Teddy and Val Act 2

February 7th, 2018

A Valentine's Day Love Tragedy (in 3 acts)

Teddy was stunned, as he stared at his smart phone screen. The disbelief slowly faded and he was drawn back to reality, as the image on his smart phone disappeared with a shriek, and a lost connection. What was that? What just happened? His mind began it's slow trek to the real world around him, and he thought he heard noises in the hallway.

Crouched under his blanket, the fog in his mind had only begun to clear, and he realized he was still holding the last breath he took when his screen went crazy. Suddenly, he let out a grunt of surprise as his blanket was torn from over his head.

"What you think you doin' boy?" It was his dad's deep baritone voice. "You're not looking at those dirty pictures on the Internet are you? You know what I tol' you about that, and what your mama will say if she finds out."

"No papa, I was just..." Teddy's eyes were full of terror. Not for doing what his father guessed, but he would be in just as much trouble if his dad knew what he was really doing... who he was really talking to.

"Hey," his dad began, mistaking the terror for guilt. "You been up to something. Gimme the phone." Teddy hesitated, but only long enough to tap his thumb on the screen, and display his home screen.

"Come on boy, give it up. Lemme see what you been lookin' at." His father coaxed. "Hey, what did you do?" The elder Cocoa might not be tech savvy, but he knew the harmless looking home screen wasn't the cause of the sounds he heard on his trip to the rest room a moment ago.

Teddy hated to lie, but he didn't want to get his dad riled up at this late hour. A little case of self preservation didn't hurt either. "It was Toby. He just sent me a message to say..."

"And this message had you giggling like a little girl." cut in his skeptical father. Teddy tried to keep up his best poker face, despite the feeling his insides felt like they turning to water. Did he hear Val on the other end of the chat? He would be in deep trouble if his father even suspected it was her. What happened in her room` just before the connection dropped?

"Toby was just telling me how he and Ron were giving those nuts at the school a hard time. You know how they are." Teddy crossed his fingers, hoping he was giving a good enough reason for making an outburst, and that it would account for whatever sounds his father might have heard.

"That's it huh?" His dad seemed appeased at the answer. "You would do good to hang out with Toby and Ron. They know how to respect the family, and put that family... those goobers... in their place."

Teddy had to stop himself from defending Val's family. They really didn't like that "G-word" as Val had so recently told him. Instead he asked, "Papa, can I ask you a question?"

"Sure son," came the response, "If you're lucky I might even have an answer for you."

"How come the Cocoa's and the Hypogeo's don't get along?" was Teddy's question.

"They just don't" Mr Cocoa stated flattly. "It was this way when I was your age, and it probably was when your granddad was your age."

"But papa, didn't grandpap come to this country when he was married to gramma?" Teddy hoped it didn't seem like he was correcting his dad.

"That's right. He come here with nothing, and built his business." Mr Cocoa recited the well known family history. "He had nothing, but his contacts from back in the old country. He started his import business, and worked hard to bring more of the Cocoa's over, and put them to work. And whadda those goobers do? Always looking down their noses at us. Always trying to slander. All because they got here first. They sit in their big houses, and try to say we're no good, and wanting to steal their money. Listen to me son, no Cocoa ever took nothing from nobody. All we have, we hadda work hard for. Goobers! All they do is tell lies!"

"So ever since grandpap came, there has been trouble." Teddy wanted to confirm, but he still couldn't bring himself to feel the same bigotry as both families felt toward each other.

"Let me tell you about your granpap." Mr Cocoa softened as his minds eye visited the old memories, and family saga. "He and your gramma came to this country with nothing, not even any kids yet. He had a suitcase full of samples from the old country, and showed it to anybody he could, and took orders for products he didn't have. But he knew enough people from the old country who could send him their goods as fast as they could make them. While he waited for his first shipments to come, he didn't have money. He had to stay at the train depot. Do you know what the trouble was?"

"The trains keeping them awake at night?" Teddy knew it was a lame guess, but he had never heard this story about his grandparents before.

"No, that would have been the easy part," Mr Cocoa continued, "The depot closed at 10 O'Clock. There was no trains. That also meant they locked the doors at 10 O'Clock."

Mr Cocoa paused for affect, and inviting more response from Teddy. "Did they get locked inside at night? Didn't the depot have a rest room? Is that the trouble they had?"

"Good guess," laughed Mr Cocoa. "There was a bathroom. But the security guards kicked them out. They could be there in the day... and even sleep if they could with all the crowds of people... but they had to leave at night."

"What did they do?" Wondered Teddy.

"What could they do?" Was the rhetorical response. "That first night, they slept right on the front steps of the depot, They knew they couldn't keep sleeping outside like that. Grandpap made his sales all day while gramma tried to find enough food with some of the sales money. They slept in the afternoon, and when the depot closed up, they took long walks to see the city."

"They did that every night?" Marveled Teddy. "What about rain, or bad weather?"

"Well, when you don't have, you do the best you can with what you do have." Was Mr Cocoa's advice. "Nobody ever said their new life was comfortable, or easy. They had to bathe and wash out clothes in the depot's bathroom sink. They had their moments where they couldn't stand to look at each other and fought. They had to send most of their new money back home to pay for the orders, but just about the time they could scratch up enough money for a tiny boarding house room, orders began coming in. Customers loved the products, and there was no stopping your grandpap in his new import business.

"I never knew that about him. Thanks papa.' said Teddy with a yawn.

"Hey, get some sleep Teddy,
Mr Cocoa said with a pat on the shoulder. "You come from a good family. Remember that, and don't bring shame to it no matter where you go, or what you do.

"Goodnight papa," said Teddy as he climbed back under the covers.

"Goodnight son," said Mr Cocoa as he quietly shut the door, and walked down the hall to his own room. Teddy thought he heard his father's voice add, "You're a good boy. I just wish you wouldn't call that little goober girl so late at night,, or any time."

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