White Banana, Class of 2013
There’s a retarded kid who goes to the same college as me.
I saw him when I was going to get my lunch and he was in front of me in line, with a wheelchair and an aide. I figured he was just a visitor or a relative of some faculty member or whatever until I saw the Class of 2013 shirt that he wore and I felt like a tool since I’d just asked his aide if he needed help finding his way around. The aide glared at me and said no thank you and the retarded kid asked in a croaky voice what classes I was taking.
“Intro to Bio, Stats, English 101, and Psych 101,” I said.
He looked like a frog too—a squished frog, since his mouth was all wide and his eyes were far apart and crooked, and even though the crooked part wasn’t like a frog, he still looked enough like a frog to make up for it. Maybe just a messed up frog, with weird DNA or something. His whole face looked stretched and flatish, which made me think of the run over part. It would’ve been perfect if he was wearing a green shirt, but that’s not our college color.
Anyway, he was all, “I’m Robbie. We’re gonna be friends,” in his croaky voice, and the aide glared at me—I mean, she was a big lady, one of those people you can’t tell whether it’s her stomach hanging over her pants or her ass busting out of them.
I said, “Yeah, definitely.”
The retarded boy started croaking away at me. He sounded like he had a wad of tissues stuffed down his throat, so his voice sounded all muffled along with croaky. I didn’t think retarded people could talk this much, but this retarded kid seemed to be the exception to the retarded kid rule.
“E’scuse me.” The aide was glaring at me. Her hair was pulled back tight like she was afraid of what it’d do if she let it loose. I’d be afraid too if my hair looked like it’d gone through a pasta maker or something. “He asked you a question.”
“What’d you say?” I mumbled. I didn’t like to look too much at the retarded kid.
“Who’s yoor math teach-er?” asked the retarded kid.
His mouth kind of opened and it looked like a white banana had been shoved in it, like in those cartoons, except it really looked that way. “Me too. I ha—ha—ve innow.”
“I don’t have it today.” All I needed was for a retarded kid to think I was his new Stats best friend.
“What?” I grabbed a double cheeseburger and started eating it right in line while I waited for my drink and my fries, since I’d slept through breakfast and was starving.
The aide was all, “speak slow and clear now, Robbie,” so he tried again while I cut off the fat girl from my high school and grabbed my fries.
“I did good,” I said. I mean, I got an eighty-seven, which was pretty impressive since I’d been at a kegger the night before and drunk so much I couldn’t remember if I hooked up with the red haired girl or the girl with the birthmark on the side of her chin or both. I didn’t want to make the retarded kid feel bad or anything, since it wasn’t his fault he’d come out with a face like a frog that was squished by a bus and a brain about the same. I didn’t ask how he did.
There was that white banana again. I shoved the rest of my burger in my mouth and the aide gave me a look like I actually gave a shit what she thought about how I ate.
“I gotta niney-seven percent,” the retarded kid told me. “I beachu.”
If Mom ever heard about me getting beat by a retarded kid on a test, I’d be screwed and she’d give me the talk on not being like my white-trash dad and say she was gonna make me pay her part of the tuition too and shit like that.
“I got a ninety-eight,” I grunted through the rest of my double cheeseburger. When I swallowed I could feel it moving down my throat and it felt like it got stuck somewhere in my back, so I took a huge drink of a Coke someone had just left on the counter before I said, “I’ve gotta get to class, see ya later,” and took off even though I had a lot of time.
The retarded boy jerked his hand back and forth in what I guess was his version of a wave and the white banana went back in his mouth. The aide waved her huge black hand at me and smiled in that “I’ll kill you if you screw this up” way that I got about ten million times from Mom as a kid and even up to now when she’s all “You actually got a good grade, Brett” and “The gas station called back this time, Brett” and “This girl isn’t a slut like all the other ones you’ve been with, Brett.” Anyway, I wasn’t going to mess with that lady, and her face made me wish I never wanted a cheeseburger and had just started in the pizza line or something.
I hung around the hall in front of Psych 101 with the brown-nosers who always get to class early until our professor finally ran down the hall and unlocked the door. Mike and his girlfriend sat next to me. His girlfriend was one of those girls with hair too boring to really have a color and fake-tan orange skin that looks ugly with everything, including Mike. Some guys like it, I guess.
“Hey,” Mike said, “how was eatin with Ricky Retardo?”
Him and his orange girlfriend cracked up, so I kind of chuckled with them, but I said anyway, “Hey Mikey, what’dja get on the last Stats test?”
His orange girlfriend was still laughing. She had this weird laugh, really low and really quick, but if she thought about it she’d make it a screech or something to sound more like a girl.
“Ricky Retardo beat ya.”
I didn’t smile or anything while I watched Mike blink a couple of times and raise his eyebrows like he could kick this piece of info out through his eyeballs. The orange girlfriend gasped all dramatic like I’d just said I killed someone or something. Then Mike started laughing real hard and whacked me on the arm. “Oh man, bro, that was a good one! You almost got me, man! Oh man, you win, bro!”
“Yeah,” I said, “guess I do.”
Copyright © 2010 Sarah Smith