Young Adult Fiction posted May 14, 2011 Chapters:  ...6 7 -8- 9... 

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Tanisha and Spooky are mall rats for the day.

A chapter in the book Tanisha's Way

Mall Fun-Damental

by Deejharrington

Tanisha is a seventh-grader at a new school. Her first day is rough until she meets a friend, Spooky. (aka Samantha)
Tanisha lives with her grandmother, who she affectionately calls Big Momma.
The girls cram themselves into Tony's classic Beetle. Laughing and complaining so loudly that Spooky's brother turns around in disgust, puts the buds from his ipod in and tunes the girls out. That only makes Tanisha and Spooky giggle louder. It is only when they start singing, off-key, "The Wheels on the Bus" does Tony stop and threaten to make them walk the rest of the way to the mall.

The mall is still about three miles away, so they decide to be good. It isn't long before Tony pulls up to the front entrance. He puts the car in park and waits silently for his passengers to exit. But, Spooky can't resist leaning in and giving her brother a big, noisy smooch on his cheek. As he scowls and rubs it off, she shouts, "Thanks a lot, Big Bro, you're a pal!"

Both girls chuckle as they watch Tony squeal tires out of there. But they do catch a small grin on his face before he disappears down the street.

The first thing they notice is that the mall is packed. "Everybody in town decided to do some shoppin' today," Tanisha observes.

"Yeah, come on, let's hit them stores. I wanna spend me some cash. Well, really it's plastic. But who cares? It works!" Spooky practically sings out over the general noise of the busy mall.

Tanisha never knew a kid who had a credit card. Heck, even Big Momma didn't even have one. 'If'en you need somethin', then ya better have the cash to pay for it.', she was known to remark when asked to open a store account.

Tanisha follows Spooky from store to store. Both of them ooh and aah over clothes, jewelry, and shoes. Spooky buys a couple of pairs of tights with polkdots and star designs.

Tanisha is ready to sit down. Her best friend suggests lunch in the food court. She agrees whole-heartedly. So off they go in search of something to eat.

The food court is composed of a dozen or so different fast food places. Tanisha decides she wants a taco, so she gets in line at The Mexican Fiesta. Spooky says she feels like a pizza, which leads to the old joke. Tanisha says, "That's funny, you don't look like one." They both crack up over the silly joke. Spooky goes to stand in line at The Roman Cafe.

After they have their meals on trays, the girls look around for a place to sit. That's when it happens.

Spooky motions with her head and says, "Don't look over there. You'll never guess who's over there, eat'en lunch with his crew."

Of course, Tanisha turns around to see who it is. Her eyes zero in on him like a heat-seeking missile. It's Jerome, seated two tables away.

"Here's your chance. Go for it." Spooky whispers. Tanisha hesitates, unsure of what to do.

Spooky just starts walking toward the boys' table. Tanisha has no choice but to follow her.

Spooky boldly approaches their table and says, "Hey, guys. What's up? Okay if Tanisha and I sit with ya?"

Jerome looks at the guys seated with him and then says, "Sure, no problem."

Spooky tells the nearest kid to move down, to make room. She directs a couple more to grab two chairs.

Tanisha, somehow, ends up sitting right next to Jerome. Her mind starts to whirl with thoughts; I can't eat, what if I spill somethin' on myself? What if I spill somethin' on Jerome? Oh, man, I can't eat.

Spooky is enjoying her pizza and joking around with the group of boys.

Jerome turns to her and asks, "How's the taco? I never tried one here."

The whole table fades away as Tanisha looks at him as if she doesn't understand English. She stares down at her untouched food and answers, "They're... they're great."
She mentally kicks herself and thinks, how would I know? I haven't tasted a bit. Dumb! Could I sound more lame?
She quickly recovers and says, "At least, that's what everyone says. I haven't eaten mine, as you can see. But, I'm sure it's great. It looks good."
With another mental kick, she snaps her mouth shut.

Jerome starts to laugh, "Tanisha, you are funny. Well, when you do taste it, let me know how it is." He turns away and begins to talk with the guy sitting on his other side.

Tanisha fights the urge to jump up and run away. Spooky takes one look at her friend and stands up holding her tray of half-eaten food. "Tanisha, we gots to get in gear. Or we're gonna be late for our manis. Come'on BFF, let's move it, move it."

Tanisha gets up and blindly follows Spooky's lead.

"Bye guys. It's been real. See ya at the prison.", Spooky says over her shoulder to the table of boys as she walks away.

"Are you gonna eat that?" Spooky puts to Tanisha as she dumps her own food in the trash cans.

Tanisha shakes her head. "I may never eat again."

Spooky puts an arm around Tanisha and consoles, "It wasn't that bad. Well, it wasn't good. But come on, he's just another boy. Who cares? Now it's time for the important stuff. Let's go get us a mani."

Tanisha looks up in surprise, "I thought you used that just to get my sorry behind out of there."

"I did. But the more I think 'bout it, the better it sounds. Come with me, Miss Tanisha, I know a darrrling little salon that takes walk-ins." Tanisha begins to disagree but Spooky seems to read her mind. "No worries. My treat."

Spooky leads Tanisha to a small salon in the corner of the mall. The nail tech. knows Spooky from other visits, so they get right in. Tanisha admits to the lady doing her nails, that it's her first. She is very nice to Tanisha and compliments her on her how pretty her hands are. When it comes to picking a nail color, Tanisha thinks about Big Momma's reaction. So she picks a light shade called Baby Girl Pink. Spooky chooses a neon pink called Scream Me Pink, it matches the streaks in her hair.

The girls walk out of the salon and back into the mall. They are busy admiring each other's nails. Jerome and the food court are forgotten. They spend the next couple hours walking the mall, talking to friends, and criticizing the latest fashions in the windows.

Soon it's time to meet Mrs. Sorensen. The girls had promised to be at the main entrance by five o'clock. Just as they reach the doors, Spooky's mom drives up.

Mrs. Sorensen couldn't be more opposite of Spooky. She has soft, blonde curls that frame her face. She wears a little but very natural looking make-up. She is dressed like she just left the golf course. "Have fun, girls?", she inquires as they climb into the back seat of the SUV.

"Great, Mom. We had manis. It was Tanisha's first," responds Spooky as she waves her hands so her mom can see.

"Why am I not surprised? Well, Samantha, not everyone spends their last dollar on hair dye, manis and pedis and outrageous clothes." Mrs. Sorensen replies, shaking her head. But she spoils the reprimand by laughing, "That's my wild child."

Tanisha turns to Spooky and mouths, "Samantha?"

Spooky just shrugs and smiles. Then she leans close to Tanisha and whispers, "If you ever call me that at school, I'll...I'll do something. Yeah,
I'll tell Jerome you have a crush on him."

Spooky giggles at Tanisha's terrified expression. "Chill out. I'd never do that!"

Tanisha is immediately relieved. The girls spend the rest of the ride to the Sorensen's chatting about their day.

Mrs. Sorensen just grins as she glances into the rearview mirror. Like two magpies, she muses. No one could get a word in if they tried.

Soon, they pull into the drive-way of a modest two-story brick house. "Anyone who wants dinner, out of the car," Mrs. Sorensen tells the girls, who haven't noticed they'd stopped and were still gossiping. Both look up, startled. They scramble out of the car. Spooky leads the way through the back door.

They start to head for Spooky's bedroom, when her mom calls them to the kitchen. She directs them to wash their hands. Next, she gives each girl a chore to do. Spooky is to stir a pot on the stove. Tanisha is shown where the things are to set the table. She laughs and when Spooky looks at her questioningly, she says, "You can take the girl out of the house, but you can't take the chores away from the girl." Both girls laugh out loud, as they finish up.

Dinner is a louder affair than Tanisha is used to. It turns out that Spooky has three older brothers in all and a baby sister, who is only eighteen months old. Mr. Sorensen comes in from his construction job just as everybody is about to sit down. Spooky's mom hustles him upstairs to clean up and to "change out of those filthy clothes."

Tanisha thinks some moms and big mommas are a lot alike.

The table is soon full and everyone seems to be either passing dishes, eating, or talking to someone across from them. Tanisha smiles as she enjoys the food and just listening to the many conversations.

When they finish, everybody helps to clear the dishes and take them into the kitchen. Suddenly, the phone rings. Everyone freezes, then at a silent signal, all make a mad dash to answer the call. The brothers and Spooky swear it is for them. Tony, being the tallest at 6'4", has the longest reach. He grabs the receiver and says, "Hello, Sorensen residence."

Everyone is frozen again, listening. Tony replies to the person on the other end, "Yeah, she's here. Who's calling?"

Tony put his hand over the phone and turns to Spooky. "You got a new boyfriend we don't know 'bout? Who's Jerome?"

The other brothers started singing, "Spooky's got a boyfriend, Spooky's got a boyfriend."

Tanisha stops breathing and stares at Spooky. She turns to Tony, as her eyes start to fill up with hot tears, "Can you drive me home? I gotta go now."

With all the noise, she still hears Spooky talking to Jerome and trying to get Tanisha's attention. She ignores her and quickly says her thank yous to the Sorensens then walks to the car.

Tony takes one look at Tanisha, and just opens the door for her. He is quiet as they drive back to her home. Tanisha keeps her face to the window, trying not to cry.

As he walks Tanisha up to her front door, Tony tries to explain, "She didn't mean to hurt you. Spooky's a good kid and a better friend."

All Tanisha can manage is a quick nod and a soft, "Thanks for the ride."

Tony doesn't know what else to say, so he turns around and gets back in his car. He sits for a moment, watching till Tanisha is safely inside her house.
"Girls!", he says aloud and drives away.


Any suggestions, ideas, corrections are appreciated. Especially if they are to make the characters more realistic. Thanks!
Mani-a manicure
Pays one point and 2 member cents.

Artwork by helvi2 at

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