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It was the second time this trip to Los Angeles to check out the campus of ESU was being postponed. Amanda’s grandmother had been in and out of the hospital for weeks now and they got the call that morning that she’d been admitted again. It didn’t look good either and Amanda couldn’t blame her mom for cancelling the trip so she could be with her grandma today.

“There’s  no way you can talk them into letting you go alone?”  Yesenia whined. “My brother  can vouch for what a good driver I am.”

Amanda frowned holding the phone to her ear. “Even if I had my license they wouldn’t let me go without an adult to supervise,” she huffed as she sat down on her bed. “Which is ridiculous because first of all I’ll be eighteen next month and second, if I do end up going to ESU I’ll be out there on my own anyway.”

“In  a dorm.” Her dads voice startled her as he walked into her bedroom. “On campus, with security at all times. But yeah, you and Yesi driving out to Los Angeles by yourselves ain’t happening.” Amanda started to roll her eyes when he added. “I have good news, though.”

Amanda stared at him curiously. “Hold on Yesenia,” she said into the phone. “What good news?”

“Uncle Manny and Uncle Max would be happy to escort you two to Los Angeles so you can still go today as planned.”

Amanda wasn’t sure she should groan or smile. “Uncle Manny and Max?” she asked scrunching her nose.

Her dad nodded with a big smile. “Yeah, I just got off the phone with them. They said they’re more than willing. Anything for Mandy.” He laughed at his own spot-on impersonation of Uncle Manny.

It was supposed to have been Amanda, Yesenia her mom and aunt Gina driving out to Los Angeles today. They were going to take a tour of the campus and then  stroll down Hollywood boulevard and check out the sights. Possibly catch a movie and the iconic Chinese theatre. Now she had to decide if she wanted to go with her uncles’ which were actually her dads uncles so they weren’t just older. They were beyond outspoken, foul mouthed and getting more and more cantankerous with age. But they could also be sweethearts when they wanted to be.

Amanda glanced at the clock. It wasn’t even nine AM yet. The call about her grandma had come early enough that she’d already gone with her parents to the hospital but came home with her dad when he said he had to go to work. Her mom had stayed at the hospital with both her aunts and uncle.

Her mom and aunts would probably be in and out of the hospital all day like they had been the last time her grandma was there. With her grandma being sick so much lately, no telling when they’d be able to plan to drive out again. But there was still plenty of time for them to do the tour today. Maybe not so much sightseeing but she was far more interested in the campus tour anyway.

“My uncles are offering to take us,” she said bracing herself for Yesenia’s response.

“Your uncles? But they’re so loud and obnoxious!”

“I know. I know,” she said but she already had a plan only she wouldn’t mention in front of her dad who was still standing at her door. “I was really looking forward to going today, Yesi. And it’s still early enough. ”

Her best friend grudgingly agreed and Amanda nodded at her dad who smiled even bigger. “I’ll call them back,” he said before walking out her door again.

Amanda lowered her voice. “Don’t worry. I’ll see if I can talk them into just dropping us off and picking us up when we’re done. ”

She jumped off her bed as soon as she was off the phone already excited about the day again.



“No way, kid,” Manny said as he circled around the ESU parking lot looking for the perfect parking spot. “We’re taking this tour with you twos. We have some serious business to take care of today. If our Mandy’s gonna be this far from us there’s stuff we need to be sure of.”

Yesenia’s mouth fell open but closed quickly when Max turned around to face them lifting something for them to see. “Yep.” He tapped the piece of paper with his finger. “Your parents gave us a whole list of things they want us to make sure we check out.” He turned back around pulling his glasses off the front of his shirt where he always hung them and started reading the list. “Safety is number one on the list.”

“As it should be,” Manny said loudly with an adamant nod, still making his way around the parking lot as painfully slow as only he could drive. “I got lots of questions myself.”

Max read off more. “You’re mom wants to know about the dorms. . . ”

Amanda and Yesenia exchanged exasperated glances as Uncle Max went on. Then Amanda texted her parents in a joint text.


Why didn’t you just give me the list?! OMG Uncle Manny and Max are already acting like they have a major assignment they’ve been given. How could you?! You know they’re gonna be all loud and interrupting the tour guide the whole way.


Her mom responded first, assuring Amanda her uncle’s promised they’d be on their best behavior. All her dad bothered responding with was a big LMAO.  She let her head fall back as Manny finally found the perfect spot.

“That son of a bitch better not take my spot,” Manny stuck his head out of the window so the guy who slowed on the opposite lane would see he was waiting for the minivan pulling out of the parking space. “Don’t even think about it asshole!”

“I think it’s a girl,” Max said.

“I don’t give a shit,” Manny said sticking his head out the window again. “She takes my spot. I’m getting out and kicking her fucking car.”

Both Amanda and Yesenia sunk down in their seats. They hadn’t even gotten out of the car and it was already starting. Thankfully the girl didn’t take Manny’s spot. They were parked and getting out of the car within minutes.

“Moe also wants us to look into self defense classes for Mandy,” Manny said as if Amanda weren’t right there. “Says the college should offer some for free.”

“I know somewhere better around here where you can get trained to really kick some ass,” he said turning to Amanda. I’ll pay for it myself if I have to. We were planning on stopping by there today anyway. I saw online they’re having a signing later this afternoon.”

“A signing?” Amanda asked.

“Yeah, a good one too. Felix Sanchez, Aweless Ayala, even Oscar De La Hoya are supposed to be there today.”

“Who’s that?’

Both Manny and Max stopped instantly, turning to look at Yesenia as if she’d just said something even they’d be offended by.

Who’s that?” Manny said his eyes all bugging out. “Only three of the greatest boxing champs of our time!”

“Alright, alright, Drama,” Amanda said calling her uncle what her dad often did. “Her family’s not as big on boxing as you guys and dad are.”

She shoved both her uncles along and they started walking again then she turned to Yesenia with a roll of her eyes. “They’re those boxers on all those beer and car commercials and stuff. They’re older than us but still. . . ” She mouthed the word hot.

“Living legends,” Manny added as loud as ever.

Thankfully her uncle’s were momentarily distracted from their “assignment” by more talk about the trip to boxing gym that was apparently replacing any sightseeing they might’ve been able to squeeze in today. Great. So far she was O for two of her plans for the day.