THE RETURN TRIP – Episode 97
…While Gus is wondering what gift Francine has brought, the slightly elder brother is more interested in the bada-bing…
“You have a Texas-sized thirst Miss Francine!”
Like fire ants in a rainstorm, the McKinney boys are getting closer to the nest. Gus has spotted the pile of presents and Francine to boot, “Hey Deke, look who’s here!”
She was the only person who could steal the spotlight from Uncle Roy.
“Holy cow Gus, did you invite her?” Deke looks for some glass reflection to finger-comb his hair . “You have guts Gus!. Boy, she is prettier in person than she is on TV.” While Gus is wondering what gift she has brought, the slightly elder brother is more interested in the bada-bing.
Francine places her gift carefully to one side of the growing pile, trying to act naturally in spite of her nerves, anxiety caused at the sight of Uncle Roy.
Said Crippen is in the midst of a reenactment, perhaps the tackling form he used on Gherkin Dogman or whatever his name was. “Notice how square my shoulders are to the target, head up, all the time driving my legs.” He sounds like a football coach speaking to Pony League footballers, when in fact he was using the demonstration as a diversionary tool… after all Francine was here, what now?
He takes his Camelhair sport coat back from the woman who was holding it for him, thanking her over-politely to convey the fact that they were not indeed here together, should Francine even notice; who, having seen the exchange peripherally and pretending not to.
This pointless posturing went on for 15 minutes as each waited for the other to crack. It is an unfortunate distance for them to be separated by, after all it’s not like they are ex’s of the other.
That they are not alone or free to interact in a more private setting isn’t helping. Not knowing what the other is thinking does factor in the standoff. Separately and together, she and he play it oh-so-kool, willing to allow randomness to take its course.