when bees attack with righteous conviction

Tuesday, October 18, 2005

And so it goes

"That Ralph Roosevelt is one strange child," whispered Rachel Halsey.

"I hear he was raised by a family of clowns until the Roosevelts adopted him," added Jacob Halsey.

"Did anyone notice how he picked up those pants and put them on his head?" asked Matthew Halsey.

"That's nothing," Jacob continued, "just last week at school he spent half our geography lesson arguing with Mrs. Treachle that he had been King Siam of Pangea in a past life."

"King who?" asked Sadie.

"Quiet, guys. I can't hear what's going on," ordered Rachel, peering intently through the bushes.

"....don't care how many pairs of pants you've got on, " Tom raved from the side of the pool, "You could be Pantalones MeGee for all I care, just hand me back my friggin' clothes so I can get out of your flippin' pool and be on my freakin' way!" Tom used fake swear words around kids, and real swear words at work.

The kid, known to the Halsey children as Ralph Roosevelt, considered Tom for a second, then sat down on the deck and asked, "So what were you doing jumping into the pool like that?"

"The bees, you idiot! The bees!! Didn't you see them!?!"

"Of course I saw 'em," Ralph countered. Then added a bit morosely, "I'm not an idiot, you know."

"Whatever you little stinker, just hand me my pants already! I've had enough of this rubbish conversation. I just escaped a horrible death by bees and stinging and all I want to do is put some clothes on! Is that too much to ask you stupid snot?"

"Hey!" yelled Jacob stepping out from behind the hydrangea bushes, "That's no way to speak to a kid, ya big jerk!"

Ralph turned his head, peering through the zipper at Jacob as the rest of the Halsey children stepped into sight.

"Yeah, you the stupid one what through his clothes all around!" added Sadie (strong words from the youngest of the Halseys).

"What is this, some kind of freakin' kiddie birthday party!?!" Tom fumed, "Just someone -- anyone! -- hand me my frickin' clothes!!!"

And that was precisely the exact second that a small yet rather impressive meteorite slammed into the Roosevelt family's spacious backyard.

If a more obscure incident ever bonded a more eclectic group of people together, it had never been recorded. For the moment, Tom forgot about his near-nakedness, Sadie forgot about King Siam, Jacob forgot about how weird Ralph was, especially with those pants on his head, which Ralph forgot about as well.

Tom hoisted himself up onto the pool deck and followed the line of children into the yard, where the meteorite had landed. Ralph got there first, and stood, a puzzled pants head, over the place it was wedged into the ground. The rest of the kids circled around, and Tom stayed outside the circled kids, staring down over their heads at what had just happened. They stood.

“Guys,” Tom addressed them like he used to be their babysitter, as if he had known these kids for years. “That’s not a meteor. That’s a magic eight ball. A giant magic eight ball.”

The kids turned, still maintaining their circle, and peered at Tom.

“Hey, mister.” Ralph scrunched up his face and tilted his head to the side. “You’re wearing superman underwears.”

Tom looked down at his dripping wet boxers, then back up at Ralph. “Yeah, well you’ve still got my pants on your head.” Tom made no attempt to grab them, so Ralph pulled them down off his head and tied the legs around his neck like a scarf. They all looked back at the magic eight ball, which was leaking its magic blue juice all over the grass.

“Hey, that’s mine.” Nobody heard him. “HEY. That’s MINE.”

The confused group of six looked over to see a man in a wind suit/helmet and goggles combination walking toward them.

“That magic eight ball,” he said. “It’s mine. If you’re wondering why it’s so large, I got it on sale at Sam’s club. Apparently in addition to selling things in mass quantities, they also sell things that are bigger than anyone would ever need them.”

“That wasn’t quite what I was wondering,” Tom said.

“Yeah, what are you?” Sadie was gaping. Jacob pulled her to his side, as if to protect her from the unknown that was approaching them.

“Well, I was on the way down and a big gust of wind blew me off course, so I shook it and it said ‘Outlook Hazy,’ so I dropped it.” He said this in a manner that suggested this was the whole, complete story, that there was no more to be told, so everybody stood motionless trying to put things together in their heads, and goggle-man stooped down to dig his eight ball out of the ground.

Once he had successfully unearthed it, he stood up and stared at them, just as confused about them as they were about him.

“Name’s Hector,” he said.


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