High School Honey
by Bill Bowler
|Table of Contents|
|Chapter 16: Home from Connecticut|
The desire that had been Vronsky’s only one for almost an entire year and had replaced all earlier desires, and the desire that had been an impossible, horrifying and therefore all the more seductive dream of happiness for Anna — that desire was gratified. — L. N. Tolstoy, Anna Karenina
Mr. Loom had intended to spend the entire weekend in Southport, opening the summer house and saying hello to their summer neighbors. The plan was to return to New Jersey late Sunday night and be back in the office Monday morning. He had forgotten, and only remembered at dinner Saturday evening, reminded somehow by the smell of gravy, that his meeting with the auditors was Monday morning at 8:00 and he had left forty pages of unreviewed statements in his briefcase in the study at home.
Very well: after dinner, since they had promised, he and his wife Doris stopped by a party at the neighbors’ down the block. But they left early, he dropped the wife back at the summer house, and by 10 pm he was on the turnpike heading south towards Jersey. Doris would follow the next evening in the station wagon, as planned, and he would have all day Sunday at home to go over the statements before meeting with the auditors on Monday.
When Mr. Loom pulled up to the house and saw the Galaxy with the top down out in the driveway, and the garage door wide open, he began to get annoyed. What if it rained! What if a thief stole the lawnmower! Or entered the house through the garage!
Mr. Loom’s annoyance notched up to aggravation when he found the front door unlocked. He entered the house to find all the lights on in the rec room, and open bottles of his liquor on the bar beside half-filled glasses.
His annoyance blossomed into anger when he entered the kitchen to find a sink full of dirty dishes and a charred casserole dish on a hot burner. The stove was on. The whole house could have burned down with everything in it!
Mr. Loom turned off the stove with a trembling hand, and removed his belt as he walked through the living room and headed down the hall. He’d teach the boy a lesson he wouldn’t soon forget.
At a bend in the hallway, Mr. Loom paused before his own bedroom. The door was closed and he imagined he had heard a voice from inside, a girl’s voice. Strange.
As he opened the door to the darkened room, he imagined he heard another, somehow familiar voice. When he switched on the light, he froze in his tracks, dumbfounded to see Flea Fleanor in the bed with a naked girl.
The girl was only half awake, and then she saw him, screamed, and pulled the sheet up over her bare breasts. Flea was up and out of bed, pulling on his underpants.
“Now Mr. Loom, I know this looks bad, just don’t get excited. I feel as bad about this as you do. I can explain everything. Honey, get dressed.”
Honey looked fearfully at Mr. Loom and blushed deeply. Mr. Loom stared at her, and his rage mixed with sexual attraction. She was just a kid, but a very beautiful young girl on the verge of womanhood. He envied Flea for a second, but his rage and resentment surged again. He turned his back and shouted, “Get dressed! Both of you! I want you out of this house!”
Floater had heard the noise and started down the hall to investigate when he recognized his father’s voice screaming at Flea and Honey. Floater almost panicked at the thought of the punishment he would now have to face, but kept his head and ran back to his bedroom to warn Shirley.
He woke her and told her to dress quickly while he did the same. Shirley was still half-asleep and not quite aware of what was happening, but the deadly seriousness of Floater’s voice persuaded her to get dressed without delay.
Flea and Honey were also dressing hurriedly, and in silence. Honey looked at Flea hoping for reassurance, but Flea said only, “Hurry up.”
When they had dressed, they slipped through the door past Floater’s father, with Flea saying, “I’m really sorry about this, Mr. Loom. It’s not as bad as it looks. I’ll be able to explain everything.”
Flea and Honey crossed the living room and rushed out the front door. Mr. Loom was now overcome with fury. He clutched the buckle of his belt and walked deliberately down the hall towards his son’s bedroom. He was going to have to teach the boy a lesson.
Floater had gallantly helped Shirley clamber up and out the bedroom window first, but she had hesitated to drop from the ledge in the darkness until he prodded her with the urgency of their situation, and she had finally slipped down onto an azalea bush that broke her fall.
Floater himself then grasped the ledge to lift himself out, but his bedroom door opened, and his father’s voice, cold as ice, said quietly, “Stop right there, son.”
There was something in the tone of Mr. Loom’s voice, something final, something to which there could be no thought of remonstrance, of objection or argument. Flight, attractive and beckoning, was out of the question. Floater could run, but he could not hide. His father would find him and it would be so much the worse. So Floater stepped back down from the open window, lowered his head, and turned to face the music.
As Flea and Honey descended the front stoop and ran down the front walk towards the driveway, Shirley was coming around the corner from the back of the house. The three of them hurried down the driveway out to the street.
“Where’s Floater?” Flea asked Shirley.
“I don’t know. He was right behind me.”
“Wait here a minute,” Flea told the girls. He doubled back around the side of the house and disappeared into the darkness. From the shadows, Flea tossed a pebble at Floater’s bedroom window and Floater’s head appeared.
“What are you doing in there?” Flea hissed.
“Flea, that you?”
“Hold on, I’m comin’ out.”
Floater crawled out the window and jumped down into the bushes next to Flea. Floater’s left eye was purple and swollen shut.
“You all right, man?” asked Flea.
“The cocksucker punched me, knocked me down, kicked me, and whipped me with his belt! I’ll kill that mothafugger!”
“C’mon,” said Flea, “Let’s get outa here.”
Flea and Floater emerged from the darkness at the corner of the house and rejoined the girls, who were waiting at the end of the driveway.
As they headed down the hill, Flea began to laugh. “You shoulda seen the look on your old man’s face when he saw us in his bed! I thought he was going to pop a gut. Ha ha ha!”
“It must have been funny,” Floater was forced to admit.
“It was. It was really funny!”
“It WASN’T funny!” screamed Honey, and she started to cry.
Flea was completely surprised.
“Hey, hey,” said Floater, “don’t take it so hard. Nothin’ bad happened.”
“Yeah, it could happen to anyone,” said Shirley. She put her arm around her best friend.
“Don’t worry,” said Floater. “He’s just pissed off at me. You’re in the clear.”
Flea and Floater walked the girls down Pasquanack Road to Shirley’s and dropped them off. After the girls had disappeared quietly into Shirley’s house, the two boys proceeded down Brookbank Ave. towards the park downtown.
As they crossed the train tracks, Floater picked up a rock and shouted, “I’ll KILL that mothafugger!” and threw the rock through the big front window of Mr. Vecchio’s restaurant. The glass shattered as the two boys shouted a war whoop and ran off through the park, across the far street, and disappeared from sight through the bank parking lot.
Copyright © 2010 by Bill Bowler