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Greyhound BusThe milk was warm but still very tasty. John had splurged and purchased whole chocolate milk with real sugar. It was almost as good as a milkshake.

Loki took a swig. “Thanks! That’s delicious. I usually get the no fat kind. Better for me.”

“Maybe,” John replied, “but not nearly as tasty.

“You’re probably right about Joni and me; I guess I’ll really have to have a heart to heart with her so we can figure out where to go from here,” he conceded. “As you said, time to fish or cut bait.”

“Seems like. Want some more Combos?”

“Please. And thank you very much.”

“No problem, you’re the one who brought ‘em.”

“Yeah, but that’s not what I meant.”

“Ohhh. Okay. I get it,” she said with a nod. “Hey, how come you like reading so much? I mean, other than it’s free.”

“Probably because I learned late in life,” he answered. “Ever hear of dyslexia?”

“Dys-what-e-uh?”

“Dyslexia. Where people have a hard time deciphering the written word?”

“Is that where folks read words backwards?”

“No, I think that’s on Led Zeppelin albums.”

“Huh?”

“Bad joke, don’t worry about it. A sign of dyslexia is writing some letters or numbers backwards like b for d or turning a 4 around but really we have trouble taking graphemes and making them into phonemes or words. We didn’t know I was dyslexic until I was ten.”

“Graph a foam me what?”

“Just written symbols, sounds and meanings; teacher talk. I was a slow reader until I got help, an IEP, and started working with MS Zweig. She helped me so much that I became a very proficient reader and then I was hooked.”

“Are you making these words up? What’s a IEP?”

“Individual Education Program. For me it just meant seeing a reading specialist but it made all the difference in the world. Once I figured out how great books are I fell in love with them.”

“Hey! I know a book about that! Getting laughed at and then learning how to read? I had like two or three teachers read it to me when I was little. About a little girl named Trisha who can’t read and her grandma dies and they have to move to California and she has this really snappy dresser teacher who helps her. You know that one?”

John studied her for a moment before asking, “Thank You, Mr. Falker? That’s Patricia Polacco, she was dyslexic too.”

“Huh. So we read the same books sometimes. Now I feel fancy.”

John smiled. “You should, you are. Uhmm, do you want to take turns reading the O. Henry book to each other? I’d be happy to help with any of the words you’re not familiar with.”

“Hmmm,” Loki replied uncertainly. “I guess we could try it. You sure you don’t just want to read to me?”

“I think we should take turns. We’ve got about an hour and a half before we get to Jackson; I don’t think my voice can hold out if I try to read straight through.”

“That’s fair. Hey, John? I really think Joni would rather have you around then be all by herself. I think you really need to consider that and come up with a plan before you get to Chicago.”

“Yeah, I think you’re right. Do you want to read first or shall I?”

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