The place hasn’t changed a bit.
I knocked on the door and ma opened it. “Wha? Land sakes! Lil’ Juicy? Is that really you?”
“Yeah Ma, its me. How ya been doing?”
She gave me one of those big motherly hugs. You know, the kind that squeezes the breath out of you. “My oh my. I can’t believe you’re here. Hey everyone!!! My son Lil’ Juicy is back!!!” Great. Who else in the family is in here?
She opened the door and led me in all the while worrying over my weight. “My, you look thin. Are you eating enough over there in croissant?”
“It’s Coruscant, ma. And yeah, I’m doing well.” I looked around. The place was filled with month old newspapers, cartons of cigarettes, empty cans of Ol’ Mos Eisley. Aunt Krip’ooí was in the kitchen cooking something up with a pound of Bantha lard and humming a toon. When she saw me she suddenly turned and yelled, “Banana Patch! Pudding Pops and Choo-choos. Milk toast? Piano! Gah-Ack!!!” Yup. Aunt Krip’ooí was still quite insane. But I got to give her credit; she can deep fry anything and make it taste good.
“You’re eyes look a bit dim, are you sleeping enough?”
“You look cold. Do you want me to fetch you your sweater?”
“It must be at least a hundred degrees in here ma. I’m fine.”
“Well then you just sit down and I’ll fix you up some vittles.”
“Sure ma.” I walked over to the tiny living room, complete with fake wood paneling and a tiny plastic fireplace that glowed with a sixty watt light bulb. My cousin Ni’teetee was there filing her nails and reading a National Enquirer. My Uncle Noo’booí (Uncle Noob for short) was there also watching galactic football on the ol black and white. For some reason he was in his boxers with a tub of onion dip on his chest. “Hey! Big time jawa man! How’s it hanging, boy? Ya want some dip?”
“eh…it’s going fine, Uncle Noob. Um…where’s the chips?”
“Ran out a couple o days ago. Just youz ya fingers. We’re all family here.” He then scooped up a two finger handful and slopped it in his mouth.
“Eh…maybe later. Hey Ni’teetee. How are you doing? Are you still in beauty school?”
“No. Ya know. Same ol thing. Got knocked up by the instructor, then he left me for a younger skank. Same thing as before.”
“uh….ya might wanna look into destructive life patterns.”
“Nah, I think the curtains are okay as they are.”
“Hey com’on over here, Jawa-boy. Watch some football with ya uncle for a spell.”
“The Anchorhead Armadillos. They’re beating the crap outta Oakland Tusken Raiders.”
“Here’s some deep fried Twinkies, dear.”
“Oh…eh…thanks ma. Say ma…where’s little Joot’í?”
“Oh, your lit’l brothers around here somewhere. Prol’ly over at those nasty Hutt neighbors we have now.”
“We got Hutts for neighbors? Since when?”
“Since Bubba the Hutt moved in a year or so ago. They is always leaving their rusted ol speeders out in the middle of the yard…shooting their blasters at ol broken down refrigerators. I sware, they is gonna make the property values drop around here. But ol Joot’í likes ta hang out with their son. They go Swoop Bike racing and shoot things, I think.”
“If ya ask me, he’s inna gang,” Uncle Noob chimed in. “Bad influence, those Hutts are if ya ask me.” He then spit out a huge dark gray loogie into his empty beer can then reached for another pinch of Kodiak Chaw.
“Scrub-a-dub-dub! We’re not hitchhiking anymore…we’re riding!!!” Aunt Krip’ooí had to add in. She’s never been the same since Uncle E’eootí left her for the dark side. She’s actually more coherent now.
I decided to step aside with my ma for a moment. “Are ya doing okay these days, ma? Do ya need more money?”
“Oh, I’m fine, Lil’ Juicy.”
“Coz I can send ya more if it’ll help.”
“What cha doing these days, jawa-boy?” Uncle Noob yelled over the beat up recliner. “Still fixen up them droids?”
“Eh, no Uncle Noob. I’m in the brownie business now. Didn’t you get a box of our brownies a while ago?”
”Is that what they waz? I thought they waz urinal cakes. They made my cheeks all tingly like when I sat on them, though.”
“Well…just as long as you enjoyed them, I guess.”
I turned back to my ma. “Ma, I’ve been giving you a lot of credits each month. How come the place still looks like…well…like this? What have you been doing with the money?”
”Land sakes, Lil’ Juicy! Now don’t be grillin’ your mother. Ya know I got important stuff ta buy for the family n’ all.”
Sure enough, I saw a cart of empty sherry bottles in the corner along with about a couple o hundred used scratcher lottery tickets spread all over the kitchen table. A giant velvet painting of some guy named Jeez-uh-suss stared down at me from the dining room wall.
“Want some sherry, dear?” Yup. Everything was the same.
“Eh, sorry ma. I got to go.”
“Go? Ya just got here?”
”I know, but I got to check in on my ol work mates before I leave.”
“But suppers almost ready. We’re having BBQ Bantha innerds. Uncle Noob’s got em cookin’ up in the back even as we speak. Ain’t that right Noob?”
“Yeah yeah, right. Hey, I’m outta beer sis, grab me another will ya?”
“I’m sorry ma, but I do gotta go. I’ll send ya more money when I get back home.”
I kissed her on her head and said my goodbyes then made a hasty retreat.
As I walked away, my ma stepped outside with me. “Is you ashamed of us now, Lil’ Juicy?”
“I…no ma. It’s just…well I guess it’s true…you can never come home again.”
“Aww…you know you can always come home, lil’ Juicy.”
“I know ma…thanks. I’ll always be home…right here.” I touched her heart. “Just remember…wherever there’s a broken down trailer park…I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a bunch of kids sneaking cigarettes and shooting cans…I’ll be there. Wherever there’s a singing billy-bass on the wall…I’ll be there. An wherever there’s toothless hic smiles filled with tobacco juice…I’ll be there. Just…metaphorically speaking that is. Goodbye ma.”
Sometimes, I can’t believe I actually grew up there. Even for a jawa it seems so small now.