Joseph and Mrs. Geraldine

Joseph never gets in trouble. Not because he behaves, but because he’s really good at not getting caught. Today, his luck would run out.

“Joooooooossssaseeeph, come here right now.” His mom yelled from the kitchen. He put down his sketching pad and charcoal pencil and went to see what the fuss was about. She waved a piece of paper in his face before placing it in his hands.

It was a screen shot of a website he used to sell a few random items around the house that nobody was using and that he was certain nobody would miss. Most of these things were in the garage. How important could they be?

“I can’t even look at you right now,” his mom said, nostrils flaring.

“Should I go to my room?” Joseph started to walk.

“Not so fast.” She stopped him in his tracks. “You enjoy your room. So no. Mrs. Geraldine is waiting next door. You will go over there and help her with whatever she needs.”

“Mom! Anything but that,” Joseph pleaded. “She’s four hundred years old and her coffee breath is so extra.”

“Stop being rude. She’s very sweet and nobody visits her. It’s settled. See you for dinner.”

Joseph accepted his fate and walked next door. His Saturday was ruined. Nothing he could do now but get it over with. He knocked ever so lightly hoping she wouldn’t hear him, but the door swung open. Mrs. Geraldine greeted him with a big smile, lipstick on her teeth, and a pitcher of his favorite drink: half iced tea, half lemonade. He wondered how she knew.

“You’ve gotten so big, sweetie. How old are you these days?”

“Fourteen,” Joseph said and followed her to the kitchen table. She poured him a glass and they both sat down. “What do you need help with?”

“Nothing, honey, but I could use some practice on my domino game. It’s been a while and I’m getting rusty.”

“You play dominoes?” He asked sitting up in his chair. “I’ve never played before.”

“I can teach you. When we finish today, you’ll be able to beat anyone but me,” she smiled and raised her glass to clink his.

Joseph laughed. “Oh so you have skills like that?”

Geraldine nodded and broke out a new Domino set she bought years ago.

Joseph took another sip. Maybe his Saturday wasn’t ruined after all.

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