The one thing Na’tali wanted more than anything else in the world… No, that’s wasn’t actually true. What she wanted most was to like…develop. But once she developed — which her mom said she was like sure to do because the women in the family were mostly top-heavy — she wanted to be in the Math N’ Science club because all her school’s hottest girls belonged to it. But you had to be like nominated for membership by somebody who was already in it, and none of them — all-that B-atches, every one — would like give her the time of day.
At least until Shanique W—, who wasn’t just dating both the quarterback of the football team and, secretly, Mr. Truitt, who taught senior honors physics, started getting like all friendly and whatever. She like sought Na’tali out at lunch, which Na’tali usually ate alone because she was more likely to be seen as cool if she seemed to be preoccupied in the latest Jodi Picoult novel than broke bread with B-listers.
Shanique asked if Na’tali wanted to hang at the mall on Saturday afternoon with her and the quarterback, or Mr. Truitt if Na’tali wanted to talk about something other than how awesome the quarterback was, and how there were so many colleges trying to like recruit him that he wasn’t even opening their letters anymore, but using them as toilet paper. Before Na’tali made up her mind, Shanique said, she might want to like consider that Mr. Truitt talked mostly about how he knew dating her was wrong, but he and his wife, who taught in the elementary school and had like MS or one of those other acronym diseases, had a loveless marriage that they like maintained for the children, of whom Shanique had met only the younger.
Na’tali might, as all teenagers must, have come to recognize hers as like the annoyingest, cluelessest, embarrassingest dad in the history of human reproduction, but all those years of his saying, “Ain’t no free lunch,” had made an impression, so she didn’t like fool herself that Shanique had suddenly decided she was fridge. It turned out, sho nuff, that what Shanique wanted was to meet Na’tali’s brother LeShawn, who Shanique knew to be the annoyingest little brother in the history of human reproduction, but to each her own, right?
The problem was that LeShawn, who you’d have expected would drop dead from gratitude on finding that the hottest senior girl in school wanted to party with him, said he’d get with Shanique only if Na’tali first drove him into Squinkytown (where the persons of color lived) to score an ounce of smudge. Na’tali figured smudge must be a drug that freshmen liked or whatever, and wanted no part of it, but she agreed to the deal, even though it meant having to be nice to her and LeShawn’s dad, because the only thing in the world she wanted more than to be in the Math N’ Science club was to develop.
They drove into Squinkytown Friday morning when they should have been in Philology and Driver’s Ed, respectively, and got LeShawn’s smudge in plenty of time to be back on campus in time for 3rd period. But then LeShawn, having snorted half his smudge on the drive to school, turned blue and died in Numerology, and Shanique told Na’tali that all bets were off, and Na’tali got so upset that she totaled Papa’s Leaf on the way home.
Another American family destroyed by drugs.