It was the summer I was ten. I lived in a little town in the middle of New Jersey then, on a quiet street with green lawns and shade trees. It was a nice time to be ten
Of course there is always a fly in the ointment so to speak and in our case it was Floyd Thripp. He lived in the big house at the end of the street. You wouldn't like him.
He was a bully; he was mean to little kids and cruel to animals. He never bothered me or my friends because I had a big brother and he knew better. He was afraid of boys his size or bigger but he was brave when it was just little kids around. Everybody called him Floyd Thripp, both names because calling him his first name sounded friendly and calling him his last name sounded too much like respect.
Floyd Thripp's folks had money that is they had more than the rest of the people in the neighborhood. That's why he had every toy there was and never shared anything.
My best friend Lucy and her little sister Annie and I were sitting on the front steps watching a pair of orioles that had a nest in the maple tree. We were pretty sure there were baby orioles in the nest. All of a sudden Floyd Thripp was there on his bike. "Whatcha doin'?" he asked. "You watchin' them stupid birds?" He stood there holding his bike and watched the birds. Then he saw my brother coming with a couple of his friends and cleared out in a hurry.
A little later Lucy and I found the male oriole on the ground. He was dead. He was still warm. Of course we knew Floyd Thripp had done it. He had a beebee gun.
It broke our hearts that such lovliness could die! We buried him in the rose garden and mourned for him. We even felt a little bit to blame because we were the ones who had called Floyd Thripp's attention to the birds in the first place.
It was a couple of days later that we had all that rain. We spent the morning playing Old Maid in Lucy's porch. When the sun finally came out we ventured outside to look around. Everything was wet and dripping and green and fresh, raindrops sparkling in the sun.
Right in front of Lucy's house, in the dip in the sidewalk, there was a puddle of rainwater, looking like a mirror, reflecting the sky and the wires and branches overhead like an upside down world. it could not be more than a couple of inches deep but looking down into that upside down sky it looked like fathoms.
That was when Floyd Thripp came along on his fancy bicycle. "What are you stupid girls lookin at?" he asked.
I told him "We're looking at the water. Look how deep it is!"
"That ain't deep," said Floyd Thripp.
I said, "Then why don't you ride your bike through it?"
He sat there balancing his bike and looking into the water. Lucy said, "He's afraid." And we made chicken noises at him.
What happened next nobody saw. We were walking back up to Lucy's front porch. We heard something and turned to look. Floyd Thripp was nowhere to be seen and neither was his bike. And the water in the puddle was all churned up.
I'm not saying Floyd Thripp fell into that upside down world because that's not possible. But where did he go then? As far as I know we were the last people ever to talk to him. They never found him or his fancy bike. We didn't tell anybody what we saw because we really didn't see anything, and in any case who would believe us?
But I can tell you this. The female oriole was sitting on a wire, overhead singing. When the water smoothed over again and the upside down world became visible, on the same wire in that world world an oriole was sitting, too.
Except that the one in the upside down world was a male, his orange feathers splendid in the sunlight. And he was singing!
Honorable Mention--August 2010
© Copyright 2006 Doremi (UN: nicegrandma777 at Writing.Com).
All rights reserved.
Doremi has granted Writing.Com, its affiliates and syndicates non-exclusive rights to display this work.
|Log In To Leave Feedback|