Jeff: a story


When I was in the third grade, Jeff was the poor kid. I’m not sure why I start off that way, because it seems that I’m implying we had another poor kid in the fourth grade, which is not true—I had just changed schools. Jeff could have very well still been the poor kid in that school. I, on the other hand moved to a private hebrew school, and I was now the poor kid. Anyway, Jeff was the poor kid, and It was my birthday and I was having a bowling party after school. The other children told me I shouldn’t invite Jeff, because he wouldn’t be able to bring a gift. I’m not sure when that meeting of minds occurred, maybe sometime between recess and science—but I do remember, and can still feel, a sense of discomfort. I avoided Jeff the entire day, though he finally cornered me by the pencil sharpener…

Can I come to your party?
Can I come to your party?
I’m not having a party.
Everyone says you are.
Oh, yeah. I think my father is doing something.
Is at a bowling alley?
I don’t know.
I like bowling. I can bowl really good.
It’s not bowling, I don’t think.
I can come to your party, but I can’t afford to bring a gift.
Can I come to your party?
I don’t know if I’m having one. Why can’t you bring a gift?
Cause I can’t afford it.
Do you have a job?
A what?
Do you work? Have a job?
You should get one.
I’m at school.
Do your parents have jobs?
They should get one. Or, two.

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