Goodbye Normal Jeans
A novel by Danny
Shortly after I had gone upstairs to get ready for bed pa called for me to come back downstairs. Whenever pa calls for me at an unexpected time the first thing I think is that I am probably in trouble for forgetting to do something.
I climbed out of bed and went to see what he wanted. I found him in the kitchen holding the telephone receiver out for me.
"You have a phone call!" he sounded as shocked as I was. Not because of the time but because I've never in my life had someone call just for except like on my birthday when granny would call to wish me a happy birthday.
I took the receiver and placed it to my ear, "Hello?" I said.
"Hi Nevada!" the voice screamed into the other end of the phone.
"Who is this?" I asked and got popped in the back of the head.
"You know better than that!" pa said.
"Sorry pa," I whispered with my hand over the receiver.
"Sorry, can I ask who's calling?" I said nicer.
"Nevada?! It's me Nugget!" the voice sceamed again.
"Nugget?" I said not really believing it was him at first.
"Yeah, how are you?" He didn't leave me a chance to reply before blurting our, "Hey I just asked your father if it was ok to come over tomorrow and I just had to tell you! I hope you are ok now! Are you ok?"
He actually paused, "Uh, yeah I am ok." I said not really understanding why he was coming over and why he had been talking to my pa.
"Ok good, then we'll see you tomorrow! Bye!" Nugget shouted into the phone and then hung up.
I looked up at pa, "He hung up!"
Pa smiled, "I know, I could hear him!"
After handing the receiver back to pa I rubbed my ear and said, "Dang pa my ear is going buzzzzzz!"
I got popped in the back of my head again but not nearly as hard, "Boy you best forget you ever learned that word!"
"Which? Buzzz?" I asked knowing full well which word he meant.
I tried to get away from him before he tried to pop the back of my head again but he was faster than me and caught me by the back of the neck, pulled my head backwards and kissed my forehead.
"Don't let it go to your head, but I love you son!" he said with half a smile.
"Hey pa?" I asked as he pushed me toward the steps.
"What son?" he said still using his humorous voice.
"Why did Nugget call you first?" I asked.
Pa pulled down his eyebrows like he were angery but I knew better, "He didn't, his daddy did. Now get your backside to bed before I warm it up for you!"
I quick stepped to the bottom of the stairs but stopped again, "Pa?"
"Boy!" Pa said pointing at me like he was about to get after me.
A lump popped up in my throat, "Is mama going to be ok?"
Pa's eyes went all glassy, "You're ma is going to be just fine! Don't you worry none t'all. Now git!" he said and smiled again.
I smiled back and took off up the steps but stopped about halfway up, turned and went back to the bottom step. Pa was sitting at the table already and was reading a piece of paper.
"Pa?" I called softly.
Pa looked up and I new this time his look was serious.
"I love you too pa," I said and flew up the steps using my hands and my feet as though I were climbing a ladder.
The following morning each of us kids got ourselves out of bed, washed and ready for school however a couple of us had to have some help from one or more of our brothers and sisters. Ok, I was the only one that needed help but that doesn't mean that I couldn't have done everything myself if I really wanted too! Well, maybe not. I was going back to school today, well that was the plan although I wasn't so sure I would be able to sit down for all or even part of the school day. My sister Karen had come into the bathroom as I was drying off and offered to help get me re-diapered and to make sure my bottom was OK.
"What if it hurts to sit on the bus or in my classes?" I asked Karen and the two of us walked back to my room.
Karen paused to think and then patted my wet hair. "Why don't you lie down on your bed? I have an idea."
I took off my towel but before I lied down I quickly made my bed. I was very careful as I lowered my bottom down on the edge of the mattress and I was sure glad I was careful `cause I felt a twinge of tenderness in my rear.
Karen chuckled and I hadn't realized until that second that she had been watching me as I'd settled myself down.
"Still sensitive huh?" she said.
My head bobbed up and down like a cork on a fishin' line and it struck me that I had been holding my breath. I exhaled apprehensively and replied, "Not too bad."
"Well, I think I have the answer for that," she said holding up a handful of cloth diapers.
"You going to use all those?" I said with wide eyes.
She smiled to try to reassure me, "Well it should give you plenty of padding so that you can sit through the whole day of school."
She used four of the cloth diapers, pinning each one on me before sliding the next one under my bottom. She had pinned a fifth one on me but she had to take it back off `cause my plastic pants wouldn't go up over all five. My school pants were quite a challenge too. Karen had to have me lay back down on my bed to get them zipped up all the way and that was without my shirt tucked in.
"But I ain't allowed to have my shirt un-tucked at school." I said.
She had me stand as normally as I could, given the multiple cotton layers that were bunched up between my legs. With an appraising grin she knelt in front of me and began to fold the bottom of my shirt under itself and then using more diaper pins she pinned it from underneath. I wasn't so sure her idea was going to work until I put on my school jacket.
"Hey that ain't so very bad!" I exclaimed and then asked, "Can you tell I got on a diaper?"
Karen smiled and I knew it was fake, "Well you don't have on `A' diaper, you're wearing four."
She must have seen the reluctance on my face `cause she softened her voice as she added, "Listen, if you don't want to go to school today I will tell pa you are staying home."
I never did get to answer `cause right then we heard someone coming down the drive and then Kyle-Lee shouted, "Hey that big ol' funeral car is back!"
Kane could also be heard, "Stop shouting you will wake up ma!"
Kane appeared at the door of our room out of breath from having run all the way up the steps, "Nevada your friend is here and I think he brought FBI too." Until that second I had honestly throught that Nugget's phone call last night was just a weird dream I had.
Karen gave me one more check, having me turn around to see me at every angle before telling me I looked handsome. "Yeah you're pretty all right too!" I said with a playful girn.
It was difficult to walk, let alone try to run down to see what was going on. When I got to the kitchen I found Nugget and some man in what looked like a really expensive suit. They were standing there talking to pa; the man in the suit was shaking pa's hand and talking really funny. It was English that he was speaking but it weren't regular English that's for sure. Pa looked more nervous than a long-tailed cat in a room full of rockin' chairs.
Nugget spied me first, "Hey there you are!" he said and thrust out the wrong shakin' hand just as he'd done when I had first met him only a few short days ago.
"Hiya Nugget," I said using my left hand too and tried to take in the moment.
Nugget turned to the man in the suit, "Father?" he waited for the man to acknowledge him before continuing, "This is my friend that I was telling you about."
Suddenly everything made sense; the man in the expensive suit wasn't with the FBI, I never really thought he was but I also didn't have a better explanation then what Kane had come up with. However, I made a mental note to slug Kane the first chance I got. The man was Nugget's father, and... "Oh what did he say his pa was?" I thought to myself, "Oh yeah, the Lieutenant Governor of Ohio," and my pa was acting all nervous `cause it was the first time ever that he done met someone so important like that. I must admit I was feeling kind of small and insignificant too.
Nugget's father turned to face me as Nugget introduced me to him, "Nevada this is my father, George Goldberg but you can just call him George if you like."
My pa spoke up and directed his words to me, "Uh, that's Mr. Goldberg."
Nugget's pa smiled at my pa and then to me as he extended his hand and I gave him mine. He shook my whole arm so hard I thought it was going to pop off at my shoulder. I wish bigger people would stop doing that to me `cause it hurts. Also, I couldn't help but notice that when he smiled he showed off nearly every tooth in his whole mouth and boy they were all sparkly and white like new snow.
"How smashing! It is a pleasure to finally meet you Nevada." He paused and squeezed my hand tighter, "Do you mind terribly if I call you Nevada?"
I shook my head hoping he wouldn't break my fingers.
"Splendid! Splendid indeed!" he said, "Jr. has been talking about you for days. I feel as though I have already met you."
Nugget made an annoyed tick sound with his tongue and I guessed he didn't like being called Jr.
When Mr. Goldberg finally let go of my arm I wanted to rub my shoulder but I didn't want to risk insulting him. I was more than a little relieved when Nugget jumped in between us and started talking again.
"So, I finally heard yesterday why you have not been in school the past couple days." He said this in a kind of hush-hush matter so as not to embarrass me.
I could hear Mr. Goldberg telling my pa, "Well I was absolutely gutted with our driver, that's the gentleman I was telling you about last night, anyway I was wholly displeased when my son recounted the episode."
Our pas continued to talk but I couldn't follow what either was saying `cause Nugget was talking louder and was being very excited. Plus Kane, Kyle-Lee, Karen and Kristen were all talking too.
"I am sorry Nevada, I was so mad at myself when I found out that I got you into trouble." Nugget said to me, "I begged my father to call or come here to fix everything, he's really good at that sort of thing. Well he did both now didn't he?" Nugget smiled obviously pleased with himself.
I was about to say something to Nugget when pa discharged a boisterous chuckle, slapped Mr. Goldberg on the upper arm and the two of them laughed loudly. Pa looked as though he was relaxing some I think. Then pa turned and was going to lead Mr. Goldberg outside but paused just long enough to reached out and pat my cheek. I glanced up to see him nod and I knew he was telling me that it was OK for me to get a ride from Nugget anytime.
Nugget must have picked up on pa's unspoken message too `cause after both of our pas were outside and my bothers and sisters went back to getting breakfast he said, "So would you like to ride to school with us today?"
I didn't need any time at all to make up my mind, "Yeah, you betcha!"
Momentarily looking serious Nugget leaned forward and quietly asked, "Oh hey, did you know you forgot your books the other day?"
I shrugged, "That's alright, I didn't miss them," and we both laughed.
It was then that I think maybe Nugget noticed first time that something wasn't quite right with my school uniform and I had enough time to get concerned that he was going to say something about it but mercifully he didn't. It was very much like someone wiped the thought from his mind; he grinned mischievously and said, "Oh man you missed the funnies thing the day before yesterday."
"Yeah?" I said glad that he was bringing up another subject.
Before he could tell me what it was Karen interrupted, "Little pants, what do you want for breakfast?"
Karen realized straight away what she had called me in front of my new friend and redness spread across her face and up into her ears. I think maybe even her hair turned a little red.
Had the subject been left at that I think I might have been able to accept the measure of embarrassment it caused me but you got to know that Kyle-Lee couldn't keep his food-trap closed.
With a mouth full of toast Kyle-Lee mumbled, "I think we should start calling him big pants instead!"
Kyle-Lee received three blows to the back of his head in succession, one from each of my three sisters.
"Hey what was that for?" he whimpered.
Kristen decided Kyle-Lee hadn't learned his lesson and while Kyle-Lee had his back to her she bit him hard, right on the back of his left arm. She didn't let go either, not right away and it must'a hurt like the dicken's `cause his mouth was wide open but no sound was coming out.
Nugget laughed through the whole ordeal and taking hold of my arm he said, "Boy I wish I had a family like yours."
I leaned toward his ear and whispered, "I'll sell you a couple of them cheep!" Nugget sniggered at this.
Using a dishtowel Karen swatted at Kristen who broke her hold on Kyle-Lee. Kyle-Lee ran from the room holding his arm and I think maybe he might have been crying.
Kristen sat down at the table and smiled at Nugget with big flirtive eyes.
I don't think that Nugget picked up on it; either that or he was choosing to ignore her. He turned his back on the lot of them and said to me, "You like bagels? We have bagels in the car."
I wasn't sure how to answer and since neither pa nor ma was around just then I looked past Nugget to Karen who simply shrugged, "Hey, one last meal for me to cook!" and smiled though noticeably still embarrassed by her and Kyle-Lee's comments about my overly diapered bottom.
Nugget gave my arm a firm tug and I was yanked out the door and onto the porch. As we were stepping off the porch we both spotted our pa's coming out of the barn talking up a storm and I was about to ask Nugget where Basset was when a terrible ruckus could be heard coming down the drive. We all looked toward the sound and saw that there was a pickup truck flying down our gravel drive kicking up a dust storm behind it. Whoever was driving that truck was driving like they were on their way to a fire or trying to run from a jealous husband. Whiskey started growling and barking which got the chickens all worked up too.
What happened next sort of happened so fast that it seemed like it was all over before I even knew something was happening? The truck skidded to a stop only a few feet from the limo and it was several seconds before the cloud of dust settled enough to see that it was Meggin Griffith's daddy that had been behind the wheel of that truck.
Mr. Griffith jumped from his truck cussing and carrying on like a Wildman growed in the jungle. All of a sudden Basset came out from behind the steering wheel of the limousine like he'd been fired from a ten-ton-cannon. Right before I seen Bassett tackled Mr. Griffith to the ground I seen a bright flash of light, like someone had just taken my picture. Like I said, everything seemed to happen so fast and thank goodness Basset was there or else I betcha pa or Mr. Griffith might have started fight'n or maybe even killed each other.
Mr. Griffith and Basset hit the ground hard and pa, Mr. Goldberg, Nugget and I raced over and arrived just in time to see Basset putting a big silver gun to Mr. Griffith's head. I guessed that the flash I'd seen was the morning sun gleaming off that big silver hand gun.
"Whoa, whoa!" pa shouted, "It's ok!"
Mr. Goldberg looked more than a little concerned, "It's what-oh Basset, I dare say you can let him up now. Good show though."
And turning to my pa he asked, "You know this gent?"
"What in tarnation?" Mr. Griffith growled as he reached for his hat.
"Yes, I am sorry to say I know him. My oldest son had been dating his daughter." Pa answered and then quickly shouted at me, "Nevada, grab Whiskey!"
I had turned just in time to catch hold of Whiskey's collar. Whiskey is normally very laidback but if'n she thinks one of us is in danger you best believe she'd kill to protect us.
Mr. Goldberg and Basset were trying to help Mr. Griffith up but he was so mad that he jerked away from them and cursed "Gosh dang it!" when he nearly fell back down; except he used the real words.
Mr. Goldberg cleared his throat, "Aahhum, I'm terribly sorry about this sir! Absolutely top hole – I have to say."
It was plane to see that Pa was seething with anger, "Well I'm not!"
"Now you listen here Doctavio, I want to know where my daughter is and I want to know right now!" Mr. Griffith was so worked up that he spat as he spoke.
"What?" Pa had obviously not been expecting those words.
Mr. Griffith poked pa in the chest, "Don't play the Jack-Ass with me!"
Pa's fists were clinched and hanging to his sides. "I'm only going to ask you once to watch your language around my kids and my guest." Pa said through gritted teeth.
"Why you no good..." Mr. Griffith started to say as he took a swing at pa.
I was looking right at Mr. Griffith when Basset blocked the punch and I still didn't see Basset move. He moved like lightning; all I heard was a whooshing sound and then Mr. Griffith groaned as Basset held his arm. It didn't really look like Basset was doing anything but holding Mr. Griffiths wrist but it must have been more then just a holding thing `cause Mr. Griffith looked like he was in a heap-load of pain.
I glanced at pa and managed to also see Mr. Goldberg give a nod to Basset. Basset suddenly seemed to grow in stature and his eyes became hard as steel as he took command of the situation. Without letting go of Mr. Griffith's wrist, Basset twisted himself around so that he was standing face-to-face and eye-to-eye with Mr. Griffith. "Sir, I realize that you are upset but I am only going to ask you once to get a hold of yourself." The way Basset said it made my blood chill. My first impression of Basset the other day had been wrong, he might be nice, funny and playful on the outside but inside he was evidently not just a simple driver.
"Who the hell are you?!" Mr. Griffith cursed again.
"Please, let him go!" pa said trying to break Bassets grip on Mr. Griffith's wrist.
Basset peered over to Mr. Goldberg who nodded again; Basset released his hold and stepped back though still keeping himself between Mr. Griffith and Mr. Goldberg.
Mr. Griffith tugged at his shirt and shot daggers at Basset.
"Now, heavens above! Please lets try to be civil about all this; what were you saying about your daughter missing?" Mr. Goldberg asked and he sounded genuinely concerned.
"He knows good and well what I mean!" Mr. Griffith pointed at pa and though his voice was still raised he did not cuss or try to lash out at pa again.
Basset's body twitched and despite his seemingly composed posture I knew he was braced, ready to react again if needed.
I hadn't realized that all the noise had brought everyone else out of the house too. So when Kathy exclaimed, "Oh I bet they ran off to get married!" I was startled and nearly lost my hold on Whiskey. She had been standing directly behind me and her words seemed to cut through Mr. Griffith and our pa like a razor sharp sickle.
"Honey what's going on out here?" ma called from the porch.
Pa seemed baffled and momentarily torn but then he seemed to regain his thoughts, "Dear, you are supposed to stay in bed."
Before ma had even got out her second word Karen, Kathy and Kyle-Lee had started toward her.
I looked up at pa who'd taken a single step toward ma but stopped when he saw my sisters and brother running to fetch her back to bed.
An odd thing happened when I looked back to ma, time seemed to stop for me as I noticed that, seemingly overnight, she had somehow become frail, weak and fragile. She seemed to be only a ghost of the woman I have always known. Her hair was wild and looked as though it hadn't seen a brush or comb in ages and her skin pale, almost powdery white. She was leaning on one of the porch posts and holding her baby filled belly.
I was brought out of my daze when I heard Mr. Griffith threaten pa, "I swear to God that if that is what has happened, I will have your sons' head mounted above my barn door!"
Pa looked at Mr. Goldberg then to me and told me to, "Take Whiskey and put her in the barn."
Nugget quickly added, "I'll help him!"
To be continued . . .