by Lindsay Wells
“Your father’s in trouble,” my grandmother says.
I switch the phone to my other ear. I didn’t hear the ringing at first because I was translating a television manual from Icelandic to English for one of my linguistics classes, and I translate best while listening to Fats Waller albums on vinyl, so I rushed to turn the music off and managed to flip open the phone just before the voicemail kicked on.
My father is always in trouble. Last month he was arrested for pissing on the neighbor’s shrubs and my grandmother wanted me to bail him out–if she gave me the money–because she was supposed to go to the casino with her bingo friends. Six months ago he went fishing with my grandfather on the Conimicut Point sandbar, passed out, and hit his head on a rock, pole still in hand, and she wanted me to come to the hospital to visit. Last summer, at the Gaspee Parade, he assaulted some high school kid marching with a euphonium by throwing my little cousin’s poppers at him. He said the kid played like a paraplegic, and after the cops let him off with a warning, she wanted me to take him for a walk down Narragansett Parkway to Salter’s Grove to calm him down.
“What happened this time?” I ask.