chapter 29 - never on sundays?“Why is your copy of the newspaper being delivered to a car wash?” asked Jack.
Mrs. Karras spoke before Mr. Karras could answer the question. “We’re not sending him down the mountain in two feet of fresh snow just to get your newspaper! He might get lost; or worse yet, someone might see him.”
“Oh, he’ll be fine,” said Mr. Karras. “It’s easy to follow the road down to town and back up again. Besides, the kid will be so bundled up that no one will be able to tell who he is.”
Then, turning to Jack, Mr. Karras began to explain, “My copy of the Des Moines Register is supposed to be delivered to my mailbox at the bottom of the hill, but due to a glitch in that new-fangled computer system the newspaper is using, my copy gets delivered to the Mr. Kar Wash car wash in town instead.”
“I’ve tried to fix the problem countless times over the phone and through the mail, but they can’t figure out how to change the address stored by the computer,” continued Mr. Karras. “My newspaper continues to be delivered to, of all places, a business run by people who think intentionally misspelling a word like ‘car’ with a ‘k’ is clever. Do you know how annoying that is?”
“Intentional misspellings. It’s one of his pet peeves,” Mrs. Karras chimed in, shaking her head.
“The only solution the circulation desk could come up with was to offer to pay a local newspaper carrier to take the paper from the car wash and drop it off in my mailbox each day. I’m supposed to keep track and send them a bill in order to pay the paperboy,” grumbled Mr. Karras. “What a preposterous mess!”
“I’ll go get the paper and save you the trouble,” said Jack. “Just tell me how to get to the car wash.”
“Terrific!” exclaimed Mr. Karras and he leaped up from the table to find a suitable map in the drawer near the phone. Meanwhile, Mrs. Karras cleared the breakfast dishes and then went in search of warm clothes that would fit Jack.
Within a half hour, Jack was dressed and ready to go. His layers of clothing were warm, but still allowed him to move freely and could be opened or removed to keep Jack from overheating while he hiked. Mr. Karras went over the directions one last time as Jack fumbled with the straps of the snowshoes. Then, with a hearty slap on the back, Mr. Karras sent Jack out the door into the deep snow.
It didn’t take long for Jack to get the hang of the snowshoes as he made his way down the mountain. The snowshoes kept him on top of the snow, but every once in a while, Jack would get going a little too quickly and take a tumble. After a while, Jack found that he could take his attention away from walking with the snowshoes and enjoy the scenery instead.
The snow was fresh and deep all around, with fir trees standing straight and tall everywhere except for the cut of the road. Once in a while, Jack could see through a small clearing to the valley below and the mountains on the other side, majestic in their white robes of new snow.
The steepness of the mountain road gradually leveled off, and Jack soon found himself nearing the edge of town. Following the directions Mr. Karras had given him, Jack veered off of the road and along a creek that ran past the edge of town. A bridge crossed the creek a bit farther on, and Jack was able to scramble up the embankment to the snow-covered road above. Along the road, just a few hundred feet from where Jack was, stood the Mr. Kar Wash car wash, closed on Sunday.
[editor's note: i tried to find a photo of a closed car wash. this is the best i could do. sorry.]
to be continued... [a serial by little orphan dbax]