A novel by Danny
"Kristian Billiam Doctavio!" pa's voice reverberated like thunder. I was inside the barn cleanin' out the stalls when I heard pa's distinctive call and the fact that he had used my full name meant that I was in trouble. Before I could reply he called for me a second time; only louder this time. "KRISTIAN BILLIAM DOCTAVIO! BOY, YOU DON'T WANT ME TO HAVE TO COME FIND YOU!"
I emerged from the front of the barn and seen that pa was standin' on the front porch. I shouted back to him, "I'm right here pa!"
"You get yourself in this house right this very minute!" he shouted, opened the screen door and disappeared inside again.
The first thing I thought was that I'd done somethin' wrong or forgot to do something important but I couldn't for the life of me figure out what I could have done to get him so mad. And then the horrible thought struck me that maybe somethin' was wrong with ma and the baby! That thought scared me more then the idea that I was in trouble. I ran toward the house and I don't think I even touched the front steps. I just went from the ground to the porch and then swung the screen open so hard that I nearly broke it off its hinges.
Forgettin' briefly my first notion that I was in trouble I blurted out, "What's the matter? Is ma all right? Is the baby all right? Should I call Doc Wilson?"
Pa looked so very infuriated that his nostrils were flarin' like an angry bull about to charge me down and squash me to death. With a single movement he yanked his belt off and slung it over his left shoulder like a leather whip. My legs felt like they were goin' to buckle under my weight and instinctively my hands went behind me to protect my bottom. A lump the size of an apple rose in my throat, nearly chokin' off my air supply.
"Where's your other shoe?" He snarled.
His expression as much as the question caught me off guard and with the lump in my throat, the best I could do was to make a confused sound at the back of my throat which seemed to make him even angrier.
"Shoe boy, shoe! Where's your other shoe!" he said pointin' down at my feet.
Stupid me! I was dumb enough to look around the kitchen as if I expected to find it. When I finally did look down my right shoe was indeed missing. I reasoned that when pa had yelled for me to come into the house I had run so fast that I ran right out of my shoe.
I shrugged my shoulders while he stood there looking down at me, fingerin' the buckle of his belt and lookin' at me as if I had been the one to nail our Lord to the cross.
"Pa, what'd I do?" my voice quivered as I fought back my tears and I can't be sure but I think my heart had stopped beatin'.
It seemed that the floor beneath me shook when he stepped toward me. I backed away from him but the dang kitchen table halted my escape. That didn't much matter none `cause pa has always been faster then me. As his big hand came down I turned away from him and he caught me by the back of my diaper, lifted me right off of my feet and held me upside down. You would a thought that pa had started beating on me right then and there the way I screamed my head off. "Pa, pa, pa! Please pa! Please pa! I'm sorry pa!"
I was carryin' on so much that I didn't even realize that pa had hauled me into his and ma's bedroom. However, I figured it out when he dropped me on their bed like I'd done a belly flop off the Clear Creek Trestle into the creak below. My first hint that pa had been messin' with my head was when I saw ma sittin' up in bed and smilin' a big silly grin. It was the first time I'd seen her smile in several days. I still wasn't sure that I wasn't in trouble but then pa started to tickle me while asking, "Why were you so scared? What did you do that I don't know about? I bet you and that new friend of yours, Nugget, have been up to no good! You've been up to no good, admit it! Maybe I should whip you just in case?"
I was rolling, kickin' and flailin' about tryin' to get away from him ticklin' me. "Pa, oh please pa! Stop please pa! Ssssttttooopppp!" I even tried some reverse psychology that they told us about in school. "Pa, I love you and you are the best pa in the whole world!" but that didn't' work either.
He finally took hold of my legs and tucked them under his one arm; he then captured my flailin' arms and held them against my stomach. I was still laughing, though he had stopped ticklin' me.
"Boy pa! You scare't me so bad! I thought I done somethin' wrong!" I said still partly wonderin' if maybe I was in trouble for something.
"Well that was the idea." Pa teased.
Ma was still smilin' when she said, "Your pa and me have been talkin' about how grownup you are becoming."
"I growed almost a whole half inch since last time you measured me!" I said tryin' to wiggle loose from pa's python-like hold on me.
"Well, we don't exactly mean taller." Pa said and tickled my belly again.
I let out a squeal, "Uncle! Uncle!"
When I caught my breath I asked, "How did you mean then?"
Ma looked at pa and smiled wider. I looked up at pa and he was lookin' at ma the way he does whenever he's about to say somethin' mushy.
"Do you want to tell him or should I?" Pa asked her.
"OH NO!" I exclaimed.
"What?" Ma asked looking concerned.
"You are goin' to have two babies?" I said hopeful disbelief.
"NO!" Pa said very firmly, "The good Lord wouldn't curse me like that again!"
"Pa!" I complained as I once again tried to worm away from him.
"Oh honey, let him up before you make him hurt his sort bottom." Ma said.
"It's ok ma, my bottom ain't so sore no more." I assured her.
Pa let me up anyway but he sat on the side of the bed and held me tightly in a backward bear-type hug.
"Well, what then?" I asked and then the thought jumped into my head and burst out of my mouth, "IS KEVIN COMIN' HOME?"
"No! This isn't about your brother's or sisters!" Pa said squeezin' me so tightly and pretendin' to chew on my ear.
"Pa stop you are goin' to get your old people germ in my ear!" I joked.
"OLD PEOPLE?" Ma complained and implored pa to, "Squeeze him tighter for me!"
"Pa you are goin' to squeeze the stuff'n out of me!" I groaned.
"Alright, settle down now!" Pa said.
"I ain't the one doin' nothing!" I protested as wiggled my finger in my ear.
"Seein' how you are getting' so MATURE," ma put extra emphasis on that last word.
Pa quickly jumped in with, "I think the word you're looking for is manure!"
I gave pa an elbow in the gut for that one but not hard, just enough really.
Pa mad an, "Ooph!" sound and then said, "Ok, maybe not."
Ma just continued like he hadn't said nothin'. "We have been thinkin' that you old enough and responsible enough to get your farm license now so that you can be more help to your pa around the farm."
I couldn't believe what she just said. Kevin got his farm license when he was twelve which meant he was allowed to drive the farm truck anywhere as long as whatever he was doin' had somethin' to do with the farm; like takin' crops to the market, runnin' to the feed store or whatever.
The idea hadn't completely sunk in yet so I asked, "Sooo, I ain't in trouble?"
"No you are not in trouble!" ma assured me and added, "We just wanted to surprise you."
I could feel the excitement growing deep down inside of me but I still needed to ask, "So, I can get it? Really?"
"Yes really!" Pa answered and added, "You've been so much help to me these past few days. And I even if you weren't old enough, I expect I would have found another way to reward you for everything you have been doing, not just for me, but your ma and the farm."
For a moment I felt guilty for my brothers and sisters who had been working just as hard as I was. It must'a showed `cause pa said, "Now don't you go fretting none about the other's." Pa began, "This is about you and I have something in store for each of them too."
I looked over at ma, she looked like she was going to bust with pent up excitement for me. I gleanced down at my hands and seen that they were balled up into two tight little balls. I asked again, "Really, Really?"
"Yes really, really!" Ma answered.
Pa released me and I slid off his lap to the floor. I was like a lit stick of dynamite standing there looking from one to the other and then I asked. "You are not kiddin' me again are you pa?"
Pa rubbed his chin and made a sound like he was thinking.
"PA!" I groaned with impatient agony.
He laughed. "I am not kiddin' you!" pa said crossin' his heart and holdin' his left hand up.
"Hey, that's the wrong hand!" I said pointin' an accusing finger at him.
"Oh!" he said trying to make me think that he didn't know he was use'n the wrong hand. He switched hands and said, "Honest Ingin!"
I exploded with cheers, "I'M GETTIN' A LICENSE!!!! I'M GETTIN' A LICENSE!!!!" and I began to dance around the room punchin' my fists triumphantly into the air.
Laughing, pa called out, "Hey, this ain't no Hoedown! And it isn't a real license; you'll have to wait until you're sixteen to get the real thing."
That didn't matter to me. I knew that with a farmer's license I would be able to drive on the streets, drive in town, just about anywhere, anytime as long as I was doing stuff for pa and the farm. I remember once Kevin saying that is why he always kept a few bails of hay in the back of his truck. Besides giving his friends and us a place to sit, it also was an easy way for him to say that he was just hauling hay, or going to the market for feed or something like that so that he could drive anywhere he wanted anytime he wanted. Yeah, it was sort of like cheating but it was the good kind of cheating.
I kissed ma softly on the cheek so as not to hurt her. Then I pounced on pa and hugged his neck, "When? When? When?" I asked excitedly.
"Soon as you go get washed up and get your best clothes on." Pa said.
I was out of their room in the blink of an eye. Pa called after me, "Go fetch your other shoe first before Whiskey gets it and chews it all up!"
I was half way up the stairs already and had to spin around to go get my shoe. It was a good thing too `cause Whiskey was already over by it sniffin' it.
"Oh no you don't!" I shouted at Whiskey.
Boy I spooked her good! She hadn't seen me comin' out of the house so when I shouted at her she tucked her tail and ran into the barn. With shoe in hand I tore up the grass racin' back to the house.
Two hours later I was sittin' behind pa's truck drivin' us I back to the farm. Seein' how I had been drivin' the farm vehicles most of my life, Charlotte-Rose Blackwell, who had known me all my life and that worked at the Town-Hall where licenses are given and who I might add has the biggest hair I ever seen, didn't make me take the drivin' test part. She just looked at pa and asked, "Can he drive?"
Now, she knew perfectly well that I could drive and probably better then her and there is a good reason why. She is my ma's second cousin and I might add that her and my pa absolutely love to hate each other. Putting them in the same room together is like stir'n gasoline with a hot poker. After her husband run off with her sister, Charlotte-Rose was beside herself. It just goes to show that no matter how much they hate each other, my pa was the first one to offer to help get their crops to market. For nearly two straight weeks I drove their tracker all over that little farm listening to the two of them grumbling at each other all the dang time. Since Charlotte-Rose didn't have no kids to mind the farm, she sold that winter to Mr. Griffith and moved into town where she got a job working in the Town Hall.
I suppose that things got to be done right when you are getting a license to I didn't much mind her askin' if I could drive. Pa answered her by simply sayin', "I recon he could drive before he could walk!"
After that, she had me look into this weird contraption that flashed lil' green lights all over and I had to say where they was's flash'n at; then I had to read an eye chart that was hangin' on the wall behind the counter. I did real good at that; she even said so.
I wasn't sure what to do when she looked up at me and made a face like I smelled of poo. For half a second I thought maybe I had gone and made a mess in my diaper again but then she asked, "Don't you want to comb your mop before I take your picture?"
Luckily pa came prepared; he pulled a comb out of his shirt pocket and combed my hair nice and neat for me. I didn't even complain none when he spit on my head to get my hair to lie down.
Oh yeah, I also had to answer some silly
questions like what does it mean when a light is yellow and Charlotte-Rose made
me sign my name a bunch of times. The first time I started to sign my name I
was so excited and nervous that I started writing
Pa straightened my tie for me and I stood on the spot where Charlotte-Rose told me to stand. Pa kept makin' faces at me and Charlotte-Rose told him if he didn't stop she was goin' to make him wait outside until she was done. I don't think she really would have done that but it would have been funny watchin' her chase him out the door.
As we were leavin' I think I wasn't even touchin' the ground as I walked and I think I would have floated right away had pa not had his hand on my shoulder. I was holdin' my new farmer's license and lookin' at it as we walked toward pa's truck. That's when pa said, "Hey!" I looked up at him and he tossed me the keys to his truck. "Why don't you drive us home?"
I clutched them keys so close to me that I think I left a key shape in my chest. When he pulled a stack of phone books out of the bed of the truck I realized that he had planned all along to let me drive home. We had to scoot the seat way up so that I could reach the pedals and that meant that pa had to sit with his knees nearly up to his chin. When I sat down on the phonebooks I felt that familiar squish and knew that I was hawlin' a load and I don't mean in the bed of the truck. I was so dang excited to have my own farm license and to be drivin' pa's truck that I even if I was wearin' nothin' but my diapers I wouldn't have cared if someone seen.
I ain't braggin'... well maybe I am just a little, but I drove pa's truck all the way back to the farm without any trouble at all. A couple of times pa had to tell me to loose up on the steerin' wheel or I would break it `cause I was squeezin' it so tightly. I guess maybe I was a little nervous and super excited all at the same time.
When I pulled the truck up to the house I think pa and me seen at the same time that Kevin's pickup truck was back and so was Doc Wilson's car which was parked halfway into the yard.
To be continued . . .