I'm Not From Neptune
"Rocio, call the school, please," begged Allie. "Tell them you're my mother. Dad won't get home until too late to call, and I want to know if I get to go to SEARCH."
"They not believe I am your mother, no," said Rocio. "I have too much voice Guatemalteca."
Rocio came every day to stay with Allie and his sister, Jamie, who was four, until their father got home. Her little girl, Graciela, always came, too. Graciela was only two, and she toddled around the house making messes as fast as Rocio cleaned them up. Gracie tried to do everything that Jamie did.
"Then I'll just have to pretend to be my own mother," said Allie.
Allie went to his room and closed the door. He peered into the mirror. He sighed. "I look like a brain," he said to himself. His face looked small behind the large, dark-rimmed glasses. Really, he was just small all over. There was no sign, looking at his head, that he had a big brain behind that forehead. His father was small but smart, too. Ran in the family.
Allie's voice was medium-high. He practiced lowering it a little to try to make it sound like a woman's instead of a boy's. "Hello. This is Allie Jenkin's mother. Could you tell me how he did on his test today?" It sounded all right.
His mouth looked out of shape as he said the words. He spoke with a clipped New York accent. Actually, his mother was very careful to have a perfect television broadcaster's accent--no trace telling that she was really from Georgia. No trace to tell that she had been living in New York. But at school, they knew Allie was from New York. They would expect an accent.
Allie went to the phone on the kitchen counter. Graciela was trying to pull a Barbie doll, which was naked and had a comet of blond hair flying behind her head, out of Jamie's hands, and Jamie was yelling. Gracie began to scream, too. Allie looked up the school number and deliberately dialed it. Noise in the background would help cover up his voice.
"Oh, yes, Mrs. Jenkins. Congratulations. Allie passed with flying colors."
"It worked," Allie announced to Rocio. "I passed."
"Good, Mr. Smart Guy," said Rocio with a grin. Rocio was pretty and had big dimples. Allie would be in love with her, but she was already married to a guy Allie's mother knew who worked at the television station. Also, Allie was already in love with Kelly.
"Look what I made at my school," said Jamie, holding up a roll of paper with a lipstick mouth, two eyes of different shapes, and some taped-on yarn for hair. Striped jersey cloth was taped around the middle and draped over the "shoulders" to form a lady.
"Is it an angel?" Allie asked. Since Christmas, Jamie had talked of nothing but angels.
"No, it's an enrollment."
"A what?" Allie asked. Jamie was always trying to use big words. "It can't be an enrollment."
"It can't?" she asked, looking confused. "Well, maybe it is an angel."