Louis Dumkowski decides to face the loan shark to whom he owes money, and surprisingly is forgiven and hired, along with his friend Cleatus Washington. He even gets a girl friend for the first time, and that’s when his troubles really start.
“You ain’t never met Louis’s old lady,” Cleatus said. “That woman scare a pit bull.”
“Yeah,” Louis said. “And, if she don’t scare it to death, she talk its head off. Come on, Cleatus man, we gotta get a move on.”
Vinnie chuckled as they left; glad he’d never known his own mother.
On the way to the bus stop, Cleatus talked Louis into stopping at the little gift shop on the corner to buy his mother a gift. “You need a peace offering,” He said. “Man, you ain’t been to see yo’ momma in a long time. Might make her forget how bad a son you can be some time.”
Now that he had spare cash in his wallet more often than not, Louis agreed. He bought a little charm bracelet with little gold-colored elephants on it. The ten dollar price tag was more than he’d usually spend, but he figured Cleatus was right. A little gift might placate his mother. He passed on the two dollar gift wrapping offered by the shop and just put the cardboard box in his pocket.
They took the cross town bus to Louis’s old neighborhood, on the fringes of a formerly black area that was beginning to gentrify, which, in Cleatus’s terminology meant, “They pricing the houses out of range of most black folks.”
Louis paused in front of the door, his finger over the bell. Cleatus batted his hand aside and pushed the bell.
Ruby Dumkowski answered the door.
“Louis,” She said, as she pulled them into the foyer. “It’s been so long, I almost forgot what you look like. Hello, Cleatus. How’re them sisters of yours? I been meaning to drop in on them, but I just get so busy. Louis, why haven’t you been to visit?”
It went that way all the way into the living room. Ruby talking non-stop as she always did; and Louis just trailing along behind her bobbing his head and occasionally muttering something incomprehensible. Cleatus followed in Louis’s wake, keeping silent.
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