By Jeremy Arias
We sat in a circle on the floor drinking bitter punch and crunching chips like it was our last supper. My bag of chips erupted as I tore it open and accidentally called the attention of salivating mouths. Of all the chips in the party, how could I be the only person to have spicy?
“Can I have one?” A stretched finger enters my vision and points into the bag. I budge,
“You’re gonna have to share those bro,” a stern hand sticks out from the formerly friendly faces. I pass the bag to the left and everyone grabs a few chips and drops a bit from their own bag. By the time it gets back, I have the jungle juice of chips, barbecue, cheddar, sour cream, and even pita chips all masqueraded in my spicy lime bag.
A silence hung around as our mouths crunched in harmony.
“Did you guys hear Enrique’s dad might lose his store?” Francisco broke the silence and thousand yard stares in the room. There was a pulse of tension following his words.
“That can’t be true, I always buy my chips there!” Brandon blurted from across the circle as he raised his bag in the air. “I bought these on my way back from school.”
Side conversations took a moment of breath.
“That doesn’t mean his store is doing good, what if he has to pay rent?” Who was it that said that? I can’t remember.
“He does,” Francisco answered. “I overheard him talking to who I think was his landlord, and he seemed mad over money he hadn’t paid him.”
“But he gets so much business being next to the school, everyone goes there,” Michelle rebutted. “Are you sure they’re not betting on the World Cup again? You remember what happened last year!”
“Oh, yeah!” The room smirked and took a breath.
“Why don’t you just ask Enrique?” Brandon asked.
“Because he’s not here!” Francisco shouted in frustration.
“If he did lose the store, it wouldn’t be long until someone else opened a new one there,” Michelle added.
“It won’t be the same, Enrique’s dad knows us and likes us. This one tie I was taking some chips, an ice cream, and soda, and he didn’t even charge me,” Francisco recalled.
The bag of chips in my hand was from Enrique. I shared my chips with him earlier that day during lunch and he thanked me with a full bag after school. Was it true that he was going to lose the store?
I finished eating my chips and washed it down with a cup of punch as we changed the conversation to our teacher’s dating history and speculated what their miserable futures would look like.
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