Holly and Ivy

© Nicholas 2003

Chapter One – Ivan Bernard Peabody

Within my reach!

I could have touched!

I might have chanced that way!

Soft sauntered through the village,

Sauntered as soft away!

So unsuspecting violets

Within the fields lie low,

Too late for striving fingers

That passed, an hour ago.

Emily Dickinson

I still remember her trilling, thrilling laughter. There I was, eleven years old – almost twelve!, bundled up in blankies with my pillow in the back seat of the Buick. Dad was whistling Christmas carols as he drove us through the night and Mom was gushing and bubbling on and on about the first time she had ever made this trip to her Grandmom's house.

I watched the snowflakes outside the windows and half slept, half listened to her happy chatter. The snow would look like arrows streaking past the windows on the side. White streaks of madly dashing light as they reflected in the headlights, then quickly turning red and disappearing over the shark's fins in the back. Those fins were so cool with their red lights held up high, I almost could pretend we were an airplane high up in the clouds. When Dad would turn the blinkers on I knew it was to tell another plane that we were here and they should get out of the way.

The snowflakes had a funny little space just right behind the big back window though. Their wild dash would suddenly end and they would twist and turn a bit and some would stop and land right on the glass. Perfect snowflakes, huge and white and fluffy, like I could never cut from paper in my classroom. I wish I could cut just one to have it so pretty and perfect as the ones that stopped a moment, then melted on the window.

Mom was giggling and talking on and on just like the silly girls whose snowflakes were so perfect they always hung up near the door. Mine were always hung way near the back beside the tiny sink.

Mom was talking bells and blankets and suddenly I heard her mention horses and the sleigh! I listened loud to make sure and see if she was saying we get a ride. No, she was talking about the sleigh that picked her up when she was just a girl. God, they didn't have cars back in those olden days! She rode the train out from the city with my Grandmom and her sisters and cousins, and then the sleigh had met them at the station. A big pair of jingling horses, steam rising off their withers. What the heck was a wither? I must remember to ask. And big clouds of smoke pouring out the nostrils with every breath the horses snorted out. I wonder if horses were related to dragons? Maybe there was fire there, they just needed someone with a match?

Bells, she said, Jingle Bells! Oh geesh, that sent Dad off into Mitch Miller Land! Dashing through the Snow! In a Two Horse Open Sleigh! Oh thank God none of me friends were here. He can't sing worth beans, but Christmas carols all make him want to sing as loud as he can. Mom reaches back and pokes me and I know, I better sit up and sing with them too. At least I can hear myself and not have to groan with his terrible flat high notes and sharp ones when he tries to sing down low! I'm glad I got my mother's voice, boy though, I hope I get his dick! It's huge!

Tommy saw it last summer at the swimming pool and couldn't stop talking about it for a week! Biggest one he ever saw! Biggest one there was! "Wow, Barry, you sure are lucky to have one like that to look forward too! Geesh how do you suppose he got it in your mother!"

I punched him then of course. My Mother! For crying out loud! They never did that kind of nasty stuff!

Tommy punched me back and said "Yeah stupid, then how'd you get born! From some silly chicken egg?"

I jumped on him and we wrestled around a bit. I wasn't going to admit it, but I guess he was kind of right. They must have done it once, but I was pretty sure that was all. My mother! For crying out loud.

Over the River and Through the Woods, To Aunt Nellie's House We Go! Oh God, you'd think by now he'd know the words. God, Tommy would laugh me out of the car. Oh, oops, I get it, we are going to Aunt Nellie's house. And look, here's the big bridge Mom was chattering on about. Oh God, she's right, I can press my face against the window and look right down through the floor of the bridge! It's like a screen. Oh Fuck man! There's the river! Oh Fuck, we're going to break right through! I feel it making the car shimmy and shake, Dad hates it when the tires start to shimmy. He says that means they're bad. The bridge is going to crash!

Just as I start to turn and say something about goodbye and how much I love them, Mom grabs me and pulls me up against the seat. She's pointing over across the way. Just like a star plucked down from heaven, she said. Planted on the mountain top, she said. Glimmering and glowing for everyone to see for miles and miles around, she said. The horses knew that they were home and started snorting and running even faster, she said.

Dad let out a big breath, I guess maybe he was afraid of the bridge too.

I looked and sure enough, twinkling to the left and high up in the dark was light. Not so bright as the sun would be of course. A star that big and close would fry us flat my teacher told us. But kind of like one of the big stars in Orion. The hunter that I watched walk across the night and dreamed about the bear and lion that he stalked. I never could see the stupid crab and bull. I think it was a bunch of bull what those old time Greek guys saw up in the sky. Geesh, you'd think they must have been hard all the time with all that talk of Aphrodite and those other good looking goddesses. Dad was always reading and had given me a book. That Bullfinch guy must have had to look at a lot of dirty pictures to write that book of myths. Wonder how I can grow up and get a job like that?

Mom was squeezing me against the seat and I could barely breathe. I asked her about Aunt Nellie just so I could get a breath.

Aunt Nellie is a dear, she said. Our maiden sister, she kind of clucked. What was a maiden? All girls were maiden weren't they? Just like all boy's were guys? Adults can be so confusing sometimes. Aunt Nellie lives here all alone. Has lived here all her life. Her sisters and brother grown up and gone. He died in the war, God rest his soul. Mom was rushing on and on. She patted Dad's knee as she mentioned the brother and the war. I wonder what Dad did in the Army, he would never talk about it, but I knew he was in it, I had seen a picture. Geesh, he was a goofy looking kid. His old uniform was in the closet too, I tried it on once when they went to a show. It was big and itchy, I wouldn't want to wear it very long. A funny row of colored pins was just above the pocket too. Tommy said the leafy thing on the shoulders meant he worked in the gardening department. He said his Dad's didn't have anything on the shoulders which meant he was a spy and couldn't tell anybody what department he worked in and that's why there weren't any colored pins. I think Tommy's full of shit sometimes, but then other times he's right. He's real good in math, I always copy from him when I get stuck in geometry. He copies from me in English. He can't write worth shit and his snowflakes are even worse than mine!

Mom's going on about Aunt Nellie's cookies and the fireplace and all the cousins sleeping in the beds and how she got to brush Greatgrandmomma's hair and how beautiful and big the house was.

At least she didn't have me pinned to the back of the seat anymore. Dad was whistling again. At least whistling he can actually carry a tune. I wonder how old he was when his dick got so big? I stuck my hand down in my pants to see if I could feel any hair growing yet. Damn, when would I ever get some? Tommy had three already! Hmm, that felt good though. My dick was hard and I rubbed it some, the seat hiding my hand from where Mom could see. Tommy sucked on it once and wow! did that feel good. He tried to tell me Mom sucked on my Dad's, but I just punched him again and told him to shut up. Then I sucked on his and he got real quiet 'til he started shaking and groaning. I had to stop before he woke his brother up! I liked it though, it felt so warm and soft and hard inside my mouth.

Mom was suddenly laughing about all the boy cousins taking a bath and how they splashed up the bathroom so bad that Grandmom made them all get out and clean up the mess before they even got dressed. She giggled something about my Uncle Richard being hung like a horse. Oh my God! I can't believe she said that! Oh God, look! Her hand moved over and squeezed between Dad's legs! Oh God! I collapsed back on the seat and tried to pretend I didn't see that!

"What ya doing back there Barry?" Dad asked.

I could see him looking right at me in the rearview mirror. Shit! My hand was still in my pants! I jerked it out and sputtered, "Nothing Dad, just checking in my pocket to make sure I didn't forget my pocket knife."

"Okay son," he said, "just didn't know if I needed to stop beside the next tree."

"Dad!!!" I groaned at him. He smiled and shit! I swear he winked at me in the mirror!

Oh God, I didn't dare look to see where Mom's hand was now!

The twinkling lights that were Aunt Nellie's house seemed to draw the Buick up the hill.

Suddenly the road turned from black to gray and I saw the bridge ahead. I shuddered now to see it still the same screened floor reflected in the Accura's headlamps. Thirty years and it still hadn't collapsed. What the fuck was I doing here? Driving late through snow and ice, risking life and limb for some ghost of Christmas Past? I eased across the bridge, more scared now than when I had been a kid.

I cursed the God damn lawyers that required me up here just before Christmas. I swore under my breath at Aunt Nellie who had stayed maiden until her death. Christ, some people really now how to fuck you up from right out of the blue. Executor, the letter called me. Executed, I felt more like. Fucking blood pressure through the roof, cholesterol in some idiotic range, prostate the size of Dad's giant dick, at least that's kind of how the doctor made me think of it, pills for this and pills for that and pills to function, pills to sleep, a patch to help stop smoking, another patch to hype up low ball pressure. God who'd have ever thought that the biggest balls in North America couldn't make enough testosterone to keep my giant dick inflated. Dad gave me way more than I bargained for back then when I wanted that giant dick.

The road veered right and I saw the drive climb the hill to the left. I looked up at the sky and couldn't find a single twinkle to tell me where the star had finally burnt its last. I turned right and drove on into the village.

The lady at the check in desk greeted me before I even got the snow stamped off my boots. "Hello Mr. Peabody, we are so sorry for your loss. I have the best room ready for you.'

I reached into my wallet and got out my Amex card.

"Oh, sorry," she said and looked it, what a change from people in the city! "We don't take credit cards. You can write a check, or just sign here and I'll send you a bill. We usually mail them out semi annually, if that's alright with you."

Semi annually? What the fuck? Give some guy you've never met credit for half a year! Geesh, how did they manage to stay in business? And how did she know I was Peabody? Anybody could be trying to rent a room on a night like this. In fact, here the door was opening and another guy was stomping the snow off of his feet.

"Thanks Albert," was all she said. "Mr. Peabody's luggage goes in room thirty two."

Christ! The guy had my suitcase and my briefcase in his hand! He was leading me down the hallway before I even realized he had handed me my car keys!

When he opened the door to thirty two I was flabbergasted. It looked right out of Aunt Nellie's house as I remembered it. Real furniture, not hotel crap. A pair of chairs, a couch, a dining table. Suddenly I heard the bath running and turned to see Albert standing at the door showing me the whirlpool. "You look like you could use a warm bath and good night's sleep. There's a brandy bottle on the table there and I just made decaf coffee in the carafe. Good night, Mr. Peabody. Let us know if there is anything else that we can do."

He stepped out and closed the door before I even noticed he had hung up my shirts and suits and even placed the socks and underwear inside the dresser by the door.

Shit, how can I get this guy to work for me, I wondered. The whirlpool did sound like a perfect way to end a long and tiring day. I grabbed a sleeping pill and poured a brandy snifter and shucked my clothes and went into the bath. As I got in I saw a picture on the wall and gave a little gasp. I'd like to meet that kid for a burger some day at McDonald's! My dick would too it seemed. The water or the boy had me harder than a telephone pole for the first time in several years! Geesh I'd never seen a boy with eyes so green and hair so fair and gorgeous. The woods he stood in he commanded with his glance. So self assured and sensuous, I bet he could make a hundred dollars an hour in the city and never do more than open his mouth!

I suddenly was ashamed of myself. In this town, in those woods, in this room, in this life, he was some mother's son. Some sweet and innocent boy who knew his Mom and Dad had never done it. My dick went flat like that! I downed the brandy in one gulp and cried myself to sleep among the bubbles in the tub.


This story is a work of fiction, any resemblance of the characters to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidence. Emily Dickinson's poetry is real. It is in the public domain. Comments should be addressed to Nicholas6996@hotmail.com.

Picture of the Peabody house is here http://fdpd.org/www/netnick/hollypic.htm