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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Children's · #2269828
A birthday goes terribly wrong
                   Cemetery Pond

          The attack was fast, furious, and unrelenting. From where I was standing, the attacking beasts were just inches shorter than me; however, their smaller stature could have been deceiving because, after the tussle, I ended up with bruises on the top of my head and face. They had surrounded me, bruising and scratching my arms, stomach, chest, neck, face, and head. I had no escape from the demonic beasts!

         And then it began to rain.
         Allow me to go back in time 54 years to when I was five on the day in question so I may relate the events leading to how the carnage began.

          The morning had an ominous feel because there were no rays of sunshine. The only light we had was from a collection of grey marshmallows like clouds kneaded together into a formless mass of grey cookie dough. There was a slight chill in the air due to the missing sun.

         I had been staying with my aunt and uncle while my twin brother was in the hospital getting his tonsils out. Mom and dad were with him. Staying with Aunt Patty, my favorite aunt, and Uncle Clayton was fun.

         My Uncle Clayton advised my aunt and me that it would not rain, the sun would be shining through the clouds within a few hours. He then announced that if it did rain and we were caught outside, I would ride home in the trunk of his brand new 1968 Plymouth Fury, no matter how bruised I would end up being. Aunt Patty called from the other room and said Uncle Clayton would be squeezed into the trunk and I would sit on a towel on the back seat as it was covered with plastic. Uncle Clayton faked a laugh at that but stopped when Aunt Patty added he would be covered with plastic in the truck so not to get it wet. Uncle Clayton did not talk much anymore that morning.

         Later, Aunt Patty advised me to pick out good clothes because we were going someplace special with an extra surprise. She told me she was not going to tell me what the extra surprise was until we got there, only that I would remember it my whole life. I immediately began to wonder if she bought me something and we were going to the store to pick it up? Was it a surprise birthday party for me, as today was my birthday?

         I changed into my brand-new outfit, one I had never worn. A light blue Lone Ranger Shirt with a shiny badge, brown shorts with my six-shooters, white socks, and my new white Keds. My mom had let me pick them all out. Uncle Clayton stated I needed to wear them all together because they showed character.

         When it was time to go, Uncle Clayton slowly pulled the car out of the garage. As we were about to get in, Uncle Clayton checked us over for any dirt or wet clothes or shoes so the car wouldn't get soiled or damp.

         "You're clear to get in. Just don't scuff the plastic or touch the floor" Uncle Clayton stated as he opened the back door, then wiped his invisible handprint away using his handkerchief.

         As I got in, a huge, annoying squelching sound erupted beneath me. Uncle Clayton opened the back door and poked his head in the car and said, nearly shouting, "You better not be farting or pooping in my car, boy!" His shout startled me so much I scooted over more. Again, the squelching noise. I panicked. I moved again. This time the noise was almost deafening. Uncle Clayton was arguing with Aunt Patty regarding the stains I would be leaving and how I need to ride in the trunk. Aunt Patty look into the car at me, and then the backseat itself and the back to Uncle Clayton.

         "What is he wearing?" asked Aunt Patty patiently.

         "What's that got to do with anything?" he started to protest. Aunt Patty's left eyebrow went up. Uncle Clayton immediately became sullen and quiet. He knew the discussion was over. Whenever the eyebrow went up, he knew better than to continue the discussion: he lost, "I dunno. Shirt, shoes, shorts." He was cut off by Aunt Patty.

         I don't know how Aunt Patty raised just her left eyebrow like that. My mom could. She was worse. She was scary when that happened. Dad stopped talking as soon as the eyebrow even twitched.

         I tried and tried. The only way I could make my eyebrow go up by itself was by using my pointy finger and pushing it up. That wasn't scary. That was dopey looking.

         "Exactly! He is wearing shorts." She looked into the car at me and then the seat. She removed her head from the car and looked at Uncle Clayton and continued, "His bare legs are rubbing against the plastic on the seat and making that awful sound. It is you and your car's fault for the noise, not his."

         With no signs of her raised eyebrow, Aunt Patty put her head back in the car and asked me to get in the middle of the seat and stay there. With more noise, I made it to the middle and stayed put.

         While we were going, I kept pushing my eyebrow up to train it to be like mom and Aunt Patty's left eyebrow.

         After what seemed like days, Aunt Patty turned and said, "It is time to tell you where we are going, but not the surprise. Not just yet." She paused. She didn't say anything. I think she forgot where we were going. Old people do that, forget what they were talking about and start talking about something else.

         "We're going to . . . the Cemetery!" she blurted. Caught up in her excitement, I enthusiastically said, "Hooray!" Not missing a beat in the excitement, I asked, "What's a cemetery? Do they have rides and games and music?"

         Aunt Patty didn't answer right away, but I could see she was working on my question. Uncle Clayton laughed. He must have seen something funny on the road. It must not have been nice because Aunt Patty hit him and told him to be quiet.

         "Well, honey, a cemetery is where, after a person dies, their body gets buried. It's part of a funeral."

          I knew something about funerals. I can remember when my grandpa died. He had a funeral. Mom and dad didn't take me because they said I was too young. I never saw my grandpa after the funeral. I think he went on a trip.

         "Do they have rides and music and popcorn?" I asked. The way my Aunt described the cemetery, I was getting a feeling it wouldn't have anything fun. "I am sorry," she began, " they don't have any of those things. A cemetery is where you go to put flowers on graves, remember those who passed and have quiet thoughts".

         "Is there anything fun there? it sounds boring". What a cruddy birthday this was starting to become.

         "Well, I suppose I can tell you of the big surprise now instead of waiting." Aunt Patty began, "Cemeteries have one other thing that some people love to go see. They have a pond with ducks, geese, and swans. Better yet, you can feed them! I thought it would be a great idea to go feed the ducks and geese some bread crumbs today. Because it is the middle of the week, there shouldn't be too many people there so you will probably be one of the few feeding them." By the time she finished, she was talking fast with excitement. I got excited again. I have fed ducks and geese before at the County Fair and had lots of fun.          

         Swans are boogers. They are big, white boogers. They pigged the bread crumbs, scare the ducks and geese away, and crowd the bread crumbs so the ducks and geese can't get in. The boogers.

         "How close are we? When will we be there? I have to go to the bathroom now. Will I get to feed the ducks and geese myself?"

         All these thoughts flooded my brain and out of my mouth. The questions caused both Aunt Patty and Uncle Clayton to respond at the same time. "We are almost there", Aunt Patty stated. "We'll get there when the car pulls into the cemetery and stops", grumbled Uncle Clayton who then immediately stated, "I will stop up here so you can go. You better dang well hold it until we get there! I don't want any wetness in this car". "Uncle Clayton will go with you to the bathroom." "The heck I will! He's five years old, he can do it himself. I refuse to go with him," stated Uncle Clayton as if it were a matter of fact. "If he messes his pants, he will be sitting in your car." mused Aunt Patty.

         "We'll be right back."
         "After you get done," Aunt Patty said, "and we arrive at the cemetery, you can feed the ducks and geese yourself

         After going to the bathroom, I felt better. Uncle Clayton splashed water on his pants while washing his hands. Aunt Patty stated he had to sit on a towel so the car wouldn't get wet. He argued that was only for passengers and not the driver. I think her eyebrow went up because he got a towel and put it on his seat and began to drive.

          I began working on my eyebrow again.

         I got bored and stopped. I was just about ready to sit back and be grumpy when Aunt Patty stated we were there. I began looking for the pond. I saw lots of what Aunt patty would later tell me were headstones. I should have looked harder. I didn't see any that looked like heads. Just big square rocks.

         We drove around for a while looking at the rocks and the flowers that grew around them. My favorite color is red. I saw red flowers, so I liked them the best. We also saw rock people who looked like Angels I saw in picture books and at church. They were colored grey. Grey is a sad color. Like the clouds in the sky, it made things look gloomy.

         Then I saw it. A humongous pond with benches around it, and trees, and white rocks near the water, and a big fountain in the middle of the pond shooting water into the air, and the best of all: ducks, geese, and swans. Though swans are boogers.

         "There it is!" I shouted excitedly. "Where are the bread crumbs? Are we all going to feed them? I bet they're hungry today."

         Aunt Patty calmly said, "The bread crumbs are in the trunk, they are stored in plastic sandwich bags and the coffee can. Just you and I are going to feed them today. Your Uncle is a party pooper." My mom called my dad that once. I asked if that meant if dad went poop at parties. She laughed at my question. She never did answer me. I guess dad and Uncle Clayton were.

         Uncle Clayton parked the car by the pond. When I got out and went right to the trunk of the car to get the bread crumbs. Aunt Patty opened the trunk and handed me a big bag of bread crumbs. I wanted to run, but Aunt Patty held my hand and as we walked, this is what she said, "Don't get too close to the edge of the pond because it could be slippery and you could fall in. Also, only throw a handful of bread crumbs at a time. If the ducks, geese, or swans get startled or scared, they may either leave or attack. We don't want them chasing you all around the cemetery." What I heard was, "Throw the bread crumbs from the edge of the pond. Throw a handful of bread crumbs, and don't scream because it makes the ducks, geese, and swans go crazy".

          When I got to the pond, the first thing I noticed was how big the water fountain was. It was squirting water high into the air. It was neat. I then saw the ducks. they were slowly coming over to me. I knew I better not scream. I threw a small handful of bread crumbs in the water so the ducks would have something to eat. The ducks were brown with a green head. The ducks stopped before they got to the bread crumbs, except for a smaller duck. It looked friendly. I wanted to pet it, but I didn't want to go in the water because I don't like places with water where I can't see the bottom. Swimming pools were great because I could see the bottom and the bottom was easy to walk on.

         The little duck came to the edge of the bread crumbs and began dipping its head and eating. This must have been a signal for the other ducks to come over and start eating, too. I threw another handful of bread crumbs into the water. Soon there had to be more than ten ducks eating.

         I didn't see the geese or swans coming until they were there getting into the circle of bread crumbs. I threw two handfuls this time. By this time, I was standing at the water's edge. Looking down, I couldn't see the bottom. I closed my eyes and straightened my head to look toward the ducks and snow geese and swans. There were a lot of them eating the bread crumbs. I decided to throw the rest of the bag into the water and then go to the car and get some more.

         I opened the bag all the way, put it in my right hand, and then to make sure I would cover more area, I straightened my arm and did a sidearm throw. Three things happen all at once going from bad to worse: the bread crumbs just got dumped in front of me; I scared the ducks, geese, and swans who, then, swam away but stopped when they felt safe; and I lost my balance and fell in the pond.

         When I fell in, I fell in. Completely underwater. My hands and knees and feet touched the rocks on the bottom. I had just taken a swimming class because my mom made me. The only thing I remember from the class was the Doggy Paddle, so I started paddling. I then panicked because I wasn't going anywhere. My hands and arms were doing the movements; however, my feet weren't. They were dragging on something. After a moment, I figured out they were rocks on the bottom of the pond. I stopped paddling and stood up. The water came up to a little higher than my waist, around my belly button, I think. Besides being completely wet, I had stuff that was sticky and itchy all over my stomach, chest, arms, neck, and face.

         At this time, I noticed I wasn't alone. Dozens of ducks, geese, and swans were either coming toward me or already there. They surrounded me in a matter of seconds. I heard my aunt calling from the shore to not move but walk slowly toward her. If I wasn't scared out of my head, I would have yelled back to her, "Which is it? Move or stand still?"          

         A lone duck, that now came up to my chest, floated over to me. It looked peaceful and friendly. I remembered this duck. It was the one I tossed extra crumbs to because all the others were eating most of the crumbs. The little duck seemed like it wanted to be my friend, that's why it came so close.

         Until it attacked me. The duck began plucking at my fingers, arms, and then my shirt, all the while flapping its wings in my face and head. This is where the rest of the bird gang decided it was time to eat my body because they all rushed in and started pecking, biting, pinching, flapping, and attacking me over and over again. There were even some that flew to my head and, I think, tried to land on it. When they couldn't land, they would peck my head and face. The swans were the worst. They were now taller than me. They were the ones that pecked at my face and head. One even got my ear and pulled it. The swans were also trying to keep the ducks and geese away from me by crowding very close to me. I was hit with their wings, beaks, and, I think, their feet. I was going to be eaten.

         I saw Uncle Clayton coming closer to the pond. I hoped he was coming to get the birds off of me. Right before he got to the edge of the water, we all heard a huge thunderclap come from the sky. The birds stopped for a moment before they scattered and calmly floated back where they came from. None of them stayed around, not even the traitorous little duck.

         "Walk over here slowly," Uncle Clayton said. I waded through the pond water to right before the shore. Thank goodness no more water would be around me. I was ready to step on dry land.

         Then the downpour of rain began. I just took a deep breath and kept walking to Uncle Clayton. Right before I got there, he loudly stated, "The car window is down!" and he ran off to the car to shut the window, leaving me with my hand out as I was reaching for help. I was missing my mom and dad right now.

         Aunt Patty came over and wrapped me in an almost dry blanket. "Are you ok? Can you walk and move your arms? Let's go to the car. We need to get you to the doctor and checked out."

         "Uncle Clayton won't let us in the car because we are wet. He said so." I stated. "I packed dry clothes in the trunk because your uncle said it wasn't going to rain today." "But if he said it wasn't going to rain, why did you pack dry clothes?" Aunt Patty looked at me, her left eyebrow rose halfway. Was I in trouble? Was I going to get yelled at after the birds attacked me? This day was going from worse to terrible.

         "Your uncle has never predicted the weather correctly. When he said it would not rain today, I knew it was going to rain. Also, the radio said it was going to rain today. Your Uncle never listens to the weather because he thinks he knows it better." "So, you aren't mad at me?" I asked. "Heavens no, sweetheart. You didn't do anything wrong. Now let's get to the car."

         When we got there, Uncle Clayton was already in the car sitting on my towel. The downpour turned into a drizzle, and Aunt Patty was just as wet as I was. Instead of talking to Uncle Clayton, she opened the door and before he could protest, took the keys from him and went to the trunk. She brought out a bag with our clothes, gave the keys back to Uncle Clayton, and proceeded to walk over to the public restroom to change with me in tow. We took turns changing. When it was my turn, I went inside and saw the clothes she bought and a dry towel! I took off my wet clothes and dried off the best I could, drying more gently where the birds attacked me and left bruises. I noticed I still had some of the sticky things on me. After I looked much closer, they looked like wet, soggy bread crumbs. She packed a clean shirt, socks, underwear, and a pair of jeans. Most importantly they were dry and clean.

         After changing and asking Aunt Patty what to do with my wet clothes. She started to shake them out and put them in the bag. By the time I got out, the drizzle had stopped. It was still cloudy, but it wasn't raining anymore. We walked over to the car and proved we were dry. Aunt Patty explained to Uncle Clayton he was the only one who was wet. He stated he was sitting on a towel so it didn't count. He then mumbled for everyone to get in because the wet jockey shorts and pants were uncomfortable and he wanted to get home fast.

         Aunt Patty told him I needed to go to the doctor to which he stated he wasn't going anywhere until he changed his clothes. If he got a raised eyebrow, he didn't show it and proceeded to go home.

         Normally, Uncle Clayton is a safe, slow driver. Not this time. He was going faster than he normally went, going around corners faster than he probably should, and serving around slower cars. I need to add he was very focused on the road because even I saw Aunt Patty's left eyebrow as high as I had ever seen it. She was also talking to him. I didn't hear what she was saying. Looking at her face and eyebrow, it was probably better I didn't hear anything. Besides, I had my situation to deal with.

         Wearing shorts made my legs sticky and not very easy tmove or slide. Wearing jeans, especially an older, worn pair, made it easy to slide back and forth. And I did.

         Whenever the car would turn, I would slide. Going around corners wasn't so bad. It was when he drove through traffic and served back and forth I start sliding. I would first slide to the right, he would turn the other way, and then I would slide to the left. Turn, slide turn, slide: turn, slide.

         This went on for a long time. It tickled my tummy. I began to laugh as I slid. At times I would laugh out loud. Eventually, Aunt Patty noticed and watched me for a bit, and then she, at first, began to smile. She would then laugh just a little, then she was laughing along with me. It was fun.

         When we got home, Aunt Patty said she didn't think I needed to go to the doctor, and suggested I take a hot bath to get the bread crumbs off of me and wash my hair. She would wash my special outfit if I wanted to wear it. I stated in a matter-of-fact tone it might attract other birds and they would attack me too.

When I finished, with the help of Uncle Clayton to wash my hair, I put on clean, dry, non-slippery clothes. As I finished dressing, I thought of my day and what had all happened. I love Aunt Patty, even Uncle Clayton. But I had a very bad day, even it wasn't my birthday, it would have been a bad day.

          After the hot bath, Aunt Patty looked me over to see the bruises and scars left by the vicious birds. She told me there were no scars, just a few scratches and lots of bruises where they were getting the bread crumbs off my body and head. I felt sad all this happened on my birthday.

         I began to walk toward the kitchen. Aunt Patty said we could have some birthday cake after my bath with two scoops of ice cream instead of one. It just wasn't the same after the bad day I had. Who knows what will pop out of my cake and attack me? My stomach hurt and I felt like hiding

         I missed my...

         "MOMMY! You're here!" I ran to her and hugged and kissed her as much as I could. I was never going to let go.

         I started to cry about my bad day, my sad birthday, the ducks, geese, and the swans, falling in the pond, and the bruises and scratches. This was, more importantly, a happy cry. I was with my mommy again, soon to see my dad and brother. The booger.

Word Count: 4033

         
         11

         

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