Gum / God
A Short Story
By: Jamie Kapili
Me and the girls like to chew bubblegum and pop the bubble. We can’t chew bubblegum at school, but sometimes we do. It’s fun, until Clay, who’s usually a mean and stupid boy, makes the bubblegum fall out of our mouths. Like yesterday, when he found weeds in the cracks of the sidewalk and plucked them up. Clay held them close to our faces, and we yelled at him because of the spiders in there. My bubblegum fell out when I yelled, but Clay just shook his fists and told us the story about how his parents were killed in a house that had a telephone from the 1950s. He said that his daddy’s fingers were too fat and got stuck in the little circles, so he couldn’t call anyone fast enough. Clay always tries to scare us with that story, but by the time he usually tells it, we’re already mad at him for the spiders, so we try not to care too much.
But, something was different about today. After school, Clay stood on the sidewalk with his head up at the sky. “You see that cloud?” Since he’s usually tricky, we didn’t say anything. “That’s where God lives,” he said. I looked and saw a puffy cloud, bigger than any planet that we’ve learned about. We watched Clay, wondering if he was true. He then bent down and picked a flower out of the grass. He twirled it slowly in his hands, and me and the girls started to walk home, sometimes turning around to see if he was sneaking up. The only sound was our bubblegum popping.