A Conversation On Morals
“You not broke,” said Reggie, raising the tone of his voice. Mama turned her head to see his reaction to what she was about to say.
“Yeah, baby, we kinda are. We don’t need anything. We have food, lights, water, and gas in the car. But we are kinda broke.”
“But we don’t eat potatoes all the time.”
“Huh?” Mama was confused. Reggie went on to explain himself.
“In that movie you like, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly; the Ugly says, ‘You gotta be poor to eat potatoes.’” Mama laughed. Reggie chuckled and went back to his original thought.
“We could sell something we don’t use much.”
“Yeah? Like what?”
“My good clothes. I wear uniforms to school and put on pajamas when I get home. I don’t even like my good clothes. We can sell those.” He seemed sure of himself and satisfied with his decision. His mind at peace, he crawled into bed and pulled the covers up to his armpits. Mama walked over and sat on the edge of his bed. She didn’t want to break his entrepreneurial spirit, but she needed him to think.
“You could. But what would you wear to church? If you wear pajamas to church the other boys are going to roast you pretty good.” He thought about it for a moment.
“Yeah, well…what about the toys I don’t want anymore? We could sell those.” Mama was happy that he was thinking.
“Well, how much would you sell them for?”
“Fifty dollars apiece.” She wanted him to come up with solutions. He’d be an adult one day. But again, she had to be honest.
“Well, see…the toys you’re talking about selling are old and don’t work anymore. It wouldn’t be fair to sell somebody something for that price, knowing that it’s broken.” Now it was his turn to tell the truth.
“But you pay Mr. Hatchway a lot for this house and it’s broken in a lot of places.”
Mama almost dropped her jaw in surprise. “Well, you got me there.” Her eyes wandered for a moment before looking back at her son who would be a man one day. “But I don’t want to be like Mr. Hatchway.” She waited, letting the statement sink into his brain, into his consciousness. “Do you?”
Reggie answered sure and satisfied. “Yeah, if it means I don’t have to be broke.”
Mama laughed. “Good night, knucklehead boy.”
Reggie chuckled. “Good night.”