The Gambits: Samantha

Frequently mother would purchase a lot of pre-packaged pasta in bulk, in order to stock up for the war. My parents were swimming in debt as a result, for the price of food had gone up over the last months prior. They would bankrupt their credit cards, bought a new one to keep us fed, so we could have the clothes on our backs, and other things considered to be "bare basics".

At dinner time, mother would frequently make spaghetti and meatballs for dinner. We would get tired of it as a result.

"Don't play with your pasta Jkovo." My father fussed, while mother was to busy sticky her nose in a romance novel to pay attention to the noodles being tossed across the table into our fine china cabinet. However father would frequently want to bring up other issues, to mothers dismay. Jkovo did not seem to care one way or the other.

"There have been three casualties in the war so far. Have you heard about this one guy that got awards in-" Father began to say before he was cut off by mother.

"Shut up, Harold." Mother said.

"Can it, this is important news."

"Maybe so but," mother began to say then put her book down, and gave father a scowling face., and then she added "but we don't need to gross out the children, they need to eat as much as they can so the can concentrate on schoolwork. You want Jkovo to college right? And what about Samantha, you want her to remain a star student right?"

"I'm 17 mom, I think I'll be fine." Jkovo chimed in.

"If your 17, act like it by not slinging meatballs at me." Father said.

"That's enough Harold. apparently he can't help himself." Mother said.

"Well that's true!" Father said.

"Fuck you dad!"

"No Fuck you!"

"Lets just all eat silently." I proposed, although everyone else just laughed it off.

"So Sammy, are you still having a hard time with Ruby?" Father asked, though he probably new what the answer would be. Every since the beginning of the school year, me and her kind of had issues. Though it had gotten worse.

"May I talk about it after dinner?" I requested.

"Sure, just know that if she is hurting you, I can beat her up for you." father said. I asked if I could be excused, and then I went to bed to make last minute correction on my math and science.

The next morning, my older brother poured a bucket of water over me to wake me up for school just like I asked.

"Thanks Jkovo!" I said, and gave him a hug of which he chuckled.

Over the past two weeks, I had the tendency to sleep in late and miss the bus. I had to rush to school. At least the school was only about a mile away, unlike a lot of the students that went to Saunacreek Elementary.

When I walked from class to class when the bell rang to go to sixth period, I hurried up to go to the restroom so that I can avoid Ruby, and get to class on time, of which my efforts were in vain. It was no uncommon for Ruby to be slightly mean, but these past two weeks had been the worst. The week before she picked me up, and threw me head first into the bathroom wall. I carefully tried to avoid her, but it was no use. I was pushed to the floor again, and then I was picked up, and thrown head first into the bathroom wall once again. Honestly I'm surprised my grades have not suffered much more than they had, you would think I would have gotten brain damage.

And then the bell rang. "See ya baby." Ruby said, in contradiction to how she treated me. I waited until Ruby left the restroom, and finally got the chance to use the restroom. On those two days I got a tardy slip because I was to afraid to come to class. I did not want to cause any more trouble, and I certainly did not want any cute boys to see me red.

So I pulled myself up by my bootstraps once I got off the toilet, and then walked to class. Once I arrived, I was met with a pleasant surprise.

"Samantha, this is the second time you been late. I shall ask you the question I was going to ask Ruby. What is the capital of Wisconsin?"

"Madison" Ruby's girlfriend said before I had the chance to answer, of which Ruby gave her a high five.

"Although correct, Samantha needs to answer." The teacher said, and then Ruby stuck her tongue out at me. And then the bell rang, most the students left. But my teacher asked me to stay behind to answer a question, of which I was hesitant to answer.

"Why have you been late to class Sammy? You use to be punctual all the time." The teacher asked.

"If I said, how would I know I would not get in trouble for ringing about the exchange students?"

"You don't have to curse Sammy, you can feel safe to tell me anything. I know something is wrong. Both the day before, and today you came in looking beat up."

"And you still asked me the question, even though I looked like this?"

"I'm sorry."

I gave her a slight disgruntled look, and then told her "Before class, I was molested by Ruby and her girlfriend."

"Oh,...I see." The teacher said, she went ahead and sent me home, and was nice enough not to give me a detention. How would I have known that though?

Once I got home, and opened the door into the living room, I could see my dad watching the evening news, and could smell my mother cooking the usual meal for us to eat tonight.

"Oh hello honey, how was school." Father asked.

"It was OK, I guess." I said darting my eyes back and forth.

"Are you sure, did something happen at school again?"

"I said I'm fine!" I yelled at him, and then went to my room and slammed the door. My father knocked on my door gently to ask if I was OK.

"Could I have a moment to myself please?" I asked.

"Sure." Father said, and then went back to watching the evening news.

The next day at school when I arrived in class, I found a letter directed to me in my desk. I had no idea who sent the letter to me, maybe a hot guy that was a little shy to tell me to my face. I knew I had to hide it, to I quickly put it in my backpack until lunch.

As I sat at the lunch table and began to eat my lunch, I packed for myself, I took my letter I had out of my backpack. I carefully tore it open, and read the contents:

Dear Samantha,

By the time you get this letter,

you only have twenty four hours till

I'm going to kill you, say your prayers.



I looked at the letter, and then wondered who wrote it. I then proceeded to finish my lunch, keeping a close eye on my surroundings. Once I got back into class, I asked the teacher if I could talk to her privately outside the classroom, because I was scared that who ever wrote the letter would hear me.

"What's wrong Sammy, you look pale, and you're crying."

"I think Ruby sent me a death threat. See, it matches her hand writing."

"Wait what? I'll take this up with the vice principal right away."

I thought:

Hook, line, and sinker.

Its gone perfectly, Rudy is going

to be gone in no time.

When I got home, I was able to finally relax with a feeling of accomplishment. Although dinner was the same as always, because of the mood I was in, it felt fresh and new. There was nothing like the smell of Victory and Tomato Sauce.

The next morning, I found that my father watching the morning news, and Jkovo was oddly intense.

"What is going on dad, and Jkovo, why did you not drive to school yet?" I asked.

"We are going to have to move to a different neighborhood. The school you guys use to go to was blown up by the northern army. We received a relocation notice in the mail" My father said.

"I wonder if my teacher is OK."

"I hate to have to tell you this Sammy, but I think she died in the explosion. When I drove by the school around 3:00 A.M, your teachers car was oddly enough still there. If she was still there, I think she died in the explosion." Father told me. I wondered why she would still be there, she normally left right after. I frequently have a substitute because of her health problems. I reflected back to when I first had my conversations with her. There was the conversation were I first told her what was going on:

"You don't have to curse at me Sammy, you can feel safe to tell me anything. I'm your friend."

"Your only paid to be my friend." Was my final words to her, and then I ran out of the classroom.

In another conversation, I reflected back to when I told her about the letter I received from Ruby.

"What's wrong Sammy, you look pale, and you're crying."

"I think Ruby sent me a rape threat. See, it matches her hand writing."

"Wait what? I'll take this up with the vice principal right away."

I wanted to use the leader as get out of school of the heat of school bus pass, so that Ruby, and her girlfriend would no longer beat me up, throw me to the wall.

But now I wonder if I did the right thing. After all the teacher was truly asking out of concern, I realize that now.

It was the next month after I lost my teacher in the explosion. For whatever reason, it took me a while to process that she was gone from my life forever. Had I gotten away with setting up my bully Ruby to go to an alternative school? The night felt more chilly. My parents had gotten a new air conditioning unit. All the months of hot weather being no different inside and in have suddenly come to an end. Something to celebrate.

Jkovo finally figured out to stop throwing meatballs at me at dinner, and I was no longer the most mature person in the house. But I was still the only one, quiet as a mouse. Yet another comfort, perhaps. "So how was school." my mother asked. I wasn't sure what answer to give her, the war was still going on even in the north.

I played with my spaghetti with my fork. "It was fine, a little boring. I met a new friend today." I smiled a smile I had not had in along time.

"Your not dating boys are you?" mother asked, well of course she would assume that. But that was not it at all. She gave me a cross looking, telling me I should eat my food. Of which I merely stared.

"Oh nah. A new friend of me and Susie, name's Rachel." Father looked me and my brother's mother, and tilted his glasses forward. "She played a flute at lunch today." A sound of music, I had not heard in months.

I'd soon come to find out, in other circumstances that her flute was broken by her head maid at the orphanage. And that was the last sound, of tender and soft music. I said that I could buy her flute, Rachel took the pressure off. But when Susie offered, at that point she couldn't refuse.

Next week, she got a new one. "My old one was a gift from my mother." she said, as if her mother were one of the victims in the war." Then placed it between her lips, "But I can remember her with this."

Then played the flute all afternoon.

Months came and went.

It is a cold midnight hour. Always midnight, the window glass shatters into the wind. The road, mostly abandoned, sang a song of a distant time, when cares along the intersections were still busy from rush hour traffic. The ghosts of another time wander the planet. Where is mommy? Where is Daddy? Or Jkovo? I wonder where Susie and Rachel have ran off to. It's so cold Mommy, those parasite men want to feel around along my bones.

I need a new dress. Two holes that form into eyes, remind me that you forgot to sew my dress. I wonder if Susie and Rachel are in a bomb shelter together. After Susie's dad was arrested by the dream-scanners, the regular cops said she and her little brother didn't have to live with him anymore since her mother died. And Rachel, she must be playing her new flute somewhere. I have an old story book, read to me when I was small. The story of the young shadow, along seen on the wall. At times I felt like the shadow on the wall, and other times not as noticeable. I remember the last time we fought together, and it was over spaghetti. Jkovo still never grew any manors, and now in my twentieth year, I wonder where he is.

I no longer see anyone I know.