Serial blogging, stories to tell. Short stories and micro-fiction!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Timmy's walk home part four.

Timmy’s dad, Gordon, was on his way home from work at about the same time that Travis, Chris, Earl and Billy were getting home after being chased out of the empty lot by a cop. He was cruising home in a great mood. He got out a little early and planned to take Timmy and Alice out for dinner at the A&W drive in. Gordon always got excited for his son when school let out for summer and he wanted to do something special for him.

He pulled into the driveway with “What is Life” by George Harrison blaring on the radio. He sat in the driveway, in his car despite the heat, and waited for the song to finish. Gordon loved summertime. He hopped out of the car when the song finally finished and did a little shuffle step up the walk to the porch. He entered the house, it was warm but comfortable. Alice had every window open and the fans running on high.

Gordon walked to the kitchen and dropped his lunch pail on the table. “Timmy” he yelled. No answer of course. “Where is that kid?” He asked the empty room. He saw Alice through the window. She was out in her garden, weeding or seeding he could never tell the difference. Gardening wasn’t his thing but it made her happy and when she was happy, he was happy. Gordon popped open the fridge and grabbed a cold one and walked outside.

Alice was on her hands and knees planting seeds in the freshly turned soil when Gordon sneaked up behind her and pinched her. “Ouch” she shrieked and jumped to her feet. “You’re home early” she giggled.

“Bob wasn’t looking so I stepped out.” Gordon grabbed his wife and gave her a kiss. “What do you say to A&W for dinner tonight?”

“Sounds good to me.” Alice answered. “Timmy will be excited to hear that when he gets home.”

“What do you mean ‘when he gets home’? He’s not home yet?”

“No… wait, what time is it?” Alice suddenly realized that she had lost track of time.

“It’s ten to four.” Gordon said.

“Oh my god! Where’s Timmy? He should’ve been home half an hour ago.” Alice said slightly panicked.

“Uh, well, maybe he stopped at a friends house.” Gordon said, not wanting to add to Alice’s panic. “I’ll call Kevin’s house and see if he’s there.”

“But he always comes straight home.” Alice’s mothering instinct was revving up.

“Well I’ll just call and see.” Gordon knew his son was a good kid and probably just got sidetracked and lost track of time himself. He walked back into the house with his beer and grabbed the phone. Alice followed close behind.

“Hello, Mrs. Brown is Timmy there?” he asked sure that the answer would be yes.

“No, he’s not here. Let me ask Kevin if he’s seen him.” Gordon could hear the muffled voices behind Mrs. Brown’s hand covering the receiver and then she came back on. “Kevin hasn’t seen Timmy since school let out. Sorry. Maybe he’s just gotten off to playing somewhere. Try the park. I’ll let you know If he stops by here.”

“Okay, thank you Mrs. Brown.” Gordon hung up the phone. Alice’s face was white with worry. “She hasn’t seen him.” He told her.

“Where could he be?” She asked in a slightly frantic voice. “Why don’t you go and walk back to the school and see if you can find him. I’ll call his other friends.” Gordon could tell that Alice was trying not to let panic take over. She worried constantly about Timmy.

“Okay, I’ll hike to the school. I’m sure I’ll find him in someone’s front yard.” Gordon gave his wife another kiss and ran out of the house. He got to the sidewalk and turned right. He walked a little faster than he could admit to. Gordon wasn’t sure whether he was worried about his son or not yet. He was.

He marched down the block, looking left and right, calling his name. He was sure he’d see him on some swing set somewhere. Four houses down the block and he hadn’t seen him yet. His steps quickened. One more house and he reached the crosswalk. He trotted across the street and yelled “Timmy” a little louder than he intended to.

Mrs. Morgan happened to be in her front yard, watering her flowers. Gordon asked her if she had seen Timmy. She hadn’t and she had been in her yard since two thirty this afternoon. She promised to keep an eye out for him and tell him to run straight home. Gordon kept walking and calling his son’s name. The worry was really getting to him now and he wasn’t ashamed to admit it.

Two houses after the intersection he walked past the empty lot. Gordon only glanced past the fence at all the junk that lay beyond. He called Timmy’s name a couple times and kept walking. He intended to walk all the way to the school but when he reached the next intersection Gordon stopped. He stood still for a minute and felt his entire body go numb. It was almost as if he had just lost something that he greatly needed. He looked around him and the whole world look different. Colors dulled, sounds of children playing across the street muted. His body felt heavy, like he was walking in syrup.

The empty lot. He knew it. Even though Timmy was told to never play there, Gordon knew. Timmy’s in the lot. Gordon turned around and headed back to the lot. Running by the houses he just past. He was running now but he felt as though he was moving slower than before. Too slow.

He reached the gate and spread it open. Thank God the idiot who owned this lot never locked it up tight. Gordon squeezed through with little struggle.

“TIMMY!” Gordon yelled, nearly screamed.

“TIMMY!” No answer but he knew he was here somewhere. Sometimes dads just know.

Gordon looked around and spotted the book bag and log cabin on a barrel next to the gate. The cabin was broken up but he recognized it as the one he and Timmy glued together a couple of months ago.

“TIMMEEEY” He yelled again and ran into the lot.

Gordon felt a little foolish looking into an old car and somebody’s old ice shanty but he just knew his son was close. But why doesn’t he answer? He tried desperately to keep the worst out of his mind but it kept sneaking up on him. “What if this is bad, really bad?” Some part of his mind kept asking him.

That’s when he saw it. An old Fridgedaire laying on it’s back with the door shut. The world seemed to shrink away from him. He started to walk forward to the fridge. It was taking too long, it’s like the fridge was crawling away from him.

He finally reached it after an eternity, grabbed the handle and pulled the door open. Timmy was inside. For a moment, Gordon’s heart started beating again. The next moment Gordon realized how still his son was and his numbness was replaced with a sudden emptiness. He dropped to his knees and wrapped his arms around Timmy and lifted him out of the fridge. His clothes were drenched with sweat and his body was incredibly hot and limp.

“Timmy.” He cried. “Timmy stop foolin’ Daddy’s got you” Gordon stroked his son’s face and felt the still warm tears that streaked down his cheeks.

“NO NO NO NO! I’M NOT TOO LATE! TIMMY WAKE UP!” Gordon screamed at his son. Fathers tears were streaming down Gordon’s face. He pulled his son tightly into his arms and rocked him as if he were still a baby, whispering no no no.

The sun was still shining brightly but everything looked blurry and gray to Gordon and he rocked his boy. He kept thinking, “This is not happening, This is not happening!” But it was. Time stood still.

A sudden gasp broke his train of thought. He looked down into his son’s face and saw his eyes flutter open.

“Dad?” Timmy croaked. “I’m sorry”

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Timmy's walk home part three

The boys zigged and zagged through the scatters of parents and kids walking down the sidewalk. Four of them reached the chain link fence that surrounded the empty lot together. Earl arrived later, he couldn’t run too well. His mom says he’s “big boned” but he knows he’s fat. Earl tries not to let it bother him, but it does.

The gate was closed and locked with a chain, a rather long chain that allowed the two gates to slide apart enough for even Earl to get through. Apparently the owner didn’t care what walked in, or out.

“Ok, everybody in.” said Travis, catching his breath. He slid the gates apart and led the way like some kind of miniature jungle guide.

“Timmy, let’s put your stuff on this barrel.” Billy put the log cabin on top of an old rusted out fifty five gallon drum.

“Ok.” Timmy was a little nervous about actually being inside the fence. He knew he was disobeying his parents and it wasn’t sitting well with him. He looked around and was amazed to see just how much junk was scattered everywhere. He thought his dad was right, this place is a death trap.

“Alright Earl, you’re IT!” Travis exclaimed as he and Chris ran off to their hiding spots.

Earl looked liked he expected this as he yelled, “Aw man, not again.” He spun around and slapped his hands to his thighs then covered his eyes and began counting.

Billy looked at Timmy and said, “You better get movin’ Earl counts real fast.” Just like that he was gone too.

Timmy paused a moment to look at his stuff on the barrel. He hoped no one would come along and swipe his recorder. How would he explain that to his mom and dad? Then he too ran off into the lot to find a good hiding spot. Earl was on TEN.

He could see the other boys running and ducking behind barrels and into old cars. Where to hide, where to hide he thought. There was the remains of some old shack that looked like one of those huts you sit in to ice fish. That’s no good he thought, there are so many holes in it Earl would find him right away. There was an old wooden crate that Timmy actually crawled into. It reeked of that old basement smell that he hated about his grandma’s Christmas ornaments so he crawled back out.

“TWENTY” Timmy heard Earl yell.

“I gotta find one soon, he’s almost to thirty.” That was when Timmy saw an old refrigerator laying on it’s back. He ran over to it and pulled the lever handle. It opened easily. The inside was huge. “Big enough for all three of us.” Timmy said to himself as he climbed in.

It really wasn’t big enough for all three of them, things just appear that way when you’re eight years old. Timmy brought the door down just as Earl cried “THIRTY”

The next sound he heard was a hard metallic “click.” It didn’t register that he had just locked himself into an old Fridgedaire. He was just surprised by the sudden quiet. The noises from the sidewalk were just cut-off by that sudden “click.” Timmy didn’t even hear Earl yell “READY OR NOT, HERE I COME!”

Timmy was only in the fridge for a few seconds before he thought to himself, “Man, it’s hot in here.” The old Fridgedaire had been laying in this old lot for years and every summer it had collected heat. Almost as if it had a secret dream of being an oven. Today, the cloudless sky had allowed the sun to cook it up to well over a hundred degrees.

He sat there crouched down in the hot and stifling darkness for what felt like at least half an hour. It was only three minutes. The quiet interior of the fridge was kind of creepy. The only sounds he heard now was his own breathing and the small click that his throat made when he swallowed. He was trying to be as quiet as possible. He didn’t want to be found first, after all. The heat was making him feel a little dizzy, but he was sure he would soon hear Earl shouting for him and telling him that he gives up.

A few more minutes passed and the poor kid couldn’t take it anymore, the sweat was pouring off of him in buckets. The dizziness was getting worse. Timmy decided to give up first. He tried to push the door open. It wouldn’t budge.

Timmy finally realized what had “clicked” when the door shut.

It was fifteen minutes past three o’clock.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Timmy's walk home part two

The sidewalk was crowded with kids and parents. Each one smiling and laughing or running. The kids running weren’t loaded down with stuff like Timmy was. Timmy thought these kids were lucky.

Just then a group of kids ran by and bumped Timmy from the side. His book bag swung out in front of him and nearly tripped him. His Abe Lincoln log cabin tipped out from under his arm and crashed to the sidewalk. The roof came part way off and the front came all the way off. He watched it fall in disbelief. He worked so hard on it. As he was bending to pick it up Billy Shuster from his class was running by and almost finished the log cabin off. His left foot nearly landed squarely on the unbroken remains of the cabin. Luckily he did some kind of half-jump side step and missed it entirely. He almost lost his balance but saved himself by swinging his arms.

“Ah man Timmy. That bites!” Billy said in a serious tone. He squatted down next to Timmy and helped him pick up the pieces.

“It’s no big deal. I can fix it.” Timmy said. “My dad will let me use his hot glue gun and it will be as good as new.” Timmy was pretty level headed kid. It took a lot to upset him.

“Well, that’s cool.” Billy said as he started walking along with Timmy, carrying the front of the cabin and half the roof because now it did fall all the way off.

“Where’s all your stuff?” Timmy asked Billy, wondering why Billy wasn’t loaded down the same way he was.

“I threw everything out. I didn’t make anything cool like this cabin, and my other projects were just dumb.”

“What about all your pencils and crayons and junk?” Timmy asked

“Threw ‘em out. They were all stubs anyway. Hey, what are you doing right now?” Billy asked.

“Walking home. Duh.” Timmy smirked.

“No dummy, I mean, are you doin’ anything right away when you get home.” Billy said smiling back.

“Just waiting for my dad to get home and have dinner. Why?”

“Me and Travis and a couple of his friends are gonna play in that abandoned lot down the street from your house. Wanna come?” Billy asked excitedly.

“I don’t know, my mom says that that place in dangerous. Broken glass, boards with nails sticking out of ‘em, maybe even rats.”

“Nah, it ain’t that bad. We play there all the time and I’ve never seen a rat.” This was a little white lie. Billy has actually been out in this lot with his older cousin, shooting rats with his pellet gun. Billy didn’t feel like he was lying though, the rats always ran away from people. He just really wanted Timmy to come along.

“I don’t know, my mom will worry if I don’t get home right after school. Besides, just what am I supposed to do with all this stuff?” Timmy really wanted to go. The empty lot looked like fun. He walked past it every day to and from school. It was only a block from his house. His parents never let him play there though because of all the junk laying around. There was old cars and window panes and steel drums and old used up appliances all over the place. Dad called it a “death trap.” He called city hall to complain about it a few times but they never did anything about it.

“Your mom won’t even know your late. We’ll just play one round of hide and seek and you’ll be home before you know it.” Billy said in his best big-brother voice.

“Well, I don’t know. Maybe just one game wouldn’t take too long.” Timmy answered, trying not to sound too unsure about it.

“Ok, cool.” Billy said excitedly. “Look, there’s Travis and his buddies now. Let’s run so that you won’t be too late for sure.”

The two boys took off like a streak like only boys can do. They ran up to meet Travis and his friends Earl and Chris. Billy yelled, “Hey Trav, Timmy’s gonna play too.”

“Cool.” Travis answered. “Let’s go.”

The five boys ran down the sidewalk together. The sweat ran down their faces and into their eyes, but they didn’t care how hot it was, summer had started and that’s all that matters.

They were two blocks from school..

Friday, August 14, 2009

Timmy's walk home part one

Timmy was glad that the school year was over, just like every other kid at Johnson Elementary. He walked out of the squat brick building at three o’clock loaded down with all the things that seem to collect in the bottom of his desk and in his locker. He carried his book bag, so stuffed with folders, notebooks and projects, it was near bursting. His other hand was loaded with his recorder from music class and his Abe Lincoln log cabin that he made in history class. He got a B-minus on the cabin, he thought that he deserved an A but you can’t argue with Mrs. Fenrick.

The afternoon was very bright and sunny, also quite humid. Summer came in early and hot. This whole week the thermometer never dropped below eighty-five. It was the hottest May in twenty years according to the weather man on channel thirteen. Timmy liked to watch the news with his dad, he felt like he was learning important stuff. Most third graders in 1971 would think Timmy was weird for watching the news with his dad but he didn’t care. His dad worked a lot and sitting in his big chair with him was special.

Timmy usually walked home with his best friend Alex, but today Alex got to go home early because his family was going on a vacation. So Timmy walked home alone. It’s not a long walk, only four blocks. His mother worries about him, but she knows that he has to grow up someday. Timmy’s father teases his mother about this. “Cut the apron strings, Alice. The boy can handle it.” He would say. Timmy is not sure what his dad is talking about but laughs along with him anyway.

Other kids speed past him on their way to the sidewalk and freedom. One kid, a big clumsy boy named Earl, nearly knocks the log cabin from under Timmy’s arm. He didn’t mean to, and looks back at Timmy with an “oops sorry” sort of smile. Timmy smiles back and Earl runs off. Everyone is in such a good mood. Even the school bully Michael has what passes for a genuine smile on his face. That’s good because it means that no one is gonna get beat up this afternoon. Timmy reaches the sidewalk and turns left toward home.