It was going to be a bad day. Luis hated the dentist. The entire place smelled like the kinda stuff that they put in people's mouths, and to make matters worse, those things all tasted exactly the way they smelled. If the day was going to get better it would also have to stop raining, the temperature would have to climb by about ten degrees, and his new girlfriend was going to have to put out.
The dentist, who's real name was Andrew Burdinsky but who called himself Dr. Dre, was going to 'crack his usual lame jokes while treating his mouth like a broken mechanical toy; Tugging at a side of his mouth, chipping around his teeth with something that looked like a small hammer, and using some sort of pliers to see if any of Luis' teeth were lose. Of course they weren't. Luis would've been there for a loose tooth problem, not for a regular cleaning. If Dr. Dre kept at it, his teeth would all be lose by the time he turned 18 in two years time. He couldn't wait for that day - the day Luis would say goodbye to the dentist forever.
During the cleaning, while Luis had all kinds of dentisty things in his mouth, including the hygienist's fingers, his mom came in from the waiting room to tell him that she had to go right away. "Uhhh?" said Luis.
"Your dad is stranded at the subway station downtown. We'll meet you at home." She smiled brightly.
"Uhh, uhh." Luis said, in protest.
"You can walk, Luis, it's only 20 minutes." Then she blew him a kiss and vanished.
"Uhhh" groaned Luis.
"Please hold still!' said the hygienist.
Half an hour later, Luis was feeling better. It had stopped raining and that meant he didn't need to worry about getting wet on his walk home. The receptionist also gave him an envelope left by his mom. In it he found a ten dollar bill and a note that said Thanks for growing up the way you did. xoxo, Mom. Luis smiled, his mom always found a way to make him feel better. Maybe today wasn't going to be that bad after all.
As he stepped out of the office, the bright sunlight bathed him with a warm glow. It wasn't that much warmer really but at least he wasn't cold. On the way home, he bought a bottle of Coke and a bag of ketchup chips. His parents still weren't there when he got home so he put the TV on and then dozed off. He woke up dizzy and with a mouth that tasted like the cat had used it for a litter box. He could hear his parents talking in the kitchen. He went downstairs where he found them eating lunch. He joined them, glad to finally be able to drink the Coke he'd bought earlier.
"James called, honey. He said he'll be here at 1:30 to pick you up for the home opener at 3", his mom told him.
"Sweet!" said Luis who finished his lunch quickly and went to change into his lucky jersey. He hadn't counted on this at all, James had been having problems at home and didn't come out much anymore.
James, who was a year older, also had a fake ID. It was good enough to get them each a beer, and even better to enjoy their team's victory, sealed in fine fashion, with a Grand Slam. Luis felt great and couldn't believe how upset he'd been earlier in the day. Sometimes that's just how things go, he thought. Arriving home, he watched a movie with his parents, but the beer had acted almost like a sleeping pill and he just couldn't stay awake. Citing the bright sun and excitement at the ball park, Luis excused himself and went to his room where he fell asleep.
He woke up the next day, very early, in a good mood. He reached for his cellphone on the night table next to his bed only to hit keys, a bottle of water, and some loose flyers from yesterday's game. He snapped up in bed, realizing he hadn't seen his phone since..yesterday. He couldn't remember texting anyone or receiving calls all day. His father was downstairs making breakfast.
"Hey dad, you see my phone anywhere?"
"Well good morning to you too, want some toast?" His dad didn't seem too concerned.
"Come on dad, it's really important" Luis pleaded, thinking of Marissa and how she'd hate him for not answering any texts or calls. She was a nice enough girlfriend but also weird about things like that. James told him that all girls were the same though. His dad, focusing on the toast in the pan, just growled, "Ask your mother, maybe she's seen it. If you lost it, I'm not buying you a new one." He flipped the piece of toast in the pan and landed it squarely in the middle. "Oh yaaa!" he celebrated, giving Luis a high-five.
Frustrated, Luis went to his parents room where his mom was brushing her shiny black hair. He always liked seeing her do that, she would do it while she sang to him as a child but nowadays she only hummed the tunes.
"Mom, have you seen my phone? It's really important."
"Oh! Yes! Dr. Burdinsky's office called me yesterday evening, I totally forgot to tell you hun. Apparently it was driving them crazy it was ringing so much. It was that Marissa girl, I bet" she finished complicitly.
"Oh come on, mom! Why didn't you tell me?!" Luis exclaimed, upset now that his fears had been confirmed.
"Now now, you're the one who left it there, honey. You can go pick it up today, they're holding it for you. Anyway, you were so tired yesterday it's not as if it makes any difference."
She was probably right, but Luis couldn't shake the feeling of impending doom.
He rushed to get dressed, rushed out of the house, and rushed to the dentist's office where he arrived completely out of breath. The assistant, glaring at him, handed over his phone. He snatched it from her outstreched hand and went outside. It had been shut off, or maybe it had died. Luis switched it on and saw it had a quarter of its battery life left. Somebody had shut it off. He saw Marissa in the call logs, then James, and then Marissa another thirteen times. He also had nine text messages. None were from James - or anybody else except Marissa.
This is what they said:
Message 1 "Hey baby, whut we doin today?"
Message 2 "Baby, y u not pickin uppp?"
Message 3 "I think today is the dayy ;))"
Message 4 "u kno what im talkin about right?? ughh miss you babe pick uppp!"
Message 5 "seriosly luis this is sooo not cool. i though u wer like comitted :("
Message 6 "omg you shut your phone off? wow u cant even say SOMETHING!?!?"
Message 7 "you totally suck ugghhh i always pick guyz like u wuts with me?"
Message 8 "okay honestly luis i tried. like i always though u might be that 1 guy whos nice and wont do this kinda crap to me but wow i was wrong. ur the same just so u know and when u told me u think im special and i said me too i didnt mean it i was testing u and u faild"
Message 9 "goodbye luis guess we tried oh well dont call me anymore. you were the worst bf ever. at least other guys pick up their phones. oh and i know ur ok and just ignoring me becuz tracy saw u at the game with my new bf james."