Welcome to our new column “Friday Reads,” featuring stories of the archives of jmww. Kick back, grab a comfy chair, and start your weekend off with beautiful, provocative, startling, unforgettable reads!
This week’s read, which appeared in the Summer 2010 issue of jmww, comes from Robert Lopez, whose latest collection, Good People, was published by Bellevue Literary Press in 2016.
Them the ones I got at the dollar store maybe five six months ago now. This before I met Baby Jesus at the audition for the Christmas pageant and before Uncle Frankie showed me his whatsoever in the basement when everyone else in the world left the two of us alone including Baby Jesus. What makes Baby Jesus such a beautiful Baby Jesus is how soft his skin is and that I’m going to grow up and save the world look in his eyes. People sometimes talk about the look in my eyes but they never say I’m going to grow up and save the world because they know that’s not what I’m gonna grow up and go do. This is when I say sometimes them my real ones pretty nice and the people always agree with me because it’s true. What people don’t know about the look in my eyes is them ain’t always my real ones and they ain’t always pretty nice. Sometimes I put the colored contact lenses in my eyes so that maybe people won’t recognize it’s me when I’m in the dollar store. Everyone goes to the dollar store and why should I be no different now. It don’t matter what Uncle Frankie showed me in the basement or that everyone and their Baby Jesus left us alone so he could show me what he did. I ain’t so bothered by what he showed me. It’s not like no one never showed me something like that before so I wasn’t too surprised anyway when it happened. I’m not going to be one of them someones who’s changed by whatever happens because something always happens and you can’t always keep changing all the time to keep up. Maybe you change the first and second time something happens but you can’t keep changing like that it’s no good. What happens is if you keep changing like that soon it’s you you can’t recognize in the dollar store and that ain’t pretty or nice. In that case it don’t even matter if them your real ones or not and I know this without having to be told thank you very much. I don’t even need Baby Jesus to tell me this because everybody knows he’s only just a baby and can’t yet talk.
Robert Lopez is the author of two novels, Part of the World andKamby Bolongo Mean River, and the story collections Asunder and Good People. He lives in Brooklyn.