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 juice.
* * * * * * * * * *
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 goin'
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
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 stated.
"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.