Anyway. Noah From Cincinnati has gotten the Chronicle staff together, handed out columns and stuff, so now they're discussing feature ideas. Some dude is upset that The Knife has never played in Texas, and while I agree that it's a shame and I love them, it's also not, because The Knife is incredibly scary music. Matt Saracen would never, ever sleep again if you took him to a Knife show. Noah agrees that this is interesting and a damned shame, but that it's not so much a thousand-word piece. Julie brings up Pantherama and somebody gives her grief about going straight to football, proving he knows nothing about Julie and her war against organized sports. She brings up excellent points about how it generates all this revenue, and then nobody knows how that money is distributed or who does that. Do all sports get the same funding? Did that lesbian soccer coach ever get her balls? Noah calls this "excellent thinking" and gives her the assignment. Little does he know it's going to be a thousand words on like, "How My Mommy And Daddy Deserted Me, Proving They Are Hateful Jerks," "Leave Your Family To Coach A College Team And You Deserve To Get Shot At," "Quarterbacks Are The New Muslim Fundamentalists," And "Why Rally Girls Spread Herpes."
Tami judges Santiago's grades "pretty good" -- no easy feat considering he's transferred five times in his career. I would say that her jaw drops, but by the end of this scene it would be in the rich Permian loam underneath the school's foundations, so I will say that she is somewhat surprised. He explains that his uncle moves around a lot, and that his actual parents were deported. And if you don't recognize the fear in his eyes when he quickly protests, "...But I was born here," it's the look of somebody who's used to being X'd out. There's a reason Julie's "Tyra Is Not A Whore" storyline and the Junkyard Dog story happened at the same time last year: it's not about prejudice, it's about being given permission to exist, which is a whole other thing. For Santiago, "born here" is the difference between existing and not existing, no matter how kind Tami obviously is. Lots of smiles prettier than that hide stuff way worse than you'd think.
So, Tami presses, the uncle is his legal guardian? He mm-hmms noncommittally, because those words don't mean for him what they do for her. So then how come, Tami asks gently, his official address is "Garrity Motors"? Oh, because that makes it easier. "For what?" Well, because his uncle will probably continue to wander. Tami makes the call and very quietly explains that she's going to need a real address, and a face-to-face sit-down with the uncle. Santiago dances very fast, having done this dance a billion times, and offers to have the uncle sign anything at all that she needs. She blinks slowly, now that he's answered the scariest question: he's the uncle. Tami doesn't need to love these kids to do her job, exactly, but it's hard not to. You know right then she's going to get this kid into college. "Is there something you'd like to tell me?" They have a duel, his puppy-dogs and her kind, gentle eyes, and finally he admits that the uncle's been MIA for a while. How long? Ten or eleven months.