Chapter 14 - Lost in the Translation
It was the loud banging on the door that got me out of bed the next day. I was half asleep as I stumbled across the kitchen floor pulled the blue curtains slightly apart to see Dean pacing nervously on the back steps. He was wearing sunglasses and his green nylon windbreaker, and his long hair was every where, so I took it he was riding his Harley.
I decided to play with him. He knocked loudly BANG! BANG! BANG! And I knocked loudly back at him.
"Open up up the fucking door, asshole! I still got that machete in my trunk. I'll hack my way in there!" I opened the door because I knew he was crazy enough to carry out that threat. Dean was standing there giving me his lame assed version of a death stare, "Let me in! Mizz Woods over there undressing me with her eyes!"
I looked across the street to see Mizz Wood in a bright purple muumuu and wearing a yellow bath towel wrapped around her hair gawking at us. When I waved, she defiantly shook a fist at me and yelled from her front porch, " You boy's need to learn some manners, my boy's in there sleeping."
"Well, damn our souls then, Mizz Woods! Randy needs all the beauty sleep he can get!" I replied with fake sincerity.
Dean snickered and added under his breath, " Beauty sleep? If that's the case that sumbitch Lardass need to hibernate for a decade or two."
I laughed and when she saw me laughing, she flipped me an upraised finger and I knew it was only her holding a coffee cup preventing her from giving me another.
I stepped back inside the house "What the hell, dude! It's 6:00 o'clock in the morning. You know I need my beauty sleep too. Besides, how do I know it wasn't you undressing her with your eyes."
He was the process of barging past me but halted in mid stride, "Aghh! I threw up a bit in my mouth just now. If I had eaten breakfast, it'd be on your floor right now. God's gonna punish you for what you just did." He slid by me, "Shit, I was knocking for thirty minutes. I was beginning to think that Mickey and them dudes might have paid you another visit."
"Well, I doubt that Mickey and his goons are up this early."
Dean sent a disappointed look my way, "Damn it, Danny. Are we gonna start this shit this early in the morning?"
I looked at him innocently, " I was just stating an opinion."
"You know what I mean. I say one thing and you say something contrary. Don't give me that fucking innocent look. You do it all of the time." Dean went and sat at the dining table. He reached over and pulled the curtains apart so he could see out of the window. We could both see Mizz Woods washing her red mini-van and every time she bent over to soap her sponge the back of her muumuu would rise and reveal acres and acres of undulating cellulite.
We gave each other a look of disgust. Dean pulled the curtains shut. I went and sat down at the table too. I pushed an overfilled ashtray away from where I sat. Glen and his friends had played poker the night before and about twenty tall empty brown beer bottles were collected in the center of the table. Some artist among them had drawn devil faces on all of the labels and turned them to face south directly at where I was sitting. It looked kind of spooky.
I answered Dean's accusation, " I don't know if you noticed or not, but that seems to be the way we communicate with each other, mostly. If you took the time to remember, you'd understand I have saved you a shit load of trouble by talking you out of some of your more demented notions."
"Name one time."
It didn't take me two seconds, "How bout the time, you were going to stay after school and whip Mr. Gordon's ass? I had to cut sixth period to convince you that that was stupid idea,"
The memory only made Dean more riled, "That cocky sumbitch need his ass whipped." He doubled his fists and held them in a boxer's pose. That was another of his traits, Dean gesticulated a lot. He acted his stories out when he told them.
" I had to carefully explain all the reasons that your plan was silly. They were reasons that would have been obvious to most people. Gordon was an ex professional wrestler for one, or how about the stuff they said he did in Vietnam? Not to mention that you would have been expelled and probably placed in Juvie."
Dean's face soured, " If I remember right, your list included over seventy-five reasons and included the idea that I would burn in Hell for an eternity."
"I borrowed that one from Church; I was desperate because you were shadow boxing in front of the bathroom mirrors the whole time."
He finally grinned, " I would have done that shit too. That fool called me a hillbilly in front of Peggy Masters. I might have had shot at her if it hadn't been for that." He paused for a minute thinking about Peggy Masters. She was a cute, long-legged blonde who wore the most hideous looking glasses. If she accidentally looked at the sun for over a second, those coke bottled lenses would have burned two holes in the back of her head. Everybody was amazed how much better she looked when she took them off. The problem was she was almost blind when she did.
Dean took umbrage when I chided him on choosing someone with such a disability as the object of his affections, " You like Reverend Rob. Every Sunday he goes after the weak, the hurting, and the broken trying to get them to answer the altar call."
"I thought you said he was always after you?" he quipped.
" Going after me is a given. I am the last fox in England, the only heathen left. But that idiot scratches notches in his gun belt every time he claims a soul. Hell, some of them people, he's saved five or six times."
"Well, it ain't like that with me and Peggy. I like her, not because she's blind, but because she is nice. If she takes those glasses off she's pretty, but mainly because she ain't got all the sumptions of most these other girls."
"Sumptions?" I stared at him puzzled.
"You know like I'm a low life loser."
" Oh, I see. She sees through your cover."
"Fuck you, Danny! But yeah, she sees the real me," he gave me a big insincere grin, "or, she did until that dumbass Gordon called me hillbilly." Dean spoke again, "The advice you gave was classic though. Seven months later he's forgotten the incident, and then we strike."
I held up my finger to my nose to dissuade Dean from saying anything else. We had taken an oath to never mention what we had done. Suffice it to say that we had gotten Dean's revenge in a big way, and we had waited till the last of school to do it. Mr. Gordon might have been tough, but he was a real dick too.
There were more than enough kids who he had hurt in one way or another for him to pin what we did on Dean. All I'm going to say about it is, he shouldn't have been cheating on his wife in the first place. Mrs. Gordon, our Spanish teacher, was as sweet and as well loved by her students as her husband was cruel and hated.
"Well, tell me, asshole, what brings you over here so early in the damn morning?" Secretly, I was glad he was there; as I was woke up, but I wasn't telling him that.
"I was excited to tell you some news. I took your advice."
His face instantly changed, and I could see that he was genuinely excited about something. " You're going to have to narrow it down there some, dude; it seems that all I do is give you advice."
He tilted his head and grinned, "Ya know I never thought of it, but that's true. You like my grandma, man." I looked at him sternly, and he got back on focus, "I mean bout the stuff you told me after the funeral, about getting a good girl and settling down and raising kids and shit."
"What? You found another blind girl?"
The remark caused him to wince, "Why do I even tell you shit?"
"Cause you can't stand to be around your grandma, I guess."
" I'm trying to be serious, Danny. I thought about what you said and decided to change things a bit. I saw Linda Roberts sitting at the ice cream place, so I went in and acted like I wanted a chocolate cone, and then I started to talk to her. We had a nice little conversation."
" She's a holy roller, you know that," I looked at him skeptically, " long dresses, hair piled up on top of their head, church?"
" She's a good looking girl though . All them clothes just means she ain't got somebody else's fingerprints all over her."
" She know about you? And how about Willy, her brother? She might be holy; that crazy fucker's working the other side of the fence."
" I'm good with Willy; my dad bailed him out of jail once. Besides I ain't looking to wham, bam, and get the fuck out of there. I'm thinking long term here. I even got her a ring. Looky here."
I couldn't talk. I sat there and watched as he pulled a small jewelry box out of his windbreaker's pocket. I was thinking about the power of words. I just said what I said, to help him stop crying over his Dad's death, and here he was getting ready to propose a couple of days later. " I quickly but firmly decided that Danny Wilson needed to take vow of silence.
Dean fumbled with the small, green velvet covered box and sat it down on the red table top. It looked kind of nice with contrasting colors and all. He looked up at me and smiled. I paid rapt attention but was suffocating because of the absence of air around me.
He finally reached down and gently opened the box, then drew his arms back with his opened palms pointing at the box.
There inserted into the red velvet lining was a beer tab with a piece of broken bottle glued to the top. I was silent. I was a fish out of water finally gasping, "You sorry motherfucker! You had me thinking about knocking you out and lobotomizing you, and you pull this shit!" Then I stopped abruptly and started laughing as I realized it was some funny shit. That I had to admit.
Dean was beaming, "I figured we could both use a laugh. Life was starting to get heavy around here, too heavy."
I gave him a high five, "That was a good one, man! You got me there."
"I did talk to Linda though with no hidden motive other than talking to a female. It was kind of nice. She's a pretty cool chick."
I couldn't help asking, "No long term plans?"
"Other than I got a date with Sylvia this Saturday. Now, that girl keeps me on my toes and makes my pulse race."
"What about the finger prints?"
He just shrugged, "Who the hell am I to judge her. She don't judge me."