Part One - Chapter Four
4. Chapter Four
"Ridin' round town with all the windows down, Eight track playin' all your favorite sounds, the rythm of the bongo's feel the part, Street musicians tryin' to get a start cause its summer, summer time is here, .yes it's summer, my time of year."
"Summer" from "Best of War
I met Steve in 9th grade. We were a pair, skinny and scrawny. We took to each other quickly and knew our minds as if we were one. Steve was not a watcher. I guess the best term for Steve was "mechanic". He was the one to work out the steps, he loved being mired in the detail.
I have been called the glue, the pacifist that brings the sword and the mechanic together. The power that is in Phil, with the process to use it in Steve, with my skill at softening the edges. This is a hard one to describe, the triad, I mean. But it seems to be how it works.
Steve and I did not play the ego games that other boys played. There was no need for us to challenge each other. We were just having fun, but we were never apart of the clique, or the popular group.
I will relate a story to illustrate.....
One summers late afternoon, we spent at Steve's house inside because of a summer rain that lasted most of the day. Bored out of our minds, we searched for something, ANYthing to do. Steve's mother was also desperate to get us out of the house.
Finally Steve happened upon a box of fireworks. Sparklers, Snakes, and those spinning things that had different colors and spun around like a top.
So off we went, box in hand to the woods out back of his house. His house was on a corner. The woods were supposed to be some sort of sanctuary, but really it was where the kids played and the seniors to have sex.
The woods were bordered by houses on two sides whose back yards ran up to the woods. A famous place to kill time, the woods were thick with water after the rain. Lush and green and wet from that rain.
We wound our way to a clearing and found a stump to use to set off the fireworks. Sparklers are poor fun in the daylight, unless you use them to burn old models you were tired of, so we set off a box at a time. Lots of sparks, lots of smoke. A snake, eh screw this do the whole box. Lots of smoke. Back of my house was a creek that at one end pooled water that lasted most of the summer. There were even minnows at times of the year. I never really figured out where they came from. We would use that small pond to float old plastic model battleships. We would load them up with Snakes and set them afire. Did you know snakes burn under water? Smoke comes bubbling up out of the water. Pretty cool.
Well we had no pools of water nor old battleships or models of any kind for that matter to burn. Boredom settles upon us again.
Steve says, "Hey let's set the whole box off at once, all of them."
"Yeah, maybe those fire crackers that wouldn't explode will explode after all."
So, Steve lights the box. Wow!! This is cool, tons of smoke looks like the woods are on fire if you look at the smoke.
Not much color or light, but way cool smoke, sparks and such.
Well when it finished we poked around the ashes made sure it was all out. Not like this was a problem, there was not dead stuff around and nothing that wasn't completely soaked with water still dripping from the leaves of the trees.
All is well so we start back to Steve's house. We make it to the main trail and see some old guy looking back into the woods and walking our way.
He is still in his yard, has not breached the fence that borders the woods when he sees us and yells.
"Hey!, You boys!, you burning something back there?"
He is too far off and we don't want to yell. Steve looks at me and says, "Let's go out the back of the woods, this guy looks like he thinks we set the woods on fire."
"Sounds good to me, the guy seems way to serious." I say.
So we cut off the main trail and sleek off into the cover out of site of the old man. Making our way through the woods away from Steve's house, I hear something....
"Steve, you hear that?"
There is a siren, kind of distant, but almost sounds like it is getting closer. Steve is poised listening with his head cocked to one side. He listens.. Then his eyes widen and he looks dead at me.
"SHIT!, He called the fire department!"
"No, He wouldn't..."
Steve listened for only a couple of more seconds, then he bolted for the back of the woods. I was on his heels.
To this day, I cannot recall running through those woods. It was pure adrenaline, and fear. We burst out of the woods apparently jumping a fence in the process, for I don't remember that difficult feat.
We exited the woods on a factory access road that ran behind the woods and parallel to the housing edition. We turned and ran to our left along the access road to a place where we could look between the houses down the street.
Sure enough there were two fire engines setting in front of that old man's house. Firemen were jumping off carrying axes and unraveling a hose. Mind you there was NO smoke no sparks no fire when we left our bonfire.
Well Steve and I just looked at each other and we took off running on down the access road to a ditch that bordered the other side of the housing edition. This ditch was quite deep, we played there often hunting frogs or craw-dads when we were younger.
We camped out in that ditch out of sight for at least an hour, wondering what kind of trouble we were in. Wondering if that old man recognized Steve. Wondering what his mother was doing. Would she turn us in. Two panicked teenagers.
After an hour or so of speculating the worst, we started to walk back to Steve's. We took the round about way and came up to Steve's house from the other direction. Making sure we did not come in site of the old man's house.
The only thing we made sure of before approaching the house what that the Fire Engines had left, and they had.
As we got close to the yard, Steve's Mother burst out the front door. Waving her arms frantically she called in a hoarse whisper,
"Get in here quick!!"
We took off running over the yard and through the door which she closed behind us.
"Oh my God!" She said, you two cannot believe what went on here, where did you go? They ran into the woods with axes and hoses and shovels. I thought they were going to arrest you! That old man was crazy! I went out back and watched with the rest of the neighbors and pretended not to know anything."
Steve's mom finally took a breath, "Where did you go?" This time she paused long enough for us to tell her the story while she hustled us into the kitchen and fixed us soft drinks and cookies.
It was wonderful. She was so exhilarated and we thought we were going to be in so much trouble. Steve's mom that day re lived the drama and saw her own antics as a child through our adventure. She was as much apart of our excitement that I think this was one of the best times that Steve or I had with either of our parents.
We were both loners, but something clicked with us. We were just a pair.
But our futures would move together for the next several years. We would learn to use our powers and skills over time, but for now we just learned how to be in tune with each other.
Steve and I had many such adventures, not all of which involved the Fire Departments, but they were usually full of adventure. As we got older and learned more of the art, the adventures became more ominous and it often took hypnosis for us to recall the entire events. Sometimes we wished we hadn't remembered......