The Jam

Keyword: Maybe

“So what’s the fuss about?” Joy asks, looking over my shoulder. All the honking and screeching and graphic language has gotten his attention, and he has abandoned his roost with a perfect view of the television set and is now finishing his breakfast by the window, spreading bread crumbs along the sill.

“Don’t know,” I say, leaning out, trying to avoid the shower of crumbs. “This has never happened before. Normally, there is hardly any traffic. And today, the whole road’s blocked off till the very end. Maybe there’s been some ghastly accident and the cops have cordoned it off.”

A few motorists try to wriggle around and backtrack, but get trapped in a zigzag pattern by the onslaught of incoming traffic. The other roads must be clogged as well.

“You think somebody got shot? Like a drive by?” he says.

“Why do say that? Is this that sort of a neighborhood? You never mentioned anything before we moved in.”

“Relax, will you?” he says offhandedly, taking a long sip from his coffee mug that says, God’s Greatest Gift to Mankind. Him, not the coffee. Though I got that for him, so I must really have been under his spell. But so would anyone, just like the dolled-up girls in the Honda Civic below, if they didn’t know his bedside (or window-side) manners. “Maybe there’s a parade on,” he says. “Or a protest. Of some sort.”

“You think?” I ask, giving him a sideways look. And he immediately turns his back to the fan-girls and perches on the sill.

“Wouldn’t that be exciting?” he says stuffing his mouth with the rest of the sandwich.

“Or maybe a convoy of ministers is passing,” he adds. “Or maybe that actor is here. Visiting his mom. What’s his name–JD?” He taps his coffee mug and yawns lazily. Like it’s no big deal that a movie star lives, or once lived and has family that still lives, within walking distance of where we dwell.

“He lives around here? You sure?” I almost scream and smack him off the sill. “Now, why didn’t you say anything about it before? Oh, wouldn’t it be great if it was him! I could tell all my friends at work. We could even invite ourselves over. Be neighborly and sorts. Take a few tasteful selfies … who knows, even get a few backstage passes or invites to some dos at his home. Palatial, I bet.”

“Or maybe, it’s just a regular lights out,” he shrugs. “And we are getting worked up for nothing.”

“Hey, Molly,” I shout at the girl below, in pigtails, riding up and down the sidewalk in her tricycle. “What’s the matter, you know? Why’s there a jam?”

She shrugs, like Joy, craning her neck to see us both.

“The roads are missing,” she says and grins at us toothily.

“What do you mean the roads are missing? You mean someone got to them at night? And stole them? How’s that even possible? How can the roads go missing?”

The girl grins even wider. “No, silly goose,” she says, like her mother, whom I don’t like at all. She’s all eyes for Joy. “The Roys are kissing.

“Mom says Uncle Roy had a huge rrroooo with Aunty Roy and he left. But now he’s back. And he is a bad driver and does not know how to pallelel park the truck to save his life.”

“She also says she can’t wait for you to leave. And never come back.”



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