A novel by Danny
Something I had not thought about when I had accepted Nuggets offer to give me a ride home was that pa would not like the idea of me ridin' with a stranger, even if it was one of my classmates. I think it was Basset that bothered my pa the most.
The instant the screen door slammed shut pa grabbed hold of my chin so that I was forced to look up into his eyes. I could tell by the way he was talkin' that pa was workin' up a good mad, as he asked me, "What in the Sam Hill were you thinkin' gettin' into a strange car?" When I didn't reply he sent me to my room.
I am kind of embarrassed to say but I got five whacks with pas belt after he'd let me stew for about an hour in my room.
Durin' that hour I sat on the side of Kevin's bed and looked out the winder at the bad clouds workin' their way over the farm. It weren't to long `til it was rainin' like a cow peein' on a flat rock. I seen Kyle-Lee runnin' around lookin' so lost I betcha he didn't know if he was afoot or on horseback. It took a minute or two for me to realize he wasn't just runnin' around in the rain, he was tryin' to catch Stonewall, Kristen's prize rooster that she done had since he was just an egg. Near `bout every time a storm works up Stonewall somehow gets loose and runs around in the rain `til he's plumb drenched and lookin' about as big as a bar of soap after a day's washin'. I recon that Kyle-Lee ended up wet and muddy for nutin' seein' how a big clap of thunder done scared Stonewall right back into the hen house leavin' poor Kyle-Lee standin' in the rain lookin' madder than a wildcat. And if that ain't true, grits ain't groceries, eggs ain't poultry, and Mona Lisa was a man.
I watched until Kyle-Lee went into the barn then I got up and went over to my own bed. I'd no sooner sat myself back down when I heard pa comin' into the house.
From downstairs pa could be heard, "I recon we needed the rain. It's been so dry the trees have been bribin' the dogs." It weren't long after that, that he finally came up upstairs.
As he stepped into my room pa wrinkled up his nose and asked, "You needed changed?"
Between worryin' what pa was goin' to do to me and watching Kyle-Lee chase after Stonewall in the rain I'd not even noticed that I'd gone and messed the back of my britches. I ain't sure when I'd done it; maybe when pa had grabbed ahold of my chin he'd done scared me so bad I'd messed myself? I just ain't sure.
The way pa looked down at me just then made me feel ashamed of myself. Without another word he stripped me out of my school uniform and had me lie down on my bed while he unpinned my diaper. However, when he saw the mess he decided to pin my diaper back into place until he got me into the bathtub.
Now, it ain't very often that pa gives me a bath, mostly he just hollers for me to hurry up or to stop playin' around and get out of the tub. This time something told me that he was not happy and when he started scrubbin' my back with the old horse brush I knew he was plumb angry. The bristles hurt like fire and I didn't want to but I started to cry. Even when he snapped his fingers in front of my nose and said, "Dry it up!", I couldn't cause I knew what was comin' after my bath.
Back in my room we found Kyle-Lee standin' in the middle of the room stark naked, while drippin' rain and mud on the floor.
"What happened to you?" pa asked when he seen that Kyle-Lee's hair looked as though he was wearin' a mud helmet.
"Pa, I recon one of these days you're goin' to have to tan me good cause I am goin' to ring Stonewalls feather covered neck!" Kyle-Lee said angrily while leanin' over to pick up his muddy clothes.
The two of them looked at the puddle of rain and mud on the floor but Kyle-Lee spoke up before pa could say anything about it, "I'll clean it up soon as I have a wash pa." He said soundin' as though he was still fumin'.
Pa made a humorous gruntin' sound, "Did ya at least catch him?"
Kyle-Lee looked up at pa just about as wound up as I'd ever seen him. He clinched his teeth together and groaned, "The dang storm done scared him back in!"
As he was leavin' for the bathroom he did something that struck me as odd; without bein' told, Kyle-Lee pulled the door to our room closed leavin' pa and me alone.
Pa then returned his attention to me, standin' before him wearin' nothing but a yellow flowered towel and tremblin' with fright.
"You know why you're about to get a woopin'?" pa asked.
"But pa it weren't no stranger it was my friend Nugget from school." I tried to explain.
I could tell pa was strugglin' to keep a lid on his temper, "What's the rule about other peoples cars?"
I swallow hard against the lump in my throat, "We ain't never supposed to get into someone's car unless you or ma says that it's ok sepin' for the Shurf or the Preacher."
Pa leaned over so that we were at eye level, "Did you have permission to ride home from school with your friend?"
I tried to fight the tears from comin' but I couldn't hold them back any longer. Now sobbin' I tried to make pa understand but what I meant to say and what actually came out of my mouth where not the same.
I meant to say, "But pa he is my school's President!" but what I said was, "But pa he is my present!"
The perplexed look on pa's face was almost humorous. He stood upright while still lookin' down on me. The anger in his face cracked momentarily and allowed just a hint of a smile to show through. He reached up, pulled off his hat and ran his fingers through his hair, "You want to run that one by me again?"
I shook my head and tried again but only managed to muck it up even more, "School—wet-missed—no hand!"
Pa placed a hand on my shoulder and pushed me down until I was sittin' on my bed. He then sat down next to me, rapped his big arms around me and allowed me to cry. I buried my face into his damp shirt and didn't realize it until later that he must have been caught out in the rain too.
When pa thought I had just about got all my tears out he said, "Would you like to try once more son?"
I sniffled before speakin', "I'm sorry pa! I shouldn't a done it. I should a called for permission first huh?"
"I recon so." He said softly.
I felt his hand on the back of my head as he asked, "What's this about a present?"
I wiped my nose with the back of my hand, "Nugget, that's the boy I came home with, he's the President of my school and his dad is some important government man."
"President huh?" pa said.
Almost breakin' down again I said, "I'm sorry pa! I won't never do it again!"
I felt his chest swell as he took in a deep breath, "Well, I recon you won't but that don't quite settle up for what ya done wrong now does it?"
I had to pull away slightly so that I could look into his eyes and was goin' to say something but didn't.
"Don't you think you need to be punished for doin' what you knew to be wrong?"
My head wanted to twist from side to side but instead it bobbed up and down in agreement.
He stood up, told me to take off my towel and lay face first on my bed. I couldn't see it comin', I only heard a swoosh as pa whipped his belt from the loops in his pants with one tug. The first lash stung so bad that I couldn't help but to cry out.
Now when pa tans someone he don't do it fast, he gives ya a swat then waits. Sometimes he only waits a few seconds to allow the stingin' to get into your head and other times, like now, he waits a really long time between each lashing of the belt.
Just as I started to think that I was only goin' to get one hit with his belt I heard the belt cuttin' through the air again. I didn't have time to tense up my bare butt-cheeks before his belt made contact. I screamed and cried out, "I am sorry pa! I won't ever do it again!"
I don't remember doin' it but I guess I'd put my hands behind me to protect my backside cause when the third lashing came it got both of my hands right across my fingers. It hurt so bad that he didn't have to tell me to move them cause I already had them tucked under my chest and could feel my fingers throbbin' with fire.
Later that night Kane told me that he heard pa tellin' ma that he had to give me two extra licks. One cause I put my hands in the way and one more cause I did not cry with the forth whack.
As pa was leavin'
he said, "I love you
"I love you to pa!" I managed to say between my sobs.
I remember thinkin' to myself how peculiar it was that pa just left the way he did. He didn't offer to help me get rediapered or nothing. He just left me lyin' necked on my bed and cryin' into my pillow.
When ma came in she found me still lyin' on my belly and blowin' on my fingers to try and cool the stingin'.
When ma asked me to turn over so that she could pin me into another diaper I said that I didn't think I could. So she let me stay as I was while she smeared cream all over my bottom. It felt so good and it took almost all the fire out of both of my cheeks quicker than a Sunday Sermon on Super Bowl Sunday.
Once ma was sure that none of the cloth diaper was stickin' out past the plastic pants she took my hand and walked me downstairs for supper.
Supper was a kind of rerun of breakfast except we were eatin' fried cabbage and buttered noodles. Both pa and Kevin were once again absent. When Karen tried to ask where they were ma simply told her to mind her plate.
Unlike breakfast we did not sit in silence but instead everyone was quizzin' me about my new friend and the long white car. If pa had been there none of them would have dared say anything about it cause they all knew I'd got tanned something awful because of it all. Kyle-Lee was the first to ask and everyone watched to see how mom would react. When she picked up her iced tea and took a sip they took it as a sigh that it was ok to ask me about the fancy car.
My backside was still heated up quite a bit. I suppose that sittin' on the wooden chair at the dinner table didn't help it none even though I did have my very own cushion wrapped around my bottom. I was relieved to be distracted from the pain and to be honest I was diein' inside to tell someone all about it.
I purposefully left out the part about Nugget's hand and about how Basset cussed. I knew ma would not like the parts about the bad language and somehow it didn't seem right to be tellin' tails about Nugget and his fake hand.
After supper, when all the dishes had been washed and everyone's chores and homework were completed most all of us had gathered in the front room. The rain was still comin' down purdy-hard outside. Kyle-Lee had taken another spill in the mud after supper and had to go upstairs to take another bath. Karen and ma were workin' on a new quilt for the new baby still in ma's belly. Kane was sittin' at Karen's feet readin' a Spiderman comic book he had traded for at school while Kathy, Kristen, and me were playin' Go-Fish. Kathy was accusin' Kyle-Lee of cheatin' when Kevin walked in with his girl Meggin on his arm.
Kevin had the goofiest grin on his face, sort of like a cat that just had a three-mouse dinner and a goldfish for desert.
"Ma, this is..." Kevin started to introduce Meggin.
Seein' how ma is eight months pregnant it took some doin' for her to get up but once she was up she said, "My goodness Meggin you are just as beautiful as ever!" and wrapped her arms around Meggin's neck.
Kevin no longer looked like that fat cat, now he looked more like a fish out of water.
When ma let go of Meggin and seen how white Kevin had gone she just smiled as said, "Do you really think your own mother wouldn't know when her son had fallen head over heals for a girl?"
"But?" Kevin stalled for words.
The three of them vanished into the kitchen and though we tried to eaves drop on them Karen wasn't havin' none of it. Without use realizin' it she'd got up and with a crack had boxed Kyle-Lee's ears, cause he'd been the closest to her.
"Oowwww! What'd ya do that for?" he complained.
"You just never mind what they are sayin' and that goes for the rest of you too!"
Kyle-Lee was cradlin' his offended ears with his hands and puckerin' out his bottom lip. He looked like a wounded puppy with his tail stuck between his legs.
Karen couldn't do anything about it when we heard ma squeal, "My precious boy is gettin' married!"
Up until this point it had not occurred to me that the entire time I had been sittin' on the edge of the sofa wearin' nothing but a diaper and a pair of blue rubber pants with green turtles on `em.
All of us had got up and rushed into the kitchen. Kathy and Karen screeched at the same time, "Married?" and nearly tackled Kevin when they tried to hug on him.
I heard Kane ask Meggin, "Does this mean you are goin' to be my sister?"
Kyle-Lee had forgot about his ears and was standin' on one of the chairs givin' Kevin a double thumbs up.
Everyone was so happy, except for me. I'd suddenly become very much aware of my appearance and was lookin' about for something, anything to cover myself with.
The only thing I could find was the new baby quilt, which Karen had left draped over the armrest of ma's rockin' chair.
In a flash I had snatched it up and started wrappin' it around me. Kristen seen me with the quilt and attempted to wrestle it away from me, "That is not yours that is for the new baby!" she grunted as she pulled.
There was a tearin' sound and Kristen went topplin' backward into Kathy and I stumbled backward and fell into ma's chair like a bag of taters.
That is when I felt an awful pain in my backside like I'd just got stung by a yellow-jacket. I jumped right back up and to my alarm found one of ma's knittin' needles was stickin' precariously out of the back of my diapered bottom.
Aside from Kathy, Kristen and myself, the others were totally unaware of our little tiff because they were all caught up in the news of Kevin and Meggin's marriage news.
Kathy, unaware that I'd been hurt grabbed the half of the quilt that Kristen had ended up with before comin' over and snatching away the other half from me.
It was then that she'd realized that the quiltin' needle had gone through the quilt, my rubber pants and into my diaper. She started to laugh, and she weren't quiet about it either. She was so loud that she sounded like one of those laughing dog things at the zoo.
Kevin was the first to come to my aid, "Little Pants! What did you do this time?" He said.
Before I could stop him he had took hold of the knittin' needle and yanked it out. He then got a good look at my face.
"Hey are you ok?" he asked in a kinder tone.
That was the last I remembered until wakin' up, face down on the kitchen table.
"Oh there he is!" I heard Doc Wilson say, "No, now you just lie still and let me get this last stitch into your plump little pride," and he punctuated it with a self-indulgent giggle.
"I'd say by the look of things you've been gettin' out of line again!" and with a playful swat, which I didn't find amusin' at all he added, "There we go! I'd normally tell you to keep off that for a while but by the looks of things, I'd guess you weren't goin' to be usin' it for a couple of days none anyway." And he giggled to himself again.
"So how are the diapers workin' out?" I heard him askin' and thought he was askin' me but just as I started to open my mouth I heard ma speak from down by my feet.
"Oh just fine! It's nice not to have to wash sheets and clothes everyday." She said furtively and then asked, "Will he be ok?"
"Oh sure," Doc Wilson said and paused briefly, "but I'm afraid he's going to have to learn to live with..."
He paused again only this time long enough for me to panic and shout, "WHAT!"
"Well, I fixed the pucture wound but I'm sorry to say you cracked it right in half!" he said and chucked at his own joke.
I heard mom sniffle a snort.
"That ain't funny!" I grumbled.
Somewhere out of my line of sight I heard Karen ask, "Can I get him ready for bed now?"
"Well it might be better to allow him to
sleep all-natural if you get my mean?" Doc said and pulling on my big toe he to
let me know he was once again addressing me he continued, "And you might want
to sleep on your belly tonight
As I suddenly remembered how I'd ended up in this predicament I felt myself flush red with embarrassment.
"Oh, see there? That there is what we in the medical profession call a severe case of wounded pride!" Doc said poking fun at my apparent embarrassment.
Mom spoke up, "Karen take him up and put him in his bed."
When Karen left our bedroom Kyle-Lee and Kane
started in on me. "Remember
I bit my pillow to keep from respondin'. I knew if I did it would only egg them on.
Kane was next, "It kind of looked like a big marshmallow on a stick for roastin'."
I bit into my pillow harder.
With a chuckle Kyle-Lee added, "Oh yeah I get your POINT!"
They both laughed and Kane came up with another, "I wonder what will happen when he farts?"
"He'll probably sound like ma's tea kettle!" Kyle-Lee said.
We heard the screen door close and a minute or two later we could hear a car drivin' away.
My brothers were firin' off one pun after another until ma came in and shut them both up with a threat that she'd tell pa if they didn't leave me alone.
While ma sat on the edge of my bed and stroked the back of my hair I quietly sobbed into my pillow until I fell asleep.
To be continued . . .