“What we need,” Katydid declared, “is a place to eat.”
Jorge looked over at her dubiously. “Like a dining room table? ‘did, I’m sure you’ve noticed, but this is a shanty.”
“No, no.” Her gesture took in the small jury-rigged building. “This is a place to sleep and not freeze. We need a place to eat.”
“Okay, you’re repeating yourself. Have you gone to the clinic recently?”
“No,” she frowned. “They make my brain buzz. This place, Jorge, this shanty-town, Hoover-ville, cardboard city – we need a place to eat.”
“We’re all starving, yeah, Katydid. I know that. We ALL know that, ‘did.”
She bit her lip. “Why don’t you ever listen?”
“Because you never make sense! You come down here like you belong with us, but you don’t, and then you say things like you’re making fun of us. Why don’t you go home?”
“I don’t have a home.” Her knees went up to her chest, and her hair covered her face. Jorge expelled air loudly.
“Whatever happened, there in the ‘burbs, it can’t be worse than starving.”
“We’re not going to starve.” She stood abruptly and hurried out of the hut, leaving Jorge to stare in her wake.
When he didn’t see her for several days, he thought she’d gone back to the ‘burbs, drama or not. Not that he KNEW that was where she came from, but good, clean shoes, sturdy clothes that were nevertheless the latest fashion, and hair that had been cut in the last month, plus teeth so straight and even as to look fake, did not look like city-poverty to him, much less shanty-town poor. He wished her luck, said a prayer for her, and moved a warmer girl into his shanty.
It was the girl, Annie, who told him what Katydid had done. “There’s a kitchen. They’re giving out food”
“In the middle of the ‘Ville. Follow the smoke.”
So follow the smoke he did, ’cause his stomach was trying to eat itself, and there, in the squarest shanty he’d ever seen built, with three banners for a tarp, Katydid had laid out tables, and over an oil-barrel stove, complete with chimney, she was dishing out soup and dumplings.
“Where…?” Jorge started, but the wildness was running high in the girl’s eyes, and he fell quiet.
“Jesus had fish,” was all she’d say.
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