1176 words. And I wasn’t sure I would get them in. I took the day off work for a doctor’s appointment and to get my tires done, but it’s funny how a day can get full in a hurry. But I did have fun.
My wife was reminded that she’s married to a big kid, though. Examples from our trip to Walt-Mart include, but are not limited to:
- Buying toothbrushes and me examining the sonic and electric brushes and marvelling at the prices, pointing out that she could make friends with the vibrating sonic one and then when one of them didn’t work, I thought it was voice activated so I yelled ‘BRUSH ON’ louder and louder until she lead me away.
- Riding the cart on the backs of her heels. By accident.
- Walking through the produce section before leaving, picking up a vegetable and asking her “Sure you don’t want a ‘LEEK’ before we leave? It’s a long ride home.”
- Getting a running start in the parking lot and riding the shopping cart all the way to the van, almost flipping it in the process.
But, after that and many more adventures through the day, she had to take them to the eye doctor. While it was my job to make the kid’s lunches for tomorrow (I will do that, you know), I elected to take the hour or so to write my thousand words. Well, 1176 words.
I’m very happy with the progress so far. I might get 30 000 words before the end of the month at this pace. I’m figuring that this might be 45 000 words or so when I’m done.
Teddy spoke after they got out of sight of Ace’s house. Even then, he checked over his shoulder to be sure, his hand pushed all the way into his pockets. He needed to get back into his own clothes. He put his head back down.
“Wonder if they’ve been and gone,” Teddy asked.
He looked up when he spoke.
“Don’t know. Not wearing a watch. I didn’t see a clock on the wall.”
“Over the entranceway,” Teddy said. “From the kitchen to the front hall. Ceramic mushroom. Yellow stem, brown cap, orange underneath. The hands and numbers made of brass. The second hand just ticked in place. The clock said eleven fifteen. Batteries needed replacing and Ace probably didn’t notice.” Teddy shrugged. “Or he didn’t care.”
“You got a smoke?”
“Yeah, sure, it’s a DuMaurier.”
He gestured for Wally to hand one over.
“Why don’t you smoke one that your friend, Ace, gave you? He is your friend, right? The kind of guy you can trust?”
“Not funny, man.”
“I wasn’t making a joke.”
“I’ll buy you a pack when we get to a store, okay? Lemme have a smoke.”
“Oh, yeah. From your donations.”
“Our donations,” Teddy said.
They continued to walk as they talked, the long row of townhouses morphing into blocks of six townhouses together, then semi-detached homes. They took a shortcut between two houses, wire mesh gates and tall hedges on either side for privacy. On the other side was a public schoolyard, grass burnt from being cut too short by superintendents that didn’t want to cut it too often, with patches of hard packed dirt where the kids congregated. Wally’s house was on the other side of the school.
“You know what? Never mind.”
Wally stopped in the middle of the field. Teddy didn’t notice until a dozen steps later.
“Are you going to talk about this? Any of this?”
“What are you talking about? It’s just a smoke and you’re making a big deal out of it. You want me to quit bumming off you? Fine. Done.” Teddy turned to go.
“Fuck,” Wally said, fishing the pack from the breast pocket of his vest, digging his Zippo from the lighter pouch of his jeans, then walking to hand them to Teddy. “Here.”
Teddy lit up, clacked the lit shut, nodded thank you, handed the Zippo back. He walked on. Wally followed.
“You’ve seen where I live,” Teddy said. “It’s not exactly ‘Leave it to Beaver’. None of this should be a shock to you.”
“Is Ace your dad?”
Teddy shrugged. “He told me as much and he was around a lot in the first years. Grade four or five. Maybe six.”
“Well, at least it’s your dad giving you weed, then.”
“Weed? I thought it was an oregano cigarette.”
“Seriously. I wouldn’t be surprised if it was. He gave me about a hundred bucks worth of weed in those twelve joints. Maybe more. He was pretty quick.”
“I’ve always thought you rolled joints? What’s with that machine.”
“Ace always dared to be different.”
The townhouses with shared driveways and narrow swaths of lawn – barely more than ten feet long and three feet wide – were on the side of the shortcut. There were more upscale units, that were only six homes put together, instead of the long, Mobius strip of homes where they bumped into Ace. Now, after having passed through the schoolyard, with its portables, faded paint of a hopscotch pitch and foursquare area, and onto the other side, they were greeted by tall, mature maple trees with dark red leaves. The long branches reached across the sidewalk felt comforting. The ones that went out over onto the street didn’t interfere with the passing cars. They seemed to be almost caring. Teddy found it hard to classify.
Teddy couldn’t pick out the smallest house because they all looked so massive and they were all hidden beneath larger, more mature oaks and maple trees that provided good shade in the summertime but, he guessed, a horrible plague of ‘helicopters’ in the fall. That wouldn’t be a worry. He bet Wally’s dad paid someone to clean them up. His parents wouldn’t think to offer the work to Wally and Wally wouldn’t think to suggest it.
“What do you want to do now? We can still go to the movies.”
He thought the houses all looked the same, even though he knew that they were different. He couldn’t remember what Wally’s house looked like or which way to go. He seemed to be waiting for him to make up his mind, the way he was looking up and down the street. The townhouses were easier for him to tell apart somehow. For him, he could tell which one of the townhouses was his home because it would have been his home. And wherever that was, it was better than the alternative.
“You listening to me, man?”
What Teddy wanted more than anything now was to smoke cigarettes and do nothing. Wally wouldn’t care. So long as there was music. Too much Coke wasn’t good for his complexion, but fuck it. He didn’t care at this point. He wondered if Wally’s parents had a liquor cabinet. If they did, Wally would complain it was locked. That didn’t concern him – it wouldn’t have amounted to much of one. Locks on those were more of a warning than anything preventative. Easier to have none in the house at all. And sometimes, that didn’t even help.
“You listening to me, man?” Wally said for a third time.
“What? I was thinking.”
“Well, open your eyes. Our chariots await.”
At the curb, not far away, were two cars. A baby-blue K-Car and a red, Peugeot station wagon. One twin drove the station wagon, the other was sticking her head out of the driver side of the Dodge pushing the driver forward.
Teddy didn’t know them well enough to tell them apart. The both hand long, honey blonde hair with bangs and big blue eyes. They smiled what he thought were impossibly huge smiles with bright white teeth and they never, ever seemed to be in a bad mood. Had Ace met them, he would have asked if they were Mormons or something. Maybe Latter Day Saints.
Teddy shook his head to clear it.
The actress from the play drove the K-Car and he walked towards it. As he got to the door, he saw someone get into the passenger side and lean in to give her a peck on the cheek. She recoiled a little but Teddy couldn’t tell if it was staged. As he stood there, the one twin leaned far out the winder and hugged Wally, almost falling out and driving the actress forward into the steering wheel.
The Dodge’s horn broke the spell.
“I’ll ride with them,” Teddy said, walking towards the wagon.
Wally stopped him just as he grabbed the door handle. “Dude, you may want to introduce yourself before piling into someone’s car.”