THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 99
…Too many twos, two many 2s and if there was a rock big enough to hide behind, Roy would have preferred it to this…
Braden has been slowly dismantling the many-gift-mountain of cards, boxes, gift wrap and tissue. There are some meant to be shared, ‘Deke & Gus’. There are many specifically labeled either ‘Deke’ or ‘Gus’. Others are anonymous tributes to The Space Family McKinney.
By sheer coincidence and not divine intervention, we think, Francine and Roy’s packages are the last to be unwrapped. The givers of said gifts are still standing near one another, having ooo-ed, aah-d, and clapped politely throughout the process, which has run past daylight’s influence.
Most everyone has done the math or eliminated themselves from belonging to the boxes. Fate is once again shining a spotlight on that reluctant featured pairing, still trying to sort out their feelings, once they get past continuing awkward social situation.
The lady-well-wisher’s carton is next to last, opened with genuine excitement by Gus, “Channel 13 News Crew bomber jackets, look Deke!”
She was afraid people would think her a self-promoter, “It’s the same one worn by our cameramen and grips.”
“Way kool Miss Bouchette. All the kids at school can drool.”
The final unopened gift belonged to Roy.
“Read the card first Deke,” if Braden has the boy skip that part, it would be fine with Roy, who knows exactly how he signed the card.
The young man reads it loud and proud.
Too many twos, two many 2s and if there was a rock big enough to hide behind, Roy would have preferred it to this. The boys do not think about motivation when it comes to birthdays.
“A 4-D Galaxy Planet Asteroid Tracker by Intel, wow just like the one in your office Uncle Roy… and Francine?”
Roy wanted to explain Francine’s duplicity, had he known how to. Some things are better left to wondering.
The agreeable crowd subdivides into smaller groups, to sample Braden’s BBQ skills—-and gossip.
Roy looks for that back-forty boulder to hide behind.
Francine is just plain curious, but they are overtaken by the shuffled throng.
“I can’t believe how generous people are. Deke & Gus are so lucky,” Aunt Sassy (from the old country) shakes Roy’s hand like she was trying to bust it loose from his shoulder socket, while eyeing Francine up and down.
“Now Sassy, don’t break his wrist,” insists the senior member of the McKinney relative contingent Savta Inga Bergestrom (from the other old country). “You two look like you are having a wonderful time.”