"don’t be an idiot, okay?"

cherry pickin’, part one. . .

In CHERRY, Steve McGuire, aka ‘Cherry’, is an enigma: intuitive but clueless, worldly but innocent, a perpetual man-child . . . 

“When I’m in working mode, my name’s Cherry. That’s my professional momiker.”

“You know what? We should go for a ride.”
“Yep. We should go for a ride right now. We could go to the mall behind J. C. Penney’s.”
My heart skipped a beat. I felt it, swear to God.
“Twenty bucks. No, ten, ‘cause I almost gave you a heart attack.” He said that, then he stuck his tongue out at me. 

“Okay, part one: what was the book and part two: who’s Elmo Leonard?”

The kid slowly shook his head.
“That’s not good, I bet.”
“No, it isn’t.”
“I’m not exactly sure what it means, though.” 

“Okay. Remember the day it was snowing? You were standing in the road at Oak and Vine, right in the intersection, remember?”
“Nooo. . .”
“It was snowing and I fell out of the van, remember?”
He laughed. “Oh, yeah, now I do. That was funny.”
“No, it wasn’t. I thought you were going to get hit by that car.”
“Oh, yeah,” he said.

“How did you know I was nice?”
“You let me get warm in your van.”
“Oh, Jesus,” I said.

“You were twelve, huh?”
“Yeah, and ever since then, I follow that code. I read it every morning when I wake up and every night before I go to bed.”
“That’s really something.”
“I know.” 

“I didn’t know he was a cop.”
“Wait a minute—
“And they’re mad at me.”
“Wait a minute, Steve. Who’s mad at you?”
“The cops.”
“Why are they mad at you?”
“I don’t know.” 

He bent down and whispered in my ear, “Open it or I’ll smother you. Do you want to be smothered right now?” 

“Did you know I got a busted rib?”
“Two busted ribs, remember?”
“Oh, yeah, that’s right. And I got two black eyes.”
“I know.”
“And I got a broke nose.”
“I can see it, Steve.”
“Oh, yeah.” He sighed. 

“You can’t adopt me, Mr. Bee.”
“Why the hell not?”
“It’s crazy. You’re crazy.”
“Maybe I am, but you never told me what you want, so what do you want?”
He shrugged, still smiling.
“Seriously, Steve, what do you want? Tell me.”

“He knows who I’m with, Mr. Bee,” he said. “Don’t be an idiot, okay?”

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