“Time Stamp: Back to the 80’s (Part Three: MASHin’ at the Mall)” (Page 7)

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nervously, “I guess I’ve just been trying to figure out how to do my
hair first.”

“Oh, my God!” Ellie gasped. “I totally wrote you a note about Johnny!” She then dug into a big hobo bag, digging through the contents and pulling out a paper folded into a rectangle. Kirsti squealed and grabbed it, pulling the note open with a triangle portion of paper apparently meant to break the note open. Jennifer was a bit perplexed, as Ellie had given her the note when Kirsti was right next to her and clearly within speaking distance—and there were no parents around to eavesdrop, either.

“So,” said Mandy, tucking her long hair behind her ear, “I was doing MASH the other day, and I got ‘mansion’ and Mike.”

“Awesome!” said Ellie, though her face looked expressionless. Jennifer noted that for someone with such a bouncy mom, Ellie never seemed to smile.

“MASH?” Jennifer asked.

The other girls looked over at her, faces still as stone—and Jennifer immediately regretted asking.

“Like, really?” asked Ellie. “You don’t have MASH in Hawaii?” Jennifer slowly shook her head.

“Okay, okay,” said Mandy. “So, you get a piece of paper,” she looked around and grabbed a napkin off the table, shoving the last of her bubblegum ice cream into her mouth and chewing on the gum pieces. Kirsti handed her a pen, Mandy taking it and writing out “MASH” at the top of the napkin. “Then you make four lines on the right, four at the bottom and four on the left. Now,” said Mandy, looking up at Jennifer with her pen poised on the top right line, “name four boys you like…in Hawaii, I guess.”

“Um, okay,” said Jennifer, giving her the four names.

The same process applied with four numbers for the bottom and four types of cars on the left. Then Mandy put her pen in the blank area in the middle. “Okay, so just say when to stop.” She started drawing a spiral, Jennifer looking at it and not able to tell what the spiral was. “Okay,” she said after a while. “Stop.”

Mandy proceeded to count the spaces from left to right outside and around the lines of the spiral. When she finally stopped, she announced, “12.” And she started counting off from the “M” at the top, the A, etc., going through all the names and numbers and cars, crossing off every twelfth one. From that game, it was determined that Jennifer would live in a shack with Benjamin, and that they’d have four kids and drive an Outlander (though those were only available in Hawaii for some reason that Jennifer could not explain).

All in all, it was a very memorable day at the mall. And as they were leaving, Jennifer realized it was the first time she had never taken out her cell phone at the mall—and somehow, she still managed to have fun.  ©Brenna Pierson

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