It was great even though it was a little soggy at that point. But I didn’t have any of them left, so crunchy spring rolls it is.
Daisy just talked and talked and mom smiled and listened and talked back, and while the two of them were talking I drooped in my seat and felt bad. Not because of the spring rolls, I was thinking about the book. I wondered when the BNG was gonna get my mom. Like, they leave her alone until who knows when. Maybe they just bored one day and when she’s leaving work. I dunno. Dad’s not here and I’m supposed to protect her, but what, I’m just a kid. And plus, she just is starting to look old and tired. We should be living in a nice apartment with a pool and other kids around, not just dead people.
At least maybe we could live somewhere not so ghetto, where mom don’t have to work at Lucky Chances. She’s taking classes to be a nurse up at San Francisco State, so we could move up to Ingleside, which’d be tight, or even Daly City.
I mean, she ain’t complaining, my mom’s not like that. None of us Bayani’s is like that. We proud, we strong. And…then we all die. What a useless bunch of crap.
So I tole my mom about the book. I tole her it’s a Mark Twain, and maybe if we took it to Berkeley we could get some money for it. Maybe even a hundred dollars or something. I didn’t want to get her hopes up with the million thing.
She just say “no, no, your papi want you to keep it,” and “it belong to Great-Lo,” like that just ended all conversation. Daisy just made a face at my with her teeth. She uglier than a Rottweiler.
Whatever, I took the thing to Berkeley myself. No ifs ands or buts, like papi said.
I got the $8.20 BART fare to downtown Berkeley from mami. It was an investment in our future, and I will be paying it back plus a lot more where that came from, so she don’t need to know about it. Don’t tell her just yet, Mrs. Gravmeyer, OK? It’ll be a surprise when she get it back.
That train ride is a long one. I had no idea Berkeley is so far! It took me like forever to get there. And I dint have nothing to listen to on the train. I just had the big leather folder with the Mark Twain book that weighed a ton. I took out some of the pages and read some more of it.
It’s kinda hard to write a book report about a book you can’t really read too good, which is why I’m telling this story instead of a regular book report, right? So I can sorta tell the book is about some kid or guy name Fleece White who is on a ship somewhere. I think maybe he’s a soldier too? And he’s in some place call the Sandwich Islands, which I thought was a pretty good idea.
But get this, I’m reading the pages, and the book is totally about this soldier who is American and going to Philippines! At least, from what I could tell. Here’s Fleece White, and he’s got a rifle he keeps cleaning and looking into, and he gets seasick. And then I see the word Philippines, but the rest of the writing’s too hard to tell.
Mark Twain wrote about Philippines! He totally musta been there. I dunno, maybe that’s how he knew Great-Lo. Maybe the time in San Francisco when they met was made up, or maybe it came after. Or before! Maybe Mark Twain met my Great-Lo and decided to go heck out Philippines for himself.
Anyways, before I knew it I they was callin Downtown Berkeley and I had to grab a bunch of loose papers and run out the doors before they closed on me. Almost ran into the brick wall outside the train. And my papers almost went flying when I ran up the stairs. And I almost forgot to put the card through the machine to let me go past, I dunno, I was just all crazed suddenly. Like I had to get to Bob Hirst! because maybe he’d know the answers.
To Be Continued…