Day 130: Like Dances With Wolves

From prompt #197.

I just started seeing more of Trey.

In the one class we shared, Chemistry II, he no longer bolted for the door when Prof. Chang concluded a lecture. Instead he’d arrange his notes, sigh, and place his books one at a time into his bag. In the regular cafeteria in Parker Hall West he’d face my direction rather than show me his back or worse just get his cheeseburger to go. I’d even seen him shooting hoops at Jasper during my scheduled karate classes. He never said anything.

Back home in Bixby, we’d had a barn cat–we had plenty–but we had this one in particular that habitually sat on the fifty gallon drum that held grain for the horses. His perch warmed in the morning sun and stayed cool in the shade of a long overhang in the afternoon. Entertaining mice congregated in the spillage. Other barnies’d scatter when I threw the latch on the back gate from the house. They went leisurely, not like a rabbit might, but they did go. This one I had in mind’d stay curled up pretending sleep. I brought bits of store bought cat food when I watered the llamas in the evening.

One day when it was dark early he sat upright on the drum in the porch light. I pulled a few bits of kibble from my Carharts to place on the drum in front of him. “Dammit!” He snapped my hand like it was a bird taking flight in front of him. He pulled the food from my fingers. He purred after that.

Trey pulled his old Corolla into one of the good spots near the dorm and right on the edge of Chamber’s Lawn where we played Frisbee. He arranged his sunshade carefully and took time cleaning out the Taco Bell cups and wrappers that built up in the floorboard of the passenger’s side. Tweep. He finally set the alarm and headed the long way past us to the entrance.

“Trey!” I called out. “If we had one more person we could play Frisbee football instead of just throwing it in a circle.”

“Sure. What the hell.”

He ran up to me.  I said, “Hey man. Sorry.”

“Pussy. I knew you’d cave first.”

Word count: 389

Day 115: Something Magic-ish

The lights dimmed, flashed on, then went out completely.  Celia felt the magix rescind–like a downhill sled headed back up hill doomed to crawl to a halt.

"Storm’s knocked out all the conduits," she heard her father call to her mother.  "Do we have any good wells!  The ones in this lamp are empty."

Her mother couldn’t her him or didn’t care to reply.  They’d been fighting all week.  The magix being out wasn’t going to quell that.  Shuffle. Stumble. Thunk.  "Hex it!  Where are those wells?"

"Papa just light it up with a little bit of the raw."

"No, no.  I’m not getting caught doing that again.  And they should be right here in the drawer anyway."

"You sure you’re not in the middle one instead of the end?"

"Celia, it’s not that dark.  Well. maybe it is.  Thanks sweetie."

The little girl smiled because he’d called her sweetie and because he hadn’t felt her tap into the raw to see where the wells were.

Word count: 169

Day 114: Oh, You Were Wondering

I’ve defended you against a number of poor false starts in order to deliver you this instead…

I’m looking at two red ball caps with the University of Oklahoma logo embroidered on them in the thickly threaded style you’re seeing alot these days.

“Can you tell the difference?” the sales guy asks. I don’t recall his name but he’ll mention it at least two more times and give me his card so I don’t really have to bother. He’s a local boy by the haircut and the poorly made over twang. He’s unusually invested in the pitch. I bet he’s the owner too.

“Nope.”

“Put this one on.” He picks it up an hands it to me to try on. Obviously this is the one he’s selling and the other is the original. I don’t immediately notice anything, so whatever it is his companies done, they’ve done it well.

“Ok.”

“Now try on the other.” The second is lighter. Maybe, softer in the drape of the dome. Negligible.

He’s smiling. He knows I can tell but that it’s not enough of a difference to matter. In his head, he’s boxing up a gross or more of these with my address on the shipping label.

It doesn’t show on my face that he’s got me curious, but he does. You don’t comparison sell anything unless you’re trying to be just like the competitor and aren’t. You’re hiding something: price, materials, workmanship.

“Price?”

“A little steep at our lowest minimum order. A buck fifty over these guys. But with price breaks at one and five thousand you get within twenty cents.” He’s hoping I like the honesty on the low end, but I don’t. They do this shit all the time to up sell you on the counts. They keep doing it ’cause it works so I can’t blame them much.

I pick up the heavier one and crush the bill to suit my tastes. He’ll let me have this one to keep so I might as well get it broken in.

“So?”

“You can’t guess? Come on. Guess.” He’s over sells a bad pitch because he’s not gotten a better one yet. Which means he hasn’t sold any of these. I have to know why.

“Nope.”

“Ahright. I’ll tell ya.” I knew he’d turn country on my eventually. I must look like someone that would bite. “They’re lined with a titanium mesh specially designed to foil the NSA’s brain reading equipment.”

“Ah hell. Get out.”

Word count: 428

Don’t Forget the Napkins

“I’ve just found out there are two types of people in the world: ones who eat taco drippings and ones who don’t.”

“I don’t understand.”

“There are two kinds of people: taco-dripping eaters and non-taco-dripping eaters.”

“Saying the same thing twice doesn’t help as much as you’d think.  What are taco drippings?”

“You know, lettuce, tomato, cheese, crackers, and other shit that falls out of a taco when you eat it?”

“Ok.  Crackers?”

“Shells.  Shell pieces, whatever.”

“Continue.”

“Uh, meat, chicken, sauce…”

“No.  I meant continue explaining you newly discovered dichotomy.”

“I don’t understand.”

“You just divided the world into two categories of people…”

“Oh yeah.  Some people won’t eat the stuff that falls out of a taco.  Lettuce and that shit makes sense, but even the good stuff, the meat and cheese, they won’t eat that.  That’s messed up.”

“Some people just disregard the byproducts of life even if moments early those byproducts were entirely valid parts of the whole.  They can’t admit that random chance might separate the survivors from the cast-offs.  Even when the cast-offs are ‘the good stuff’.  It’s scary to consider that you might make the cut through no appreciation of your skills or ability.”

“Maybe they just don’t want their fingers dirty.”

Word count: 195

Day 55: Mr. and Mrs. Crazy

Dammit where’s the humor you ask. Not really sure. I consider myself rather funny in person. Though I’ll note that it’s a situational conversational sort of humor that plays mostly off the expectations of the audience that I won’t say something tactless to get a laugh. But I do.

In the following dialogue the names have been changed to protect the identities of myself and my wife.
Jane closes the exterior door in the master bedroom.

“I left that open to cool the room off,” Joe says. “It’s finally nice enough outside to get away with.”

“You weren’t going to leave it open all night were you?” asks Jane.

“I don’t know. What do you care? You used to live in a tent.”

“In the mountains. Far away from the crazies.”

“The crazies?” Joe asks.

“You know what I meant.”

Jane is nearly in bed. Joe is stripping off his shorts and crawling in next to her. Jane nods to the light on in the bathroom behind him, “You’re not expecting me to get that.”

“…”

“I wasn’t the last one in there.”

“Ugh, you could of mentioned that sooner.”  Joe thumps out of bed and turns off the light.  “That’s why I wanted the door open, so the crazies could come in here and turn off all our lights. And put my socks in the hamper. And close the closet door. And put the seat up every damn time. That’s what the crazy crazy people do you know.” He crawls back under the sheets with as much drama as possible.

Joe turns off the light and Jane say, “There’s definitely one crazy person in here.”

“Ohh, there’s for sure one crazy person in here,” Joe agrees.

“Night.”

“Night”

“I love you.”

“You better.”

Word count: 270

Day 48: Ids, Ids Everywhere

I’ve turned the monitor on its side this morning.  Mostly because I can.  But partly because I wanted to see if DarkRoom would work in portrait.  Not sure what I was expecting to go wrong.  Nothing has.

Yesterday I took the two week old hedge trimmer out of its box and mounted the handle.  In three weeks time I expect I’ll be able to get the extension cord plugged in to make sure it fires up.  Sparks up?  At this rate, by February I might be looking forward to using it for the first time.

I don’t recall if my housekeeping post of a few days ago shared that I was going to be watching the kids all weekend without Carrie, but I did.  Late Friday to dinner time on Sunday.  I think we all had a good time and things went well.  It’s alot of work but not complicated.  I am not sure I could do it everyday for as long as she has without getting a little nutty.  Taking care of children this age makes you feel a little like you are tamping down the various parts of your brain that need things except on the outside.

Internally I can quickly handle the near simultaneous desires to pee, eat, watch TV, and be confused and angry.  Externally, as those disparate needs are continuously shuffled and dealt amongst the four of us it becomes a little tougher to manage.  With all your ids inside you they can communicate via back channel chatter.  “I know you said you had to pee, but is it really bad enough not to wait till a commercial?”.  “Wait, commercial time’s already set aside for getting a cookie.”.  “Hello?  Peeing is at the top of the list no matter how you work it out.  I can wait till the commercial but no longer.  Cookie needs will either have to wait till the next one or potentially conflict with watching all that show.  What is it anyway?”.  “‘Friends’.”.  “Jeezus! That’s a rerun you ass.  We’re all waiting on a rerun?”.  “It’s the one where Ross and Rachel hook-up.”  “Oh, why didn’t you say that earlier.  Let’s get popcorn.”

Waiting on others is not an easy skill to teach to a child.  For them now is quite tangible.  They can count on a glass of juice being poured now finishing successfully because it’s already begun.  The idea of prioritizing needs isn’t useful because they really only have one at a time and in order; all of them are critical.  Thus, later, next, soon, and when I am done with your sister are all times equivalent to no, never, not on your life, because they aren’t right now.  But that’s what parenting is about–one of the things.  Teaching your children to understand what is happening around them.  To appreciate and understand the plot of their days.  “Did you just see what happened there, Sweetie?  I asked you to wait till I was done with your sister and, now, here I am helping you.  I didn’t forget.”.  “Can I have some water now?”

I gotta look up punctuation on dialogue.  I seem to use it in a way that makes me stretch my understanding of what I already thought I new about it.  I thought that ending a statement with dialogue punctuation; closing quote; then sentence punctuation was correct, but it looks like crap.