Thursday Story

Leading up to this Friday I thought I would share a section of the first novel I wrote. Yesterday was part two (pan down). Today is part three.

Wally and his family lived in a fairly new housing development complete with sidewalks, generous street lighting and nearly identical looking houses. It appeared the variety of design ended with the architect flipping the house plans and alternating between four color choices. Every house had two-stories, lap siding, a two-car garage and well-groomed yards. No cars were parked on the road and there were no visible boats or sheds to disrupt the clean lines of the neighborhood. Based on those observations, I assumed they lived under the totalitarian rule of a strong homeowners association. Wally’s house had the minor distinguishing characteristics of a basketball goal right off the driveway and a flag jutting from the front door frame. I was pleased to see the flag proudly displayed a cartoon, appliqué vampire. Dad would have been proud.

Rochelle greeted me warmly as we entered the house and was kind enough to anticipate my need for a glass of wine after my first foray into Atlanta traffic. As we talked in the family room while Wally changed clothes, I was introduced to the Barnes offspring, all decked out in homemade costumes, ready to hit the road. Vanessa, Patty and Sondra were dressed as three blind mice, complete with big mouse ears and long tails. At eight, five and three they were each suffering from a different aspect of their getup. Vanessa, the oldest, hated how the hood with ears attached interfered with her curly hair. She was not happy that her locks were covered and kept trying to pull the headpiece further back on her head to allow everyone to at least see her bangs. Patty was fascinated with her tail and kept bending over and looking through her legs to see what it was doing behind her. Sondra was just not happy. Rochelle explained she wanted to be Cinderella and could not understand why she had to dress like a “wat.” I tried to console her by explaining she was a “cute little wodent” but she just wrinkled her nose and continued to whine. Just as we approached a mutinous level of despair, Wally emerged from his bedroom and rescued us all from near anarchy. I’m not sure who talked him into it but Wally had agreed to dress up like a big block of cheese. At least I thought that’s what it was. He was wearing a matching yellow sweatshirt and pants, standing in a cardboard “wedge”—painted to match his clothes—which was hanging around his waist, held up by suspenders. Upon his grand entrance, his daughters squealed and jumped up and down with delight. Costume issues were quickly forgotten.

“Who’s ready to go trick or treatin’?” Wally yelled above the din. The girls screamed, “We are!” and put on their sunglasses and grabbed their canes. We headed out into the cool, Atlanta night, joining a surprising number of kids and chaperones already criss-crossing the well-lit neighborhood. Rochelle stayed behind to man the door and dispense treats.

(Part Four will be posted on Friday)

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