"title>One Confusing Phone Call by Colin Kelly
A very strange phone call confuses Jeremy and leaves him wondering what’s going on.
This is a sequel to the story One Satisfactory Outcome.
Jeremy returned to his homework after the bizarre visit from Leo’s attorney Friday evening. A short time later he had finished it all, so now he was free for the entire weekend.
Saturday he’d go with Mike and his family to the open house for high-school students at Diablo Valley College. He planned to apply to U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Davis for full-ride scholarships for their Computer Science programs. DVC was the local community college, and he wanted to find out what courses they had during the summer that would apply to his major. Getting a college-level course or two ahead of time, especially in math, would be a good idea. The AP classes he was taking at Las Lomas were providing both high school and college credit, and were accepted at both University of California campuses, but taking a few advanced college-level classes would be a big help.
Then Sunday he’d go to the first real APUSH study group at Lyle’s house. The prior meeting had been more for planning and outlining the topics they felt they’d need to focus on for their midterm exams. This meeting would be the first where they’d start to discuss each topic, in order, and make sure they knew the material cold. To get ready, he’d do some reading in his U.S. History textbook Saturday night when he got home from DVC.
The alarm on the microwave started beeping. That reminded Jeremy that the story about Leo being arrested at Las Lomas High School would be on the eleven o’clock news. The segment was longer than what Mike said had been on the five o’clock news. They interviewed Officer Ted Deering. He had talked to Jeremy in the cafeteria and had been at his house on Thursday after Leo had broken in. He didn’t give Leo’s name, not unusual for police representatives when they were interviewed on TV news reports. There was also an interview with Jeremy’s friend, Cam Sykes. He was asked but said he didn’t know the name of the man who’d been arrested. He talked mostly about the football team members who sat on the man until the police arrived. Jeremy was glad they picked Cam instead of him, and that Cam didn’t mention Jeremy’s name.
Jeremy woke to his clock radio at eight-thirty a.m. Saturday morning. When he got up he felt good; great, actually. He realized that getting at least nine hours of sleep every night was something he should do regularly. But it would be tough to have to go to bed by nine-thirty every school night so he could get up at six-thirty to shower, get dressed, eat, and then bike to school to arrive by seven-thirty. He needed to get to school no later than that so he could get to his locker and still have enough time to talk with friends before his first class at eight o’clock.
But this was Saturday and there was no school and no left-over homework to do. Reading his U.S. History textbook after he got home from DVC wouldn’t be left-over homework; it would be preparation for the APUSH study group on Sunday.
He ate breakfast, then went online and checked email, his bank account, and his credit card statement. Then he checked his Facebook page to see who posted something there. He didn’t understand why so many of his friends posted every little thing they did in their lives. Most of it wasn’t interesting, and some of it was just creepy.
He called the State Farm agent to see if he had an answer about cleaning the blood off the carpet, the wall, and the floor, and paying the bill for replacing the window in the living room. He got voicemail and left a message that he would be out until late afternoon.
He vacuumed the living room rug and the floor to pick up the tiny shards of glass that were left from when Leo broke in Thursday night. Then he sat down and waited for Mike and his family to arrive and pick him up for the drive to DVC. He was watching a sports talk show when the home phone rang. The caller ID read ‘Out of Area’ but he picked it up anyway.
“Jeremy? Jeremy, it’s me, your mom. How are you?” Jeremy was stunned. His mother was actually calling.
“I’m alright. Where are you? Why haven’t you called me before? It’s been six months! You left without telling me you were leaving. You ran off with Leo. You left me all alone! I’ve had to get along without you, pay the bills, buy food, take care of the house, all by myself. That was a pretty shitty thing you did to me.” He was sorry his anger was showing in his response, but if she was upset, tough shit.
“Don’t cuss. I’m okay. I’ve called you many times but you’re never there.”
“I check my messages every day. You never left a message. Where are you?”
“I’m fine. I’m in Guadalajara. That’s in Mexico.”
“I know where Guadalajara is. Damn it, why didn’t you ever leave messages if you called so many times?”
“I didn’t think leaving a message was best. I needed to talk to you. I need to talk to you now. I have so much to tell you.”
“Why didn’t you call me in the evening or at night or on the weekend when you know I’d be home? If I’d been at home, I would’ve answered your call. Why didn’t you call me on my cell number? I always have my cellphone with me. Why didn’t you send me an email?”
“I didn’t want to wake you up by calling at night. The time zone is different here and it’s very confusing. During the day I knew you’d be at school and on the weekends you didn’t answer my calls. I couldn’t find your cellphone number. You’re not listed, so information didn’t have it either. I didn’t want to send an email because what I have to talk about needs to be discussed in person.”
“Are you in jail?” Jeremy figured that would get her attention.
“In jail? No, why would I be in jail? Don’t be silly.”
“I assume you went to Mexico with Leo. So what happened that he’s not with you now?”
“Leo was arrested.”
“Yeah, I know.”
“You do? How did you find out?”
“What do you mean, how did I find out? I was right here on Thursday night, that’s the night before last, when he was arrested the first time. And then again on Friday, that’s yesterday, when he was arrested for the second and I hope final time and is in jail right now.”
“But… he was arrested in Hermosillo months ago, in October.”
“What? I’m talking about him being arrested here, at our house, Thursday night. Then he got away from the police at the hospital where they were bandaging him up. Then he was arrested yesterday in the cafeteria at Las Lomas High. He was coming after me. He tried to kill me.” The last part was a stretch — or maybe it wasn’t — but Jeremy wanted to shock his mom.
“He tried to kill you?”
“Yeah. He had a gun in his car. I guess that was your car. He also had the ATF trying to find him. They were trying to find you, too.”
“Yes, that was my car. He stole it. What do you mean he was at our house? Why? And what’s the ATF?”
“Why? Because he wanted me to give him the account number and password for your bank account, and he wanted your credit card. He threw a concrete block through one of the living room windows and came in and attacked me. I was at the counter in the kitchen, so I grabbed your boning knife and stabbed his wrist and cut both of his hands and stabbed him in his abdomen. There’s blood all over the floor and the carpet in the living room and dining room. He ran away when I threatened to cut his dick and balls off, and I would have done it if he hadn’t split. I called 9-1-1 and the police captured him and took him to the hospital to have his cuts stitched and bandaged. He got some shyster lawyer to get him out of the hospital. Then yesterday he came to school looking for me and said he was going to kill me. That’s what he said, in front of witnesses, that he was going to kill me. He even said the same thing to the police who arrested him Thursday night. Anyway, they arrested him again yesterday and I hope he’s in jail for good. I can’t understand why you ever got together with him… never mind about that. So why are you in Guadalajara? When are you coming home?”
“I’m in Guadalajara because I met someone. His name is Armando Moria. Jeremy, Armando and I, we got married.”
“You WHAT? You got married and didn’t even let me know? When did that happen?”
“In November. We got married on November seventh.”
“You gotta be kidding! Don’t you know what November seventh is? It’s my birthday!”
“That’s why I picked it. That way I’ll never forget my wedding day or your birthday, Jeremy. That’s because they’re on the same date.”
“You didn’t let me know that you got married. In November. On my birthday. That’s three months ago! You don’t care anything about me, do you!”
“I’m sorry, but I kept trying to talk to you. I called many times.”
“And you never left a voicemail message. How the hell was I to know you kept trying to talk to me? You couldn’t even take the time to mail me a birthday card. That’s totally fucked up, sorry for being crude, but that’s exactly what it is. I can’t even begin to tell you how pissed I am. Some mother you are.”
“I suppose you have a right to be upset. But you shouldn’t use foul language when you talk to me.”
“What the hell kind of language am I supposed to use? I’m only sixteen year old. You fucking abandoned me, left me alone, with no idea where you went or whether you were even alive. I have a right to be totally pissed about that and at you, and to use foul language when I talk to you.
“So what other little surprises are you going to dump on me? I suppose one of them is you’re pregnant.”
“Don’t be ridiculous!”
“Why would that be ridiculous? You’ve certainly had plenty of time get pregnant since November seventh.”
“I’m not pregnant. That’s a silly thing for you to say.”
“So that’s it? Anything I say is silly? Like are you coming home? Nah, that’d be silly. I suppose you’re never coming home. I suppose now that you’re married to this guy in Mexico that there’s no reason for this to be your home anymore. And I’ll be left here, all alone, on my own, just like the last six months. But let me tell you, that isn’t silly, it sucks big-time.”
“Well, that’s what I want to talk to you about and why I didn’t leave messages. Armando and I would like you to come to Guadalajara so he can meet you. He’s your stepfather now, you know. And I want to see you, too. We want to talk about you moving here.”
Jeremy was stunned. Speechless, even. She wanted him to move to fucking Guadalajara, Mexico? To move in with a stepfather that he never met? ‘No fucking way,’ he thought. He tried to compose himself, to keep his anger bottled up and out of the way.
“Jeremy? Are you still there?”
“Yes, I’m still here,” he growled. “You know, after being away for six months, and me not knowing where you were, and thinking maybe Leo killed you — which seemed to be the only possible reason why I never heard from you — and now you tell me that you’re married and you want me to move to Mexico? This whole thing is so totally….” Jeremy couldn’t think of anything to say to her. He took a deep breath and stopped speaking for a moment, not wanting to say the words — multiple crude, vulgar, profane, cuss words — that he really wanted to say. Finally, he had the right word. “That is so totally bogus. That’s a perfect word for it, bogus.”
“Will you at least think about it? Armando is a very rich businessman here in Mexico. He has several companies with a total of over two hundred restaurants all across the country. Here, in Mexico. He’s a wonderful man, and I know you’ll like him and the two of you will get along just fine.”
“You’ve gotta understand something. I’m sixteen years old. I’m still in school, a junior in high school. I’m making straight A’s in all my classes. I’m working to have straight A’s through my senior year so I can get a full-ride scholarship for either U.C. Berkeley or U.C. Davis. I’m going to get a degree in Computer Science. I want to go to work for a company like Google or Adobe. I can not, I will not move to Mexico now or any time in the future. My life is here. If you are so eager to see me now, after six months when you totally ignored me, you and Armando can come here for a visit.”
“I’m not surprised that’s what you want us to do. Armando can’t leave now because he’s so busy, so could you come this summer for a visit?”
“No, I can’t go there for a visit. I’m planning to take classes at DVC this summer. Besides, where am I going to get the money for a round-trip flight to Mexico? I barely have enough money to pay the bills. I’m using what you had in your checking account to live on and pay the bills, including the big ones like the property tax. I’m scrimping so the money will last l until I’ve graduated from college and can get a job.”
“That’s something else Armando suggested. We’ll send you the round-trip ticket from San Francisco to Guadalajara. And we’ll send you money every month to cover your living expenses from now on through when you graduate from college. He suggested $5,000.00 a month.”
Once again, Jeremy was stunned. “Say what!?”
“I said, Armando and I will send you $5,000.00 a month to take care of your expenses while you’re going to school. Both high school and college. If you get a Bachelor’s degree and want to get a Master’s degree, we’ll continue to pay the $5,000.00 a month. I don’t have my checking account number. If you can give it to me, we’ll start by making a deposit right now, then starting next month, that’s March, we’ll automatically transfer $5,000.00 into the account on the first of every month.”
“Are you kidding me? This is like some sort of fairytale. Hang on, let me get the account number.”
Jeremy got up and pulled the bank folder out of the file drawer in the desk, then read the account number to her. He did not give her the new login ID and password he’d created; she wouldn’t need anything other than the account number to transfer money into the account.
“Thank you for the account number. This isn’t a fairytale, Jeremy. Here, let me have Armando pick up the phone in his office.” Jeremy heard her talk to someone in the background. “Armando, can you get on this line now? I want to introduce you and Jeremy.” Then he heard a man’s voice say, “Sí, yes,” and he picked up the phone.
“Hello, Jeremy,” Armando said. He had a deep, resonant voice with a Spanish accent.
Then Jeremy’s mother made the introductions. “Jeremy, my husband, Armando Moria, is on the line. Armando, this is my son Jeremy.”
Neither person at the other end of the call said anything more, so Jeremy decided they were waiting for him. “Uh… hi, I’m Jeremy. It’s nice to talk to you.” After saying that Jeremy shook his head. Being polite was ingrained, but he didn’t know yet whether it was actually nice to talk to this man or not.
Armando interrupted what Jeremy had been thinking. “Jeremy, my name is Armando Gonzalves Corona Moria.” He laughed.“We have many middle names here in Mexico; mine is short, only two of them. I had hoped we would be able to meet in person. But you have school, and I have work which now is very busy. How are you, Jeremy?”
“I’m very confused. My mom says she called me, but she didn’t leave any voicemail messages for me. I thought she might have been killed by Leo. Then, when she finally calls me and I’m home, she tells me she got married three months ago and never let me know.”
“Yes, it is too bad that she doesn’t like to leave voice mail messages. That is a bad habit she should work harder to resolve. She does the same with me. Tell me, do you do well in school?”
“Yes, very well. I have a straight-A average since elementary school. I’m in the eleventh grade now, I’m a junior. I’ll graduate at the end of the next school year, when I’m a senior. That’ll be in 2016. I want to have all A’s throughout high school so I can qualify for a full-ride scholarship at the University of California at Berkeley or at Davis, whichever one I can get into. A full-ride scholarship means it pays all fees, books, the dorm, the meal plan, everything, while I’m an undergraduate. It’s real expensive, so I need the scholarship.”
“Yes, I know how that system works. I attended the University of California at Berkeley myself, and majored in Business Administration and Economics. I have a Bachelor’s degree in both of those disciplines. I also studied to improve my English language. I graduated with my Bachelor’s Degrees in Business and Economics in the year 2000. I graduated with my MBA in the year 2004. You can see my degrees on the University of California at Berkeley graduate web site. I am proud of my degrees because I was the first in my family to graduate from a university in the United States.”
“I’m impressed,” Jeremy said, and he said it because he was impressed.
“What is your field of study, Jeremy?”
“Computer science. When I was a freshman, in the ninth grade, I took Introduction to Computer Programming. I took Advanced Computer Technology last year, and I’m taking Web Design and Development this year. Next year, when I’m a senior, I’ll take Advanced Placement Computer Science. Advanced Placement classes, we call them AP classes, give me both high school and college credit for the class. I’m taking as many AP classes in high school as they’ll let me so I can focus on my computer and math courses at Cal.”
“I’m very impressed, Jeremy. It interests me about the class that you’re taking now… I think you said it was web design?”
“Yes. The class I’m taking this year is called Web Design and Development. We learn how to design websites that will look good and be easy to use for users. We learned how to use Photoshop to edit pictures for our websites. Now we’re coding the HTML5 and CSS code and we use what is called a framework to simplify the coding of our websites. Each of us in my class has designed, developed, and implemented our own website project for the class. Besides that, I already developed my own personal website and it’s posted on the internet.” Jeremy realized he was getting too deep in a topic that was his passion, designing and implementing websites. “But this is probably not very interesting for you,” he said, to close the topic.
“Oh, it is very interesting for me. I’d like to ask you to look at our company web site. It has links to each of our restaurant chains. I would appreciate it if you look at these web sites and let me know what you think. I’ll tell you the address of our main site. And if it’s alright with you, please give me the address of your personal web site. I’m very interested in looking at it.”
“Sure, I’d like to see your company websites. Here’s the address of my personal website.” Jeremy gave Armando the URL for his site and wrote down the URL for the Gonzalves Company’s main website. He also found it interesting how Armando pronounced ‘web site’ distinctly as two separate words, unlike how it was always written and pronounced as one word in his class and online and in his textbooks.
“Jeremy, I’ve enjoyed talking with you. You seem like a very intelligent teenager and I’m impressed with the very good focus you have to meet your goals. Might I phone you after I look at your personal web site?”
“Sure. But call me on my cellphone instead of the house phone. Is that okay with you?”
“Certainly. And let me give you my personal cell phone number as well. And please, feel free to call me at any time about anything. If I am not available, you can leave me a voice mail with the time that would be convinent for me to call you back.”
Armando also pronounced ‘voice mail’ and ‘cell phone’ as two distinct words, just like he did ‘web site.’ Jeremy guessed that in each case they must be two separate words in Spanish. He’d have to look them up. He hadn’t used Spanish since he took Spanish 3 in the ninth grade, and he’d lost a lot of the vocabulary.
After they exchanged cellphone numbers Armando continued, “Jeremy, your mother had to leave for an appointment at the bank to set up the monthly drafts before it closes for the day. If it is acceptable for you, I will give her your cell phone number.”
“That’ll be good because she’s more likely to reach me on my cellphone. Ask her to call me tonight. This morning I’m going to visit Diablo Valley College, that’s the two-year community college here. I want to see what math and computer science courses they’ll have that I can take this summer. By the way, what time is it in Guadalajara right now?”
“Five minutes before noon. There is a two-hour time difference between where you live and Guadalajara. Our time is two hours later in the day than yours, so that means it is five minutes before ten in Walnut Creek.”
“That’s right. My friends should be here in a few minutes to pick me up. Please tell my mom that she can call me between nine and eleven your time tonight.”
“Alright. Have a nice time with your friends, and I hope you find an interesting class to take this summer.”
“By the way, is it okay if I call you Armando? Or would you prefer that I call you Mr. Moria?”
“Please call me Armando. That is more personal and is what my friends call me, Jeremy. And I hope that we will become friends.”
“Thanks. I enjoyed talking with you, Armando. And I think we could be friends. I’m looking forward to talking to you again sometime soon.”
“Que tengas buen día, have a good day, Jeremy. Adiós por ahora, goodbye for now.”
Jeremy hung up the phone and sat there in a state of confusion. He’d asked his mother a lot of questions that she didn’t answer, and now he couldn’t remember what most of those questions were. He’d have to try to recall them later. There was one question that he hadn’t asked. That was, what would his mom say when he’d tell her that he’s gay? Actually, two questions; the second was what would Armando think about his new wife having a gay son? And what would they both think about Jeremy having a boyfriend who was African American. “Okay, that’s three questions,” he said out loud, and he started to laugh. And what was this five thousand freakin’ dollars a month they were going to start sending him? And his mom went to the bank to get it started? Amazing. Just fucking amazing. He wondered what Mike’s granddad, Roger Butler, would think about this turn of events. Okay, there was another question he hadn’t asked his mom. What did she think about him getting into her checking account and using the money? She didn’t make any comment about it when he told her he was using that money, her money, to live on. After he got back from DVC he’d have to start writing down all of the questions that he could remember.
He chuckled and shook his head. It probably wouldn’t make any difference to her since they were going to start sending him $5,000.00 every month for the next… what… eight or nine years? He did the calculation in his head. That was $60,000.00 a year times nine years. ‘Fuuuuck!’ he thought, ‘that is over a half of a million dollars!’ He wondered how long it would take the first deposit to show up in his checking account. Yeah, it sure as hell was his account now. Of course, that was if any of it actually showed up in the account.
On the other hand, Armando seemed like a really nice guy. Jeremy’s mom said it was Armando’s idea to send the $5,000.00 a month to him. He seemed to understand that a college education was important. He went to U.C. Berkeley and got two bachelor degrees and an MBA. He seemed very interested that Jeremy was taking the Web Design and Development class and that he had his own website, and that he was going to be a Computer Science major. Now that his mom wasn’t hooked up with that douche Leo, she seemed to have hit the jackpot with Armando. But one short telephone call wasn’t enough for Jeremy to suss out what Armando was really like, or prove that the money was going to start appearing in his bank account. Only time would tell.
The doorbell rang, and there was loud knocking as well. Jeremy got up and looked through the peephole in the door to make sure it wasn’t Leo or his lawyer again. It was Mike and the triplets, and he saw Mr. Butler’s SUV in the driveway. There was more loud knocking. Jeremy grinned and opened the door.
“Hi, Mike. Hi Joe, Paul, and Tom. You guys are so noisy I’ll bet Lyle could hear you pounding on my door at his house all the way down the street.”
“Well, hi to you too, Jeremy,” Mike said. “You ready to head out to the local fount of semi-higher education with us?”
“Hi, Jeremy,” the triplets said in unison. Then they broke up laughing. “See, Joe isn’t the one who always talks for us,” Paul said — though Jeremy still wasn’t sure which triplet was which, and thus he didn’t know that it was Paul who just spoke to him.
“I can see that,” Jeremy said. Then, pointing at the triplet who spoke, he added, “But I don’t have a clue who you are. You might be Joe. Or Paul. Or Tom. Or Manny, Moe, or Jack for that matter.”
“I’m Paul. Who are Manny, Moe, or Jack?”
“They are the mascots for that car parts place in Pleasant Hill where dad goes,” Mike said. “But enough of this blather. Let’s get going.”
Jeremy chuckled because ‘blather’ was the word Lyle used on Friday when Jeremy played tour guide on their way to Veggie Grill.
“Let me get my stuff, and I’ll be right out.”
He noticed the triplets staring at the carpet. “Hey, guys, don’t step in the blood. I think it’s dry, but let’s not take a chance.”
“What’s the blood from?” Joe asked.
Mike gave the triplets a ‘look’ and herded them outside. He called over his shoulder, “We’ll wait for you in the car.”
Jeremy got his light jacket, a notebook and a pen, his cellphone, wallet, and keys, turned on the alarm, and left. He joined Mike’s family in their SUV and they headed for Pleasant Hill and the Diablo Valley College campus.
Jeremy and Mike sat in the second row seats, and the triplets sat in the third row seats. Jeremy couldn’t get the conversation he had with his mother out of his mind. He wished he was somewhere quiet that would allow him to write down the questions that he’d asked her and that she hadn’t answered. The conversation he had with her confused him more than he’d ever been confused before.
Mike noticed that Jeremy was uncharacteristically quiet. The triplets tried to engage him in their discussion about what a community college was, but he would reply with one or two words or just shrug his shoulders. Mike turned and looked at his brothers, motioned toward Jeremy, and shook his head. The triplets seemed to get the message, and they stopped trying to include Jeremy in their discussion.
Jeremy continued to think about the conversation with his mother. He remembered asking her questions, but instead of answering him she’d dump a piece of information in his lap that would redirect the conversation and make him forget that she hadn’t answered what he’d asked.
Like when she said Leo had been arrested for selling drugs way back in October. Like when she said she’d called Jeremy many times but then never left a voicemail message because she said it had to be discussed in person. Then she said she got married, and topped it off when she said they got married on November seventh, on Jeremy’s sixteenth birthday. She hadn’t said anything about Jeremy. Not even a “How are you doing at school?” And then she told him that she and her new husband would send him $5,000.00 every month to cover Jeremy’s living expenses. Everything she said confused him, and it seemed to him that she’d done it on purpose. Probably not on purpose, though. His mom was too ditzy to do anything on purpose.
His conversation with him mom’s new husband, Armando Moria, was very different. Armando actually seemed to be interested in what Jeremy was doing in school and what his goals were. Even better, he seemed like a really nice guy.
All of this stuff kept going around in his mind, keeping Jeremy in a state of confusion.
Mike was bemused. He’d never seen his boyfriend so non-communicative before. He thought Jeremy looked worried. Or maybe he looked confused. Or both.
Suddenly Mike figured it out. Jeremy’s mom must have finally phoned him and they’d talked. ‘Oh my god,’ Mike thought, ‘no wonder he seems so out of it.’ He decided that he’d ask about it later, after they finished their visit to DVC. Even better, later in the evening. He’d phone Jeremy and ask if his mom had called.
Jeremy seemed to come out of his funk once they got on the DVC campus. It was huge compared to Las Lomas High. The brochure they picked up indicated that there were more than 22,000 students enrolled each semester. He worked out the calculation, then turned to Mike.
“Impressed with the size of this campus?” he asked.
“Yeah, it’s huge. It could take a long time to walk from a class at one corner of the campus to a class at the diagonally opposite corner.”
“It has about fifteen times as many students than either Las Lomas High or Northgate High.” Jeremy grinned.
“Whoa! Think about how crowded the cafeteria must get around lunchtime.”
“It’s not a closed campus like our high schools,” Jeremy explained. “There are a lot of restaurants right across from the north side of the campus, and there are a lot of places to eat in the Sun Valley Mall that’s a few blocks east of here. Besides, you don’t go to classes from eight a.m. to three-thirty p.m. every day like you do in high school. I checked into it and a lot of classes meet only two or three days a week, for an hour or an hour-and-a-half each time, and most classes don’t meet on Fridays. It depends on the number of units; more units means more classroom time. Classes that have labs, like science classes, also have lab time that can be several hours a week. When you’re in college you have to pick your classes so they don’t overlap. Anyway, that means you can go off-campus for lunch if you plan your schedule so you have an hour free around lunchtime.”
“Wow! That sounds pretty complicated,” Mike said. “You know, we played an away football game at College Park High this year. It’s right across the street from the south end of the DVC campus. They must have a lot of night classes here because the campus was all lit up and the parking lots were full.”
“I guess they have the night classes mainly for people who work during the day. That way they can continue their education and still have a full-time job.”
“So, what are you going to do and see since we’re here?” Mike asked.
“I’m going to the computer science and math departments and find out about summer classes,” Jeremy replied. “How about you?”
“I’m going to the English department. The catalogue lists a class on Linguistics of the English Language. If I’m going to be a writer that would be a valuable class for me to take.”
“It sounds interesting. Maybe I could take it too, if they don’t have any math or computer classes that interest me. If there are any handouts about it, get me one too, okay?”
“Will do. It would be a lot more fun if we were both taking some of the same classes,” Mike replied.
“If they have a flyer on the Discrete Mathematics class, I’ll get one for you.”
Mike grabbed both sides of his head and closed his eyes. “Ow! My brain is starting to ache just hearing the title of that class!” That made Jeremy laugh at him.
Mike hadn’t noticed that his dad was standing in back of him. “And exactly what’s wrong with Discrete Mathematics?” Mr. Butler asked. “It’s the kind of course that will finally teach you how to think logically.”
“Ow! Ow! My head is aching even more! Stop! Stop!” Mike said, and then he moaned.
“I think it’s a good idea if you bring my son a flier for that course,” Mr. Butler told Jeremy.
“I will do just that,” Jeremy replied. “Okay, I’m going to head to the Mathematics department. You want to come along, Mike?”
“Nope, nope, nope! I’m heading for the English department.”
Jeremy turned to Mr. Butler. “I don’t think Mike is interested.” Mike’s dad grinned.
There was no flyer for the Discrete Mathematics course. The class was being offered during Summer Session; however, a prerequisite for the class was Integral and Differential Calculus, which Jeremy wouldn’t take until his senior year. So he had to scratch Discrete Mathematics.
There were a lot of summer sessions of the Math 142 Elementary Statistics with Probability class. The prerequisite was Intermediate Algebra, which Jeremy was told was the equivalent of the Algebra II and Trig class he took in his sophomore year; he told the instructor that he was currently taking Pre-Calculus and had an A in the class. The instructor told him that with that math background he shouldn’t have any problem with the Math 142 class. It was available online class, but Jeremy wanted to be in a classroom where he would listen to the instructor, see examples presented on the whiteboard, and be able to ask questions and get answers. The class was offered Monday through Thursday afternoons from 12:45 to 3:35 p.m. starting June 22nd through July 30th. That seemed like a good time for him. It would leave his mornings for whatever he needed to get done, homework or washing clothes or… whatever. He would have his Fridays and weekends free as well. The session was open, so he decided to sign up by going to the admissions office.
Jeremy also found an online Advanced Programming with C and C++ class offered on the same dates as the math class. He decided that he wouldn’t take both classes during summer session; he figured that would be too intensive.
Mike discovered that there was no flyer for Linguistics of the English Language course, nor was it offered during Summer Session which disappointed him. There was an online Creative Writing class, though, English 222. He found that he would have to take and pass the DVC English Proficiency exam as a prerequisite for the class. He went to the counseling office to find out about the exam, and got the list of dates and the phone number for making an appointment. He was told he could sign up for the class and pay the tuition, then if he didn’t pass the exam the tuition would be refunded. He was certain he would pass the Proficiency exam. On the other hand, he was surprised how expensive classes were, $46 per unit. That meant his three-unit online Creative Writing class was $138. He charged it; he was glad that he had a credit card.
When Jeremy arrived at the admissions office to sign up for his class, he met Mike as he walked out. “Hey, Mike. Did you get your linguistics class?”
“No, it isn’t offered this summer. There is an online Creative Writing class, so I signed up for that. How about your math class?”
“Discrete Mathematics requires that I complete Calculus first. I don’t take Calculus until my senior year. So, there’s a Statistics and Probability class and I signed up for it. It’s on Monday through Thursday from 12:45 to 3:35. I’m going in to register and pay the tuition. It’s more expensive than I thought it would be, four units at $46 per unit means $184 for the class. But it’s a lot less than the same class at U.C. Berkeley this summer. That would have cost $750. The DVC class will transfer to any U.C. campus for full credit. So it’s a class I won’t have to take once I get to Berkeley or Davis.”
“I’ll wait for you outside while you register. I’ll sit over there,” Mike said, pointing to a concrete bench in the middle of the quad.
The line was short, and Jeremy joined Mike in less than fifteen minutes.
“You want to go to the cafeteria and see what the food is like?” Jeremy asked.
“Sure. Let’s do it. Maybe we can get something we can eat outside, since it’s a sunny afternoon.”
“Okay,” Jeremy agreed.
They took one look at the long line inside the cafeteria and turned around and walked out.
“Let’s try the Student Union,” Mike said. “I talked to two girls while I was waiting for you. They said there’s a sandwich place in the lower level that’s pretty good; that should work for us.”
The line was short, and they each ordered a grilled ham and cheese sandwich on a ciabatta roll and a bottled lemonade. They went up to a grassy area near the art buildings that wasn’t crowded, found a bench, and sat with their sandwiches. While they ate Mike saw there was no one sitting nearby. This was a good place and time for a discussion.
“Jeremy, when we were in the car you were unusually quiet. You looked sort of worried or confused or both. Did you happen to get a phone call from your mother this morning?”
Jeremy twisted around quickly so he was facing Mike. “How did you guess?”
“Come on, Jeremy. You’re a motormouth, just like me. You just don’t sit for twenty minutes, especially with my brothers around trying to get you to talk to them, and not make me notice it. Then it came to me. You kept talking about waiting for your mother to call you, and you finally heard from her. So, what did she say?”
“She dumped a bunch of surprises on me, and didn’t answer most of the questions I asked her,” he said. Then he gave Mike an in-depth description of everything that he could remember asking his mom, and everything she told him. He ended with the $5,000.00 a month for living and school expenses.
“I don’t believe it,” Mike said. “Really? $5,000.00 a month? In your bank account? Every month? That’s… that’s… shit, I don’t know what that is! Wonderful, and lucky, I guess.”
“Supposedly she went to their bank today to send me the first $5,000.00 and to set it up so on the first of every month another five thousand will automatically be deposited. That’s until I graduate with my Bachelor’s degree. And it would continue if I decided to get a Master’s Degree.”
“And when you talked to her new husband, this guy Armando, did he seems okay?”
“Yeah, based on our short conversation I’d say he seems like a nice guy. He seemed a lot more interested in learning how I was and how I was doing in school and what I wanted to major in when I got to U.C. Berkeley than my mom. In fact, my mom didn’t ask me anything about any of that.”
“Well, I guess all you have to do is wait until Monday or Tuesday and see if the money shows up in your bank account.”
“It might take longer because it’s coming from a foreign bank,” Jeremy said. “I’m going to call Central County Bank on Monday and ask them how long it oughta take.”
“And you’re sure this is in dollars, not pesos?”
“They both said ‘dollars’ so I assume it’s U.S. of A. dollars.”
“Jeremy, you really need to talk to my granddad.”
“I agree. I thought I might call him as soon as we get back.”
“Good idea. You know, you’re going to need a CPA,” Mike said.
“What’s a CPA?”
“A Certified Public Accountant.”
“Why that?” Jeremy asked.
“Because you’re getting major bucks from a foreign source and there’s all kinds of tax implications. I keep seeing ads on TV with lawyers that say they can help people get out of trouble when they have money from foreign countries. Talk to my granddad about that part, too. You have him as your attorney; now you need an accountant who can help you with this whole money thing and income taxes on it. Then you should talk to an investment advisor who can tell you how to invest the money that’s left over each month. You’re sure not going to spend $5,000.00 every month. Are you?”
“You know I’m not a spender. Those are great ideas, Mike. Everything you suggested are things I will do. Do you know if your granddad will be home this evening?”
“I don’t know,” Mike replied. “Just give him a call and if he’s not home leave him a message that says you got a phone call from your mother. That’s all you need to say. I’m sure he’ll call you back tonight, or first thing tomorrow if he’s out somewhere and gets back real late.”
Jeremy thought for a few seconds. “You know, I don’t have any of the money yet, so none of this is a panic.”
“True that,” Mike stated. “Since you don’t have to worry about it for the rest of today, let’s wander around and look at the rest of the campus. I’d like to see the library.”
“Lead the way, boyfriend!”
Things were finally starting to look better, Jeremy decided. Mike had deduced what was concerning him, and talking about it helped eliminate much of the confusion he’d had. Leo was in jail and shouldn’t be getting out for a long time. His mom finally got in touch with him, and she seemed to be as ditzy as always. She was married to a guy who seemed to be both very nice and very rich. Jeremy’s money problems appeared to be — or might be — resolved. The need to get a job and go through the becoming emancipated thing maybe weren’t needed any longer. He was doing great in school. His personal life was better than it ever had been. That was thanks to having Mike, the best possible and most perfect boyfriend ever whom he loved and who loved him, and he had new friends who lived close-by — neither of which he’d ever had before. He realized he was smiling, and it felt good. Very good. Mike put his hand on his boyfriend’s shoulder. “You look happy, Jeremy.”
“I am,” he replied. He grabbed Mike, leaned over, and kissed him. Two girls were walking past and saw the kiss. They grinned, and one said, “Way to go, guys.” Mike and Jeremy laughed. They were both happy. Very, very happy.
Thanks to Cole Parker for editing One Confusing Phone Call
If you enjoyed this story,
you can read the other stories in the series on Codey’s World:
|One Warm Coat|
|One Best Friend|
|One Perfect Boyfriend|
|One Complicated New Year|
|One Sexy New Neighbor|
|One Cute New Neighbor|
|One Questionable Outcome|
|One Satisfactory Outcome|
|One Confusing Phone Call|
|One Acceptable Outcome|
|One Life Changed|
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