Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Aw, Man

I was all set to offer up some pictures of me as a teenaged "hand-waving poofter" (TM Jeff Kay) today, but it appears as though my "good" camera has eaten another set of batteries and I ain't got's no spares (because I don't have access to a color scanner and so was going to have to take a picture of the pictures to digitize 'em, don't you know).

Well Tiff, why not just take a picture with your cell phone and show us THOSE?" you might ask.

Good question, I would reply, and I would do that, if I'd remembered to bring my cell phone today. Sorry y'all, the pictures of me in my oh-so-lovely "corps style" drum majoring outfit will have to wait until tomorrow. I'll throw in a picture of me on my 18th b-day just for fun, and as proof that I love you more than I love my own ego. No, really. I do.


Not having anything embarrassing to offer you today, I'll go with art, or what passes for it in this dark corner of the interweb's mustiest attic: My Wordsmiths post for August. If you're going to write a story too, please note that you have only a few more days to get your stories in, and remember, they must use the milk wagon picture as inspiration and they MUST be 500 words or less. G'head, write like the juiced-up fiend we all know you are, then slash and burn your way to 500 words.

This month's story is the result of a caption contest I held late last week, in which I invited y'all to caption the WSU August pic and my favorite would get a story. You people did not make it easy, but in the end I simply HAD to go with Kingfisher's short and to the point caption: "
Billy never liked how Mr. Johnson delivered his cream."

Here goes:

The End of the Run

It was Thursday again. Billy hated Thursdays. Mr. Johnson came on Thursdays, while Billy's Dad was on the long run in the delivery truck over to Hoboken.

Dad always left early on Thursday mornings in order to beat the other drivers through the Holland Tunnel. He had to load up the truck with pies, and then spend a long day delivering them all over Manhattan.

Every Thursday for as long as he could remember, Billy's Mama would run straight to the bathroom down the hallway on their floor as soon as Dad left. He could hear the tub running, smell her bath oil, and hear her singing in Italian. Mama only took baths on Thursdays. While she bathed, Mr O'Reilly from 4C would pound on the bathroom door, shouting at Mama to hurry up, there are other people who live here, you stupid wop, and Mama's smoky laugh would roll out from under the door, mocking "why you say, O'Really? You wanna have a look at my scones and cabbages? Hah?" and Mr. O'Reilly would slink off in a huff, his face a furious red while his hands worked inside his pockets.

Mama could be mean like that, especially on Mr. Johnson days.

Every Thursday, Mr. Johnson the dairyman would come up to the apartment carrying 2 small bottles of cream and a large bottle of beer. Mama would tell Billy to grab his coat and go play. Mr. Johnson would pat Billy's head, calling him "son" and remarking at how he'd grown. Mama would sigh happily, saying how she loved their green eyes. Having green eyes, like Mr. Johnson did, made Billy hate himself.

As soon as he got to the street on Thursday mornings, the kids on the block would start in, saying "hey, your Mama getting creamed again?" and "boy I'd like to give your Mama some of my butter and eggs," which made Billy's blood boil. He could hear Mama panting the name of Our Lord while her bedsprings creaked and squealed. It was awful. Billy hated everything about Thursdays, and he'd decided that he'd had enough.

Billy left the stoop, walked past Mr Johnson's horse Mushroom, giving her a pat her for what he hoped was the last time, then headed to Schnelman's Drugstore to make a phone call to Hoboken. He'd been saving his candy allowance for weeks, just for this day. He'd looked up the bakery's number at the library and memorized it to the tune of "I'll be seeing you." The call was short. Mama, Billy said, had taken sick and needed Dad.

An hour later, while Mushroom still waited on the curb and while Mama was still praying, Dad's truck pulled onto their block. Billy grabbed his big hand as they climbed the steps, looking into his Daddy's deep brown eyes with what he hoped was sadness. Thursdays, he knew, were about to get a whole lot better.


Your comments, as always are welcome.

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