He was bored with himself, again--not depressed,
simply tired with his routine. Having achieved a full
night's rest, running backups of his phone, tablet
and laptop computer seemed the appropriate tasks to
do on an early Saturday morning. For breakfast, he
enjoyed raisins with his fibrous cereal, followed
by Sloppy Joe with cheese scooped out of a bowl using
corn chips. He ate the Sloppy (ground beef, sweet
onion, diced tomato, tomato paste) with cheddar on
thin white bread for dinner, gladly, two nights in
a row, which included cream-corn (with black pepper)
along with the corn chips. But now, he was after something
more: a cup of coffee, perhaps; a glass of orange
* * * * * * * * * *
A jumbo jet roared over the house as birds chirped
closer to home. Cars quick-stopped at the intersection,
then accelerated up the street towards the avenue.
He took a deep breath and ate another chip, chewing
aggressively to drown out the exterior disturbances.
He peered through the side window from his couch,
envisioning these events, seeing only his neighbor's
cement semi-stuccoed wall, hearing another neighbor
(from across the street) laughing at something funny.
"Hey girl," she sarcasted, "What's
Cicadas sang--then ceased abruptly. An electric lawn
mower whirred, grooming knee-high tufts of grass landscaped
between the sidewalk and the corner house. The blades
became caught, entangled in a plastic bag that was
weighed down by a styrofoam container full of chicken
wing bones and half eaten, ketchup-splattered French
fries. The lawn mower clunked down again after unearthing
an empty recyclable plastic bottle mashed flat into
the ground. Some moments later, the cicadas hum-buzzed
that their turf had been cleared. The birds chimed
in for a pending raid. The airplanes continued on,
as if the only thing that mattered was traffic control.
* * * * * * * * * *
He went for a walk down the avenue to find some take-out
lunch. He wore his dark blue, cloth front/mesh back
(one size fits all) baseball cap. A light blue t-shirt
with a Drupal Boot Camp logo was hidden beneath a
three-button, medium blue, short sleeve pullover with
across the body white inset red pinstripes. His olive
green cargo shorts (drawstring tied) were fully supported
by a brown belt, which was covered by his untucked
polo. He sockless, his boat shoes were missing the
rawhide laces from the eyelets around the shoe, and
there was a sky-blue splotch of paint on the front
left shoe (small toe stub), reminding him of how much
he loathed "interior decorating," but how
enthralled he had become by the entertainment after
the bedroom had been completed.
On his way to lunch, he strolled by the park. The
neighborhood's flea market was at near full capacity,
so he decided to detour from his plan. Not quite noon,
the community gathered to find knick-knacks from the
vendors' cleaning house. In addition, there were kebabs,
pamphleteers, farmers, and old-time rock-n-roll, vases,
used books, students, conga drum rhythms, exotic trinkets
and masks. The attention getter was the wooden New
Years clicking noisemaker. The beat-the-heat crowd
were more interested in socializing than they were
shopping. After browsing, he walked a couple blocks
further down the avenue and decided to purchase some
Mumbai chaat for his afternoon meal. While the chaat
was being prepared, he grabbed an ice tea. The restaurant
was comfortable, but tiny, and only the two friendly
employees were there. Wondering where to eat, he thought
"Mmm, back"--drawn back to the park.
* * * * * * * * * *
Droplets could be felt in the breeze, yet there were
no visual signs of a looming storm; however, thunder
grumbled. The sun cast a shadow over the swelter,
mildly inflaming his tongue: another fork-full; a
sip of iced tea.
His cold had started to break. He relished his feverish
body, the cold sweats, the shivers that were offsetting
the stark open air. The people nearby paid no mind
to the summer weather, except a relaxed mother whose
newborn was tucked above her tummy. She raised her
parasol to protect the baby from ultraviolet rays.
He sat at a cafe table just off the side of a grassy
stretch of land equivalent to four medium-sized backyards--enough
space to play Renaissance Capture the Flag.
"Hello, dad." He was wearing a non-camouflage
green t-shirt, cobalt blue shorts, and modern gladiator
"Hey, son. Might rain," he teased.
"We'll play anyway," he asserted. "Mommy's
"Okay. Have fun."
He spotted her, she him. She walked over and chit-chatted
with him while he finished his lunch, but she did
not sit down, nor did he think to offer before she
mentioned that she had a blanket and did not want
to be be directly in the sun. She was wearing a heat-absorbing
black t-shirt and shorts.
The battle had begun: two teams, two flags, and foam
swords. From the sidelines, the strategy appeared
to be charge and thwack, and forget about the flag.
She invited him over to sit with her while their son
became embroiled in play. They discussed middle and
high school, then they wandered on to college aspirations.
Then their knight/gladiator interrupted their conversation
for some drink.
"Get back out there, tiger," she exclaimed
with the intensity of a blood-sport cheer, commanding
him to get to skirmishing again.
They were exchanging calendars, when they noticed
the poorly tightened bottle left by their son laying,
leaking on the blanket next to her backpack. She reached
inside to find a towel, but forgot to bring one. He
lamented that he had discarded the napkins after he
had eaten his lunch. She wiped away the liquid with
her hand that had not already been absorbed into the
tightly woven fabric. After which, she resolved to
the magazines she had intended to read, offering him
one. He declined politely, preferring to sack out--beside
her. He closed his eyes, watching the brightness dim
on his lids, hearing her flip through pages, loosing
track of time--the years bygone.
"Hey, I'm feeling a little antsy," she
"I'll bring him to the house," he confirmed,
pretending not to notice the cootie-crawlers.
"You can hold on to the blanket."
"That's fine, but I'm not falling back asleep.
Eh, pack up and go."
An airliner flew overhead.