Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Paradise Fragment: Lost Treasure

“What do you do for a job?” Jonas asks.

“I’m a teacher?”

“Why do you do that?”

“I dunnno. I like it.”

“You should have a different job.”

“What should I be?”

“A truck manager.”

“What does a truck manager do?”

“He manages trucks. And then you could let me drive the trucks.”

“I’ll consider it. What are you gonna get at Yogurtland?”

“Oh dude. I’m gonna get a huge one.”

I walk through this suburban neighborhood in Brea, trying to keep up with Jonas on his scooter.

We arrive at Yogurtland and Jonas runs in ahead of me. He grabs one of the big dishes and starts filling it with yogurt.

“I think that’s enough, buddy.”

As I’m filling my own dish, I notice Jonas at the topping bar, dumping spoonfuls of gummi worms into his dish. I think of stopping him, but I do not.

We get to the register, and Jonas’s dish is spilling over with gummi worms.

“Dude, I think you got more toppings than yogurt.”

Jonas laughs, a little mischievously.

“This is what I always get,” he says.

“Yeah right.”

His yogurt weighs three times mine on the little scale.

We sit at a table and dig in.

“So how’s school, buddy.”

“Fine,” he says, but he seems more interested in the music playing in Yogurtland—the song “Dynamite.” He’s kind of bobbing his head to the music as he shovels spoonfuls of yogurt-covered gummi worms into his mouth. Suddenly he gets up and does a little dance and sings along to the song:

“We gon light it up
Like it’s dynamite!”

He keeps dancing and singing for a while, and then returns to his Yogurt.

“Nice moves, buddy.”

We sit in silence for a while, eating. I get the sense that Jonas is way more interested in what song is coming on next than any small talk we can make. So I sit and listen to these pop songs that Jonas knows way better than me, and enjoy the yogurt. It’s kind of refreshing—no pressure to talk. Normally, if you go out for coffee or yogurt or dinner with somebody, you are expected to talk. Not so with me and Jonas. We eat yogurt and listen to pop songs, and we are cool with that.

Afterward, we walk outside, and Jonas sees the big sign for the 99 cent store.

“Dude, we should each get a toy.”

“It’s like you were reading my mind.”

So we head into the 99 cent store. Jonas keeps grabbing things—candy, spoons, cards.

“We should get this! We should get this!”

I feel like a real baller in the 99 cent store with Jonas.

“I don’t think we need spoons, but you can get a candy for later.”

“I wanna get this for my sister,” he says, grabbing a bag of M&Ms.

“Good call.”

We find the toy aisle.

His eyes light on a dart gun.

“We should both get these and then have a dart fight!”

“Yes!”

“I think we should also get a snake.”

“Grab one of those king cobras.”

He stands there holding candy, two dart guns, and a rubber snake, looking like he has found the lost treasure of the Sierra Madre.

“Alright buddy. Let’s roll.”

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