(Kid shoulders his backpack. The end of another school day. The bells are ringing in the hallway and kids are zooming every which way, trying to get out of Berrymill Elementary School as fast as their legs can carry them. The kid slowly drags his feet. He didn’t want to go home, to see his sick, bed-ridden mother. It was too scary, too real. He shoulders his backpack again, sighs, and hurries out the double doors of the school.)
(Kid starts to walk home. It is a pleasant day outside; the birds are singing; the sun is high in the sky. He goes past Rite Aid, and walks two more blocks before finally reaching home. He takes a deep breath, and opens the door. He steps inside, his heart beating a mile a minute-will his mother be better, or worse? His heart sinks. She’s still laying in bed. Kid walks over to her and kisses her cheek. Then, he rearranges her blankets so they’re tucked under her chin.) Hi, Mom.
Mom: Hello, sweetie, how was school?
Kid (a bit sharply): Fine.
Mom: Do you have homework?
(Kid bobs his head): Lots.
Mom: I have an errand for you. I need you to go to the store and help me get the groceries. We’re almost out of everything.
Kid: You can’t go to the store in your condition. I’ll get Dad-
Mom: No, no. I’ll do it. Doctor says I have to get up and about anyway. Good, your coat is still on. (She throws the covers off of her and drags herself off the couch. She goes to the coat closet and puts on a blue jacket.) Let’s go, honey.
Kid (sighs): All right, Mom, if this is what you want.
Mom (sharply): You’re starting to sound a lot like your dad.
Kid: Takes one to know one! (He hops into the car and his mother slides behind the wheel in the driver’s seat.)
(Soon, they reach the grocery store. His mother pulls the car into a parking spot-close to the door-and turns around to face her son.) Fill it up as much as you can. Here’s two hundred dollars.
(Kid takes the money): All right, Mom, if you say so.
Mom: I say so.
(Kid hurries out of the car and into the store. It is bustling with activity. He grabs a cart and starts going down the aisles. Halfway down the flour aisle, a man approaches him.)
Man: What are you doing in here, kid?
Kid: I’m shopping for my mother.
Man: I’m sorry I asked.
(Kid takes the cart and hurries down another aisle.)
(Kid makes his purchases and takes the groceries out to the car. His mother gets out of the front seat and helps put the groceries in the trunk. Then, he hops into the car again and they head home.)
Dad: Thanks for helping your mother today, son. It was a big help.
Kid: It was no problem. Except this guy asked me what I was doing in the grocery store by myself.
Dad: Just tell him the truth, son. That’s all you can do.
Kid: I guess so.
Dad: Have you done your homework yet?
Kid: No, not yet. It’s not a lot, really.
Dad: Get to it, son. We want you to be a learned person, not illiterate like some folk.
Kid: Okay, Dad.