Then, when summer hit, it occurred to me that crossing the wires on my translations was Grapefruit League ball. I didn't need a real person on the other end of the line. One afternoon I asked my mom if I could go to my friend Mike Kozura's house to spend the night with a bunch of other friends, and she said no way--Mike lived alone with his dad, and she knew his dad was out of town for two weeks. A couple of hours later, I gave my new tactics a trial run. I was helping my mom in the basement, when, out of the blue, I dashed upstairs, as though the phone was ringing. I took the receiver off the hook and went back down to get her. I told her that my friend Donald Chin's mom was on the line.
We clomped upstairs, my mom said hello to Mrs. Chin, then passed the phone back to me. For a half-minute I nodded my head, pretending to listen, and at last signed to my mom that Mrs. Chin wanted her to know that she'd agreed to stay the night at Mike's house to chaperone the party. Mrs. Chin, I told her, had offered to host the sleepover at her house, but some of the kids were afraid of their pet python and boa constrictor.