ANECDOTE 029: August 6, 2012
A Lazy Afternoon [listen]

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' on?!?"

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 sandals.

"Hey, son. Might rain," he teased.

"We'll play anyway," he asserted. "Mommy's over there."

"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 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.

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Copyright © 2012 by Edward K. Brown II, All Rights Reserved