Death Had a Good Week
Jimmy Swindle died this week.
“He drove his car off the road and it hit a telephone pole,” Buskirk said.
“Did he actually drive it off the road?” Emig asked.
“Maybe not. I don’t know why I said he drove it off the road.”
“It might have been an accident,” Tuttle said.
“Deedee Eden broke up with him this week,” Frank said.
“Are you saying something?” Dawn asked.
“I’m saying that something happened to him this week.”
“That might have troubled him?”
“So he drove his car off the road?”
We absorbed this thought.
“Anybody know him?”
“He makes robots. Made. Always in those engineering competitions.”
“Sounds straight and geeky.”
“Why? I like robots, and I don’t think of myself as straight nor geeky,” Brink snarled.
“You don’t seem to like me.”
“You talk before thinking. It’s not that I don’t like you. It’s how you go about expressing yourself that I don’t like,” Brink said.
“Sounds like you don’t like me.”
“And you’re obsequious.”
“I don’t know what that means but it doesn’t sound good.”
Brink stuck a bud in her ear, connected to a wire connecting to a bud in Carrie’s ear.
“It’s weird to hear about a classmate who dies, someone I don’t know. It sucks!” Tuttle said.
“But you don’t know him. How can it be horrible?”
“Well, since my mom died I don’t go a day without feeling the world is going to split in half and I’m going to fall down this dark black crevice. Gosh, and what’s down there, I can’t even tell you guys.”
“Well, that’s good right? That you can’t feel Jimmy’s death?”
“But I should! Every death should do that too us!”
“So life has meaning! Jimmy means nothing to me. That’s awful. I got to find more about him.”
“So you can feel worse?”
“Why are you here? Have you experienced death? I never see you cry. You’re always laughing, telling jokes. Brink’s right. You say the stupidest things.”
“Hey. My grandfather died!”
“Grandfather? How old was he?”
“He’s supposed to die! Look around you. Do you think these kids are crying about someone who was supposed to die? They’re crying for people who were not supposed to die. We are here because of tragedy. Jimmy’s death is tragic, and I don’t know him,” Tuttle huddled into a ball and let Tallie rock him in her arms.
“Hey, I was sad when grandpa died.”
“Swindle had a heart transplant,” Frank said.
“What?” Tuttle looked up.
“I used to hang with him. He had a bad heart, right from birth. Always had these coughing fits when we played football. Doctors said if he didn’t get a new heart, he’d die when he was twenty.”
“So what happened?” Tuttle asked.
“They couldn’t do the operation until he was twelve or thirteen. His body couldn’t take being cut up that young. So he gets to that age and they find a heart.”
“Why didn’t the girl need her heart?”
Frank said nothing.
“Frank, why? Tell us, you must.”
I looked at Frank, wanting the answer too.
“She was murdered.”
“No!” Tuttle screamed.
“Jimmy Swindle had a heart from a murdered child and now he’s dead?”
“Will you shut up!”
Tuttle got up, jumped off the stage and ran out of the cafeteria. Death was winning this week.