The Iron Writer Challenge #189 2017 Spring Equinox Challenge #10

The Iron Writer Challenge #189

2017 Spring Equinox Challenge #10 

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors:

Steven L. Bergeron, Matt Henderson

The Elements:

A Pilot getting high

A broken alarm clock

As many of the gates of hell from this list as you can get in

Mirrors

 

GI Joe or Hell

Steven L Bergeron

“Commander Burgess ,what is your flight situation?”

“At the current Sergeant Joe I’m pulling right behind you ready for our next mission.”

“President Trump wants us to fly over Mexico, should there be any retaliation over the erection of the wall?”

A bucket of ice water woke me up from my virtual dream. It was Sunday morning again, I had pulled the batteries out of my alarm clock for all the wrong reasons. Now that I was fully awake I had no good excuse to miss morning services.  Here we were dressed in our Sundays best for what is the longest hour of the week. I crammed USAF pilot GI Joe comic inside my coat pocket. If Pa ever found out, I would definitely endure a soar ass for a week.

As we approached the doors of heavenly knowledge the outside bulletin board said it all.

“The gates of hell, shall not prevail.” Gi Joe would serve its purpose today, although this was a sermon I should have paid closer attention to.

 I joined my brother in the basement back pew just in time for Sister Terry to begin her weekly lecture.  Sitting way in the back gave me all the opportunity to sneak Gi Joe on my lap, hidden by my bible without anyone being the wiser. She began her lecture illustrating to us how Jesus descention into hell before being risen has cleared the path for his followers. His ascention supposedly sealed the gates into hell closed, leaving out all his believers. As long as we all followers the ten commandments the gates will remain closed.

There was complete silence, then a voice made me finally look up. I guess I spent a little too much time in Gi Joes world.

“Mr Burgess are you with us?”

“Yes Sister.”

“Well then tell us the name of the keeper of the Gates of Hell?”

“Oh that would be Lucifer” I replied as my attention went back to Gi Joe. 

“Wrong Mr Burgess. He’s name is Hades it is clear you were not paying attention. What could be more important?” Without knowing it she was standing right beside me, and snapped Gi Joe right from my lap. How did she know. Then I spotted the picture of the last supper behind me which undoubtedly acted like a mirror. 

It was one lesson I valuably learnt. For that day forward Gi Joe comics were banned from our house. The only reading material that was allowed was the bible or any Christian comics like: Prayer pups or Raw deal. It took a week for my butt to get back to normal, were I can seat with no pain.

From that day forward my constant reading of the bible, opened up a new vision in my eyes and how the world should be. I had grown to admire pastor Matt and sister Terrys messages. I would begin in helping then out with any means possible from being an alter boy to one day taking over for Pastor Matt when my age permitted.   

A Dark Knight On A Pale Horse

Matt Henderson
The mouth of Mongibello, was spitting fire and ash, and Luis could hear the torturous screams of unrepentant sinners echoing up the throat of Mount Etna, and down through the corridors of time. He could feel the hot waves against his face; his stomach lurched and acid rose against his throat as he gagged on the smell of sulfur and burning flesh. He was dizzy and blinded with sweat. His clothes clung to him like leaches. His face felt completely drained and he dripped with the perspiration of heat and fear. It was darker than any night he had ever known and the only light he had was the luminous fiery pit that glowed with a bright orange anger and faded out in a haze. There was nothing he could do for his comrades, so he turned his stallion into the darkness and rode away, giving all control over to his warhorse. He trusted his horse to find them a passage out of there, and down the mountainside. He had no choice. He lay against the horse’s mane and felt the proud beast’s muscles ripple against his face with its own strength and fear. He felt himself slipping into darkness and falling…
“Luis,” said Dr. Elias, “When I snap my fingers you will wake up and return to the present day. Three, two, one,” the doctor snapped his fingers.
Luis breathed in a huge clutch of air and shook his head, sending sweat in a halo onto the psychiatrist. “What the hell?” Luis coughed. His eyes landed on the broken alarm clock that had been in the office since he’d first come a few years ago.
“Regression Therapy, Luis. Remember? You have been under hypnosis for 20 minutes. That is the maximum time I will allow. In fact you are the only one I go over 15 minutes with. Now tell me, what did you see?”
“Doctor, I never see a damn thing.”
“From your appearance and actions, I would beg to differ,” the doctor said calmly. “Take a minute. Relax. We have plenty of time, Mr. Cypress.” The doctor was used to Luis not wanting to talk about his hypnosis sessions. It just takes awhile for him to unwind.
“What did they call the amphetamines they gave you when you were flying in ‘Nam?”

“We always called them ‘stop and go’s,” said Luis. “We had the best drugs in the Air Force. When we were dropping illegal troops in Laos we took off with a handful of tabs of Darvon, Codeine and Dexedrine. Sleep and go…That’s just the way it was. We’d drop them in Laos and Cambodia and then run a bomb raid on the North before we’d get back in the rack. War and hell, Doc.”
“Do you think you are getting anything from the hypnosis sessions, Luis?”
“Ah, the rivers Cocytus, Lethe, Phlegethon and Styx” thought Luis Cypress. “That’s one hell of a travel plan,” as he caught his own curled snarl of a smile in a mirror propped up on  Jung’s Red Book on the doctor’s desk.
Hell yes, Doc. I feel better every time I go under.”

The Iron Writer Challenge #175, 2016 Summer Open Challenge #12

clown

The Iron Writer Challenge #175

2016 Summer Open Challenge #12

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

  Authors:

Tina Biscuit, Maureen Larter, Steven L. Bergeron, Roger Campbell

The Elements:

A clown, numbers, A barn, Rabbit Stew

Fired

Tina Biscuit

‘I’m funny how? I mean funny, like I’m a clown? I amuse you?’

‘Well, yeah’, Connie agreed, ‘but right now, I need to use the bathroom, and don’t be using all my lipstick’, she continued, her head slumped against the other side of the door.

The door opened.

‘How do I look?’ Colin asked.

‘Funny.’

‘Funny how?’

‘Don’t start that again; we need to get going. I’ve arranged to meet with Marvin before the show.’

‘Alright, Connie, but why have we got to meet him?’

‘I’ll tell you on the way. I’ve got some news.’

‘Sounds ominous. I’ll get my shoes on.’

He was still lacing up his shoes when Connie came to the door of their trailer.

‘So, what’s the news, Connie?’ he said with a broad grin.

‘I’m going to need a bigger box, Colin.’

They walked over to Colin’s car; he stepped in, and opened the door for her.

‘I’m not going in your ridiculous car’, she turned, and started walking.

She walked in silence. Colin drove next to her for a minute, until they arrived at Marvin’s office.

‘Are you finding it harder to get into the box, Connie?’

‘Kind of, but I’m going to be getting a lot bigger’, she said with a whimper. ‘I want to ask Marvin for a rise, or see if we can get you a new job’.

‘What’s brought this on, Connie?’

‘I’m pregnant, Colin. We’re going to hear the patter of tiny feet.’

‘Big feet’, Colin corrected her.

‘Can’t you be serious for a minute?’

‘No.’

‘Unless our numbers come up on the lottery, we have to play this one sweetly’, she chided.

Marvin came out of his office, pulling a gold pocket-watch from his garish waistcoat.

‘Well, if it isn’t my favourite contortionist and clown; to what do I owe this pleasure?’ he said, ushering them inside.

‘It seems we’re asking for a raise’, Colin blurted out.

‘Or a new job’, Connie added.

‘How about a knife-thrower? That’s a fine act’, Marvin offered.

‘Yeah’, said Connie, ‘a clown that couldn’t hit a barn door, throwing sharp things at the pregnant lady – that’s going to pull in the crowds.’

‘How’s your balance, Colin?’

‘You’re not going to get me up on the high-wire again, Marvin, unless you fix those safety nets’, Colin replied.

‘I’ll have a word with Mephisto, maybe he can help’, said Marvin.

‘I can’t do magic’, said Colin.

‘No, but I was thinking he could keep you in rabbit-stew for a while’, he said, wryly.

‘You do know that he uses the same rabbits every night, Marvin? He doesn’t really magic them out of his hat’, said Connie.

Marvin stood up; the show was starting.

‘We’ll talk about this later, guys. I think Bobby’s about to do his big entrance.’

They startled as the explosion resonated through the canvas walls of the big top. The gasps of the astonished audience accompanied a three-second flight. The lightning-bolt atop Bobby the human cannonball’s helmet pierced, and ripped, into Marvin’s office. The spent shell of Bobby crumpled to the floor.

‘Looks like your career path has taken a new trajectory, Colin.’

What Am I Observing?

Roger Campbell

He stood motionless. His eyes opened to the point they hurt. His mouth opened to the point it hurt. What he was seeing was not possible.  Slowly Brian scanned the street in both directions. 

All the structures along the road were barns. While a rich assortment of styles and colors, they were barns.  Barns situated so tightly together as if to imitate row houses.  And it seemed as if each had a different hue.

“What the heck?” Brian slapped his face, opened and shut his eyes several time and pinched himself. “This ain’t possible.” The barns did not go away. 

“What the heck yourself. I’m late.” As the clown hurried past Brian, it tipped its very under size top hat and honked a crimson nose.

Before Brian could react another clown approached. After tipping his hat and honking his nose it asked a question. “Pardon me. Do you know where barn 21 is?”

After looking at several barns’ numbers, Brian replied. “Well, this one is number 19, so the next one should be number 21.”

“Huh?” The clown wiggled his mouth and eyes. “Ah no. The next one is 42.” 

“Than that’s 21.” Brian turned to the opposite direction and pointed. 

“No, no. That’s 13.” A doubting clown stared at Brian. “Are you sure you know your numbers?”

“Hey, why ya’ll standing there looking like a couple of statues?” A third clown asked as he walked past. “The rabbits just announced their stew’s ready. Come on.” He waved for the pair to join him. “Heard a rumor they actually put some real food in it this time. None of that green stuff they like.” With a tip of his hat and a spin of his tie the clown hurried off.

Brian took a deliberate look at the street in both directions, the barns and the clowns. As he did so all the barns slowly changed colors and numbers. It did not surprised Brian when he noticed a rabbit looking clown standing beside him.

“You’re the same clown I’ve been talking to, aren’t you?”

“Oh, I say. That is a most rude question. Of course I am the same one. Do you think I changed my looks?” It held up a finger. “ Do not answer that. A clown never changes their appearance.”

Brian took another look around. “This ain’t real. . . .  Where am I?”

“The question to be rendered is not, Where am I? That is very clear. You are there?” The clown pointed at Brian’s feet. “A question which would be more appropriate would be, What am I observing?”

“Okay, What am I observing?”

“You are not only observing, but are also participating in a dream. One which could be define as a very strange, perhaps even weird, dream.”

“How does this end?” Brian watched the barns change again.

“When you wake up.” The clown began moving his arm in a circular motion. “Which will not happen until you go back to sleep.”

WHAM! A fist slammed into Brian’s jaw. 

Harold the GreatSteven Bergeron

Steven L Bergeron 

“Ladies and Gentlemen for your viewing pleasure we have, what’s clearly our top ten entertainers this company has ever produced. We present to you Harold the Great.”

With that introduction, it will surely going to be my last. My little car barrelled it’s way out the pearly gates hitting every barrel insight. Harold the Great had become this companies bubbling fool. The entire crowd was roaring in there seat at my antics. Well almost everyone, this old man in the top row sat there motionless, his eyes fixed on all my moves.

I ‘m a Stewart and this was the end, I was all clowned out. I proceeded to my trailer to pack up my life. As I poured my last ounce of JD,a knock suddenly appeared my door . I ignored it thinking it was the ringmaster with my last pay check.

“Mr Great, I would like to have a word with you?” That voice so dead, it took me back to our last talk.

“What can I do for your old man?”

“I have a proposition for you.”

I opened the door looking him straight in the eye.

“After all of these years , why should I listen to you?”

“If not for me, do it for your mother. You know every Sunday she’s been cooking her “Country Corn bread with rabbit stew” with the barn windows wide open, hoping the aroma would call you back.”

“So you come crawling back, hoping that I forgive you.”

“Something like that, it was your mother’s idea that I come tonight. She threatened me to make amends tonight or she would be gone by the time I get back. Can I come in? We can talk better in private.”

He took the couch as I finished my last swig.

“I’d offer you some but this is all I got left. You know I saw you in the bleachers just staring.”

“Well I never been much for rodeos or clowns. But if it’s any consolations you were good.”

“Thanks too bad it’s going to be my last.”

“Oh”

“I make a fool of myself out there tonight. It’s the first time back here since I left. The crowd made me feel like a fool. I’m a Stewart and should be proud of it.”

“Yes you are a Stewart , and like all of us a strong head on your shoulders. What you are doing leaving all of this behind, takes guts. I was wrong all those years ago calling you a fool. I learnt something to tonight, it doesn’t feel all that bad to admit when you are wrong. Come on let me gives you a hand with all of this?”

For the first time in my life I understood where my father was coming from. And that folks was the last anyone ever heard of Harold the Great. The Stewarts were a family again, till our next big outburst.

HavenMaureen Larter

Maureen Larter

They sat, huddled together for warmth, in the barn. They hoped no-one had seen them sneak across the field at the back of the lonely farmhouse. Fortunately it had been cloudy and the moon had only shone filtered light to ease their escape from the soldiers.

Aaron spoke first. His voice was muted but sounded loud in the tense silence of the barn.

“We need food.”

Ester stood and looked outside, her eyes scanning the field for anything that moved.

“The soldiers might search here in the morning – we have to keep moving.” She looked at her husband, registering his tired eyes and hunched and troubled stance. “We have to get Abigail somewhere safe to have her baby.”

Joseph nodded.

“The rabbit stew we had two days ago,” he said, the sadness permeating each word, “won’t sustain us for much longer. We will have to ask the owners of this farm for some food.”

‘But what if they are Nazi sympathizers,” Lamar hissed. “They may turn us in. We will be shot!”

“I’ll go.” Abigail said quietly.

They all shook their heads.

“You can’t, my love.” Aaron clung to her, yet knowing the desperation would change their minds.

“I must,” she said. “Look at me – eight months pregnant. Surely they wouldn’t turn me away.”

She twisted away from Aaron and slipped outside just as the moon shone brightly through a break in the clouds.

The family shrank back into the shadows as Abigail made her way toward the farmhouse. The wave of fear followed her, but she moved purposefully on. The knock seemed to echo across the valley, and Aaron jerked forward, ready to run for his wife, but the door opened almost immediately and Abigail disappeared inside. The family, hidden still, and anxious, took a collective breath and waited.

Although it felt like hours, it was only some fifteen minutes later that Abigail re-appeared.

She beckoned.

“Do you think she’s being forced to get us?” Lamar whispered, dread breaking his voice into a whimper.

“Don’t be a clown, Lamar,” Aaron spoke harshly filled with the same fear. “Your sister wouldn’t put us in danger. She’d have thought of something to warn us.”

The family crept out of the barn and carefully moved to the shadows near Abigail.

“Is it okay?” Ester whispered.

“Yes – come!” Abigail grinned with relief. “I knew we were safe when I noticed the man of the house reading ‘Numbers’ in the bible.” She held out her hand as her family hesitantly stumbled towards her. “Come in, come in,” she repeated. ” Levi welcomes us.”

They had a safe haven … for now.

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The Iron Writer Challenge #163 – 2016 Summer Solstice Open Challenge #1

old phone booth winter

The Iron Writer Challenge #163

2016 Spring Solstice Open, Preliminary Round

500 Words, 5 Days, 4 Elements

The Authors: 

Malissa Greenwood, Vance Rowe, Maureen Larter, Megan Cypress, Steven L. Bergeron

The Elements:

An old phone booth

A golf club (must be specific regarding which club))

A photograph

Told from POV of someone who believes they do not belong in the family they were born in, due to an accident 25 years before they were born.

 

So Long AgoMaureen Larter

Maureen Larter

I pulled the car over to the side of the road and rested my head on my hands as they gripped the steering wheel. My heart thumped in my chest and my emotions were still raw. The argument had been brief, but violent. When James had begun to brandish the nine iron, I had turned and run.

I had never felt that I belonged to the family – they were all so clever, and I struggled with just the normal everyday tasks. Now Mum had passed away and my brother wanted her photo that was behind me on the bookcase. I had turned and grabbed it, clasping it to my chest, sobbing with suppressed grief.

“Anyway,” he had shouted, “she was my Mum, not yours! Give me the photo!” His voice had risen another decibel – “GIVE IT TO ME!” Then he had lunged towards me as tears ran down my cheeks.

When he turned and grabbed the golf club from the bag in the corner of the hall I knew I had to get out of there. How could this argument have escalated so quickly? We were adults after all.

After a few minutes, I calmed a little. James’s comment continued to wrench at my heart, but somehow I knew it struck at the truth. What had happened in the past that had led me to be part, yet not part of the family?

My mind was in a whirl of questions, and now that Mum was gone how could I find out the truth?

I wiped my eyes and looked around. Not twenty feet away, an old phone booth sat next to the road, like a message from the afterworld. What if I asked my father? Would he be able to answer me? Would he remember?

I opened the car door and stumbled over to the booth. It was out of order. Now there was no choice, I had to go and see my father.

It was an hour later that I sat opposite him in ‘Golden Grove Nursing Facility’, his eyes staring at me.

I smiled weakly.

“Do you remember me, Dad?”

He looked blankly at me.

“Can you help me?” I asked, frowning with worry. “Am I your daughter?”

It seemed silly to make small talk – I needed to find out – might as well hit him with the only question that was important to me.

He sighed.

“Hello, Helen.” he said.

I shook my head. I wasn’t Helen.

He continued.

“It was a long time ago. I thought you died in that accident.”

He began to weep. “But I found your grand-daughter – really I did. I raised her as my own daughter, even though she wasn’t. She is like you, you know – blonde, tall and – what a temper!” he stopped, bent his head, no longer coherent.

I watched the nurse take him back to his room. Stunned, I walked out to the car.

James had been right.

Out of This World

Malissa Greenwood

I don’t belong here. I’m a freak of nature, as the kids would say. Well that’s what they would say if they knew. But they don’t know; no one does, except for Uncle Jack and Auntie June. And my mother of course, before she died.  

It all started a long time ago, way before I was born. Dad was stranded here after a war. His ship was lost and eventually crashed into Earth’s atmosphere, destroying the ship and leaving him here in New York City, USA. Uncle Jack found him next to an old phone booth, the kind you see in old films. He gave him shelter and well, a new life and also managed to keep his secret all these years. He only eventually told Auntie June because he married her and felt finally, that he could trust someone. Besides, Dad didn’t age for, like, a really long time so… it would have been suspicious. Dad eventually met Mom and shortly after they married I was here and, well… she was gone. It would have been nice to know her. All I have of hers is some clothes my dad kept and a photo album. My favorite photograph is one where she was pregnant with me. She’s looking down at her round stomach like it was a gift.

But that was ages ago. I’m in school now and I’m very aware of how different I am. Not too much physically, with my dark skin and short athletic stature; only my facial features are a bit… off.

But I do have several ‘advanced skills’. I can hold my breath for a really long time, which is fun; makes for excellent times in swimming matches. I’m quite a bit stronger than everyone else my age. In my golf class I nearly bent a 5-iron in half when I was upset about landing a ball in the water. I’m also a quick healer and I will live to be significantly older than the average human being, with very slow signs of aging. I mean that’s what we’re expecting, but since my mother was a human that makes me a hybrid so I suppose it’s a crap-shoot, really.

I don’t know what it’s like to live anywhere other than Earth, of course, but I just have this feeling that there has got to be more for me out there. I look up at the stars and I can feel it. I can see more than what these humans see. I know there’s more out there, I know we’re not alone (even though Dad says he’s sure his home planet was destroyed). He says “I’ve made a happy life here Siena, so will you.” But surely there are other planets! There has to be. I mean, what are the odds of there only being two!? No… I know there’s more for me and I am going to do whatever I can to get out of here.

“Siena! Dinner’s ready!” Auntie Jackie calls from downstairs and I sigh.

Well. I will find a way. But I suppose I should eat dinner, and … maybe finish high school first.

My Mother

Vance Rowe

I was swinging a driver club from my golf bag in my parents’ bedroom when I accidentally hit their chest of drawers and a hidden compartment opened up. Inside of the compartment was an old newspaper clipping dated about twenty five years before I was born. The clipping was a story accompanied by a photograph of a car that had crashed into an old telephone booth. The clipping had stated that the adults in the car were killed but a five year old girl had survived.

The young girl who had survived was only five years old. I asked my father about it and he heaved a sigh and said, “I knew this day would come sometime.”

He explained that the photograph was of my grandparents. My real grandparents and my mother was the five year old girl. He also went on to explain that she had been raped when she was fifteen as she was bounced around from foster home to foster home, and I was the product of that rape. Since she was still a minor, I had to be given up for adoption and that is the reason I am here now.

“So, you and mom are not my real parents?”

“Well, we raised you and loved you as our own son. You were a blessing to us because your mom…my wife could not have children of her own.”

“So my real mom is still out there somewhere?”

“As far as we know she is, but we have no idea who or where she is. Or if she is still even alive.”

I didn’t know what to say. There are a million thoughts running through my head right now. I looked at the newspaper clipping again and noticed that the anniversary of the car crash is tomorrow. I demanded that my father take me to the scene tomorrow.

The next day we took a drive to the site where the accident happened. There was nothing there now but trees and bushes but I did notice a woman standing there. She looked to be in her sixties now. My father saw her too and looked like he had seen a ghost. He stopped the car and I stepped out. The elderly woman looked at me as I looked at her and then I muttered, “Mom?”

I took the newspaper clipping from my pocket and showed it to her. She wept and ran off crying into the bushes. I yelled for her but never heard anything nor did I find her. I will come back here next year though.

The Flight of the UrabansSteven Bergeron

Steven L. Bergeron

“Commander to Urabius, can anyone hear us? Miss Emily we are going down.”It was the constant dream that kept me up most nights.

Miles between mars and earth positioned our star, shaped like a putter’s wedge. As legends say it was habituated by our people the Urabans. We came from a placed called Urabus. In the cold years before world war one our planet was under attack . A young Scientist Cyrus O’Reagan tried to save our planet from destruction. It was in my before life my family history had.

Looking out the window of Nuts Acyllum were not a living soul would believe us. We remain imprisoned against our will. We are the people who’s family history seemed a little far fetched.

*****

We walked all in a row along the tar mat to our phone booth ship on our quest to save our planet.

“Well commander Emily how shall we do this.” Upon entering my ship I turned to my fellow pilots.

“My fellow Urbans our planet is under attack . As you all follow my lead we shall prevail.”

How was I to now that those final words were to be my final orders as we all gave our life to save what we all believed in.

The battlefield was tremendous bigger than anyone could have imagined. We had our ups and down the firepower illuminated the sky. Then it came to a one final confrontation myself against the ultimate pilot of our allies soon out of no were an unknown pilot made the difference . Our allies finally want their way but not before destroying our putters wedge star.  

The unknown pilot lead what remained of our species to a empty field in a planet known as earth. I myself never made it my ship was blown to smithereens. This was twenty-five years before my existence.

*****

I finally woke up from my deep sleep only to find my dear grandson Andrew sitting next to me. Of all the people in the world here was one person I would not lie to. So my family story was nothing but true to him.

“Grandma you are finally awake. Are you ready to get out of here?”

“What are you talking about?”

“I’m now in charge of your well being. You do not belong among these people. With my help if you will allow me we shall show everyone your story isn’t as far fetched as everyone thinks.”

With that we are out of here. Andrew was my saviour. All the years being locked up , the new world looks all new to me. In the end everyone knew my true identity.I was the last true Uraban. We now stand here were our ships had landed. In memory of all people from out of this world this land is dedicated to the first person who believed their existence. The O’Reagans research facility is now open . My dear uncle Cyrus would be proud.

LemonadeMegan Cypress

Megan Cypress

Bobby played video games in the living room, while his mother, Valerie, prepared fresh lemonade in the kitchen.

The telephone that hung on the wall in the kitchen rang. Valerie answered. “Hello?”

Bobby paused his game so he could listen. The man on the other line spoke loudly enough that Bobby could hear him. “Hey, Val. It’s Tony.”

“Tony? You coming into town for the reunion?”

“I’m in town. I’m calling from the old payphone on Route 9.”

“Well, get over here.” Valerie hung up.

Bobby asked, “Who’s Tony?”

“Just an old friend of mine and your father’s.”

“He’s not my father. He won’t play video games with me.”  

“Now what did I tell you about saying those awful things about your father?”

“Not to.”

“That’s right. Now shut off that game. Tony will be here soon.”

Bobby ignored her and kept playing anyway.

Someone knocked on the front door.

“Come in!” Valerie shouted.

Tony stepped inside. “Oh, hi. What’s your name?”

Bobby noticed that Tony had the same bushy brown hair as he. “Bobby.”

“You got the new Super Mario Brothers? Ahh, man! Let me play.”

“Bobby, I told you to turn off that game!” Valerie shouted. “Now come in here and get some lemonade.”

Bobby turned off the game and walked into the kitchen with Tony.

“So, Bobby, how old are you?” Tony asked.

“Ten.”

Tony counted on his fingers. “Ten? Why, Valerie, you must’ve had him shortly after the last time I visited.”

“Did I?” Valerie set the pitcher of lemonade and four empty glasses on the kitchen table and hollered up the stairs, “Robert, Tony’s here!”

“Tony?” Robert shouted back. “Be right down.”

Robert ran down the stairs, holding a photograph. “Guys, look what I found.”

Valerie snatched the photograph from Robert. “Is that the old Putt-Putt course on Route 9?”

“Uh-huh.”

“Oh, my gosh. How old is this photo?”

“35 years. Same year we graduated from high school. Thought it’d be nice to bring to the reunion.”

Tony scratched his head. “Has it been that long since they shut that place down?”

“Uh-huh,” Robert replied, “but I remember it like it was yesterday ’cause I always won.”

“Did you?”

“Yeah. Remember the windmill on that last hole? Your ball bounced off the wheel of it every time you putted. You never did have the right timing.”

“Oh, yeah. I remember now. Remember that time I accidentally hit you in the crotch with my putter? It was so funny. Your face turned bright red and you grabbed hold of your crotch and said, ‘thanks for taking away my ability to have kids.’”

Bobby, not detecting the sarcastic tone of Tony’s voice, shouted, “I knew it! You’re my father, aren’t you, Tony?”

Tony looked inquisitively at Bobby, while Robert’s jaw dropped to the floor.

Robert shook his head. “Tony, Valerie, how could you?”

Valerie started crying.

Bobby wished he could take back his words but knew it was too late. All he could do now was try to make the best out of a bad situation. “So, Mom, Dads, how about that lemonade?”

Valerie hugged Bobby. “Of course, Bobby. I love you.”

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