Francine and Rollo Jordan sat at the table in their ‘do it yourself’ breakfast nook that they’d added on between their large dining room and den, and had their evening meal. That’s what they called it anyway- a breakfast nook. It looked more like a room with a picnic table with a couple of benches- which was okay with them. Their home was long since paid for and they were both retired- her from nursing and him from Gitco, an oilfield equipment manufacturing company. They didn’t have too many guests anymore, since their children lived in other states now, which was fine and they would often enjoy their supper in the nook because it was near a large window that provided a view along the length of their front yard, which Francine kept well weeded and groomed as a lady should. Rollo helped sometimes, mostly with the planting and watering, as a gentleman should. They were old school after all. They’d both heard of Betty Friedan and Gloria Steinem... Simone de Beauvoir. But they were happy with their arrangements and personal boundaries in life.
“Rollo...” Francine said, staring out the window at the yard. The front porch light was on, for one thing, and with the street lights there was enough illumination for her to see that there was something going on behind one of the Waxleaf Ligustrums in the bed between the house and the yard nearest the corner. “There is something in the ligustrum...”
“What do you mean?” Rollo said.
“Just that!” Francine said, placing her fork back on the plate next to the piece of the chicken that she had fried the night before but that they were enjoying again this evening. “There is a commotion in the ligustrum. It’s moving around like a wind is blowing it, but there’s no wind tonight.”
Rollo leaned forward a bit so that he could see around Francine. Where she sat was closer to the window and she blocked his view a bit. Not that he minded looking at her. She was still lovely to him even though her long curly hair was completely white now and there were some lines in her kind, oval face. He was a short faced man himself, with a thick white moustache that he let get longer these since he was no longer still working.
“So there is!” he said, seeing the bushy ligustrum flailing about like an octopus with the tip of one tentacle inserted into an electrical outlet. It still had some of its white flowers here and there on some of its green branches, but they would be turning dark soon and falling. For some reason it made him think of a poem that he had read once by Robert Frost about a white dimpled spider on a white flower, a heal-all, and a white moth that had not seen the fate that awaited him when he landed there. Rollo had considered a teaching career for a while, years before he found himself in the business he would ultimately remain in for the majority of his working years. And he’d favored English Literature.
“I’ll get you for this!” Strobiloid said, near tears as he held the shoulder that Scotty Bob “Smitty” smith had whacked mega- hard with the board.
“No you won’t.” I said.
“But I sure as fuck will!” Seton screeched as he helped his wounded compadre into the passenger seat of the car that had brung ‘em’ Apparently Bobby Strahan was injured badly enough that he couldn’t drive himself to the emergency room. He wasn’t injured badly enough however that he was admitted into the hospital that night.
My head was hurting like a bastard. Although, I think the blow had sobered me up considerably- if that is the correct term to use when one is smashed in the head so hard that he or she is forced into lucidity from an acid trip. “I know you will.” I said to Seton, “But you don’t need another excuse to get me.”
The girl was still there, watching the whole thing, but she seemed more transparent to me than she had just seconds prior. I had not seen a ghost in years so it didn’t even cross my mind that maybe that’s what she was. I really figured she was just a persistent hallucination or something. I don’t know exactly what I figured until the specter opened, its- her- mouth... as if she wanted desperately to say something.
“Lynette?!” I muttered.
“There is a pair of blue jeans lying here!” Rollo said to Francine as he walked across the lawn toward the ligustrum that was still flapping like it was in street fight with a cyclone.
“Well, be careful,” Francine said as Rollo approached the plant with the beam of his flashlight fixed firmly upon it. “Maybe we better call the police.” She added just as Brazos jumped out of the wax leaf ligustrum as naked as a jaybird.
“We’re all gonna die!” he shouted.
“James?!” Rollo said. He knew James’s father from the oilfield.
“I gotta go tell the king!”
“What?” Rollo asked. “And save Carol!” Brazos said before he turned and bolted, buck naked, his penis flapping from side to side, like the trunk of a drunk baby pachyderm, slapping first one thigh and then the other.
“I thought you had abandoned me.” I said as I climbed into the passenger side of Phil’s car.
“Yeah... well, I probably should’ve just saved my own skin and got the hell outta Dodge.” Phil said as he lit a cigarette.
“But you couldn’t do that.” I said looking across the car at him, appreciation and admiration filling my eyes as I melted into our ‘bro’ moment like butter on a hot waffle-house griddle... or a suppository in the anus of a feverish baby... depending on how one wants to perceive the “moment”. I was referring to Nemo Resideo... of course... the soldier’s creed and all of that... leave no man behind!
I was sixteen years old for crying out loud, and after all still tripping on LSD. It was like a moment out of a novel or from a Hollywood movie or something. Nevertheless however; these years later, when I look back, it was that smarmy moment that I cringe at the most.
“Right....” Phil said. “Nemo Resideo and all that but I brought backup. Assaulting a minor with a 2x4 is way more serious than contributing to your delinquency.”
“So I did it.” Scotty Bob said.
“You didn’t have to do it.” I said a bit crestfallen but trying to keep the heroics and bravura alive. “I had it under control.”
“Yeah...” Phil said blowing out a huge cloud of smoke. “That is exactly the way it looked when we rolled up. Where’s Brazos? Halfway to Carol’s house in his birthday suit?!”
“Probably there by now.” I said.
“You do know that the smartest thing we could do is just let him go fend for himself” Phil said, the cigarette hanging off his bottom lip as he shifted the car into gear.
“I know.” I said. “Like you did me... Nemo Resideo!”
A siren wailed in the distance . “I hope that’s not him.” I said.
Phil looked up into the rear view mirror and screamed. “Ahhhh!”
I almost shit myself. “What?! What!?” I said.
“There is somebody in the back seat.”
“Of course there is...” I said and then turned and also let out a yowl loud enough to hear back at the park.
Scotty Bob was the only one who was not screaming; most likely because he was the only one not high on Barrel Acid. “What?!” He said. “What?!”