It’s difficult to describe what Jack saw as he stepped inside the house. There were lots of bikes, which was comforting because they reminded Jack of life at the orphanage. Jack also saw an electric guitar and a bass along with some amps next to a beat-up black vinyl couch and a fireplace.
Beside the fireplace was what looked like an Army surplus bomb that stood about two feet tall with some lacy underwear draped over the nose cone.
The bathroom door down the hall had a city sign that read, “NO DUMPING.” Fireworks, textbooks, and empty beer cans were stacked on most of the horizontal surfaces.
A candle in the shape of Charlie Brown was lit on a shelf by the door and had burned down so that just a little bit of the black and yellow zig-zag shirt showed above the shorts and shoes. Melted wax had anchored the candle firmly to the shelf.
A velvet picture of Elvis presided over the home from his place above the fireplace mantle.
The biggest surprise for Jack, however, was sitting at the kitchen table. The voice that had yelled that the door was open belonged to none other than Randy Dickson. This was the rider Jack had come into town with at the end of the group ride.
They stared at each other for a few moments before Randy spoke up. “I thought you were Bananas. Whatdja do, get lost?”
“Maybe I am going bananas,” said Jack, mostly to himself, as he grabbed the little classified ad from inside the Pop Tart wrapper he was carrying. He read and reread the address listed in the ad as he stepped back out to the porch to compare it with the house number. They matched.
Jack stepped back inside and fired off angry questions one after another like bottle rockets. “Is this 938 Miller Avenue? Is this the only Miller Avenue in town? Do you have a 1962 VW Beetle Cabriolet convertible for sale?”
Randy was a person with a lot of bottle rocket experience. He deftly handled the barrage of questions while returning fire. “Yeah, that’s the address. Can’t you read? There’s only one Miller Avenue, but we’ve got a bunch of Pabst Streets, and no, I don’t have a piece of crap VW for sale.”
Whooosh! POP! An actual bottle rocket sailed past Jack’s head and out the open front door. Jack hit the floor while Randy grinned through the haze of bottle rocket smoke.
Jack gathered himself up and stood once again in the doorway. He had one more question and it would determine whether he stayed or left. “Do you know a nun named Sister Kim?”
Randy looked puzzled for a moment but grinned again and started dropping questions one after another like firecrackers, “You mean Kim West, right? Des Moines? Lawyer? Dresses like a nun? A backyard full of dead Volkswagens?” Pop! Crack! Pow! Crackety-crack! Crackety-crackety-crackety-CRACK! Now Jack was smiling through the smoky haze while Randy ducked behind the kitchen table. Jack was a quick study. He had used the burning Charlie Brown candle to light one of the little packs of firecrackers before tossing it toward the kitchen table. “Yep, that’s Sister Kim.”
Randy emerged from behind the table cautiously, but he was still grinning. “Sure, I know who Kim is. You need a place to stay?”
“I guess so,” said Jack, relieved that he was done traveling for the night. He had someplace to stay. He and Randy opened some windows to help clear the thick gray smoke from the room. Then Randy motioned to a chair at the table and while Jack sat down he brought out a couple of plates and a frozen pizza that had been in the oven. Jack brushed a dead moth off of his plate and pulled a slice of pizza toward him. It had been a long day and he was exhausted.
Jack would have enjoyed supper slightly less if he had known that there were now several raccoons following the scent trail left by the raccoon pee on his rear wheel. They were still very far away but they were relentless in their pursuit.
Jack would have enjoyed supper slightly more if he had some dessert. Just as he was pondering this, he heard someone pound on the front door while shrieking, “Little Debbie has a treat for you!”
[a serial by little orphan dbax]