Robert Tolkien vs. the Bus (Part 2) – A PCPB Original Story
Tim and I woke up the next morning. Since we were under a time crunch, Tim and I almost immediately argued about which one of us would actually get to shower that morning. Our argument probably sounded funny to the third party since we were yelling and screaming, but we were sluggish, quiet and occasionally yawning because we were both tired from just waking up. We probably argued long enough that one of us could have snuck in a quick shower.
Mom was none-too-pleased. Her normally sweet sensitive voice elevated to almost demonic vitriol when she said, “IF YOU TWO DON’T STOP ARGUING AND JUST LET THE OTHER ONE TAKE A SHOWER, NEITHER OF YOU WILL GET A SHOWER! NOW GET IN THERE!”
Neither Tim nor I was gonna back down. Tim’s argument was “Robert shouldn’t shower. He’ll be more like his girlfriend Carrie.” If mom hadn’t been standing there, I probably would have slapped Tim stupid.
It was my turn for a rebuttal: “Mom, I need to look my best. I need to be clean. And smell my best. The fact is a shower won’t save a misfit like Tim. He’s a lost cause!” For my insolence, my penance was the fact that Tim got the shower and I didn’t. I only got to wash my face, put on deodorant, and brush my teeth for that trademark Tolkien smile. Luckily, the trademark Tolkien coif still looked good even without a shower.
Mom dropped us off at the diner. Everything seemed cope and steady so far. Tim and I tried to make conversation before we were confronted by some store manager – no doubt some rent-a-nuisance who was fulfilling the highlight of his day by pestering us. “Excuse me, are you two gonna order something?”
Tim and I looked at each other. Neither of us had enough cash on us, and we both ate breakfast. So I just told this mollusk “We’ll pass.”
“Listen, we can’t have people just loitering. Either order something or we’ll have to ask you to leave.”
Tim tried to reason with the guy: “It’s not our fault – I mean aren’t there any other kids who have to hide out here before school?”
“Tim,” I interjected. “Allow me to handle this.” I stood on the table to make point. “Listen up, you filthy paladin! I’ve had enough of people like you trying to trample our inalienable rights to sit where we want. Did George Washington put up with this guacamole? I think not! Do you think my great ancestors Jeremiah and/or Grant Tolkien died just so we could be pushed around? What do you make an hour? 7.75? You filthy fools don’t earn enough to shove around Robert Ulysses Tolkien! As a matter of fact, you can’t push my brother Tim around either as he has that Tolkien RNA in him too! I’m Robert Tolkien and I approve this message!”
Tim and I were booted out so fast it made our heads spin. And we were banned. Tim was not exactly happy with me. We were just standing around not wanting to talk to each other. As we had to walk to school, it was only a few feet, but it had all the frustration and bitterness between me and my brother as our two mile walk the previous day.
If you wanna know how the school day went, second verse same as the first. There was still a cluster-smurf of traffic as Tim and I tried to get into school, but the overall mood of the day wasn’t as angry as the day before. I guess people were already getting used to this crap. After school, Tim and I moseyed on down to that café – you know, the one we were still welcome at. And yes, that kid… was… still… there. He oozed up to me: “Hi!”
“Hi” – I said. “Please go away and don’t come back” is what I thought. How I wish this little punk could read minds. I guess that’s only a trick I can master.
“Do you wanna read my Minions fan fiction?”
“I don’t know what that means.”
“Look, I really got to study. I can’t read that right now.” I didn’t, but for once, biology sounded more interesting than whatever that kid had to offer.
“I can email my stories to you.”
“I can’t give you my email. It’s top secret.”
Mom finally arrived. I had to do one of those split second decisions: Would I rather deal with this kid or endure the inevitable scolding from mother…. Eh, Mom would forgive me sooner or later. Mom picked us up and lectured me hard about getting me and Tim kicked out of that diner. I just spent that time thinking about my beautiful Natalie Rowe. Mom did brig up a good point: Dropping us off at school was gonna be a lot harder.
There was a knock at the door and I answered. It was one of those things I was hoping never to see: Carrie Reinhold at my front door. She knew where I lived. There was no hope for my privacy ever again! In lieu of my concern that I could anticipate her standing outside of my window blaring music like John Cusack in Say Anything… I had faked my death in the past to escape a shotgun wedding, and mayhaps desperate times would call for this again. I needed to be civil. “Carrie, it’s good to see you.”
Without much of an invitation, Carrie barged in. My mom was surprisingly chipper about having this defective person in her home. “Carrie, what brings you over?” Yes, this had better be good.
“I heard about Robert and Tim’s problems with getting to school. I heard about their problems with having to walk all the way to school. And I thought that was unfair because you live so far from the school. I mean that must have been a pretty brutal walk, am I right? Anyway I heard about…”
“Carrie!” I interrupted. “We all know what happened to us! Could you please give us the abridged version?”
“Oh, right sorry! Anyway, I was talking to my mom. As you may or may not know, she’s working evenings right now. So she’s been able to drive me to school.” (There is no short version with Carrie Reinhold. Ask her what time it is, she’ll tell you how to build a clock, how to build a clock radio, how to build a grandfather clock, where to find clocks for purchase, how to mass market clocks, the best companies that make clocks and how the rise in smart phones has caused a downfall in watch sales.) “So I was talking to her about you and Tim and she said she’d be happy to swing by your place and pick you up in the morning.”
“Oh, that is wonderful!” My mom replied feeling more joy than I ever could at this news, which is to say any joy. “Tell your mom I said thanks and I’ll have to make this up to her.”
“Mom, if I may.” I stepped in to take control of the situation. “Carrie, we appreciate the offer. But we think we’ll decline. Now please leave before we call the cops.”
“Robert, kitchen!” For a brief moment, I suspected Mom was calling me Robert Kitchen. However, her last name is Tolkien as well so I can’t imagine her making such an egregious error. Clearly, she was commanding me toward the kitchen.
Mom dragged me to the kitchen – probably so she could be far enough away so Carrie wouldn’t hear us. Mom didn’t bother asking what the problem was, she just cut to the chase. “Robert, I know you don’t like Carrie. But this is a free ride – every day!”
“Have you thought about the costs of this ‘free ride’? Aren’t you worried that your son is going to have a stalker?”
“Aren’t you worried you’re gonna get your son’s head sent to you in a box?”
“Are you anyway concerned your son is going to have all six senses obliterated at once from having to travel with Carrie Reinhold?”
“Yeah, my sixth sense is telling me the future will be bleak.”
“Bobby, I think you’re overreacting a little.”
“Why don’t you ask your favorite son Tim if he wants to ride with Carrie every morning?”
“Tim, would you come in here?” Rats, Mom was calling my bluff. “Tim, do you mind riding with Carrie Reinhold and her mom to school every morning?”
Tim gave me a sinister smirk. I gave him a look that said “screw you” – only I wasn’t thinking “screw”. Tim said “Nope.”
“There you go, Robert, it’s two against one.”
“I demand a recount! I’m fairly certain we decided my vote counts as two!”
“My vote counts as five so it’s six against two!” That vote was rigged, man! If it was only me against Tim, I would’ve won.
This whole sob story has been filled with long walks. Even as the walks became shorter, they felt longer – the walk from home to school, the walk from the café to school and now the walk from my kitchen to the living room. It’s a good thing Mom was going to deliver the news. I don’t think I could muster the nerve to choke it out. “Carrie, sorry for the wait. Tell your mom Robert and Tim will be expecting her in the morning.”
I sneered. Any normal person would have replied to what my mom said with “Thank you. My mom will be excited. I will see you tomorrow.” Carrie said basically said thing but with this blathering word salad of a response. Think I’m whistling Dixie? Do you think the words “massacre”, “irrigation” or “tabletop tennis” belong in a discussion like this? Yeah, that’s what I thought!
To be concluded next week
Copyright 2016 Alex deCourville